“What If”

Jude 3-7, Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you.

2 Peter 1:12, Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.

While I was serving as a dorm parent to 8 Apache Indian young girls (ages 12 to 15) at the Indian school, there was one girl that constantly ask me “what if.” What if zombies came into the dorm at night and ate our brains, what if one of the evil spirits came and got the children when they were sleeping and what if the skin walkers (dead people that were like shadows and floated around) possessed their bodies? I will not go into the detail of our conversation but I will tell you that I taught her that if you are a true Christian and have the Holy Spirit residing you, the evil spirits, shadow people or any other evil spirit can’t possess you or cause you physical harm. Needless to say we had many conversations. Thing was, she had a lot of what if questions that deserved to be considered and deserved answers.

The reason I brought up the what if question is because I have asked that question many times in the context of Christianity. What if Christians really strived to act like the children of God He wants us to become, and what if we took our Christianity seriously? What if we earnestly read and studied scripture with open hearts and minds to what scripture is really saying and not what we want it to say or mean? What if we acted like the light we are supposed to be up on the hill for everyone to see? What if Christians followed the law while driving? What if we loved our children and neighbor as we are called to do? What if, what if…? What if we Christians followed all the above comments? If we did we would change our lives and the lives of those around us in a positive way and our actions would be pleasing to the Lord!

As we read the Bible we find out that many of the books keep repeating the same instructions and advice over and over again. We also know that when scripture states something three times it is considered very important and when Jesus says “verily or truly I say to you” he wants the listeners to pay close attention to what He is saying because it may seem hard to believe or carry out. I think the reason Scripture keeps telling us things over and over is because we are sometimes hard headed and want things our way and we don’t take our commitment to following Jesus as seriously as we are supposed to. As you have read the Scriptures from Jude and Peter you notice that they both comment on the fact that they are stating comments that have been told already but are stating them again for the benefit of the listeners.  So in this article (and many others) I am just doing something that Scripture has called us to do when necessary. Repeating thoughts, words and phrases. I feel the time is now necessary to be reminded of who we are and what we say we believe in because to many times do not actually act like it.

People in all categories are out of control and I think it is because we do not have proper supervision. Believe it or not we need someone to monitor our actions and we need the fear of punishment to help us stay in line.

Tucson police are understaffed by 400 officers. The result, I have seen people are running red lights like never before, speeding in excess of 20 miles over the speed limit (an estimate), tail gating, cutting in and out of traffic, and disobeying all types of traffic laws. Why, because the police are not there to stop them and the moral character is such that if they can get away with it why obey! That is not saying much for their moral character and consideration for our fellow neighbors by some of our citizens.  

How about our government officials? Some blatantly and outright lie to each other and to us citizens. When they get caught they lie again and make excuses. When some get caught they repent but their repentance is short lived and they go and do it again. They twist words around to make good sound bad and bad sound good. They pander to people by promising them things that they know they will never deliver just to get their vote. And  when elected they don’t honor the promises they offered and what is sad is that the people that voted for them still believe in them and make excuses for being lied to by blaming it on the other side! And why is all this happening? It is because there is very little accountability or punishment when and if people get caught doing things they should not. There is no fear of punishment or high moral standards guiding them and their actions. 

Then we have the Christians. We do have some one that holds us accountable. God. We do have standards set and they are written down (in Scripture), where we can turn to for answers (by studying His word), and by being instructed and taught (by pastors). So we really have no excuse for bad actions and disobedience on our part. We just go out and sin and disregard what we professed to honor and obey. We Christians can’t blame society for tempting us, tricking us, and making it so easy to live like the worlds lives.

We must blame ourselves. We are told to study scriptures so that we will know it when someone twist, changes, alters, and tells lies about what scripture states. Yes, we need our pastors to teach Scripture, explain it, and Sheppard us in our walk with the Lord but going to church does not relieve us of our responsibility to be like the Bereans and test what we hear. Personally I believe that some of us do not study scripture because if we learn what our responsibilities are as believers then we will have to change the sinful habits that we don’t want to give up.

To make matters worse we have pastors that do not study Scripture in detail, do not really understand and interpret Scripture correctly so therefore they do not teach sound doctrine. Because the teaching of sound doctrine “encompasses the teaching of biblical truth and the application of its principles, which if done faithfully, will produce spiritual growth within our churches” (taken from John MacArthur’s book The Masters Plan for the Church). We also have pastors that teach weak theology, messages that are not convicting, the overemphasis of tolerance, and many false doctrines.

Scripture warns us of that and even states that some of us will fall into Satan’s trap of listening, believing and worshipping in those types of churches. And what do some of us do, we go ahead and believe the lies any way because what they say “tickles our ears.”  

Remember that anything that is taught that is contrary to Scripture is a teaching from demons and that exposing yourself to such teachings is more dangerous that you think.

And what if Christ followers became strong and Christ oriented instead of program or social oriented? What if our church leaders would not try to entertain us to get us in the doors and try to keep us their by their theatrics? I think the church would be more effective in missions and spreading the gospel, our cities would be safer and better places to live in, the needs of others would be met, and our society would be more stable mentally and spiritually. And most importantly the Christ followers would be more grounded in their faith walk, is willing to sacrifice for the needs of others, love God and their neighbors more honestly, and willing to repent when sinned. Those are qualities that Jesus desires us to have and demonstrate in our lives, not to boast, but to give praise and glory to God and for others to see.  

“What if” is not just a dream it can be a reality if we want it to be!

Blessings,  Dennis

12/5/2020

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