"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 is the blog verse for here

Sunday, October 31, 2010

WHAT DOES BEING A CHRISTIAN MEAN? Part 2

Part 1 was on last Sunday
Part 2 
This video was carefully chosen because it speaks volumes for my answer... to this very important question: What does being a Christian mean?


Before I start to give you my personal answer, I'd like to share with you my first response that I left in the comments of Debbie's original beginning of this question at "THE WAY WE WERE" back on Oct. 18th and the 21st when she gave an excellent, anointed, and empowered response to:
WHAT DOES BEING A CHRISTIAN MEAN? 
My initial comment was this:

Hopefully, I can answer this without speaking of any denominations but living in the country that I now reside more than USA, I find myself qualifying what this means to me often.

Rather than specify a denomination to many when asked, I answer, "I'm a Christian" but I believe I have done this at least the last 20 years, so I refer to that rather than any church or denomination. I have changed this (church denomination) throughout my life from one to another to the one I have been since the late 80s. Yet my foundational truths or beliefs probably have not changed but deepened and expanded.


My most simple answer, when I respond is, one who follows Christ.

Then I take this opportunity to share who Jesus Christ is to me personally or even in the Bible. 

I do believe being a Christian is an honor, privilege and a great calling with responsibility to love as Jesus does. In order to do this, one needs to know who Jesus is and of course, Jesus says we come to the Father through Him, so we must also know the Father and all 'they' encompass. We need this to follow those beliefs. We need the power of His Holy Spirit to witness and understand better what the Bible says. I strongly believe being a Christian takes more than saying you are or what church you go to, it means DOING what Jesus teaches (and what His Word says... not a legalistic church, or any specific preacher, priest, pastor, speaker, denomination, etc. but God's Word).

By now, I should probably have written my own post and linked because of the length. Being married to someone, who is not a follower of Jesus Christ, makes me ever more aware and ready to know, love and serve Jesus so he or others may come to know the One, in whom I place my life, my everything in His hands and trust in Him and His Word as infallible. So I need to know His Word and Him and how this changes or impacts me daily as I try to grow closer!

The reason I start with sharing my immediate response is so that you can understand why I chose to continue asking people to share their answer. I gave you time to think about this before answering. At the time this came up, I had done a series of "blogs" on FOLLOW HIM. So this was the next logical step to share... what does it mean to follow Him? it's more than the song I shared... though it's a good start...

Since the word "Christian" comes from the Greek Word "christianos" meaning "follower of Christ", this was pretty basic. 

However, the term is only used 3 times in the New Testament (the second part of the Bible starting with the life of Jesus Christ) in the book of Acts (the beginnings of the church). [Wikipedia can give you a complete definition and study of the term Christian HERE]. 
  • Acts 11:26, "and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came about that for an entire year they met with the church, and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."
  • Acts 26:28, "And Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."
  • 1 Peter 4:16,"but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God."

But when I did a Bible search, I found 41 occurrences.

The reason I want to share this is so we are personally telling what being a Christian means, not how to become a Christian (there is a difference to me). Although becoming a Christian is intertwined with being a Christian, of course. I could have written this without any scripture (verses from the Bible) but because each one is the Living Word of God, it confirms for me what I believe, yet I think you could read this, without the red verses, and you would still see what being a Christian means to me.

This is important because being a "follower" of Christ means that we need to know and accept who Jesus Christ is. One of the ways to come to know who He is, involves reading and studying about Him. Yet this is not enough, unless and until you accept and believe what is written about Him. Everything necessary for being and behaving as a Christian comes through Jesus Christ, who lives within us. 

"Christ lives in me," Paul explained, "and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" Galatians 2:20


Being a Christian means you have expressed faith in who He is, and it means you are putting action behind your faith. It’s not enough to just believe, you must express your belief in Him, your love for Him, by doing the things He told you to do. Neither is it good enough to just do the things Jesus did; you must believe He is the Son of God who gave His life for you. 

Following Christ brings a dramatic change of life and purpose. It is deciding that you want and actually need to have a relationship with Him. It's like getting to know a friend, it's all about establishing a relationship. Jesus Christ has already done His part and now you need to choose to be His friend and get to know Him. But your belief is so much more. He will change you from the inside out, if you allow Him and His Word to take effect and impact you.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

A Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who assumed the form of a man, gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice for our wrongdoings (known as sin), 

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

...then He rose from the dead to defeat death for all of us. This is the core of our belief. 

We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Romans 6:4

So this is it, in a simple capsule, but also it's very deep and profound to accept and understand.

 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. " John 3:16-17

As one begins to put this together, you want to share so much, for fear of leaving out a key point or some essential part but you also do not want to overwhelm someone. Yet forming these basic ideas helps to lay the groundwork of what I believe. What you believe is of ultimate importance and an eternal decision of choice!

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Having a faith in Jesus does not make one a follower of Christ; it simply makes you a believer (where I am in my daily readings Luke at the time I'm writing)

 "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23

Being a "follower" involves a bigger commitment. It starts with a decision. It is not about a church. It is not about a religion. It truly is accepting the relationship that only Jesus Christ can fill in your life. It's taking the time to get to know Him and build a relationship with Him. Choosing to do just as He asked the first people that joined Him to become disciples.

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (NIV)


Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. (NLT)

Matthew 16:25 (49 kb)


(I will continue this with "What does being a Christian mean? or how do I follow Jesus Christ?) in Part 3  since this is already a long blog... this seems like a good place to break.

Jesus desires for us to follow Him today and spread His Good News.

A really great post to confirm the above beliefs is written when I entered (or started writing) "My Secret Garden"... if you missed this series, please go back and bookmark them (especially Secret Garden #2) and take the time to return to the key ones in the beginning of the: 





* if you'd like to respond with your own blog on this question, you can LINK here.

HIDING FROM GOD

Great message on LifeChurch TV Online... "MASQUERADE" with Pastor Craig Groeschel. They have services on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday...CT 12, 1:30, 3pm, 4:30, 7 and 9 (Sun.)+ Plenty of choices to learn how to UNMASK ourselves...



[source]

Not sure if I can share their notes... but I really believe that MORE of you besides me need this!!! So here they are...

MASQUERADE—1

HIDING FROM GOD

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Genesis 2:24

no shame: buwsh (boosh); to be ashamed; to be disappointed, to be confused, to become ________.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis 3:7

hypocrite: hupokrites (hoop-ok-ree-tace’); an actor playing a role, someone wearing a __________ to misrepresent reality.
SATAN’S SHAME GAME
• You ___________ something deeply painful or sinful.
• You connect ________ happened with _____ you are.
• You believe the only way to be safe is to _________.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:9-10

WHERE ARE YOU WITH GOD?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

TALK IT OVER (which means share in the comments too)
  • What kind of mask do you hide behind the most? Happy? Successful? Holy? Or something else?

  • What’s something that happened that you connected to who you are? After you share it, say out loud that you recognize that it’s a lie.

  • Where are you with God? Talk about your number. How did it feel to talk about that in church?
Drop the mask this week by talking it over with someone who will help you take your next step out of hiding. Find more at www.lifechurch.tv/talkitover.

You'll get the answers to the fill in the blanks if you listen ONLINE 




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64uVGQ7EcjI
Though I don't think I'm HIDING behind a MASK before God or even before you (my readers), I really would like to cover myself or mask my true feelings when I'm down or struggling rather than face dealing with GRIEF anymore. But it's when I go forth, not thinking about death of any of my loved ones, or the suicide death of a close friend this past year, that I get hit... and some little thing strikes a chord deep inside of me and I break, I cry and I have to walk away and hide and seek shelter in My Refuge, asking Him to heal. I strongly believe my Blog verse from Isaiah 61 that there is a garment of praise, an oil of gladness, comfort when I mourn and the beauty of His crown. I do not want to ever be inconsistent with God. Yet throughout my life, I have struggled with highs and lows (my husband says I'm bipolar, but PRAISE GOD, if I am, God is doing great miracles in me, because I'm not on any meds)... no masks for me, I am who I am and what I am and I wear honesty on my sleeve...  (funny thing I hardly wear anything with sleeves anymore).

I do not want to play the SHAME GAME of satan's. I do not want to ever be considered a HYPOCRITE! I ask that His Spirit would help me to be transparent and be changed today, drop all guards and HIDE MYSELF IN GOD not from God. Each of us wear masks in our daily living.

Truthfully, most of us wear masks. Sometimes, we wear masks because we want to appear more perfect than we are. But the reality of it is, all of us are so very imperfect. We allow these different masks to cover or hide who we truly are. Maybe, just maybe blogging allows us to drop our mask... or have we just picked up another "mask"... as a blogger?

"People often wear masks to conceal their deepest innermost issues. We hide them from others as we fear their disapproval. Very often Christians wear masks as well. Often, people feel that they must present themselves a certain way in order to fit in at church. For example, we wear our religious masks to conceal our guilt and shame. Sometimes we wear our happy mask to conceal our fear, anger, hurt, grudges, worry and even depression. In truth, church is a place where the masks should come off and we should be genuine before God. God’s house is the place where we should bring the undesirable things in our life and lay them before our heavenly Father. We should not be concerned about what others think but only about what God knows."


Are you willing to allow satan to mask you or keep you hiding from God or others or play his games? How is this being true to ourselves? How do we truly come face to face with our true being, if we are continually hiding our true self?

LET US BE REAL WITH GOD FIRST and THEN WITH ONE ANOTHER!


Psalm 139:7-9

Where can I go from your Spirit?
       Where can I flee from your presence?

  If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
       if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

  If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
       if I settle on the far side of the sea,

I think my post later today on
WHAT IT MEANS BEING A CHRISTIAN?
may help you
surrender,
drop the mask
and
BE SURE

"Be a follower, not a fugitive. Run to the Lord, not away from the Lord. 
Hide in the Lord, not from the Lord. 
When the Lord sees you next, may He see your face, not your back."

"Dear God, thank You that no matter where I am, what condition I am in, or what I have done or have failed to do, You know exactly where I am and what condition I am in. Thank You, that You are pursuing me, not to punish me, but because You want me to come to You for forgiveness, healing, and wholeness. Help me to stop hiding and stop running except to run to Your open, loving, and forgiving arms. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name"


Are you ready to experience the glorious relief of removing your mask before God who loves you dearly? or are you too comfortable hiding behind your mask and you've gotten use to "wearing your fig leaves"?



Many Christians wear masks. We try to hide out true character from each other, and the most amazing thing is that we think we can hide our true character from God!  Masks are like fig leaves, and God can see through fig leaves!  We need to let God change our character so we don’t have to wear masks and start making healthy choices, not stay comfortable with hurts, hang ups and habits we've hidden behind all of our lives. Let His Spirit transform you and reveal to you your mask... and allow Him to change you from the inside out so you don't have to hide.



* Denise over at Shortybear's Place wrote a really good post on this in the church



DON'T MISS THIS! REV. BILLY GRAHAM'S MESSAGE: HEAVEN [Life and Death] ARE YOU PREPARED?

for the SPANISH VERSION of this

Happy 96th Birthday Billy Graham!
November 7 (1918)
Thank you for your dedicated life!



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This blog is ALL about HIM, for HIM, not about me!
I hope that is what you see
this is why I am



To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!

DIOS TE BENDIGA
GOD BLESS YOU

always

Peggy



Be sure to catch Oct.'s Challenge of Prayer for our Marriages above in my PRAYER page also in this POST here and at TWW with Darlene Schacht, author of "Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption..." (book review) then in November, a Book Club at Women Living Well on Mon. and Thurs.
Pray for my marriage and yours!

Come see another "31 Days of "Greater Good"
on my MISSIONS Blog!



IS THERE ROOM in your INN for JESUS?

COME to "LAS POSADAS" All Church CHRISTmas Pageant (just click below on each one) to travel with Mary, Joseph & I to the Intro, 1st Posada, 2nd Posada, 3rd Posada, 4th Posada, 5th Posada, 6th Posada, 7th Posada, FINAL POSADA December 24th My POSADA Reflections