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Archive for the ‘Conversion Series’ Category

Persecution Equals Revival!

18 ‘”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.” ~ John 15:18-19 (NRSVACE) 

History is against those who persecute others, no matter the reason for the persecution, history almost always is in favor of the underdog.  Case in point the Roman Empire; here we have a powerful nation that controlled vast lands and forced other nations to pay homage to them. The people of Rome worshiped many different gods and thought in their ignorance that Rome was blessed by those fake gods and would last forever. Many religions perished and or were assimilated into an ever-growing pool of fake beliefs and government controls which ultimately led to monumental corruption. “The decline of Rome dovetailed with the spread of Christianity, and some have argued that the rise of a new faith helped contribute to the empire’s fall.” Andrews, Evan (2014) 8 Reasons Why Rome Fell. In this Christianity was the underdog much like it is in China with many new converts to the religion being persecuted for their beliefs, killed, tortured, imprisoned, and the main symbol of Christ’s Church being taken or destroyed. Nothing new, for this, has been going on for centuries. You would think people would learn from history. But, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself told us why the world hates us, “believers” so, for the world first hated Him.  See it works like this, being a Christian means you no longer belong to the world, a world filled with sin, a world filled with people trying to save themselves through their own deeds, and as hard as they try to earn their place in heaven the people of the world have fallen short of the glory of God. So like Satan, they are powerless to save themselves and despise those who believe in Christ and therefore are saved by His blood on the cross. The symbol of the cross that once was something to fear turned into a holy symbol by early Christians and therefore overcame the world yet again. Which is why the Chinese government during their raids takes this holiest and powerful of symbols from the churches they raid. Therefore, I say to you my brothers and sisters of China, stand strong and replace the many crosses stolen from your places of worship with yet another, and if that one is also taken from you, fashion another until finally, one becomes permanent in your church. Let the hatred flow off your backs and let Gods love convert millions more because you have suffered for our Lord and Savour. Like the Christians of Rome, let there be a revival that overtakes your country until the name of Jesus is said in every household of new believers and Christianity becomes the one religion the Government can’t control and must submit to. All of which is done by the power of peace and of love and by remembering those who have fallen in the name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ…. (Their Feast Day is July 9)

Cheap Grace!

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.” ~John 15:26-27 (NRSVACE)

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.” Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (1937) The Cost of Discipleship.

As implied, Bonhoeffer was one of many advocates sent by God to call out the many sins of the evil-doers. Bonhoeffer, as described by Yu Jie, who authored a post titled, “China’s Christian Future”, in a blog called First Things, wrote, “Chinese Christians also see in Bonhoeffer a man who dared wage war as an ant on an elephant. He found wisdom and courage in Jesus, knowing that Jesus exists for others, and those who follow him should do the same.”  So on this point made by Yu Jie, I want to reflect most, for it is true that Jesus gives His people strength no matter their race, color, or social standing, for if you claim Jesus as your personal savior and then are baptised you are washed clean and are no longer a part of this sinful world. This is as true as being the underdog, “waging war as an ant on an elephant” because sin is so pervasive, so under the radar that it is hard to spot but when it raises it’s ugly head we believers can spot sin a mile away.  So, in the spirit of Bonhoeffer, I tell you my brothers and sister of China believe in Jesus, belief in the salvation His blood purchased for all of mankind. For God loves everyone the same, He gave all of us the way back to Him so we all can sit together as one nation under God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our creator if you let Him will give you the strength and the fortitude to move mountains, raise up the poor and down trotted, give life to the lifeless, and the wisdom to rule with love and dignity with a just hand. Remember, my brothers and sisters of China, those who kill over religion are seen as murders, therefore let your prayers and crosses be your weapons and God’s transformational power to convert those who are ignorant and do horrible things to you. Do not fall into “cheap grace” for it is morally bankrupt and evil. Instead, stand within the thousands of years of history of masters, saints, and prophets have walked, receiving God’s grace and His love will convert millions more to aid you in your cause.

The Power of God to Convert the Nonbelievers!

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

12 “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:12-15 (NRSVACE) 

Paul of Tarsus was the chief of sinners, he persecuted many early Christians, was a blasphemer, and an insolent opponent who hated Christ! But Jesus showed him mercy, converted him and pressed him into His Holy service. Jesus appeared to Paul in a way that was meant specifically to prove His divinity and His mercy. Jesus’s words were not filled with hate but yet love for a man who hated Him. Jesus’s grace was upon Paul of Tarsus in the same way His grace is upon you, my brothers and sisters of China. Paul testifies that he after his conversion had acted ignorantly within his unbelief and it was the power of Jesus’s love which opened his eyes for the first time. Paul also declares before everyone, most particularly early Christians who deemed Paul their enemy that, “15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:15 (NRSVACE)

So the message is clear, God’s love extends to every human-beings on planet Earth and in His eyes, we are all His children. God forgives the murder, blasphemer, persecutor, and people of violence when their eyes are truly opened for the first time. Grace comes to the repentant heart, The baptized communion, the transformed sinner into a child of God. When this occurs there is a specific charge all Christians must live by;  “We are not to conceal our faith and our belonging to Christ, not to bury the Word of the Gospel but to let it circulate in our life, in our relationships, in concrete situations, as a strength that galvanizes, purifies, and renews.” ~ Pope Francis, (2017), Embracing the Way of Jesus, pg. 5. 

My brothers and sisters of China, embrace your new found beliefs and worship openly, be not afraid as through your worship you convert many, and allow God’s grace to galvanize your hearts allowing your faith in Christ circulate throughout your entire life and in every relationship and in every action you take. God walks with the faithful, he is your armor, shield, and protection. profess your beliefs and educate yourselves and others in the ways of Christ and your days shall be many. Remember the promise of God, the promise of everlasting life through His son, Jesus Christ.

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

Ways to Communicate

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13 “And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.’ 16 Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them”. ~ Mark 10:13-16 (NABRE) 

Essential Question

“Are we adults behaving like the little children Jesus blessed?”

 There are many measurements of how to live a Christian life. It seems to me that every page in the Old Testament is giving us moral laws to follow, and the New Testament is no exception. The many thousands of things written can feel at times overwhelming and confusing to most. History is littered with the many thousands of arguments that have arisen since Christ’s death and resurrection because of those words and beliefs that split the New Church into many different pieces each with their own ideas of what a Christian Life should look like to others. We have been arguing for centuries amongst ourselves and in those arguments, we find in our modern age of technology even more ways to be anti-Christian which is laced with temptations that lure us away from God. There is deception of all kinds in our churches and people who profit off those descriptions.  Our sins with each passing century grow ever higher and the smell of our human lies that are designed to allow us to live as we want, do as we will, and not as God would have us live, is simply continuing to mount against us in the halls of Heaven. Perhaps, that is what Jesus was alluding too when he saw the disciples pushing away the children?

Living in a Sinful World

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13 God will judge those outside. “Purge the evil person from your midst.” ~ 1 Corinthians 5:13 (NABRE)

In the twenty-first century of which we live, drama is the new law! Social Media is filled with people posting everything about their lives, even the most private accepts and problems they are facing. People are caught up in watching reality TV, they are exposed to sin that is changing our culture and beliefs. Examples of which I speak is “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” where everything from marital issues is perverted to modern fashion which influences and corrupts our children. Another Reality TV Series is “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”, where everything about marriage and dating is glamorized and set in a make belief settings where it’s ok to date more than one person, have sex with more than one person and hold relationships with more than one person!  Another show which perverts marriage and is setting such a bad example for our children as it relates to relationships and marriage is “Sister Wives”. It’s all in the title! One man multiple wives! This lifestyle was prohibited by God thousands of years ago!  So when I say we are corrupting our own children, that this corruption is perverting their morals and the morals of their children who are not yet born, and this corruption will pervert children for thousands of generations to come, then I think it is no wonder or mystery of why our children have no chance at seeing the gates of Heaven! Sure, there will be a handful who will repent, I say a handful because frankly when calculating the billions of people on earth today verse those who want to be real Christians and truly believe in God solely is determined by how their parents brought them up, and how closely to the Bible where those morals linked. Thus, a handful of the world’s population of true believers is a much smaller group than those who see nothing wrong with the world and call themselves Christians!

The Reality of Respect

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18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” ~ Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NABRE)

Respect thy neighbor, respect thyself, respect the world and all of nature, respect others as you would have them respect you. Yes, I took out a few words and replaced them with the word respect, but isn’t that what our world has done with the sanctity of marriage, haven’t we for our own selfish purposes took out words that would hold us responsible for our actions and replaced them with words that make us feel better about our sin? New laws which are giving even the most conservative of Governors a reason to pause, siding with the heretics of this world so they can be reelected. The controversy which I speak is to those who want such perversion and say – HE/SHE bathrooms in public spaces are ok! There is no respect in how people relate to one another because we have taken God out of the equation! No man will fear man’s laws as much as he will that of God’s laws if they are taught in the manner they were written taken nothing out, even those parts that make us cringe! As a teacher in a Catholic School, a place where you would think is steeped in discipline and a healthy fear of God, but sadly no, for all the Nunes have gone and the Priests have not a clue of how children should be raised. Yes, the Bible is unchanged, but how we teach it has changed. Because of these things in our sinful world we find ourselves mired in sin and helpless in teaching respect.  Our children see TV, play Adult rated video games, parents treat their kids more like friends than their children, and the basic teaching of how to act in public has been forever torn apart! So, the next time you look at a rude child, one who mocks you, one who talks back, one who does hateful things to others, one who thinks they are smarter than you, or one who does stupid things just to see what would happen (DUMBASS THE MOVIE), then as an adult / parent  have only yourself to blame!  Education begins at home not in the school building! Laws that suppress educators from fulfilling their job requirements as it relates to teaching discipline, morality, respect, religion, self-worth, love, and forgiveness is the major culprits to green lighting sin in our society! Perhaps, this is what Jesus saw when the disciples rebuked the children?

The Commandments that Matter

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34″I give you a new commandment: ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. 35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.'” ~ John 13:34-35

Respect and discipline are all part of living a Christian lifestyle. But Jesus commands us that everything stems from love, an innocent like love in the Lord.  From this agape love we find the path to faith and armed with faith we find the path to a disciplined, respectful, honorable, holy relationship with God the Father. From this point is it then possible to show love and respect to others, and teach these things which God has commanded parents to teach to their children. For this duty is a sacred and holy duty given to parents alone!

6 “Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not veer from it.”~ Proverbs 22:6 (NABRE)

4 “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!  Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NABRE)

7 “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” ~ Proverbs 1:7 (NABRE)

1 “Children, obey your parents [in the Lord], for this is right. 2 ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise, 3 ‘that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.’” ~ Ephesians 6:1-3 (NABRE)

23 “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, 24 knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality.” ~ Colossians 3:23-25

3 “Certainly sons are a gift from the Lordthe fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will never be shamed for he will destroy his foes at the gate.” ~ Psalm 127:3-5 (NABRE)

13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NABRE)  

Wrap Up

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What we teach our children as parents is what our children will do when they are grown. “Be a role model. This can help you teach your children to appropriate behavior, self-control, responsibility, and accountability while increasing their self-esteem.” ~ American Humane Association, (Child Discipline) 

Don’t come to their rescue so easily, don’t rave about them so easily, rather show them leadership! Help your children make calculated risks, have many discussions on making decisions, tell them stories of your childhood so they may bond with you, don’t let your guilt keep you from being a good parent and from making the hard decision. By making those hard decisions you are giving them the proper example, like Jesus, did for the world on Calgary. Teach respect, love, kindness, forgiveness, and mercy and these things will come back to you and make you proud. Finally, become partners with your children’s teachers and follow their examples upholding their expertise within the realm of education. In all these things allow Jesus to be part of your children’s lives allowing them to know God their and your creator.

Amen,

My brothers and sisters, if you enjoyed this message today then I invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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Peace Left by Jesus

27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

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Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to never be able to find peace in their lives? Have you ever wondered why they are always sower towards others, nothing is ever fair or just in their eyes, and they seem to enjoy this self-inflicted agony? I’ve known people like this. I’ve seen how they imitate happiness but it never lasts for long. Things that have happened in their lives are never their fault because it’s easier to blame others. Responsibility for their own actions is a foreign idea and never seems to apply to them. So why the misery, why the drama, why do they run so far and fast from peace?

Self-Worth vs. God’s Peace

11 “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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To understand this behavior we first must understand why the human race ignores God’s ministry of Peace. At this point, it would be all too easy to say that we are all sinners. Yes, that is part of it, but not the whole picture. Rather we must dig deeper and look for that character flaw that some people exploit more so than others called self-worth. It works like this, many people have lived hard lives, as children they are subjected to crappie things that are at the first outside of their control. The craziness of their lives become addicting, much like a drug. The older they get the more they are told how worthless they are until they begin to believe it. At some point, they begin to expect the bad in life, and they chose to ignore the good. This becomes a routine of bad choices that cascade one after another. Now logically speaking they know they should strive for peace in their life, but they are their own worst enemy as the choices they make repeals peace. These broken people believe that they do not deserve to be happy as every attempt fails. So they ignore that singular voice within their hearts and run away not feeling good enough to receive God’s peace. They run and hide because the cannot believe that God has a plan for them that includes happiness and peace here on Earth. They cannot believe that God wants to take control!  But I say to you my brothers and sisters who are broken, God wants to instill his plan into your heart and take all the bad and turn it into good which glories His love for you!

Remember that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”

Every time I read this I feel at peace. Why? Because I believe with all my heart and soul that God’s peace is everlasting. I believe blindly in the idea that Jesus really said that.  I believe that Jesus is real and loved us so much that he would die to give us a chance at receiving that everlasting peace.

So, why can people like me believe and other people just can’t quite make that leap of faith? Because they believe they do not deserve God’s love, because they expect nothing but the bad in life. The difference is I do not expect to be saved rather I hope to be saved according to God’s word. Whereas, the broken person dwells in the expectation that bad is all they can hope for, which leaves them without hope of salvation. Thus, if you give in to hopelessness then you in truth shackle your life to this world and to the expectations of a life mired in sin! You give up on the hope God has for you, the salvation he won for you, and the everlasting peace he left in your care.

Conversion

19 “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,” ~ Acts 3:19 (NABRE)

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Again, logically speaking the only way out of this hopelessness is to be converted! This means you must die to your sins and be reborn in the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ! Scary sounding… right? Well to the nonbeliever it is the scariest thing they will ever do. Ok, so how do you convert someone who is broken?  Believe me, when I say it’s easier said than done, but it begins with being the example in every aspect of your life, teaching that God’s grace can be found in everything be it in the good or bad things of this world. Yes, being the example by living your faith, practicing what you preach, do what you say, believe with all your heart, mind, and soul in the words and promises of God. To be a witness to others who need help in believing, who need you to be their a road map to faith, and a guide to those broken down and beaten by this world who expect nothing but bad and show them kindness, love, and mercy. Conversion doesn’t happen overnight, rather it takes time for people to hear, then reacts to God’s call. But know God is calling and He is using you to make that connection!

There is hope, there is love, there is mercy, and there is peace in this world. But the peace we all should strive for is the peace of salvation in the Lord, Jesus Christ!

Amen.

My brothers and sisters, if you enjoyed this message today then I invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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