I love preventing unnecessary household costs and I love a bargain. If I can find my favorite product on sale AND have a coupon on it, I am absolutely thrilled. The same is true for clothes. Having four sons have been a blessing, especially when my firstborn son's too-small clothing can be saved and passed on to the next son. I do my very best to obliterate all of the grass, mud, chocolate and the very dreaded blueberry stains. But, for all my efforts, I just cannot prevent the split-at-the-knee holes that seem inevitable with a nice pair of jeans. So I usually end up cutting them up at the hole, for a nice pair of jean shorts for summer. My boys, I must say, have a lot of nice jean summer shorts :). No matter how many knee patches I buy, one thing is clear to me, hand-me-downs can only last for so long, until it's no longer at it's wholesome value.
For me, there is one thing that must be absolutely brand-new. It absolutely must be of the utmost quality. Free from stains, holes, patched-holes, and cut-off-at-the-knees quality that money cannot buy and coupons cannot redeem.
I abhor second-hand information, it translates into a hand-me-down no one should attempt to wear. Second-hand information translates into gossip, confusion, conflict and the destruction of order.
Yet this is exactly how church systems across the world are set up. Parishioners and congregants are require and even told that it is mandatory to their salvation to learn about their Savior (whom they are to have a personal relationship with) by the sermons and lessons of their pastors.
(Sigh) It may seem as if I am bitter, hateful and repetitive about church systems today. I have a passion to declare and expose truth being held in unrighteousness. Christ has declared that the truth shall set you free, yet so many are enslaved to manmade "works" and "laws" imposed in this church-laden society, believing in error that these behaviors bring redemption and righteousness in His sight. I speak out heavily against church systems today because as a child of the living and righteous God. It is my duty, joy and pleasure to carry out His truth, with love, in the hopes that the truth MAY indeed set free the weary parishioner who cannot seem to arrive that the "peace as Christ gives, not as the world gives". Please do not mistake my passion and motivation for truth as bitterness and hate. Just because the TRUTH as God has ordained it is hard to hear and know, does not make it wrong.
I have been blessed with a natural tendency to be distrustful. Undoubtedly, I am a woman who likes her information straight from the horse's mouth. I am inquisitive about the information others attempt to bestow upon me, and thank the good LORD that is my nature. For if I have taken every single thing everyone has ever told me as gold and silver, my life would be tragically and utterly destroyed and ruined!
This is my point...if we as people, can appreciate, value and pride ourselves with material things of quality; our homes, cars, clothes and phones, we can certainly examine all information given to us by others (pastors etc.) with the same diligence and frame of mind. Is not the information we take in and digest into our mind, thoughts and ultimately our hearts much more valuable than those things we wear and use? Is not the Word of God which promises eternal life with Him more than this temporal life where our "quality" material possessions, are rubble in comparison to His spiritual possessions? How much more, with extreme diligence and careful consideration, should one be to examine gospels given to us by those who claim to hear Him?
There are two issues that should raise a red flag for the truth-loving, truth-seeking, God-fearing Believer when it comes to church as it is perpetrated today.
- We live undoubtedly in apostate times. I could show you LOTS of scripture to support this, because of the times we live in, many have become desensitized to scripture. The holy Word has been abused, and taken out of context so much that I'm seeing and sensing a shift in this apostate climate for the worse. I can see that a lot of Christians have become immune to the truth. So, I'm going to instead apply some common knowledge. It is common knowledge that there are many and varied divisions of Christianity claiming truth. All cannot be true, because all are proclaiming different "truths". Since we believe in ONE God, there must be ONE truth. (Eph. 4) Therefore, because of the evidence of differing doctrines, we DO live in the apostate generation.
- Mainstream pastors/leaders hardly or do not recognize THIS apostate generation. Because so many stress the need to be led or taught by an "ordained" (by the standards of this apostate society I MUST mention) minister, it is SO important to note that mainstream pastors hardly warn their flock of "false prophets", as a matter of fact. Some half-way decent televangelists like Dr. Charles Stanley, as an example, encourages those seeking, to find a "good bible-based church", immediately after leading them in a prayer of acceptance of Christ, the Savior. There is no acknowledgement or warnings, in such statements that your "local, bible-based church" may be a gross deviation from the truth Christ sacrificed for. These statements come across like the legal disclaimers you find in small print on products not approved by the FDA. If your pastors and ministers do not acknowledge this very common knowledge in this church society, what else are they not mentioning?
You may never allow your children to wear anything short of designer clothing. I will, however, accept the hand-me-down, split-at-the-knee jeans and reject the mud-stained, full of holes, second-hand knowledge for the pure quality of first hand knowledge, His indwelling spirit in my soul and the souls of my children! How precious His direct instruction is to my soul, indeed it is life from the dead! It is the preservation of peace and safety from the pitfalls of second-hand knowledge! It is quality of the utmost, free to all who believe it so and a warranty of eternal life!
So what I say to you...you who are weary and seek an everlasting peace. Go to the Father, by pass the pastor, by pass the books, the advice, opinions and gossip. Reestablish the order that second-hand knowledge destroys. The order established by His sacrifice, we should have that comfort of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge it gives us. John 16:8
I have no earthly motivation to exhort the seeking Believer. I do not belong to any type of church group, religion or denomination. You can rest assured that I'm not trying to meet a "quota"! As a matter of fact, don't believe me! Have FAITH! Believe the Word. Read it for yourself. I do have a warning. Read the Word out of the King James Version. Other translations have not held up to the consistency in this translation. Also note, that people sacrificed their lives to see the translation of scripture in the King James Version come to fruition. Compare this understanding that to the fact of modern translations being sold and created for profit. Some translations may be passed off as a translated Bible (from Hebrew and Greek) but are really paraphrased Bibles. In other words, Bibles that are rephrased in accordance to the author's explanation of scripture. In short, it's hand-me-down knowledge! The NLT (New Living Translation) is one. Read my testimony of how I discovered I was studying digested information, Translation vs. Paraphrase.
Maybe you think the King James Version is "out of touch" and "hard to understand". Well, honey, it's time for a renewing of your mind! Is anything too hard for the Lord? It amazes me when Christians can proclaim the glories of the Lord, yet are extremely insecure in His ability to enable them to understand spiritual principles. My mother had very little education, was deaf, yet profoundly spiritual. She understood the Lord, and knew Him well. My mother, God rest her blessed soul, was the very manifestation of FAITH.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways
My challenge to you is this: step out on FAITH, skip church one Sunday, stay home instead, read one whole, yes, an entire book from the New Testament. It could be James, Hebrews, Galatians, Ephesians, what ever you are led to ingest. Read it without a commentary (it can be misleading, and no, I don't care if it was authored by a Bible scholar), but do read it with a Hebrew/Greek lexicon concordance and absolutely read it in FAITH!