What I believe …

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I was spending a day with a precious friend recently. She had many questions ranging from, which bible translation is best, to questions relating to “end times” eschatology. She had been given advice from many different people and, as can easily happen, had gotten confused. There were a myriad of topics and questions that needed some good answers, and on top of all this, our children were needing our attention too: there just wasn’t enough time left in this one day. Furthermore, we hadn’t seen each other for such a long time we live along way from each other so we were excited to be able to spend time together. So we talked about so many things, with everything jumbled up together. I wish I could have stayed for a weak learning and studying the Bible together. But we only had a day.

So I thought I would start a series on my blog about un-jumbling or unknotting some of the messy bits of Christian life that we can easily find ourselves involved in from day to day. I thought to myself, “why not start at the beginning with the basic’s of what I personally believe!” With that in hand, I could then move onto different topics such as, “which Bible translations are good, better, best and why?” All translations have their strengths and weaknesses, but what could they be? The King James Version was a good English translation in 1611, but now we have many more manuscripts and a far better knowledge of translating Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (the original languages the Bible were written in). Is it better to have modern English translation which we can understand easily, or stick with the good old KJV? Another topic we might address is: “How do we grow in faith in this fallen world?” As you can see there is quite a bit to ponder and think about. There is plenty to cover, and of course I am still learning too.

For today I’m going to focus on the basics, or I might find myself knotted up in a ball even before I get to the point of this post.

Okay, so today’s post is about what I believe and where did those beliefs came from in the Bible. It isn’t everything I believe and it certainly isn’t all inclusive but it is a start. AN ONLINE BIBLE CAN BE FOUND HERE

I believe as Christians we all may vary in opinions and views about smaller issues regarding Christian faith. We are all on a journey learning and growing in our own personal faith. And I strongly believe it is okay to disagree, but we should not be disagreeable. As Philip Schaff once wrote,

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

Here are the essentials I believe in:

I believe that there is one true God who exists in a perfect relationship of three persons in a Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Furthermore, I believe that each Person of this Trinity is God, (1 Corinthians 8:6 6:44; Romans 1:7; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1 Acts 5:3; Hebrews 9:14; John 4:24; Matthew 28:19).

I believe that Satan was a powerful angel who rebelled against God and was kicked out of heaven. He now operates in this world as God’s enemy along with numerous fallen angels called demons. Though he is capable of much evil, he can only go as far as God allows. His final judgment is certain, (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:10-12; Revelation 20:10).

I believe that Jesus was literally conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin named Mary, (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-33).

I believe that Jesus lived a sinless life, (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

I believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son. He willingly came to our world as a human to live among us in order to show us what God is like, reveal God’s love, truth, and provide us with God’s salvation. He is the way to have a relationship with God. Though Jesus lived a perfect life, He was crucified, taking the death penalty that we deserved for the wrong things we do called sin. After three days Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over sin and death, (Matthew 1:23; Hebrews 9:14;12:2; I Peter 3:22).

I believe that salvation is available to everyone through Jesus. This salvation can only be received by faith—it cannot be earned by religious works. I believe that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ: through His name, person, work, and grace. Our sins can be forgiven and we can begin a relationship with God, (John 14:6; John 3:16; Romans 4:4-5, 5:1, 5:8).

I believe that all of humanity has fallen short of God’s glory and have sinned and are in need of salvation; and that is the reason Jesus came to the earth, (Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23; John 14:6).

I believe that all those who are saved through faith in Christ make up the church, (the body of Christ). I value the body of Christ regardless of what denomination they may belong to, (1 Corinthians 12:13).

I believe that all believers have been given the task of sharing the Good News of Salvation. I believe in repentance of sin and baptism. I believe in full immersion water baptism of believers in Christ. I believe that those who trust Christ should be baptised as a public testimony of their faith and new life in Christ, (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38-41; Acts 22:16).

I believe that Jesus is coming back again to this world; no one knows the exact day or time. When He returns, those who have trusted Christ throughout their life will be raised up to spend eternity with Him. Those who have refused to trust Christ will be judged and will face eternal punishment, (1 Corinthians 15:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

I believe that those who die without salvation will be eternally separated from God and His people, (Psalms 9:17; Psalms 73:12-19; Luke 16:23.26; John 12:48).

I believe that those who belong to Christ will inherit eternal life in a literal Kingdom born of Heaven, (Isaiah 65; Zechariah 14).

I believe that it is important to remember Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross, (along with His life, and resurrection), by sharing Communion with other Christians. Partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine are symbols we use in remembering Christ’s sacrifice. It spurs us on to living our lives for Him as we remember that He gave His life for us, (1 Corinthians 11:24).

I believe that all 66 books of the Bible are the “only” inspired written word of God to the world. I believe that the Holy Bible is the word of the living God. I believe the Bible was God breathed and that the writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible is the complete gospel message, from Genesis to Revelation, (2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12).

I believe that God is the creator of all things, that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and in control; with all power to do as He wills, (Jeremiah 32:17; Ephesians 3:20; Psalms 139:1-4; 1 Samuel 2:6-9; Psalms 24:1).

This is some of what I believe; by no means all, but a good start. But perhaps I can finish today with a quote from Ernest Boyer Jr. who said,

“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, ‘Do you believe there is a God?’ you may find yourself answering, ‘No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.’”

1 Corinthians 3:7

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I can’t believe how fast the time has gone and a whole month has past without a post. Oh well… I guess that is what happens when life gets in the way of blogging. I have been super busy working on my book that seems to take forever and we still have mountains of editing to do. I have been thinking about the blessings of ministry lately and wanted to share this scripture with you.

“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7 (HCSB)

Love it! To God be the glory in all things, even if a particular ministry doesn’t appear to be growing or going well. OR if a particular ministry IS doing well and growing fast. It is God who gives the growth. The burden or glory is not ours. We do not need to worry OR be overly pleased with ourselves. Of course we need to be diligent and do what God has called us to do. We don’t get to throw our hands in the air and do nothing. We do need to know that growth is all up to God. It really is up to Him if He chooses to grow something or not. I can almost hear an Amen from those who are in ministry reading this.

Genuine Concern Or Just Plain Nosy that is the question.

Are you genuinely interested, concerned or just plain nosy about other people?

I enjoy reading my friends and also other people’s blogs. Love blogs about homesteading, family life, christian living, hobbies, farming, and house renovation stories. So is this out of interest or is it plain nosy? Well… I think anyone who blogs publicly is more than happy to share their stuff even if you don’t know them. They want people to be interested in them. So nope I don’t think that is nosy at all, it comes down to motive.

When we went into Ministry I learn’t the hard way that some folk are just plain nosy. Some folk would question my children to find out information about our family, ministry or other people in the church. Of course some folk were genuinely and sincerely concerned. And then there were the others that just wanted to be nosy and have the latest gossip.

There were many times I had to stop speaking in mid sentence because I couldn’t share information. Even simple questions like; have you seen such and such, how is such and such? Often they were loaded questions. For example if I had seen… say, a recently young married couple then people would leap to thinking their marriage was in trouble. Or if I had confirmed that I had visited someone in hospital, then they would know such and such was sick. Many times I would stop mid sentence and say something like “ask such and such next time or aren’t they lovely or such and such makes a fantastic curry.” I had to refine the art of changing the subject and quickly exit without answering their questions. It is difficult not to offend someone when they ask you a direct question. Even if they shouldn’t be asking that question in the first place. Nothing can be more horrid than unwanted nosiness.

Magazines and Television are full of stories about the rich and famous. We don’t know them so in those cases we are being nosy. It is part and parcel of being a Celebrity. They need the media to further their careers and they want people to be interested in them but there is a fine line for them and for us too. Nine times out of ten it is nosiness that is motivating us to want to know what is going on in their lives.

And then there is Facebook. It is a great way to keep in touch with friends in one single profile update rather than phoning or emailing each individual friend. However it can also be a trap or source of information for those nosy friends of friends.

I think a good way to work out the difference between being genuinely interested in someone else and their life is to check your own motives. Do we think, pray, have concern or feelings for the person we are interested in? Do we see that person or have a friendship with them? Do we have contact with that person on a regular basis? Are we wanting the best for that person and their family? If we know they are going well in life are we genuinely happy for them? Or if we know they are struggling are we genuinely concerned? Or are we wanting to compare and contrast their lives, homes, clothes, job or family to our own? Are we wanting to feel superior to them? Or do we have no real feelings for them at all and simply want information about them out of nosiness?

My life is pretty much an open book. In saying that, I do value my privacy just as the next person or blogger. There are things that are only known between Jesus and I. There are things that only my husband will ever know. I have friendships that I value that are over 35 years old and some are as new as a few months old. When we live in community it is normal to develop friendships. There is information shared which is part of getting know someone. There is give and take in sharing our lives with each other. That is not being nosy that is friendship. Having friendships and being a friend can be scary for some people because they can’t hide when they let someone get to know them “warts and all.” When we choose to trust a friend that is a precious gift. Trust can be easily broken but not so easily repaired. So I reckon it is a good idea to look at our motives from time to time and check as to whether we are genuinely concerned for someone or if we are being just plain nosy.

Anyhoo… that’s MTCW (My Two Cents Worth) for today :o) I hope you have a un-nosy and super blessed rest of your day ! ! !

Ministry can be awesome sometimes…

Today I had a couple of meetings, it was a fairly intense. Seems there is a lot of heart ache for a number of women going through some tough times ATM.

My third visit was late in the day. I was dropping off a lasagna for a young single mum of four kids including a new-born baby. Don’t get too excited I bought the lasagna as there was no way I was going to have time to cook. She and her kids surprised me with a beautiful bouquet and the most gorgeous heartfelt card. I could not be more thrilled. It is so nice to be appreciated instead of criticized. Sometimes being a Pastor’s wife is a thankless job BUT not today 🙂 Today was awesome!