Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares The Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Don't Want The World's Christianity..

Get ready, this is gonna be a long one...

Do you ever notice how satan likes to "kick you when you're down"? 

People say some pretty mean and hurtful things in the name of "their" God.. They use "their" bible to give you a list of things you should NOT be doing... but never give you the things the Bible says you SHOULD be doing.. We tend to focus more on the NOTS than the SHOULDS...

It really saddens me when I talk to people and for whatever reason, they have decided to leave church.. Sometimes it is because someone has taken a verse from the bible out of context and stretched it to fit their selfish motives or needs.  I am brutally honest on here, as past posts will prove.. and I don't shy away from what I believe.... When I am confronted with "Scripture" taken out of context, I ALWAYS go and research the original scripture and the true meaning behind it.  I never allow someone's twisted version, to become my truth.. and you shouldn't either.  If someone comes to you using a scripture to attack you, your faith, your beliefs, your family, your church.. you better go to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you, to reveal the true meaning of the very scripture being used against you.  Scripture is meant for teaching, correcting, loving and rebuking... Not for spreading hate and negativity, causing chaos, or trying to get others to do what we feel they should do.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

Read the following scriptures, think about what they mean to you... What is the Author saying here?

1 Timothy 2: 8-12 NIV Bible Gateway

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11 A woman  should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;  she must be quiet.

Pretty strong words huh? Some might say the writer was a bigot.. that he favored men over women... What do you think?  If you just read these words alone and not the whole book of 1 Timothy or the books before, you might walk away with the following translations:
  • Women should not wear jewelry or expensive clothes
  • A woman should not question what she is being taught, she should just believe it
  • A woman is below a man
  • A woman is not allowed to talk about God to other's or to teach others about God
  • God doesn't like women
Now.... those are some pretty depressing statements and translations...

Thankfully, those statements are not what this scripture means at all... but too often we take a few verses and twist it just enough to fit what we want it to mean.  In the meantime, we dilute the scripture so much that it is no longer of God.  The only way to know if we are being fed false information is to be grounded in The Word and what we believe should be consistent with The Word (The Bible).  If we are not grounded in The Word and what we believe then we will be susceptible to false teachers.  In addition to knowing what we believe and why, we should avoid anyone who twists the words of the Bible for his or her own purpose.  So, lets pick it apart and get down to the true meaning behind these verse's... As God has revealed it to me..  

These scriptures were written by Paul to Timothy concerning the Church Of Ephesus.  Paul was trying to encourage and instruct Timothy, a young Pastor who was probably intimidated by older and more mature church members (we've all been there). Paul chose Timothy to help him spread the gospel but he also knew that Timothy was very young, shy and hesitant so Paul warned him against being intimidated by his opponents and their teachings.  At this time the church was facing a bunch of division, false teaching and the false teachers were preying on women... because the women were new believers who were enjoying the freedom to study the bible and be involved in worship and they were easily swayed.  Although Paul is addressing Timothy, the letter is for the church in general.   

Verse 9-10 Along with the issue this church had with false teachers, they also had the issue of women being disruptive in worship and dressing too seductively.  Paul was explaining that even though they were excited about their new freedom in Christ and the ability to study and worship with men, women should not rush into leadership or flaunt their newfound freedom.  Possibly some women in the Ephesian church were trying to gain respect by looking beautiful rather than by becoming Christlike in character.  Paul wanted them to focus more on being gentle, modest and loving.. taking on the character of Christ.. To focus on what she does for others, not what she puts on.  

Verse 11 To understand and "get" the full meaning of this verse and the next one, we must first understand the situation in which Paul and Timothy worked.  In first century Jewish culture, women were not allowed to study.  Plato granted women equality with men, then Aristotle severely limited their activities and his view was more widely accepted.  When Paul said that women could "learn", he was affirming their recognition as teachable members of the church, Christian women were given equal rights when it came to studying the scriptures.  Most of these women had grown up in an atmosphere that wasn't too keen on women being equal, especially in the Temple.. So some of these women went a little crazy with their newfound freedom in Christ.  Some women overreacted, flaunting their freedom to the church and disrupting worship and service.  A lot of these women were very immature in their faith in Christ and therefore they needed to learn, not teach.  They were very easily swayed by false teachers and Paul warned that these women should not be put up front to pray in public or teach until their beliefs had been straightened out.  THESE women were to learn at home from their fathers or husbands and they were to be silent in service, they were only to speak or pray if it was from The Spirit.  Paul's prohibition was NOT to women in general, it was to a specific group of women that was causing division in the church at that time. There are several places where Paul talks about women in the church who were his "co workers" helping him and they were full members of the body of Christ and fully shared in the responsibilities and gifts of serving. (Romans 16:1-3, Philippians 4:2-3).  Women were to learn quietly and submissively.. meaning settled, calm with voluntary restraint.

Verse 12 This verse goes along with verse 11, the women of the Ephesian Church were not allowed to teach, they were allowed to learn... How could they teach if they had no idea what they even believed? Paul was withholding the right for women to teach because of the condition of the church at that time.  Like I said, many women had no clue what they believed and why so they were being led astray by false teachers.  Paul was trying to tell them, they did not need more teachers, what they all needed was to return to the foundations of the true gospel.  Many, Many, MANY people interpret this verse to say that women should never hold a teaching position in the church.. that is scripture being twisted and not taken for what it really means.  In other verse's Paul allowed women to teach, in fact his "co worker" Priscilla taught Apollos, the great preacher (Acts 18:24-26).  Paul mentioned other women who held positions of responsibility in the church.. Need examples?  Phoebe (Romans 16:1), Mary, Tryphena and Tryphosa (Romans 16:6, 12) Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2).. Just to name a few.. Paul was more than likely telling the women of Ephesia that they could not teach because they did not have the knowledge or experience.  He wanted leaders to be mature in their faith and at this time women were not because they had JUST been given the freedom to study and learn.

I am not a Bible Scholar and I don't hold some big degree from a bible college but I do have a relationship with The One True God.. The One who inspired every single word in the bible, The One who loves me in spite of all my mistakes, The One who reveals Himself to me daily... I am a Child of a King and this King took every single one of my sins to the cross with Him.. Not because He had to but because He chose to. For me to think I cannot be used by Him to spread His message, gospel and love is absolutely insane.  For others to think that just because they have sinned, fell off the wagon, are a female versus a male that God cannot and will not use them... is.. well.. just as insane.  God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called.  I believe without a shadow of doubt that God called me for a purpose and that purpose is to teach others about Him and His saving grace, to lead others to Him without judgments or condemnation, to build His Kingdom in His name, to love others as He loves us, to show others the true Christ.. not the watered down diluted version the world has made for Him.. regardless if I am male or female..



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Are We There Yet?

If you are a parent, then I can almost promise you that you have heard the "get on your nerves, drive you crazy" question "Are we there yet?"  You have probably heard it a million times on the SAME trip! When Greg and I travel with the girls (like driving over 30 minutes away from our house) the girls usually start in at about 10 minutes on the road.. "Are WE therrrrrreeee YET?" "Mom I'm thirsty!" "MOM Taylor won't move!" "Mom Brianna is being a brat!".. You get the idea right?  No matter what journey we are on or where we are going, we always have complaints.  We can pack snacks, drinks, games etc. but we ALWAYS hear complaints!

I was thinking about this today and how on our journey as Christians, we are the same way... We ALWAYS complain! We complain to God about our circumstances, we complain to God about things that have happened in our lives, we even complain about Him not answering a prayer the way WE think He should have.  In essence we are like kids in the backseat whining and crying while our Father is trying to take us as carefully as possible to our final destination.  Don't you think God would like to just tell us to "SHUT UP!"? 

Thankfully, He doesn't... Thankfully He just sits quietly and listens to our moans and groans ever so patiently... Patiently waiting on our rant to end so He can gently speak words of wisdom and peace to our hearts.  If we would just stop complaining for a few minutes, we would actually hear our Father tell us to "hang on, you're almost there, just a few more minutes"... Remember, our thoughts are not God's thoughts and our ways are not God's ways... God's timing is totally different from our timing.. So bathroom breaks may be months or even years away... but they are coming.. 

Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait upon the Lord will get new strength. They will rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weak.