Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BRAND CHRISTIAN: Christian Prayer-life

As Christians, we all pray right?
What do you say?
How long do you pray for everyday?

If I had to say that prayed for 1 hour every day and you prayed for 5 minutes every day, does that make you a 'better' Christian than me or a better 'disciple' that is closer to God than I am?
You know, when I pray, most often I don't even know what to pray for. Sometimes I ramble on about nonsense just because "I have to pray every day to stay in a relationship with God". Really?

I will close my eyes.......and then start with Father....... (And then I don't know what to start with).
I think to myself:
Do I need to start with Thanking God or do I end with that?
When, in the prayer, should I begin all my requests, forgiveness and healing for myself and others?
How do I end off?
If I forget something, does that mean it won’t be 'granted'?
You know I look at these questions and think "How ridiculous I am".
Does God care in what order you prayer in?

But here’s my 2 cents worth. Something I have thought about and I really now take the stance of the following:

· Hasn't God forgiven us already? He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins on the cross. These are for sins Past, Present  AND future (believe it or not!) Why am I asking for God’s forgiveness every time when I have already been forgiven?
·All of Gods work has already been planned. There is nothing I can say or do that will "convince" God otherwise or to change His mind. Who am I to think that I can manipulate God into doing something for me or my family or my life?
· How often do start in prayer by rambling on about how bad things are, how I need healing, how someone hurt me emotionally, how, how, how......  Basically all I am doing is complaining to God and moaning about all the things that are wrong in my life and how I want healing in certain areas, and then I spend 5% of my prayer thanking God for what He has done and is doing.
· Does it really matter how long I have to pray. Do I need to lock myself away for 2 hours and pray to God? What would I say?

· Is there any point in me praying to God and asking Him to 'save' me, to 'forgive' me, to come into my life?

I think maybe the whole difference here is being either a Christian or a disciple. A disciple will spend time on what matters the most and that is a relationship with God, not about himself or how he can try and change Gods mind about something that has already been planned and decided upon by Him.

A disciple wouldn't worry about how long a pray is. He wouldn't worry about where to pray and how to pray but He would place His attention on God only, thanking Him for what He has done and here goes.....TRUSTING Him that He is with you in your current situation.

God has already saved us; He has already sent His son to do what he did on earth thousands of years ago. IT’S DONE!

Isn’t it a bit of a contradiction to ask God to save us and to come into our lives, when He already has? God is always there, always loving us, always knocking our door.

Instead of Asking God to 'come into our lives', why not just believe what He did and believe what Jesus did on the cross. By accepting what Jesus did on the cross FOR US, is all we need to do to have eternal life.

God is not in this faraway place where we have pray and call Him to come and start taking notes on what we do and then guide us away or advise us. He already knows our lives, He created us, He saved us and He is always with us every minute of the day. We just have to accept that!

Often if we pray for God to heal someone over and over and that person is not healed, we wonder where God was, or we wonder that maybe we didn't pray in the correct way or say the right thing.

Maybe we don't actually trust God enough that everything is taken care of.

Jesus didn't send out His disciples and say to them that they should pray these long elaborate prayers and waffle on about healing. He commanded them to go out and heal the sick!

They did this by and with the authority of Christ, trusting Him that whatever happened was God’s plan.

Am I way off here? These are certainly the thoughts going around in my mind, what do you think?


Monday, May 20, 2013

BRAND CHRISTIAN! (Something to hide behind?)

Hey, I am a christian. 'This is awesome' I tell myself.
We have made the Christian name so broad and mean so many things. We have squeezed the christian name to fit around us.
Following my previous blog on Christian vs. Disciple, the next 2 or 3 blogs will further this topic. Since hearing  this whole 'christian vs disciple' thing, I have been mulling it around in my mind for sometime now and I just think that we as Christians have really gone all wrong in many ways.

As I previously mentioned, The followers of Christ were not called Christians when Jesus was around on earth. Jesus never once referred to His disciples and followers as 'christians'.
The christian word was given my 'unbelievers' to name the group of Christ followers much later on and we have adopted this word 'Christian' from that day onwards.

Whats nice for us though, is that we tend to hide our lives, actions and thoughts behind this christian brand. We have stretched the name to incorporate our behaviours and wrong doings.
If I had to think of a quick example. Homosexuality, we are moulding the christian name to incorporate homosexual actions and homosexual ideology. Nowadays we have homosexual pastors and gay marriages are being legalised indifferent countries, while in Gods Bible it clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination to God!

We fight between each other, denominations fight between each other, we use our 'business' as an excuse not to help the poor and needy, we overindulge in money, food and luxurious goods and have a situation where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
We try to make ourselves believe that what we are doing on a daily basis is still 'fine' and that we are still Christians.

The reason it is so easy to mould the word 'christian' around us is because there are no limits or guidelines or anything, in fact, in the Word of God about the word 'christian'.
We have defined the word 'Christian' and have thus created a  a description and meaning for the word....and we all know what happens when man tries to make decisions on christian morals and beliefs.
But look at the word 'disciple' in the Bible. There are many passages which define and clearly state the purpose of what a disciple is and the role of a disciple of Christ. Its a very small and limited definition and it cannot be 'moulded' and 'squeezed' like the word 'christian' because everything is in the bible.

A disciple fears God more than men. A disciple of God is not scared to declare the Lords name in front of men at any time and place.
A Christian may may to embarrassed because its not the right time and place. (This is a possibility-I am not saying all Christians are like this)
A disciple denies His own life. Christian life is a life of total self-denial to the lordship of Christ, for the glory of God. We do not receive the crown unless we carry the cross.

Its always easy to hide behind the comfort zone of the 'christian' brand, but the question is "What are you doing/thinking/saying that is not in line with what a Christian disciple is....REALLY?"

I have some serious thinking to do in my own life because I hide behind the christian brand name everyday.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Are you a Christian or a disciple?

You know, People that follow Christ or say that they follow Christ or believe in Him are all generally referred to as 'Christians'.
When we are asked what we are, we say 'A Christian'.
When other people ask you if you are a Christian, what do you say to them? Sometimes we say 'Yes' or 'Yes...but' or 'No' or 'Yes, only part of....'

Do you know that the word Christian only appears in the Bible 3 times?
Jesus never referred to us as Christians! In fact, the first time the word 'christian' was used was when the followers of Jesus were referred to Christians in Antioch.
So we have all been put into this bracket of 'being a Christian'....and isn't it this exact word that so many are scared of or so many people hate because of what Christians do and how they act towards each other?
I can say that I am a Christian, but yet I still swear, have bad thoughts about my neighbour, gossip about someone I see in a shop etc etc.....This isn't what Jesus did!  Nor is it what His quest for us is either!

Jesus refers to the word "Disciple". A disciple is a person who learns from another and always looks up to another person for encouragement, guidance and advice in decisions.
Jesus had disciples not Christians! They were followers of His way.
This is why it is referred to in the bible as well about people who believed in Jesus "followers of the way".
A disciple is someone who dedicates their whole life and thought on the guidance and learning from another. In this case, Jesus' disciples followed Him everywhere and took guidance from Jesus in everything they did.

The word 'Christian' was most probably used a derogatory terms to refer to "followers of the way". Christian means 'belonging to Christ', and it was not thought up by the disciples themselves but rather by the 'outsiders' in order to refer to Christs followers.

The problem now with the word Christian, is that it entails a whole bunch of things, thoughts, stigmas and actions. Some good, some bad, some absolutely disgusting.
I class myself as a Christian, but I do hundreds of things on a daily basis that when I stand and look back, would bring shame to Gods name over and over and over again! BUT, I am a Christian.

A true Christian (and not one in name only) will also be a disciple of Christ. That is, he will have counted the cost of following the Lord and has totally committed his life to Jesus. He accepts the call to sacrifice and follows wherever the Lord leads. The disciple completely adheres to the teaching of Jesus, makes Christ his number-one priority and lives accordingly. He is actively involved in making other disciples
For example, Christ teaches us to give and help the poor an share our wealth. But yet, when I walk past a shop and I see a poor person begging for a loaf of bread at the shop entrance, I walk right past him and pretend he is not there?
Is this what Christ teaches us? And if it is, what does that make me?
Well, its definitely not a disciple if that's what Christ teaches.
So its easy just to fall back under the 'Christian' brand because that's what everyone else does, or should I truly follow Christ and be more than 'just a Christian'.

We are told in Gods Word in Matthew 28:19 -
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Disciples of nations, people who truly follow God, follow the teachings of Christ, look up to Christ for guidance.
I don't want to just be a Christian, bracketed under a brand name (which could possibly have been  a derogatory term way back then).
I want to be a disciple, a doer, not a brand name!
And with 'doing Christs teachings', I will be able to bless others in the power of Christ and in turn receive blessing myself through Christs Spirit.

So, what are you? A disciple or a Christian?