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 1. Where to pray
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:5-6

-Sure some people are very gifted in how they pray in public. Group prayer is not bad, but there are those who try to pray in order to seem holy and in order to draw attention to themselves.  They are not praying with a true heart, but for prideful intent. When you are to pray, we should do it privately.  It is really cool to think that our Father is in secret and when we pray in secret to Him, He is the only one who will see you and knows your heart. That’s so wonderful.

2. Length of Prayer
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” -Matthew 6:7-8

– When I was 13, I used to pray at night with my mom in her room. I’d pray for a good 30 minutes.  She would fall asleep as I’d pray.  It is better to pray short prayers from the heart and say little, for the burdens you have in your heart have already been heard by God.

SONY DSC3. What to Pray (Matthew 6:9-13)
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

-Recognize who God is and where He is. Acknowledge His holiness and mightiness.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

-Long for the establishment of God’s kingdom to be here in how you live and as you live.  There is great peace in heaven, and to long for that here on earth is beautiful!  We should live what we hope should be here.  Make sure that God’s will is always first.  We need to seek Him and His kingdom first.  This is so important!

“Give us this day our daily bread,”

-He knows your needs.  Ask for them to be provided for you.

“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

-We do wrong every day. We need to acknowledge our sin and long for freedom from it.  Because He forgives you of these things, you must also forgive people who have sinned against you, no matter how hard it is. For God doesn’t hold anything against us when we are forgiven, nor should we.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

-Pray that you do not have the ability to even be led into temptation that leads to sin.  For when we are tempted, our testing of our faith can come about and we might get trapped and ensnared.  We should not want Satan to have any hold on our lives at all.

4. Important conclusion
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Matthew 6:14-15

-This is extended from the Lord’s prayer’s explanation a bit.  Can you imagine how powerful forgiveness is here? Jesus saved us from sin and we are called to be like Him. He did not kill those who physically accused Him or killed Him at all but instead forgave them. In living like Jesus and being like Him, we need to definitely do this.  Imagine not being able to be forgiven simply because you held things against others? That’s intense! We should live this out!

I have to warn anyone reading this up front that this post may be a bit disjointed as there were a lot of thoughts that have been floating in my head about it. I do ask that you PLEASE read the entirety of it, as well I will try not to make this TOO long.

In the limited experiences I’ve had debating pacifism, it seems like a lot of the arguments used toward the just war philosophy are based primarily on Old Testament examples, misquoted or context-avoiding New Testament passages or by using statements made by other men (men being the generic word used when talking about men and women, created persons). My beliefs about pacifism have been with me for a long time, though admittedly they had taken a back seat to my pride as an American citizen for a while. Ultimately I was brought back around to realizing pacifism is where my heart really is thanks mostly to Shane Claiborne’s wonderful book “The Irresistible Revolution”. While his book was a catalyst to my renewed devotion to non-violence he was certainly not the reason for my steadfastness.

While the “W.W.J.D.” question has become something of a cliche about how ridiculously Americanized the church has become, if done without the bracelet and with sincerity and an open mind to be taught, it can cause you to be a huge change in your world.

For the sake of being as legitimately G-d inspired as I can be, I’m going to keep myself to using strictly Biblical sources for my side of this debate.

Now I know some (probably most) have a rather differing opinion of war. I know plenty of people, whose salvation I could not even pretend to doubt, that would consider my wife and I to have “gone off the deep end”. Many of the opinions opposed to ours relate specifically to the ownership of guns and the use of violence against forces of the government that would want to disarm them/impede on their freedoms as American citizens. My question to this is, “Do you really have the right, as a professing Christian, to defend yourself against someone else with violence?” I understand that the ideas of self defense and war in the sense of going over seas to attack another country are very different, but the use of violence in either circumstance is still violence.

In Matthew 5:39 Jesus says:

“But I tell you, don’t stand up against an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also.”

That doesn’t sound to me like He’s giving us the right to defend ourselves. He says rather plainly “DO NOT stand up against an evil person”. He doesn’t say, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, put your hand up to block your left cheek then break their hand so they can’t try again”. We are to turn the other cheek and allow the attacker to strike us again. What right do we have to defend ourselves against a human attacker when Jesus rebuked Peter for attacking the Roman in the garden of Gethsemane? The Savior of the world, the human embodiment of G-d himself would not allow His disciple to defend Him with violence, so how could we possibly claim to have the right to defend ourselves against anyone with violence?

As I said at the beginning of this post, I know there are plenty of Biblically based counter-arguments to my stance, but I’d like to suggest we look at some of the totality of what is usually used. One of the most commonly used verses is in Luke’s version of the night Jesus is arrested…

“He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” -Luke 22:36

Now the strange part about using this verse with the declaration that, “SEE! Jesus tells them to buy a sword!” is that Yeshua doesn’t tell them how or when to use the sword. In fact the only time we hear about the sword being used by the disciples is shortly after this conversation when Peter attacks a Roman soldier with it. Right after Peter attacks the Roman Yeshua stops him and says to him:

“No more of this!” -Luke 22:51

After yelling at Peter for using the sword Christ heals the soldier of the wound that was inflicted! It seems insane to me that the apostles would be told to purchase a sword and then when the first opportunity to use it comes up, they are told not to! Shouldn’t that in itself discredit the referencing of that verse as a reference FOR the use of violence as a means of defending a friend/family member? I know, “Christ had to suffer his death on the cross and that’s why He stopped Peter from defending Him!” While I agree, Christ had to die for us and any other course of history at this second in time would drastically change the story of salvation (there wouldn’t be one), I like to believe Yeshua told the apostles to buy the sword specifically for the purpose of illustrating the idea that He didn’t want them to use it!

The most common way people debate against pacifism in the Christian sense is the idea of “just war”. This philosophy says there are ways that you can justify war when considering what you are getting involved in by holding it up against a set of guidelines and as long as your planned war falls within those, it is a “just” or fair war, and therefore allowable. When I hear people arguing for just war, I hear a lot of Old Testament quotes and other famous people espousing the criteria that makes war just, but these lists aren’t directly based out of Biblical principle or instruction. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen discussed as the list of things to check off to judge whether your war truly is “just” are fabricated by men that believe they have come to a logical conclusion based on moral truths and not on something given in scripture.

So to backtrack a little, I believe that G-d’s call for violence in the Old Testament is only justified in the Old Testament because of man’s separation from Him. While G-d did call for Israel to go to war throughout it, the need for man fighting man has been negated by the death of the Son. Yeshua says He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Therefore whatever rules were put in place in the OT have been dubbed fulfilled through the blood of Christ! We are no longer bound to serve the punishment as the old law required! Unfortunately plenty of people still refer to the G-d of violence as expressed in the OT as implying necessity for violence today, in effect telling Yeshua they don’t care about what He did. I dare to liken the people who keep this going to the Jews that brought Stephen up on blasphemy charges. As Stephen was preaching the gospel, those in attendance disliked his message that the Old Testament was fulfilled and finalized in the new covenant. His response to their hardened hearts against the gospel was:

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” -Acts 7:51-53

I know that sounds a little harsh, but is it really wrong? How often do we ALL decide not to listen to the Holy Spirit? The day that I confessed to my wife about my secret pornography addiction was spent arguing with the Spirit and trying to find a way out of telling her!

A man named Saul was in attendance at Stephen’s death for preaching these “blasphemies”. Saul actually brags about being there to witness the stoning of Stephen. Through the marvelous grace of G-d, Saul becomes converted through the power of Christ to become Paul who, ironically enough, writes a letter to the church in Corinth saying things very similar to what I can imagine Stephen was saying:

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which is being brought to an end, eill not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it…Yes, to this day when Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” -2 Corinthians 3:7-10, 15

So the idea of following the words of the Christ over the historical obsession with the OT teachings is nothing new.

One of the most interesting arguments I’ve heard to discredit a pacifist is the idea that a pacifist thinks they are on par with Yeshua by expecting to behave the same way He did at His trial. The argument says something along the lines of, “You devalue what Christ did on the cross be expecting you will do what He did!” Personally this sounds absurd to me. If this were the case, what would be the value in doing anything Christ asked us to? Christ instructed us with how to pray. Just about every follower of Christ knows His prayer by heart. Does repeating that prayer word-for-word as He delivered it devalue what He prayed? Of course not! Not only does the Son tell us to do the things He does, He also tells us we will do GREATER things than Him!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” -John 14:12

If Yeshua tells us to do the things He did and even greater things, would that not show the argument of trying to be like Him and devaluing His sacrifice to be completely destroyed?

Now the complaint I’ve heard most often against pacifists is this idea that we have a holier-than-thou attitude and we think anyone who has/is/will serve in the armed forces is in the midst of some unforgivable sin and that we look down on these people. I’d just like to say that the idea of pacifism exists to express the complete opposite. For me, the claim to pacifism is a means for me to express how fallen my nature is. It keeps me mindful of the things I still do wrong. Not a single person alive is able to say they have no sin in them. Because of this, no one has any right to judge anyone else as less worthy to approach the throne. Every person that has existed since the death of Yeshua has had the same opportunity to be reconciled to the Father and no living person has the right to say anyone else has lost that.

And lastly, for the sake of wrapping up, I’d like to put out a couple more sections of scripture that can be included in the support of a Biblically pacifist lifestyle:

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” -Romans 12:19-20 (While plenty of people know the “vengeance is mine” part of this I very rarely hear people use it in context to the rest of the section which talks about blessing those who persecute you and not repaying evil for evil.)

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

‘If the righteous is scarcely saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” -1 Peter 4:12-19 (I think this section is just loaded with goodness. We are told to avoid suffering as a murderer or meddler, and that we should willfully suffer as a follower of the Christ. While I’m sure plenty of people stretch it’s meaning to something other than what’s at face value, I like to apply the last verse to trusting G-d with our souls during any kind of suffering.)

While the main debate for or against pacifism is based on whether or not to go to war, there is much more involved. In a statement that will win me plenty of criticism, I’m sure, the modern American evangelical church has been lead dangerously astray from the heart of the gospel. We are to love our enemies, care for the poor, but instead we build our high castles of finances and self-worth. The world is so much bigger than the borders of our country and our decisions about war affect the very people we have been commissioned to spread the gospel to. I’d like to ask, how does war, regardless of how just we make it to be, help us fulfill the great commission? By pre-emptively striking someone with an air-raid, you are effectively sentencing someone to hell instead of reaching out to them with the love of Yeshua that can save them from damnation.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:14-15

If there are any questions or points you would like me to clarify, please comment below or email me at RobRakis@optonline.net

passovermatzah

In my own recent personal study of the Passover (aka Seder which means “order”) as a Christian, I have been learning about the unleavened bread and how all leavened bread has to be completely removed from a home before the beginning of Passover. This is called “bedikat chametz” which means “search for leaven”. Children are usually sent to use a  candle, feather, and wooden spoons to gather it all up (crumbs and the like). It has to be burned or disposed of from the home.

The Jewish people say that the presence of leaven is likened to the presence of sin in one’s life or household. In Galatians 5:9, Paul mentioned that just a little yeast can leaven a whole batch of dough. This can be thought with our whole, “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” mentality. When we have allowed sin to partake in our lives. Our sinful nature will just grow and grow. When Yeshua/Jesus comes into our lives, He removes all the leaven from us with His sacrifice. This leads to exactly what Jesus says in His “Last Supper” which was during the Passover time! We are to observe this forever that He gave His blood & body for us!

“Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” -1 Corinthians 5:7-8

How cool this is that God set this up so perfectly to observe how God freed His people from slavery, while also observing how Christ Jesus freed us from slavery to our own sin!

Another interesting part of the Seder is that a veggie called karpas (like parsley) is dipped in salt water early during the meal to symbolize the new life that came out of the Israelites’ tears.  Charoset is a paste of chopped fruit, nutes, wine, and spices to symbolize the mortar used by Israelites when they were in slavery to make bricks. Beitzah is roasted egg which is the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart.  Hands are washed before the meal to eliminate impurities.  Of course the matzah/unleavened bread would be in a seder plate lifted up which hid under all of these things.

The wine symbolized the blood of the lamb put on the doorposts, and we know that Christ’s “blood” is the wine during the last supper, since Jesus’ blood cleanses us.  4 cups of wine are to be consumed (their wine wasn’t nearly as strong as ours today at all, and drunkenness is wrong).  These cups represented God’s deliverence in 4 ways: removal of burden, deliverance from bondage, redemption, and restoration! This goes completely in line with the following passage:
“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.  I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” -Exodus 6:6-7

Many also compare this to Pharaoh’s cup in Joseph’s time in the book of Genesis with the story of the butler who brought him to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh.  Others believe it is representing Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome who oppressed Israel.  Some believe it to represent 4 worlds: the world, the days of the Messiah, the revival of the dead, and the world to come.  Drips of wine on one’s plate represents the 10 plagues to help deliver them.

3 pieces of Matzah are placed on the Seder table during the meal.  These can represent different things such as 3 divisions of Israel (priest, Levite, Israelite), 3 “Patriarchs” (Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob), 3 measures of flour Sarah used to make cakes for visitors (Gen. 18:6).  And the 3 matzot from Messianic views to represent God’s Divine manifestations of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Some add a 4th pieces of matzah is added for those who are living under oppressive parts of the world (specifically Jewish people).

The leader of Passover takes the midde matzah and breaks it in two.  One half  is hidden & known as the 4th piece of matzah or known as “afikoman”.  The 3 unhidden are Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Messianics believe the afikoman was the piece Yeshua held up to say “This is My body”.

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” -Luke 22:19-20

We are to celebrate by believing we were with the people who were free from Egypt.  We need to thank, praise, glorify, honor, exalt, extol, and bless God for what He did for those who were there in that time, as they saw His miracles being done before their own eyes.  He brought us from slavery to freedom, anguish to joy, mourning to festival, darkness to great light, subjugation to redemption.  As believers in Christ, we need to have this same mindset for seeing what He has done for us and how He has delivered us!
—————-
[Background info: This year, Rob and I decided together to celebrate many of the Jewish celebrations but in a Messianic way (those who believe in Yeshua/Jesus fulfilling the prophesies of the Old Testament). We aren’t celebrating the “Christianized” holidays. We know this sounds absurd to many people we know. We are not Jewish, but our Lord and Savior was in fact Jewish and He celebrated Purim, Passover, and Hanukkah. Scriptures prove this for when he goes to the temple for many of these observances. We aren’t telling anyone else that they should celebrate these too, but when we read certain verses in the Bible that stated to keep certain ones in observance forever (such as Passover and Purim in the scriptures), even though we are not of Jewish blood, we have been adopted by God and think it is really awesome to learn the grand connections between Old Testament observances and Jesus! We started to see that pagan & “Christian” holidays just don’t make as much sense to us anymore (even though we used to love those, and even obsessed over a couple of the holidays). We have been really excited about this new understanding of God and our own lives and what He has prepared for us.]

[Recommended reading from where I learned and reference much of this post: Messianic Spring Holiday Helper
photo from here]

psalm119Throughout the past year, Rob & I have fell in love with the Pentateuch and the commandments throughout it.  I used to believe God’s Word was filled with rules and burdens for my life, because I didn’t want to give up myself at all (while proclaiming praise to Him).  I didn’t like the idea of sacrificing myself or allowing Christ to sacrifice Himself as an offering so that I might live in His light and know His peace.

I have found peace! In His law, I have found a great love and ease in life.  I feel like the weight has been carried off.  His blood has only increased on my life over the years, but now, I have a reason to give back to Him and serve Him through how I live by abiding in Him and obeying Him.

Psalm 119: 172-176 expresses:
“My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.  Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”

I am weary of hearing many Christians shrug off the Law and long to live for themselves (and finding these things to be natural, while living just as the unbelievers do).  As I tell my own sons to change their underwear daily, to be kind to others, to brush their teeth, to not steal one another’s toys; I see how much more natural the law is for our lives to become accustomed to.  I pray that we will all be willing to reflect and know the laws and live them while being willing to be shown by Christ which ones He has covered with His sacrificial blood that we no longer have to worry about, and which ones we need to continue to practice!  I no longer feel a burden, but a great joy!  I am excited about what God has revealed to us through His Word! It is so exciting!

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:17-19

“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:6-8

hahachristmaspostcardWhat was the first problem and reason why sin exists in the world today? How did man and woman fall?  The woman (Eve) was deceived by Satan.  The woman then deceived her own husband (Adam) who indulged into sin with her.  Thus, deception is a great problem. John 8:44 mentions that Satan is the father of lies. Shall we give into him? What is “the first lie” many parents tell their children? That Santa is real. This causes them to have different reactions: either they are in shock, they let it be easily shrugged off, or they are devastated and have a hard time trusting their parents afterwards.

Rob and I have two young sons.  If we were to do what we do in teaching them about Jesus and how real He is, and the fact that we have proof in history and documentation that He exists, but then tell them Santa Claus is a real person who doesn’t die (just as Jesus is still alive today) and go into elaboration about how real Santa is, get their hopes up each year, do whatever we can to get them know who Santa is, but then suddenly break their hearts when we tell them, “You know how we’ve been telling you for years that Santa is real? Well, he isn’t. You’re old enough to know that now.” How should we expect them to react to the story of Jesus? I actually was told by someone a few years ago that they stopped believing in Jesus the day they found out that Santa wasn’t real.  People/Parents take advantage of the great trust children have in them, and harm them in the process.

How can we teach our children that they shouldn’t lie and should be honest, especially to us, if we can’t even do the same with them? We can’t. That is completely hypocritical. This is what so many parents do though to their children around Christmas. They teach them that Santa is alive and real, and then after years of working their kids’ hopes up, they find out their parents lied to them, so why can’t they lie to their parents?  I used to lie to my parents as a young child, but they saw through it.  I got reprimanded and disciplined often for it. I lied a lot back in those days, and it was a terrible thing that made me feel awful each time I did it.  I had to repent of it and work my way into honesty.  After a while I saw that my parents were not lying to me and by their examples to me and the conviction I felt from Christ, I was transformed.

The only time I remember my mom EVER lying to me, was when she tried to get me to go to my Bridal shower. She kept changing what was going to be happening at the place where it was held because I kept saying, “I am not interested in that type of thing, so I’ll skip it.” She had to eventually get her own godly aunt to come along with us to make it seem like there was a special barbecue that Rob would meet me at later (I tend to not like doing things without him).  I was really upset that my mom lied to me then! I was 20 years old, and that is the only time she lied to me and afterwards she said, “I had to find a way to get you to your bridal shower!” I responded in shock, “You could have just said, ‘You are having a bridal shower and we need you to go,’ but you lied to me.” I know that it might sound a bit absurd that I would be upset my mom and aunt lied to me about a surprise bridal shower, but thankfully my mom learned her lesson and told me when I was having a baby shower a few years later.

I believe that we should be upset about every lie! I believe God doesn’t make exceptions for lying in His word (the only one I can see applauded for a lie was Rahab for hiding men of God so they wouldn’t be killed – which was her fear of God over those in search to destroy others). Jesus said, “I am going to return here one day again.” I doubt He said that only to say in the future to us, “Never mind, I was lying. I just wanted to build your hopes up. I’m not coming afterall!” God sets an example that we should be following with our own lives.

The Bible says the following things about lying/deceitfulness:

“Let no one deceive you in any way.” -2 Thessalonians 2:3a

“Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity. Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 9:5-6

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” – Proverbs 12:22

“Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” -1 John 3:7-8

“No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.” -Psalm 101:7

“A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.” -Proverbs 24:25

“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right.” -Psalm 52:2-3

“I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” -1 John 2:21

“You destroy those who speak lies;  the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” -Psalm 5:6

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” -Colossians 3:9

Regardless of all these passages and more, people who proclaim Christ still will say to me, “But Santa is just a nice thing! It is cute! I was raised on Santa, and I came out okay!” These people are completely missing the point of why our family believes Santa is really a dangerous thing our society teaches our children.  I even had one Christian tell me that Santa gave them comfort when they were a child because they were raised in a mixed up home by various people and had a fun thing to think about to make their holidays enjoyable.  My thoughts and words to them was, “Shouldn’t one’s comfort be in Christ?” Have people made Santa a temporary god for December?

What do you think about Santa or these verses?
Are you willing to live radically for Christ in obedience to His word?

squaredbedI had a dream last night about my husband as if my life were different; with him being in the background as just a guy who was not-so-interested in me. When I woke up, the first thing I did was touch him to see that he was there; to know he is mine.  I smiled and felt so much better. Then right afterwards I thought about the memories I have with him from when our relationship began. My mind was fast forwarding through so many things.  It led to thoughts of sex. My mind slowed down.  I tried to let him know some of the thoughts right away (he told me not to since he was getting ready for work & didn’t want distractions).  My mind is so warped that I function most of the time thinking about sex with Rob.  The feelings build up in me throughout my day away from him, that I am about to explode once I do see him again, wanting to pounce on him. Thankfully, he is my husband, so these thoughts are not bad, but my heart is not being drawn enough to Christ. Instead it is being drawn to a gift given to us by God. I yearn more for pleasures with my husband instead of pleasures involving Christ. I feel horrible for doing so and repent this to you all reading this.

Jesus actually says in Luke 17:3 to “Pay attention to yourselves!” when dealing with temptations leading into sin. What sin did I commit, you ask, since I am married? I honestly have been in dream-mode about Rob more than I have been to God’s Word and His role in my life. This is maybe not a big deal to other people, but I had Rob as an idol for a few years and pushed God aside (almost completely) when I was 18-22. I don’t want that to ever happen again, so I caught myself before going into that mindset as I once had done.

If I didn’t catch it, I would hope a brother or sister in Christ would rebuke me on it.  The rest of the verse said by Jesus was, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 
I know a lot of Christians lately who say, “God doesn’t want us to judge anyone!” Or they will say that they are doing right by not forgiving someone because they need to “think of themselves”.  Jesus just said right here to rebuke sin in others and on a regular basis even if they don’t confess it to you (maybe they don’t even recognize their own sin as I did). Forgiveness has to follow EVERY TIME. No matter how many wrongs are done to a person or in our own lives, we need to forgive and love. Jesus said so.

Nathan rebuked (in a beautifully loving way) King David for his sin of murdering Uriah & having an affair with Bathsheba.  Then I think about King Solomon (their son) who was given the most wisdom, greater than any other man ever.  What did he do even being the wisest man to ever live? He turned to his wives’ idols instead of having obedience to God, who says to have no other gods but Him. Solomon could have used a Nathan in his life, but instead God appeared to him twice in 1 Kings 11:9, showing anger towards Solomon, telling him that he was disobedient.  Because He is God, He has the ability to discipline if He so longs to, but He did show mercy on Solomon because his father David was so humble.  God does use His people to help us know when we do wrong. This is a blessing, yet today so many people want to call people “judgmental” when one is trying to help us towards righteousness!

I apologize to my husband for being so obsessed with him, that I forget to have an obsession that far exceeds that with Christ.  I apologize to people who have seen my obsession and have perhaps wanted to tell me about it (please do) so that I work towards pursuing Christ on a regular basis and filling my life with Him!!! I long and long for Christ and want to please Him!!

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