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 taught the Old Covenant

Jesus Christ taught the Old Covenant when He was here on earth.

When He was here on earth as the “Son of God” — which just means that God, who dwells in unapproachable light, reduced Himself and put on human flesh . . .

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14

. . . Okay, sorry, for the digression . . .

All right, when He was here on earth, Jesus the Son of God, taught the Old Covenant.  The Old Covenant is the ‘contract’ He entered into with the nation of Israel consisting of 613 commandments which they were to obey perfectly.  Jesus Christ taught and explained this covenant to its fullest degree. Why?

Because the New Covenant did not go into effect until after He died.

“In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.”  Hebrews 9:16-18

So, we can see from Hebrews 9:16-18 that the New Covenant did not go into effect until after His death and resurrection.

Therefore, while He was living His 33 years as a human on this earth,  the Old Covenant was still in effect, and THAT is the covenant that He taught.  His ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (recorded in Matthew 5, 6, 7) is the epitome of His teaching; kind of like His Mission Statement.  Check it out if you haven’t read it recently.

In His Sermon on the Mount He told the crowd gathered around Him that if they wanted to be judged according to their works, their deeds, according to a system of good and evil, a system of right and wrong, then they would have to be PERFECT.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48

Jesus taught this way in order to finally — once and for all — end the argument that began in the Garden of Eden.  God said that He created mankind to live according to the Law of Life; Satan countered that mankind would be better off living according to the Law of Good versus Evil. (Genesis 2 and 3)

2,500 years later, roughly, God gave the Law to Moses, and the nation of Israel willingly and whole-heartedly entered into this covenant with God.

And then, 1,500 years after the ratification of the Old Covenant, Jesus Christ came to earth to fulfill the Law — to meet the demands of the Law.  He did this as an act of mercy since there was no way that we could possibly meet the demands ourselves.

When you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you are reading the final and full explanation of the Law of Moses.  It’s not just, “Hey, let’s read these books to learn more about Jesus.”  But instead, “Hey, let’s seek and embrace and grasp the complete magnification of the Law, of the Old Covenant.”

There is so much confusion in the Christian world.  There are so many contradictions being espoused.  There is barely any clarity.  It doesn’t make sense to people.

Understanding that Jesus taught the Old Covenant is crucial to making sense of your Christian life.  The New Testament begins with the Book of Acts, not Matthew.

By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.  Hebrews 8:13

For more on this topic, please listen to this excellent series in the Sermon on the Mount produced by Living God Ministries . . .

And have a good day living in the New Covenant.

 

July 25, 2017

Do you put God first?

If we’re honest, none of us puts God first.  I personally think all of us are so self-absorbed that we mainly think about ourselves.  If you don’t agree with me, just please think about it for a day.  Be brutally honest with yourself and see who you love with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your strength?  God or yourself?

As born-again believers, we hate this about ourselves.  We want to love God.  We know we should love God.  We want to make God #1 in our lives.  But we fail.

I love this quote by my pastor (who is mainly my pastor through his radio ministry; I do attend his church, but only once a month.)  Anyway, here’s the quote:

“Jesus does not want you to reserve time for Him; that’s not what He wants. What He wants is for you to take Him with you into your time.”

(Aaron Budjen; Radio Archive; “First Place in your Life.”)

If you are interested, here is the link to the 27-minute radio program.

 

 

July 8, 2017