Friday, August 17, 2012

The Sinner With Religious Ways

Too many people are mistaken with what faith is as opposed to being religious. When someone emphasizes that he/she has emphatically attended a specific thing religiously, it is supposed to mean  that the person watched over it more than just daily. It is a term used casually, yet we all know what is meant by it. Unfortunately, no matter how often a person attends church services, 365 days of the year and twice on Sunday, it does not mean he/she is a person of faith or has pleased God under any stretch of the imagination.

Often people have been convinced because someone has been raised in church from the time of being a newborn into adult hood, has learned the bible belt lingo, along with how to do the "Holy Spirit" dance, and has his/her own way of "hooping" when speaking of the goodness of God - its still is not the tell all sign of a person being a true Christian (Matthew 7:15-20 AMP).

I know of a person who delighted in the Jehovah's Witness members coming to his home so he could debate their philosophies and doctrine with what he knew of the Word of God. I don't know if he thought he was changing lives or just deliberately trying to irritate these people. His personal pleasure was to cause these people too be dumb-founded in answering his questions. Once they decided to leave, he knew it was only a matter of days before someone who had more experience and knowledge about the topic would return to try to convince this person to be a Jehovah's Witness as well. He found the whole "dance" challenging. Did any of those people convert? If so, it wasn't in front of him, which caused me to wonder. He was a nice looking man. Clear skin and large white teeth. He dressed nicely most of the time. He had a full head of hair and drove his own car. To most women, he would be considered as a catch; nevertheless, I watched how this young man conducted his own life. He was always between jobs at one point or another. He was argumentative (2 Timothy 22-25 AMP). He annoyed his family as amusement, yet he attended church services - religiously.

I thought about this topic when I was interviewed for ministerial school. One of the questions the interviewer had asked around to find if anyone already employed in the ministry had ever seen me before (my photograph was attached to the application for admission). He said I was recognized but he would have felt better if the ministerial staff were more aware of my presence. That's my fault? So I volunteered and made sure the staff saw me while I was doing the work. It actually defeated the purpose of volunteering in the ministry; yet, I did it so I could get into the school (Matthew 6:5 AMP). Consequently, it didn't work out on so many levels, but I did learn this invaluable lesson: Religion is book knowledge and practiced in order to please man. Faith is a lifestyle that few incorporate to live as practical application day by day to be pleasing to God.

Scripture tells us that in the last days there will be many false prophets (Matthew 24:11 AMP). I did a selah on that verse. Where would those people come from and who ordained them to be prophets?

I recall as a young woman in church services, it was the regular practice at altar call for all of the congregation needing prayer to come to the altar and have the ministers anoint our heads with oil before holding hands with each other in unity. We were all to bow our heads and close our eyes. This was for the purpose of not being distracted by anything or anyone. Our focus was to listen to what was being spoken and have our minds on God in answering that prayer for ourselves, our brothers, and sisters in Christ. How distracting was it for me to feel the inside of my palm being caressed by the middle finger of the married man's hand I was holding. His wife was on his other side. This married man had been in this particular ministry for years. He married a woman that he grew up with in the ministry as well. It wasn't that I didn't know what he was trying to convey to me, it was that in all places one would think here in church, at the altar, one could be safe from predators and wolves. I tried to jerk my hand away from him but he held fast to me and released my hand slowly so not to bring attention to himself while the prayer continued. Years later, this same man divorced his wife, remarried and gained a prominent position in the same ministry.

One of the assistant pastors made an altar call for the unity prayer some months later. I watched while the other ministers anointed each person's head with the olive oil. As they were doing so, the assistant pastor would normally be enveloped in the Spirit of God at the ready to hear His voice as to what he should be praying for specifically. That sort of thing is mimicked for the congregation to also do and make it a habit while at home with their own families. As we were all supposed to be praying in the Spirit, I looked up at the assistant pastor...the married assistant pastor. He winked at the young single woman standing next to me. I turned to look at her. She blushed. Seriously?!! I thought, and now he was supposed to pray for the rest of us? For what? To be tempted, deceived, or enticed as he has obviously been (Matthew 24:8-14 AMP)?

I write this entry because I used to believe that wolves (false prophets and those with ill intent) would be easy to detect. I have walked away from many church services crying at what I witnessed before and after the message or sermon. I was in disbelief that such things would go on in God's house. It is a flagrant disregard of who God is and what He will do. If there is no faith in who He is, then this person is a sinner. How did he/she get into ministry? Why would a pastor or bishop ordain such a person to practice in the church? What happened in them hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd?

Jesus hears God. He said that which He does is because of what His Father told Him to do (John 5:30 AMP). Jesus hand picked His disciples. Judas was among them and served a purpose.

Noel Jones is a well known pastor and traveling evangelist. He's dynamic in relaying the Word of God as practical application in many facets of life that one doesn't think about. The anointing on his life is riveting and draws the viewer in to hear more. He has a large following. According to Noel Jones, he was raised in ministry. He has a large family and his parents were ministers. His sister, raised right along with him is Grace Jones. The same household came, at least, two different personalities. If this happens with the same two parents in one house - why wouldn't it happen anywhere else? Do we assume too much without seeing proof of the words spoken?

What I tell my children when they were about to ready themselves to date for the purposes of marriage: make sure your own life is together in Christ, otherwise you cannot be surprised or question what you get once you have it. Your harvest is the things you continually think about and the words you have spoken. Was it always good? God is good. Was your heart and mind stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3 AMP)? For it is written, "let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14 AMP)." God spoke the world into existence and was pleased when He finished it. What have you spoken and how pleased are you with the finished product? The Word tells us that the things we speak are spoken because it is who we are. When the product of those words are what we find ourselves surrounded in, we cannot look to anyone else for blame (Proverbs 18:20-21 AMP).

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