Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Name:
Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Bear Facts

There are many misconceptions about Chrisitianity. Folks on both sides of each and every argument disparage the other side with accusations about being close-minded, being too open minded, being ultra conservative, being ultra liberal, being a heretic, being a legalist. Most of the arguments stem from opinions and interpretations of what another said. Few are based on facts. There are some opinions rooted deeply in our upbringing and some hold to them like they are truth. There are other opinions born out of a desperate desire to "grow" the church and some hold to them like they are truth. I believe both sides are trying to wrap their minds around what pleases God and how to bring others into a saving relationship with Him. However, opinions are not facts. Opinions can change and that said, they make it difficult to know the truth, which Bible tells us does not change. Facts, on the other hand are . . . simply facts--knowable, believable facts. Christians should be easily identifiable---here are some of the bear facts.

A true Christian bears with their brother and sister. Colossians 3:13 says "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. We used to sing a song at youth camp that said "And they'll know we are Christians by our love". John 13:34-35 says love is the mark of a disciple of Christ. Ephesians 4:2 says we are to be completely humble and gentle. We are to be patient, bearing with one another in love. We are to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. The true Christian (could there be any other kind?) cares about those who are weaker in the faith. Romans 15 reminds us to bear with the weaker brother. The entire 14th and part of the 15th chapters tell us to stop thinking about ourselves, to stop striving to please us, to not force our opinions on others, to look out for their spiritual salvation, to accept one another. Beating each other up with our opinions, and even with the truth is inappropriate. We are brothers and sisters--- not opponents. Fights, struggles and heated disagreements are a part of the world, not a part of the Church. The ugly comments, character aspersions, angry, condemning rhetoric, they are mostly opinions. The bear fact is we are Christians and the world will recognize us by our LOVE.
A true Christian relies on the strength of God to bear temptations and to successfully thwart Satan. I Corinthians 10:13 says God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear. He provides a way of escape and when we take it, we are victorious. A true Christian is identifiable because they don't succumb to temptation after temptation after temptation. They are people driven by the Spirit rather than by their own desires. Ephesians tells us we were once children of darkness but now we are to live as children of light. That means we strive to be perfect, and when temptation comes, we look for an out--the one provided by God. That means when we stumble and sin, we rely on the heavenly mediator to wash those sins from us--to take them on Himself, to become sin for us so that we might become righteous. The bear fact is we are Christians and the world will recognize us by our response to sin.
A true Christian bears fruit. John 15:1-17 tells us that He chose us and appointed us to bear lasting fruit. I am sure you get weary hearing me say this but we are to be about the Lord's business--that is a soul-saving business. This requires us to be conscientious about our planting. We have to see lost souls, we have to share with lost souls, we have to help lost souls come to salvation and we have to help these newly saved souls grow and mature so that they can bear fruit. Stagnant pew warming is simply a polite way to say dead Christian. In the passage in John 15, Jesus says "If" ---if we are in Him, if we are His, if we abide in His teaching, if we live like we are His, we will bear fruit. The bear fact is we are Christians and the world recognize us by our productivity--by our fruit.
A true Christian is able to bear temptation, strives to bear with one another in love, works to bear fruit because we are aware of One who out of love for us was willing to bear our iniquities, our sins. Isaiah 53 talks about the One who was able to bear the stripes and wounds on His body so that He could be our sin offering. The bear fact is "the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed." We are Christians, not because of what we have done, but because of what was done on our behalf. We are Christians because as the recipients of love, we ----love. We are Christians and because Satan tempted our Lord, he also tempts us but we have a loving, protecting God who provides for us an escape. We are Christians and because we are not perfect, we are able to forgive those who are also less than perfect. We are Christians and because we love our brothers and sisters, we look out for them, we strive to get along with them and we make every effort to show our God through peace. We are Christians and because we are, we work all day every day to be productive in His kingdom. We are Christians simply and only because He was willing to bear it all for us.

Peace
Neva

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love it, really, I am almost speechless.
Thank you friend,
Pat

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh-huh--cute play on words, by the way, makes you read just to see if you are going to talk about being nekkid. :)
I enjoy your thoughts--you are spot on with your assessments.
Good post.
Eileen

10:20 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

Neva,

In the most loving voice I know, I need to tell you, YOU WERE WRONG yesterday. You told Trey you could only come up with catchy titles. This was far more. Yes we should amen these "bear facts"

Maybe I will hyjack your points and talk to some kids on the 'Bear Necessities'.

It is a challenging post; bear up under sin & bear fruit. I never feel I do enough of either.

James

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your comments, as always--you are very insightful and encouraging.

Blessings
Dan

12:46 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

Amen, that about says it all. Nothing but the bear truth.
Kathy

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am with James--can I use these points?

Dean

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is different than your other posts but just as good.
Thanks for your thought

Rachel

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would make a great sermon.
I am so glad I stopped by again. You are gifted--I can see this is your ministry.

Yvonne

3:18 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

Thanks for the comments on my blog. I look forward to reading yours also.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Wow!

This is so good and convicting, I can hardly bear it!
[I just couldn't help myself, imp that I am! :) ]

Terrible play on words, especially in light of the depth of thought behind your words.

Also, dear Neva - what a blessing to read your visit to Jim's blog. But then, what else? You are always a blessing, where ever you land or visit.

In His love, grace and mercy
K

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I just tell you what an encouragement you are? You probably have no idea how many people read this everyday and then share it with othere in the form of sermons, devotionals, other blogs, etc. You are ministering and teaching worldwide. You are a very special woman and your heart for God is visible in all you do.
God bless you

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Neva
I think you are getting better and better at this all the time.
You are a real encourager and minister.
God's richest blessings on you
Carol

9:25 PM  

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