Grown Up Christians

It’s not about age, it’s about spiritual maturity

Ephesians 4:1-3
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

In 1787, walking out of Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin was asked the question as to whether or not we had a republic or a monarchy? Franklin replied “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our nation has struggled to keep a republic ever since.

In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul challenged the church at Ephesus to “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The challenge is “if you can keep it.” UNITY and PEACE in the body of Christ are two things that every member of the body must strive to KEEP. Satan knows how difficult this can be, so what he does is work to sow discord and division through doctrinal, political, and racial strife.

While the world will always struggle with these things, the body of Christ was established to demonstrate what a UNIFIED and PEACEFUL BODY looks like to a lost world. When we allow the things of this world to infiltrate Christ’s body, then we have become a friend of the world, and the scripture says:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Paul gave a solution to our delima:

Ephesians 4:14-16
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

It’s time for us all to GROW UP!

Ray Stewart is Senior Pastor of Grace and Truth Baptist Church in Independence, MO. Devoted to the doctrinal teaching of the Word of God, he sees the church as a place … “Where the People are the Church”

Don’t Blame the World or Its People

The issues we bemoan about the deficiency of human compassion and the woes of society aren’t simply issues surrounding the sorrows and atrocities being played out in private and in public.

No, the real issue is, has always been, and will remain for a while yet to come – “that through one man, sin entered the world, and death through sin, so that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).” The good book (the Bible) has been thrown out with the bath water (spiritually speaking). 

History is merely repeating itself – in biblical days they, too, did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25 – In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.). And with each generation mankind draws further and further away (Proverbs 30:12) from the one and true God (John 17:3) of the biblical text.

No matter how we wrap it or present it, the issue is SIN and the REJECTION of Jesus Christ by which man remains captive to his natural born sinful state. While there can be a life that appears on the surface to be flourishing, prospering, joyful, and in all ways living at the pinnacle of earthly existence – the unseen destruction and condemnation of this same life may be unrealized until it is too late.

The freedom of choices comes with a price tag no man is able to pay. Rejection of the blood sacrifice made to give one a new nature, a new heart, and a new mind is a freedom steeped in bondage – to the flesh, to lusts, and to pride.

Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, wasn’t a scapegoat – He was the sacrificial Lamb of God – the redeemer of man from sin – the hope of everlasting life (Galatians 6:8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.).

When people choose their own way they are simply doing what sinners do – and we can’t really blame them for that. But what we can do – those who know of the eternal security found in Christ Jesus – is to continually stand and proclaim the Gospel Truth – being blameless toward those who reject the word of truth.

Philippians 2:14-16 (KJV)

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

What God Saw in Me

God’s word is our mirror

Gladys Wilborn © March 25, 2021. All rights reserved.

I was recently moved by a post a sister-in-Christ sent out to our text group. It gave a different perspective on the opening verse of the Book of Esther regarding Queen Vashti. In short, this queen’s husband summoned her to be put on display with the rest of his kingdom as a source of pride in all that he possessed. For this king, his queen was a beautiful possession he wanted to show off to his princes.

This sister then referenced a similar scenario found in Job 1, wherein God offers up Job as someone in his kingdom worth showing off to his wayward son, Satan. In verse 10, God says, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man…

The question posed by my sister-in-Christ was this: Are you a showoff? Does God see something in you that he wants to show off to others?

It was time for a session of spiritual self-examination.

The first thing that came to mind were questions. For example, when you go to the doctor’s office they hand you a list for you to check off personal information about yourself, i.e., your name, birthday, ailments, medicines you take, etc. The purpose is to give them an overall view of your physical health status.

The questions that came to mind were similar in that they were meant to give an idea of my spiritual state of being. To examine myself, I wrote down questions and then went to the Bible for answers.

  • Am I being loyal to God?

Psalm 119:59 – “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

  • How is my attitude?

Psalm 119:60 – “I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

  • Am I seeking God in the word?

Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

  • Is God my trust?

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

  • Am I praying?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.

  • Am I being stirred by his word?

2 Timothy 1:6 – Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

  • Am I quenching the Holy Spirit?

1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Quench not the Spirit.

I wanted to take this test to see my spiritual state and to be reminded that what God saw in me was the workmanship of His Son. God saw me saved by faith in Jesus Christ, redeemed, transformed, sanctified, made righteous, holy, and Spirit-filled.

God saw me as part of a local church, growing in my new life to be Christ-like, using my spiritual gift/talents, serving in the body, giving financially and unselfishly of my time and energy, sharing the faith, walking in the Spirit, clothed in the armour of God.

In my self-examination, I was able to see what God saw in me – someone who was daily being made perfect in Jesus Christ

The First Lie Ever Told

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:” – Genesis 3:4

Look at where that got us. The God-created beings, Adam and Eve, were duped by the craftiness of one whom had fallen from great heights. [word to the wise: be careful around those who lose their lofty crowns… they can be venomous (full of malice & spite)]. Eve was drawn into the lie and Adam was enticed by the fruit the lie brought forth (sin).

Let’s be honest here. As much as many of us would say we hate liars, lying, and lies we, in fact, accept liars, lying, and lies because of the fruit it carries with it. We’ve even lied to ourselves to avoid facing the truth of our own character deficiencies.

So in 2020, amidst myriad lies and liars in a multitude of social, governmental, medical, and spiritual states, can we all face this truth:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:12

We are ALL GOING TO DIE! And as fearful and harsh as that may seem to many, it is a truth that began over 6,000 years ago in a garden where a man and woman listened to the voice of a creation instead of the voice of their CREATOR.

God’s arms are STILL WIDE OPEN and ready to receive ALL who will accept the gift 🎁 of ETERNAL LIFE through His Son, Jesus Christ. And the beauty of it all is it requires the simplest act on our part:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:9-11

I have recovered from many of the lies told me and the ones I have told myself. Yet, I have grown wise enough to know there is one lie we can’t afford to leave unchecked…

Fire and Brimstone

Love is a foundational truth in the Bible.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

However, in these last days let us not forget the ministry of reconciliation. The Christian mandate was given in Matthew 28:19-20 to “… go thee therefore…”

Accordingly, as we demonstrate the loving sacrifice of the living God, let us not forget the other truth we must share regarding God’s wrath to come.

FIRE & BRIMSTONE

I Love My Body

© Wanda J. Murry, October 1, 2020

The Body is an amazingly beautiful piece of human art. It is especially eye-catching when you dress it in fine apparel. It stands out and beckons you to take a second and third look; to draw closer for up-close and personal vetting. Someone said that beauty was in the eye of the beholder; yet, the Body invites depth that goes beyond the naked eye. It’s the only way to see if it’s only skin deep.

I don’t boast about much, but I couldn’t miss an opportunity to celebrate my Body. Let’s face it – if I don’t brag about my Body, no one will know how magnificent it is. It would be a great disservice for me not to boast about my Body when many are searching for one that looks and feels as good as mine does.

My Body is so satisfying I know if I share a little about it, you will be aroused and want to explore it. And that’s precisely my intention – to awaken an emotional desire in your heart to draw you nearer to it. You see:

My Body is:

  • sweet like sugar
  • comforting like a warm blanket
  • welcoming and protective

My Body will:

  • penetrate your intellect
  • make you thirsty & hungry for more
  • fill you with love, joy, & peace

and, My Body provides:

  • the embrace you desire
  • the truth you require
  • the home you admire

I celebrate my Body today because it has been good to me in ways seen and unseen. It nourishes me even as it cleanses me of the garbage I’ve taken in. My Body is my gift to all who will enter its doors, which I share proudly today:

Grace and Truth Baptist Church

15904 E. 23rd Street South – Independence, MO 64055

It is a Body that consistently equips the sons and daughters of God to be more than just Believers. 

I dedicate this blog post especially to my sisters in the Women’s Ministry, who never cease to amaze me as they teach me by word and deed, what it means to be a woman with a heart for God, given to hospitality. By demonstration, they are the epitome of Abigail, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Hannah, Deborah, Mary, the mother, Elizabeth, Priscilla, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Sarah, and more. Perfecting their state as virtuous women, they are daughters in whom I believe God is well pleased.

Sisters, you are a huge part of why I love my Body!

Song of Solomon 7:1

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

Proverbs 12:4a

virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:…

Proverbs 31:10

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

My Ever-Expanding Family

a bigger picture with a better view

Someone recently said of me, “if Wanda tells you that someone is her brother or sister, that may not necessarily be true. Wanda calls everybody her brother and sister.” I laugh at my friend. Guilty as charged!

I grew up with one sister, Gwen, in Kansas City, Kansas. We are our mother’s only children. At 11 years old, I had the great pleasure of meeting two sisters and a brother: Talone, Pudgy, and Tasha. They are my father’s children. I am hoping above all hope to meet my father’s firstborn, Sheila. Sidenote: Sheila, if you’re out there, I sure would love to meet you!

I am the oldest of all of my siblings except for Sheila. Biologically, I have five blood-related siblings. And if I may give a brief shout-out, they all beautiful and exceptional in their own unique ways. Love you guys!

However, I can’t count the actual number of brothers and sisters I have on this earth. Their numbers exceed my imagination; plus, I don’t know them all and, I’d probably be overwhelmed if I did. Some of them I know personally, and they are located all around the world in places like Atlanta, Canada, Africa, Arizona, Kansas, etc., etc., etc. There are many I will never meet in person in my lifetime on earth. I do know this, though… my brothers and sisters are innumerable.

The truth is that my father has a lot of children, and he expands his family daily. This ever-expanding family is global, stemming from every ethnicity, across the globe. My father is an international lover… of souls. I’m also an international lover, as I attempt to emulate my father as he’s instructed me to:

John 17:22

  • And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

1 Corinthians 10:17

  • For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 12:12

  • For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Romans 12:5

  • So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Galatians 3:26

  • For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:7

  • For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

I love my ever-expanding family. If you have placed your trust, hope, and life in Jesus Christ, I hope you do too. It’s both necessary and profitable to the kingdom of God that Christians see themselves as being part of a global, spiritual family. Jesus made it clear the value he has for his spiritual family:

Matthew 12:48-50

  • 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
  • 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
  • 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love and cherish my biological family. I’m to love them no different than I love my spiritual brothers and sisters. God even commanded that we love our enemies. So loving people in general is what a Jesus follower should be known for. 

1 John 4:20-21

  • 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
  • 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Without wrapping our heart and head around this spiritual mandate, we limit ourselves to earth-bound thinking and pursuits that add no heavenly benefit to the kingdom of God. It may seem extreme but at the end of the day we are called to have the same mind as Christ, our Savior:

Philippians 2:5

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Spoiler Alert: dear brother and sister in Christ, this earth is not our home! So love the ever-expanding family of God. And while you are at it, do what you can to add to it!

In A Relationship With God

The basis for all the others…

I was 11 years old when I first began to hear about the God I would later come to love. He was a mysterious stranger that intrigued me. I read the stories about him in my children’s bible. I listened intently to the lessons the teachers taught about all the things he did for me. My young mind was in awe of this invisible person who took on flesh like mine but was a Spirit-being.

It wasn’t long before I knew that I wanted what he was offering. This Jesus, who loved me so much that he died for me, drew me in. My mother loved me strongly, but I didn’t know of any man who lovely me this deeply. Plus, at 12 years old, I knew I didn’t like pain; I was sensitive to the hurts of others. So the option of not burning in hell for eternity because someone loved me like this, in my young mind, was a no-brainer.

Over the last 45 years of my life, I have been married to the Lord. I won’t lie: I haven’t been the best wife to him. But, because he has proven to me time and time again that his love for me is unwavering, my heart has desired to become a better wife. My trust in this husband has never been abused, misused, or hurtful. Every day this husband has proven himself faithful, longsuffering, and trustworthy.

Being in a relationship with God is awe-inspiring. I don’t mind sharing His love. He has an abundance of love to spread around to any and everyone who desires to join him in holy spiritual matrimony. I want everyone to experience the love I’ve found in my relationship with Christ, and it’s so simple, a child with understanding can do it.

Just repeat after me:

Lord,

I know that I am a sinner because sin was passed on to me through Adam, a fallen sinner, according to Romans 5:12, 3:23, and 6:23.

I know to become a child of God, I must be born again, according to John 3:3.

I believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and died, was buried, and rose again. I confess this belief with my mouth and ask you, Lord, to send your Holy Spirit to live within me, according to Romans 10:9-11.

I believe this in my heart, confess it with my mouth that I am now a child of God.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Welcome to the Family of Christ.

You are now in a relationship with God.

(Reach out to me if you accepted the Gift – I’d love to welcome you!)

Lifestyle Choices

[Wasting our greatest investment]

To be good at ANYTHING, we have to study and practice it until it becomes second nature. The great thing about the Word of God is that it is inexhaustible. And, when we study God’s Word, it not only becomes a part of us, but it transforms us from the inside out.

Just as a butterfly starts out as a different creature and then goes through a transformation process, so does the person who has given their life to Christ. And just as a caterpillar can end up a butterfly or a moth, a person can end up “born again” but without the distinct spiritual beauty that clearly identifies them as a new creature.

Of course, this is no sadder than a person who goes to college and gets a degree they never use. Which bears the question, “if we study a manual to learn our profession, why don’t we study the Bible to master our confession of faith?

At the end of the day, it’s about mastering our lifestyle choices.

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:9-11

Checkmate 2020

God is the Righteous Judge

The bottom line is ALWAYS THE SAME … and, IT’S NOT A GAME!

We Choose Who We Follow!

We have FREE WILL to do whatever it is that we desire to do. And, we must know, that there will always be consequences to every thing we choose to do, and to be.

There are no gray areas here, no fence to straddle, though many times we prefer the fence top on a multitude of topics. There are ONLY two options:

~ God’s way or Man’s way ~

Always keep in mind that man, regardless of his title, position, education, substance, power, ethnicity, culture, heritage, or anything else – at the end of the day – is just a man, as we all are:  born in sin, in need of a Savior, and on his way to hell if he chooses to reject the gift of Salvation offered through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

It was, is, and remains

the only sacrifice acceptable to God for mankind’s sins! If you put your trust and allegiance in any man or idol over God, you’ve made a CHOICE for your life and your eternal resting place. And, there are no…

ifs, ands, or buts about it.

~ CHECKMATE ~

Joshua 24:15 – And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.