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Posts tagged ‘Way of life’

A look at materialism

In our Belgian ecclesiae this fortnight we take a look at that what keeps so many busy these times. After the financial crisis it may look as if many people are not any-more so interested to get capital gain, but be not fooled, they still aim to enrich themselves, but much more with material things they can hold onto or dispose when not any more of use or not any more in fashion.

Lots of people are interested to get the most recent new gadgets. That this pursuit of pleasure can crowd out godly devotion we clearly can see in the many church denominations which all lost church members. Most people are not any more interested in God and His commands.

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter in Tyre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in a world where many have fallen victim to greed and selfishness. Because of the prevailing commercial climate, much emphasis is placed on wealth. Hence, a Christian does well to examine himself to be sure that he is not falling into the same trap that ensnared the commercial city of Tyre. Does he spend so much of his time and energy in material pursuits that he is, in fact, a slave of riches? (Matthew 6:24) Is he envious of some who may have more or better possessions than he has? (Galatians 5:26) If he happens to be wealthy, does he proudly feel that he deserves more attention or privileges than others do? (Compare James 2:1-9.) If he is not rich, is he “determined to be rich,” whatever the cost? (1 Timothy 6:9) Is he so occupied with business matters that he leaves only a very small corner in his life for serving God? (2 Timothy 2:4) Does he become so consumed with the pursuit of wealth that he ignores Christian principles in his business practices?—1 Timothy 6:10.

Could it be that we need to make immediate adjustments in this regard? Granted, some benefits are derived from bodily training and recreation. Yet, such rewards are small compared with everlasting life. (1 John 2:25)
Today, many are “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power,” and we need to turn away from such individuals. (2 Timothy 3:4, 5)

3 But know this, that in the last days+ critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power;+ and from these turn away. From among these arise men who slyly work their way into households and captivate weak women loaded down with sins, led by various desires, always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-4, 5-7)

Those who place emphasis on godly devotion are

“safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Timothy 6:19.

On From Guestwriters there are several articles placed which show how Materialism is a snare to many.

We may deceive even ourselves, “thinking that godly devotion is a means of [material] gain.” Thus, we could be emboldened to take improper advantage of the trust shown by fellow believers. (1 Timothy 6:5) We might even wrongly conclude that it is all right to press a prosperous Christian for a loan that we are unlikely to be able to repay. (Psalm 37:21) But it is godly devotion, not the acquisition of material things, that “holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Since ‘we brought nothing into the world and cannot carry anything out,’ let us more intently pursue “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency” and allow ourselves to be ‘content with sustenance and covering.’1 Timothy 6:6-11.

A lifetime of hard work in the pursuit of a secular career or material prosperity will not necessarily mean that one will “see good” if it is done to the exclusion of spiritual things. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority it well can be we will miss the boat. Only seeing those things others have and wanting to have them oneself, might pull us in a black hole. The envy man has, brings him into the darkness of the world and blinds him to see the real true light.

Jesus described the consequences of misdirected effort in his illustration of the sower. Regarding the seed “sown among the thorns,” Jesus explained that “this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22) Paul also warned of the same trap and added that those who pursue a materialistic course “fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.” What is the antidote for such a spiritually ruinous way of life?

constant disputes about minor matters by men who are corrupted in mind+ and deprived of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.+ To be sure, there is great gain in godly devotion+ along with contentment.* For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out.+ So, having food* and clothing,* we will be content with these things.+

But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare+ and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin.+ 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.+

11 However, you, O man of God, flee from these things. But pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, and mildness.+ 12 Fight the fine fight of the faith; get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:5-6-11-12)

17 Instruct* those who are rich in the present system of things* not to be arrogant,* and to place their hope, not on uncertain riches,+ but on God, who richly provides us with all the things we enjoy.+ 18 Tell them to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be generous,* ready to share,+ 19 safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future,+ so that they may get a firm hold on the real life.+ (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavati...

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavation site – supposed palaestra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Please do find to read:

  1. Luxury
  2. Summermonths and consumerism
  3. The business of this life
  4. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  5. London an exaggerated microcosm of the UK at large
  6. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #6 Transport factor of immobilising financial growth
  7. Democratic downfall
  8. The Existence of Evil
  9. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  10. Being ‘broke’ a state of mind
  11. Less for more
  12. Less… is still enough
  13. Gender connections
  14. Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft
  15. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  16. Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism
  17. Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world
  18. Learning that stuff is just stuff
  19. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth
  20. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  21. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  22. Why “Selfishness” Doesn’t Properly Mean Being Shortsighted and Harmful to Others
  23. Hoarding Relationships and Things
  24. Forward ever backwards never!
  25. 30 things to start doing for yourself – #6 is vital.
  26. Watch out
  27. Stop and Think
  28. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  29. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  30. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  31. A bird’s eye and reflecting from within
  32. We all have to have dreams
  33. Material gain to honour God
  34. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  35. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  36. Bearing fruit
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  38. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  39. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone

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Words to push and pull

Words to bring message

As a preacher we need to use words to get people to the subject where we want them. In the United States of America we can find many mega churches where lots of words are brought in a whirlwind show. Several preachers throw up hell and torment, others promise heaven on earth in material wealth in this lifetime.

Jesus called his followers to bring the Word of God about salvation. Jesus brought the Good News of the Kingdom of God. His apostles continued to bring that message of hope and we should do likewise.

To bring that important message of hope we should also push people to take the Torah seriously, and to go and spend more time looking in to the Holy Scriptures. When we preach it should not be our own words lying on the foreground, but the Words of God should have the place of honour. We should pull in those who are willing to listen to us, by not taking ourself too seriously. Relativism is very important in life, also for the preacher.

Renewed platform

English: Street Preacher holds sign that reads...

Street Preacher holds sign that reads “Discover forgiveness for all your sin and eternal life in the Living Jesus” in Times Square, New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we can have our words resound via the internet. Now it is possible to distribute biblical study materials without traditional costs. The modern media can be a vehicle for exegetical and expositional articles. {Exegetical articles are concerned with laying bare the various layers of meaning in a text without regard to the application of this information to the ecclesia. Expositional articles are exegetical and in addition show how the textual material is relevant to the ecclesia.} Devotional and homiletical material also can be presented like articles relating to prophecy, to current affairs.  Would it not be easy to find such things on one place? Well, the renewed “Stepping toes” would love to do that, and is also looking for writers to do so. The website would like to become a platform where the news is presented of the teaching efforts of many who have Jehovah God as their God and Jesus (Jeshua) as their Master teacher. Aside of the religious news they would not mind to place doctrinal and apologetic articles as well. but they want to show an open-mindedness to the faith and do believe everybody can be in a different stage of believes in his life and can have different opinions about certain matters. Those differences can be interesting to look at; Instead of criticising the other idea, ‘Stepping toes‘ would love to see it possible that people of different opinion can come peacefully together and listen to each others various opinions about same matters. “Stepping toes” would love to see people taking up their Bibles and to check what the Word of God is telling. We do have to compare our thoughts with the thoughts of others and with the Word of God as presented in the Holy Scriptures.

Chances to grow spiritually

In case we do want to grow we do need Bible Study. We do need the Word of God looked at from different angels. We should be willing to listen to the different viewpoints, encountering many frames of reference. We should be willing to question our own ideas, or our own understanding of certain passages in the Holy Scriptures. By looking at different interpretations we can see what the possibilities are and where we or others go wrong in the interpretation. Only by giving the opportunity to have new material or new insights to be presented we shall give ourselves and others the opportunity to grow in the faith.

Studying the Bible is not looking at the Bible only to see and hear what you want to see or hear. It is opening your mind to have it fed with several ways of looking at the world, and by the need of taking time to think about what is said in the most holy of books.

We should meditate in the Bible day and night, to run your mind with the Holy Spirit, willing to give space in your mind and in your heart for the Spirit of God as your Life Power. We may not only concentrate on one part of the Guide of God. He has given us the Books of books, the Old and New Testament. The old testament gives us more insight about God’s personality. The New Testament tells us about the son of God, what we should do in our life and which way we do have to go in life. It also gives us a look at the development of the first ecclesiae.

Reading regularly the many books we should use the “observation, interpretation and application” techniques beginning with an outline — this process can and should take hours as it is slow but provides for a deeper love for God and His promises and a new respect for His holiness.

Helping each other

“Stepping toes” would love to give help so that we do not to wrestle through the scripture on our own. If we don’t understand something or a word, we should research it and see if it takes us into a deeper understanding of Who God is. This research we do not have to do alone. There are many people studying the Bible, if they only wanted to share a little bit more their findings. On “Stepping toes” such findings can be presented. There only have to be more writers be willing to join such a platform where people might have different opinions. Most people only want to be with and hear only like minded people. In the love for God and in the love for Christ, Bible-students like some Christdadelphians do believe we should share our understandings with others who are also part of the Body of Christ.

English: The Bible

The Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you need an encouraging word, or you’re in a negative environment, it’s good to know that you can find life (plus healing and health) in God’s Word. Sharing those words and findings with others give you the opportunity to help others also to find a better life. Out of love for the neighbour we should share our findings from Bible study. The Bible is such a huge work of inspiration and knowledge that it may demand more than just a few hours to get a grip of it. By sharing ideas about it we can help each other to get more knowledge much quicker. So out of love we should be happy when we are asked to give our opinion and to share our knowledge with others.

For us there should be no more important skill than handling our Bible with understanding and accuracy. There’s no greater joy than digging into and discovering biblical truth on your own, but it may be a great asset when others are willing to help in the process of exploration.

The unregenerate man may understand a little bit about the history in the Bible, he may understand a few of the words in the Bible but he’ll never have a Biblical knowledge in the sense that it works out in his living. He may get some head knowledge by reading and understanding and studying to a certain degree, but it’ll never be the real kind of knowledge that the Bible talks about because it never works out in his life.

Stimulating each other

Getting together with different people can stimulate each-other to sincerely look into the bible. Having the knowledge that we can be in a circle of people committed to reading the Bible, willing to share their knowledge, we ourselves might feel more comparably and easier to share our thoughts.

All of us have the Ketuvim, the third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), after Torah (instruction) and Nevi’im (prophets) which provide us with the necessary knowledge to go through this life. Even the American novelist Thomas Wolfe recognised:

“[O]f all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man’s life upon this earth — and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgments in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound.” {Christianson 2007, p. 70.}

The title of the book Ecclesiastes in Hebrew Koheleth, meaning “Gatherer“, but traditionally translated as “Teacher” or “Preacher” brings also to the task a Christian should do, namely gathering, learning, teaching and preaching, using all the Wisdom the Word of God provides. Keeping it to yourself would be a selfish attitude and not in accordance with the commandments of Christ.

Actions of men

Koheleth introduces himself as “son of David, king in Jerusalem,” perhaps implying that he is Solomon, proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently hevel, meaning “vain”, “futile”, “empty”, “meaningless”, “temporary”, “transitory”, “fleeting,” or “mere breath,” as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death. But we can make something of our life by following Christ Jesus and taking up the task he has given his followers. Going out into the world and gathering or meeting with like-minded people, pulling and pushing each other to look and to find the way to enter the Kingdom of God.

By sharing ideas with each other we can help each other to encounter life in light of how and Who we know God to be and will expose His promises in clear ways.

Koheleth reminds the reader that wisdom has its limitations and is not man’s main concern. Koheleth reports what he planned, did, experienced and thought. His journey to knowledge is, in the end, incomplete, and the reader is not only to hear Koheleth’s wisdom, but to observe his journey towards understanding and acceptance of life’s frustrations and uncertainties: the journey itself is important.

A journey to make together

We also have a journey of which we can tell about our experiences, so that others may learn from it. In such a way “Stepping toes” also wants to tell stories of what other people underwent, what happens in this world in which we do have to find means to live in. All those stories should be able to give a picture of where we stand at the moment and where we are going to.

Lots of Christians should start to look further than their little corner, their own church community and should meet other Christians and be willing to discuss in a peaceful way about the Way (the way we do have to live, what we do have to do to enter the Kingdom of God). We can not hide ourselves in our little cocoon and not worry about what is going on in the world. We should be interested in what is going on in the world around us and should be interested to help out where we can.

God does not want a passive life in this world, but He wants us to be active practitioners of love for our neighbours. Showing interest in others is one way of showing your love. Sharing the Word of God with others is one of the most important tasks to prove our faith in God.

Lets do it! Lets go out and share our Biblical knowledge. Witness in the Name of the One and Only One God of gods, Jehovah.

+

Please do find Stepping Toes:

  1. Stepping Toes, a site which possibly can upset someone
  2. About Stepping toes
  3. Aim of Stepping toes site

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Additional reading:

  1. Bible Word of God, inspired and infallible
  2. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  3. Bible for you and for life
  4. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  5. Words must be weighed, not counted
  6. Hope for the future
  7. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  8. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  9. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  10. A learning process for each of us
  11. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  12. Being Christian – Following Jesus Christ
  13. The Involvement of true discipleship
  14. Life and attitude of a Christian
  15. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  16. Parts of the body of Christ
  17. The task given to us to love each other
  18. Reasons to come to gether
  19. Meeting – Vergadering
  20. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  21. What makes a consecrated Christian
  22. Love for each other attracting others
  23. Testify of the things heard
  24. Witnessing Glad Tidings
  25. Bringing Good News into the world
  26. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  27. Church sent into the world
  28. Blogging for Jesus…
  29. How should we preach?
  30. Who are you going to reach out to today
  31. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  32. Holland Week of billing
  33. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  34. Trying to get the youth inspired
  35. When discouraged facing opposition

+++

  • Preachers of L.A. Dressed to Impress, But Is Jesus Pleased? (revthechristianlife.wordpress.com)
    After the response to my blog “Why ‘Preachers of LA’ Won’t Turn Out Well for Rock-Star Pastors” I wanted to continue the discussion about our perception and mindset in regards to preachers and wealth.First, let’s establish that being a pastor is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week job. You never know when the phone will ring and you are faced with another crisis that you must minister a church member through.
  • Strange Fire Conference: Preachers or Witch Doctors? (challies.com)
    Pentecostalism’s visit to Africa did not primarily emphasize the preaching and teaching component of the “man of God.” Now the “man of God” is primarily seen as the deliverer. Preaching has lost emphasis. It has become motivational platitudes followed by shouting and chanting.The same thing can be seen in America on popular TV channels, but with different colored skin and nicer buildings. There are biblical quotes tossed about followed by a demon possessed, crazy and maddened looking preacher.
  • Is there a Sacred and Secular divide? (paulajayne.wordpress.com)
    Can a true Follower of Jesus Christ be secular? To answer this we need to know what the words means; The word Sacred means to be Holy, dedicated to a deity (God), and the word secular means to have no regard for deity or religion.Now we believe that as a True Christian we are made Holy through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, we are set apart and dedicated to God. So can we as a Christian be secular? I would suggest not!Can a sacred Christian work in a secular environment? Yes, in fact this is what Jesus intended. It is only a few who are called to work in the Church environment and their role is to equip the Christian to do works of Ministry in their everyday life (see Ephesians 4:11-12)
  • Word Power (holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com)
    God Almighty reveals to us the importance of His Word, the Bible, in a number of verses in the epistles in the New Testament.
    +
    Within the church today man’s word is replacing God’s Word in the heart and lives of His children and those who profess to believe in Him.  The situation is dire.  The church is floundering and failing.  It has lost its mooring and direction because it has rejected God’s Word and replaced it with the empty worthless doctrine of man.

      For My people have committed two evils:  They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.  Jeremiah 2:13

    When we reject God’s Word in favor of man’s teaching what does that say about us?  It says that we fear man rather than God and would rather please men than God.  We have a serious choice to make that has eternal consequences; will we fill our hearts and minds with the living Word of the Living God, or will we feed upon the dry, lifeless, empty sawdust of man’s opinions and theories that have no ability to build us up on our most holy faith, but instead lead us away from God and trap us in the deceitful schemes of our enemy, the devil.  Truthfully, the word we prefer says volumes about our eternal destination.  If we see God use His Word in our lives as outlined in the Scriptures and we willingly yield to His truth we give evidence of salvation.  We see the implanted Word that is able to save our souls operative in our lives.

  • Why Are So Many Churches Hearing So Little of the Bible from Their Preachers? (blackchristiannews.com)
    “It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out.” That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity: an impatience with the Word of God.
  • church oh church1 (ozyikhiedwardblog.wordpress.com)
    Ok the word “Church” comes originally from the Greek word,”Kyriakos-kyriakon”.meaning properly,”belonging to the lord”,in lay man’s terms,property of God,ok that has not justified the organised buildings. Yet?! Somehow later on,another Greek word “Ecclesia”from “ek”meaning “out from” and “kaleo” meaning “to call”.so “Ecclesia” means properly,”people called out”.so in lay man’s terms,”Ecclesia” means “people separated from others”..ok the history of “Ecclesia”
    +
    What did the New Covenant writers mean when they used the word “Ecclesia” to describe a Christian body of people?? We can safely denote that they intended to convey the original Greek meaning of the word:”A body of Christian called out of Roman and Judean systems of Government,to live under a seperate civil mentality,”a politically autonomous body of Christians,under no other King but Yeshua,under no other civil laws,than that of Yeshua.
    +
    To be the ideal model of “Ecclesia”,we Christians must form ourselves into actual communities,albeit in this times only mentally,under the guidance of God’s annointed leader Jesus. Called out and seperated in mentality(Kyriakos)from the World’s ways,with no other than Jesus as our ruler and King! In other words “Ecclesias”
  • John Calvin’s use of Secondary Sources (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    Though Calvin had a love for the primary source texts, evident especially in his use of Greek and Hebrew in his preaching and commenting, he was no lone-wolf, attempting exegesis without reference to the exegetical labors of others.  He was one who saw the value of consulting both primary and secondary sources.
  • The Mystery of Being In Christ: A Review of Paul and Union with Christ (marccortez.com)
    We struggle to understand  what it means to be “in christ” because that is a complex concept combining at least four key aspects: union, participation, identification, and incorporation. An adequate understanding of being “in Christ” will not try to encompass that entire concept under any one of those aspects, but will allow all four to inform us. So, rather than see these four as different ways that Paul uses “in Christ” language, Campbell suggests that all four together define what it means for a believer to be in Christ. It is our union-participation-identification-incorporation in him.
  • Could I Get a Side of Truth with That? (crsstlk.wordpress.com)
    relativism makes “truth” become completely based upon your own ideas, biases, culture and experiences. You decide who or what “God” is (or if you even want one or not) and make your own standard for what “good” is and what “sin” is and eventually end up serving (or worshiping) yourself, with “self” as the center whether you admit it or not.
  • TD Jakes Disses Preachers Of LA (4umf.com)
    The premiere of Oxygen’s controversial docu-series, Preachers Of L.A., may have pulled in a record 1.1 million viewers, but one of the most influential Christian pastors in America, Bishop T.D. Jakes, holds a very low opinion of it.
    On Sunday morning, October 13 at the Potter’s House in Dallas, TX, Jakes dissed the reality show, calling it “junk” and distancing himself from the stars’ blinged-out images and flamboyance.
    “Now, I know you been watching that junk on TV,” Jakes said, criticizing Preachers Of L.A. amid a plea for congregants and online viewers to sow a financial seed into his local ministry.

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