But Lord, I don’t want to quit church!

Have you ever been fully devoted to your religion?  Did you love going to church, mass, mosque or to temple?  Were you in love with the personal elevation that your commitment provided?

Did God begin to tug at your heart and say, “Let it go”?

And then did you reply as did Peter, “Not so, Lord!”?  . . . But eventually you surrendered to Him?

If you once depended on the acceptance that you received from others at church, and the purpose that your obedience to your religion gave you, and if you have walked away . . .  then you are a rare specimen whom I’d like to meet (leave a comment below!), just like Suzette once did.

Suzette left a comment on one of my blog posts this summer, and from there an email correspondence began.  Two weeks later, in August 2017, despite the fact that our homes are 1,200 miles apart, we were able to meet in person!  While traveling to a family wedding, my three teenagers and I needed to wait around the Sacramento airport for a few hours before my husband’s arrival.  Turns out it was Suzette’s day off of work.  As my kids sat and stared at their phones, I got to meet my new sister in Christ and fellowship with her amidst all the Baggage Claim carousels.  🙂

Despite the groovy God-oincidence that allowed us to meet face-to-face, what has actually bonded our friendship is our shared experience with being die-hard legalists.

We didn’t burn out, we were pulled out of Church by God’s direction.

Having been set free for ten years now, I have come to realize that people like Suzette and I are unique.  It seems that most people tire of their Churchianity slowly, like the fire from a candle that has been burning for hours and slowly extinguishes itself.

Suzette and I, on the other hand, were more like a firework that was sparkling and alive one minute, and then completely gone the next.  As a Bible Study leader once told me, “Oh!  You were a modern-day-Pharisee.  That’s pretty rare!”

Of course, that wasn’t true.  Nobody has ever come close to the ambitious zeal of the Pharisees.

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 5:20)

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that Suzette and I loved church.  Why?  It gave us an outlet for our religious pride!

We loved how much “better” we were compared to those lesser folks who didn’t work as hard.  We loved how good we were at obeying all of the rules.  We loved how important we were in the eyes of others.  We were convinced that we were “serving God,” and we loved that!  It’s gross, isn’t it!?  That is what the sin of religious pride feels like, and it sickens me to remember those times.  Obvioulsy we were totally deceived and in error, but nonetheless, the fact remains:  church energized us.

If you are in the same boat, and if God is tugging at your heart to quit church . . . please follow His leading.  Don’t be afraid.  If the Lord is leading you that way, say, Yes, Lord!

Jesus wants to set you free from the bondage of religion.  He wants to be your God, instead of church being your god.  Trust Him!  You won’t be disappointed.

You will no longer be wandering in the wilderness of Sinai; He will bring you into the New Covenant.  He will lead you right through the door which is Jesus Christ Himself, and He will plant you by the green pastures and still waters of the Promised Land of Rest.

Allow your legalism to kill you.  Whether it’s the rules of your denomination or the 613 Mosaic Laws themselves, allow the Law to kill you.

Paul said, “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.” Galatians 2:19

Believe the truth that you are completely forgiven, and that He now loves and accepts you on the basis of you being a new creation in Christ.

Allow the Law to kill you so that you might die to the Law and begin living in a close relationship with your God, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And if you’d like to hear more on this topic, please check out my blog:  Outside of Churchianity.

 

October 13, 2017

Jesus gives life

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,

even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.” (John 5:21.)

Jesus Christ spoke these words to the religious leaders in Jerusalem after He healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda. The story is told in John chapter 5.  I am currently listening to (obsessively, over and over again) a Bible Study on this story.

The Bible Study is titled “The Healing at Bethesda” and is found at the Living God Ministries website; it is available for free in the Radio Archive section.

It is mind blowing to learn all of the subtle details involved in this important healing described in John chapter 5.  So, I am writing today to highly recommend that you listen to this 4-part Bible Study; it will only take you a few hours — each message is 25 minutes long.

But, that verse! “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.”

And what about this one, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

It is clear.  Jesus came to give us life.

His mission on earth was not to show us how to live a perfect life — none of us can ever live up to His standard — but to die for the forgiveness of sins, and then to rise from the dead so that He could make His LIFE available.  You receive His life when you believe in the gospel, by responding to Him with faith and trusting completely in His mercy and grace.

The gospel is such good news!  We were born spiritually dead, because we are all born in Adam.  But we can be made alive by receiving His life — His Holy Spirit — to dwell within us!  And that life is eternal.

When you listen to the programs on The Healing at Bethesda you will learn that the man who was healed did not want what Jesus came to offer!  The religious leaders, the Scribes and the Pharisees (for the most part) did not want what Jesus came to offer.  Most people will reject Him, and will say that the gospel is foolishness.  They do not want what Jesus came to offer.

What about you?  Have you received His life?

November 30, 2016

Hearing the gospel message with faith

sunset sunshine travel wings

I want to share the wealth that has been given to me.

After I believed in the gospel by the hearing of faith, I was made a child of God.

Over the years of my salvation, God has made Himself known to me.  This is to be expected, because He wants us to know Him.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

Do you know Him?

You begin by believing in the gospel.

Do you know the gospel?

The gospel is the good news, or the glad tidings, of Jesus Christ. It’s good news because He came to solve a really bad problem.

God came to earth as the Messiah to the Israelites; he was called Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He died, was buried and He rose again.

He rose again so that He could then offer us His life.  And we need that.

We need His life because we are all born into this world with a serious problem staring us in the face. We are empty. We are blind. We are lost. . . We are dead.

We are born into this world “spiritually dead.” You can read about this in Genesis 3, Genesis 5, John 3, John 14, Romans 5, 1 Cor. 15, Colossians, etc. etc.. The Bible is clear: humans are born in the image of Adam, not in the image of God.

But that’s not the way we were originally created. We were created to have His Spirit dwelling within us. The “breath of life,” the nishmat chaim, from Genesis 3, was the actual, living, Spirit of God.  (Check out the message “What is the Gospel?” in the Radio Archive section of the Living God Ministries website to hear an ex-rabbi explain this in detail.)

So, Adam and Eve lost His Spirit when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. On that day, they died.

Jesus came to solve the problem of spiritual death. He preached and proclaimed that He would bring LIFE (John 5:40, John 6:40, etc.).

He said that it was better for Him to go away, to ascend into Heaven, because then the Helper would come:  His Spirit.

We make a big deal about Christmas, and that’s cool, but we should make a bigger deal about Easter.

It was His death, His burial, and most importantly, His resurrection that made it possible for humanity to be saved; to be made alive; to receive His resurrected life, His Spirit, that would resurrect US from the dead.

Hearing this message with faith, is what allows a person to be saved.

December 19, 2015