Rebuking and Taking Names

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Has someone ever been so mad at what you’ve said that they have hung up on you? That used to be the way to get the last word. Just hang up. Now it’s unfriend and block. It feels good to give them the last word. It’s like the trash took itself out.

I commented with scripture on a Christian “teacher’s” Facebook page not too long ago. I highlighted the fact that what they were embracing, and teaching, was completely outside of God’s supreme word. These comments have been deleted and I am now blocked from Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook Page. I count this as one of my greatest achievements for the year. God’s word is perfect for rebuking. It’s pretty telling when bible teachers do not like to be rebuked. They are not above reproach.

Many times when you point out some false teaching, someone will lash out at you…all the while defending said teacher, proclaiming how they have helped them “grow” so close to Christ. Yet, they are amiss of any fruits of the spirit in that moment.

My former pastor’s wife call me once. ONCE. She didn’t call me to visit, share a recipe, ask about our son was feeling after being released from the hospital, or anything loving and nice at all (we attended church there for nearly 10 years!). She was upset because my husband and I wrote a letter to her husband explaining why we were leaving his “care.” We explained that we felt he had abandoned our family while we were enduring a crisis, and he would be eternally responsible for removing fellowship from us. We also reminded him of scriptures that are convicting to pastors for going after lost sheep, not abandoning their sheep, and protecting the innocent. You see, most of our letter was GOD’S WORD which had been examined by not only us, but by the Southern Baptist Convention as well. And, since he called himself a Southern Baptist preacher, then that should count for something with him (it didn’t).

We have NEVER heard from him about it. Do you want to know the “reason” she was so upset? Because how dare we write a letter to tell him we were leaving…AND DIDN’T DELIVER IT IN PERSON (we dropped it off…does that count?). “That is such an unbibical way to communicate, and you’ll have to answer to God for that.” Really. That’s it? If that’s the only thing that our family has done wrong, then I can live with myself. We can totally sleep at night. I also asked her if she’s read the New Testament, because MOST of the New Testament is given to us in the FORM OF LETTERS WRITTEN TO CHURCHES, either encouraging or rebuking them! I’m not sure she really knew what she was saying. You see, she was mad because we called her husband a sinner. And she never! She told me that she just prayed for peace for us (which is her way of saying “BLESS YOUR HEARTS!”). I told her that her prayers were already answered. When we dropped off the letter and drove away, God lifted us beyond their “care” and we felt quite peaceful.

How did this happen? How did we get here? A good bible teacher will always be on guard that they are teaching according to His will, not their own. They will always want to please HIM and not themselves. And, they will STRUCTURE their church according to the outline God has provided in scriptures.

Your church should have elders. Your pastor(s) would be elders as well. The elders shepherd the hearts of all of the body of believers (see 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Acts 14:23). Your church should have deacons and deaconesses. These folks take care of the operational sides of running the church. The nuts and bolts details of getting things done, so the elders can focus SOLELY on their role (see Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12).

But my church doesn’t have elders and deacons you might say. That’s a red flag. God doesn’t just give “suggestions” as to how it should be. HE BREATHES IT, AND SO IT IS. It doesn’t matter you think? It does matter. The checks and balances put into place with the proper structure prevents a CEO / Board of Directors from running your church. Not sure? Ask your pastor to explain to you these scriptures. If he examines the scriptures and agrees that God’s word does in fact lay it out, and he immediately remedies the problem, then you have a wise teacher which seeks God’s own heart. However, if he responds with anything BUT love and repentance, run. Run away as fast as you can.

Related note – God led us to an elder led church, which has a wonderfully sound pastor, and his wife is not only friendly, she is LOVING. And, she cries with me, laughs with me, calls me on the phone(!) and best of all, she serves with me in Jesus’ name.

 

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Are you praying for your pastor and elders?

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Praying for your pastor and elders is based upon Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica. These scriptures are:

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 ~ But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:25 ~ Brethren, pray for us.

Trials and Tribulations

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One of the biggest tests as a Christian is to stand up for the truth no matter the consequences or outcome. What if you knew that telling the truth would lead to rejection? What if it lead to unemployment? What if it lead to people mocking you, and your own people group shunning you? Or your own children being wounded? What if you knew it would lead to your own death?

God does not promise us that things will be easy or turn out the way we want if we tell the truth or stand up for it. In fact, the scriptures give us example after example of the opposite. Jesus came to testify to the Truth, and He was rejected and killed by His own people group. I also know Jesus asked God to not hold these sins against them, because they didn’t know what they were doing.

Have you ever disagreed with someone? Have you ever been angry with them over it? What if they have wounded you? I would say if you are letting this anger get in the way of love, then you need to start having a relationship with the one true God. If His spirit lives inside of you, truly you will not be able to hate another person, if you are walking in the Spirit. We are supposed to be examples, and point the way IN LOVE, not in pride, or hatred.

My family has traveled this road. Our character has been refined, and each of us is more like Christ as a result. I am thankful that God has done these great works through the trials we have experienced.

Love One Another

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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. ~ John 13:34-35

*Update* to A Jagged Rock…

A jagged rock started rolling. One of which I was unaware and could not stop. It was rolling over my kids so I cried out to the LORD. He comforted me and reminded me that my children are His… Since before creation He knew this day would come. The rock hurt and felt crushing, going down a path… Taking bits of me with it. Once I knew my kids were clear from the devastation, I let go of the rock, and sought refuge. Crash landed, exhausted at the feet of Jesus. The rock traveled, gaining momentum as it destroyed trust, relationships, and hope for some along its destructive path. I watched from the safety of my Father’s protection, and no longer feared the future of this out of control rock. Knowing He is in control, He can and will restore, and holding on to the promises He gives.

My cage had been rattled. I could hear the roar and feel the tremble of this rock heading our way for quite some time. The anticipation of its arrival was almost more than I could bear. Once I had relented, and let it out of my hands, I felt a tremendous burden had been lifted… Only I know it in reality it had been transferred to another, instead. I realize none of this is our story, but rather it all points to Christ. I prayed the devastation was kept to a minimum, that God used this rock to heal all wounds, and it wasn’t picked up and thrown in hatred.

I now know it WAS picked up and thrown in hatred. And, by the grace of God, it was not only caught with a mitt full of grace and compassion, but IN LOVE and not returned.

The following are not my own words, but those from a dear Sister in Christ: “And though our circumstances are difficult and rocky, we know that ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him. To find His purpose in suffering and to glorify Him in all things is most trying but for our sanctification and blessing!”

Are you up for counseling?

 

Counseling

If more people were comfortable with counseling , Satan would not have the hold that he has over so many people. It is one of Satan’s biggest lies, that you do not need counseling. Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). So, if you remove the need for counseling, then you remove the need for comfort from Him. And that is Satan’s lie.

Psalm 16:7
I will praise the Lord who counsels me.