On the Slow Cooker ~ part 1

I’ve had something ‘brewing’ in my thoughts over the past several weeks. It’s complex and some of you might find the things that I’m going to talk about, uncomfortable & controversial, while others might get angry or upset. It’s not my intent to offend, however I do know that I’ve come to believe that God has been pressing this onto my heart to share and because of the depth and magnitude of it, I will spread this out over several posts as they will build on each other or provide background information aimed to support the subject.

Before we go any further, I need to make a few statements:

1) This series is specifically intended and directed towards those of us who are Christians, that doesn’t mean that if you’re not a Christian, you can’t read or comment, but I will talking from the perspective of a Christian to a fellow Christian.

2) It’s important to note that I am an imperfect person. I frequently make mistakes, stumble in my walk and absolutely make NO claims that my life, my walk or my relationship with Christ is greater or better than anyone else’s. Isaiah 64:6 couldn’t put it anymore plainly as I apply it personally, ‘I have become like one who is unclean, and all my righteous acts are like filthy rags; I shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind my sins sweep me away.’ I fully recognize that on my own, there is nothing good within me; Romans 7:18 - I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.’ So, it is with that in mind and a great deal of humbleness in my heart that I approach this.

3) As a Christian, I must assume that you believe the Bible is the true, relevant, immutable and inerrant Word of God. Consider the following syllogism: If truth is an attribute of God (Jeremiah 10:10; John 1:14; 14:6; 17:3). And by that attribute, we can be assured that God speaks truthfully - that is, He does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2 & Romans 3:3-4). And if we believe that all Scripture is "breathed out" by God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20 & Psalm 12:6). We can conclude that God’s Word is therefore true, complete and without error (John 17:14,17; Psalm 119:142; 151; 160; & Revelation 21:5; 22:6).

That brings us to the first part; what DOES being a Christian really mean?
Theologically speaking, a Christian is someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (John 1:12 - Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God), believes He is the one, only and true Son of God (1 John 4:15 - If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God), trusts Him alone for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 4:12 - Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved), has put no trust in his own efforts to please God (Isaiah 64:6 - All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away), and repented from his/her sins (Mark 1:15 - "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!").
But, being a Christian consists of more than theological knowledge. In being a Christian, we strive to live a life that is pleasing to God in mind, body and action (Micah 6:8 - He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.). Notice that I say ‘strive’…Philipians 2:12 says - 'Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.' God warns us against the following: 2 Timothy 3:2-7‘…lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.’ But rather, He calls us to love each other: John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." He also goes so far as to tell us how that love should appear; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us this, ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’ And the Christian life will be evidenced by the fruit that it bears. In Galatians 5:22-23, it tells us, ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’ As members of the body of Christ, we are called to: Colossians 3:12-16 ‘Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.’ And last, but certainly not least, as Christians, we are called to: Mathew 28:18-20 ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

If you do not believe this to be true, then you need to be honest with yourself…search your heart and thoughts…1 John 2:3-6 says, ‘We know that we have come to know Him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know Him," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.’ And in Matthew 7:15-18, 20-21 - "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.’

If you, as a Christian, disagree with anything that I've related here, I'd really like to hear from you. Tell me what you disagree with and why...and if you could use the Bible to show where I am wrong, that would be very much appreciated!

...What kind of fruit have you been producing lately?

~ V

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