Tag Archives: Christian

The Church, should we pay taxes?

31 Oct

Let’s talk about something that’s very controversial. In our modern times, the fear of economic failure is at the top of every politically minded individual’s list. These individuals make up many of the religious organizations through-out our country. The question I and many others are asking is, should the churches and religious organizations pay their share of taxes? As we know most religious organizations and churches are for the most part tax except. The question is, should they be paying taxes and should we be reconsidering not only the constitutional aspects of the question but also what the word of God says about it?
In Mark 12:17 (NIV) we read this. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The statement comes from a discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees and is also found in Matthew 22. Jesus was asked whether or not everyone should pay their share of taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus responded by asking whose portrait and inscription was found on the coin held by the Pharisees. The y responded that it was Caesars portrait and inscription and thus Jesus made the above statement in Mark. Could we compare the same question to money today? Whose inscription is carved into every coin? What symbols are found on every bill? What would Jesus say about this topic?
Obviously this topic is one that can come with much resistance and with much negative feedback, but should we as Christians rethink things just a little? As we know tax exemption was not always around. It wasn’t until around 1954 that the idea was introduced by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. This introduction was labeled 501c3 exception status. The problem with such tax exemption is it also detailed certain requirements of any organization approved for the exemption. One such requirement was that no 501c3 approved organization would be involved in any political candidate’s campaign or approval or disapprove of any candidate uses the religious platform. The requirement goes on from there.
A question we as the church body should ask ourselves, is have we as Christians, traded our voice for the benefit of more money for our churches? Have we traded the authority of God for the benefits of more comfort and for less religious resistance? Have a majority of our churches done wrong by applying and excepting this tax free status? I think it’s a question that at least deserves a moment’s thought don’t you? May we ask ourselves if the church’s voice has grown much more silent in the last 60 years or so?
Obviously the added revenue from all the religious organizations and churches would improve the financial status of our great country if applied correctly, but could it possibly hurt in other ways, that is a question to also ask ourselves. Currently much of the burden that should lie of the backbone of the church currently resides on the backbone of our federal government. Things such as feeding the hungry and housing the homeless are responsibilities that should be the focus point of all churches and not simply to what color carpet we should install this year in our sanctuary. Would the church as a whole be ready to stand up and act as the big brother of the helpless and the hurting in a manner much higher than we see today? To become an active voice again, the church will most definitely have to be ready to do so.

This question on taxes is not a small group thought, but is found throughout the country in growing numbers. I am a most definitely a Christian and my personal opinion is that we should reconsider our tax exemptions. I say this as a man that feels the Church’s voice has been suppressed by actions such as this and in order to regain the respect and authority the church once had, it will have to also use its resources to help the very country in which grants its religious freedom.
Some would say we as Christians should stay out of all politics all together. I ask this question however. If there are no Godly people or no godly representation found in the elected people, than how can we as Christians expect anything but evil things in return? If we want God back in our country, than we must have Godly people willing to be a voice for his church and that voice must be carried to the doors of the white house.

 

This is an article from the HUB PAGES,

Numerology, atrology etc, it’s not child’s play, it’s dangerous.

30 Oct

Try to name a newspaper or secular magazine today that doesn’t contain some sort of horoscope. The world has diluted astrology so much that many Christians forget that it is actually has its roots in an occult practice of fortune telling. While some people look to the stars to get advice, the scripture may make some Christians think twice about relying on the practice.

Astrology began as a form of fortune telling, which the Bible considers an occult, and at times, a useless practice. Astrology is based upon the use of stars and planets to “read into” a person’s past, present, and future. For many astrologists it is a belief that the position of certain celestial entities have an impact on our lives. For other astrologists there is a belief that there are gods in those celestial bodies that impact our lives. The Bible does warn against worshipping other Gods, though few Christians support the idea that the stars and planets are actually representations of other Gods.

However, the Bible does state that occult practices are wrong, and that we should not seek out fortune tellers, mediums, and practitioners of occult practices. While most of the predictions we see in the paper are fairly benign guesses, there is still concern among some Christian groups about astrology. The main concern is when Christians look to astrology for advice over God. If Christians look to astrology first then they are taking their eyes and trust away from God. Yet most Christians only glance at a horoscope to laugh at the generalized predictions, feeling no need to delve further into occult practices or divining the future.

Exodus 20:3 – “Do not worship any other gods besides me.” (NLT)

2 Kings 21:6 – “Manasseh even sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practices sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.” (NLT)

Deuteronomy 4:19 – “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. (NIV)

The Bible states that the stars, along with the sun and moon, were created to give light to the Earth. God is the one who gives Christians advice. However, the stars can be quite useful, as in the case of the wise men needing to find the baby Jesus, in providing location. In this case, God used the star to light the way.

The Bible is actually quite critical of astrologers, asserting that they cannot save people as God can. In Isaiah, the Bible points to this issue when God proclaims that Doom will come to Babylon and there is nothing the astrologists can do to save the people from it. However, in today’s era of generalized horoscopes, most Christians do not use astrology as a way to predict major events.

Genesis 1:16-17 – “God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, to shine down upon the earth. He also made the stars. God sent these lights in the heavens to light the earth.” (NLT)

Isaiah 47:13 – “All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.” (NIV)

Do you post your faith, or live it?

25 Oct

One of the interesting aspects of Social Media is that it allows Christians to become more vocal about their faith, but at the same time, it also gives them an escape from being more active in that same faith. I know a lot of people are trying to figure out what I mean, but bear with me.

If you look at Facebook, you’ll notice that Christian Posts far outweigh secular ones (that is a documented fact). But yet for some reason, there are fewer and fewer people who claim Jesus Christ as Lord. Now how can there be such a huge medium to spread the word of Jesus all over the world, yet His name is shrinking from people’s lips? Easy, people are talking about Him, but not showing others about Him.

It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard and proclaim your love for Jesus while others around you are suffering but it takes pure faith to see the suffering and go out to do something about it. Now I don’t think there’s anything wrong with posting quotes and verses on Facebook, in fact I love it. What I a simply saying is that we need to combine it with active participation in the world. If we combine the power of social media, and active, personal evangelism, then we can rock this world for Jesus.

Take time to get out there today and practice being Christ-like by being the example of Jesus where others can see and feel you. Continue posting about Jesus for all the world to see, but let’s focus on practicing what we post. Star slow if you have to, but just do it… :)

 

James 1:23-25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

 

James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 

James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

If I were the Devil

24 Oct

If I were the Devil I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man’s effort, instead of God’s blessings;

I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;

I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;

I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;

I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;

I would make it socially acceptable to take one’s own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;

I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;

I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a law suit;

I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young;

I would get sports heroes to take on the job to advertise them;

I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family, the backbone of any nation;

I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable…..If the family crumbles, so does the nation;

I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;

I would try to convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;

I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;

I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;

I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.

Paul Harvey………….Good Day.

If I’m not healed of a sickness, does that mean my faith is weak, or I’m a bad Christian?

22 Oct

I recently had someone “Command my Lupus to be gone in the name of Jesus.” Well obviously it hasn’t gone anywhere, but the big surprise came when he said it wasn’t gone because of a lack of faith. My first instinct was to believe this false teaching and feel like a failure, but then I got a dose of reality and remembered that sometimes our afflictions are for a reason. In my case, “I consider it all jpy” so that I may minister to others with the disease.

Many Christians have firmly believed that God would heal a loved one only to become discouraged because they remain sick. or pass away. . They prayed in faith. Some believed that they had confirmation from other believers or from other miracles. So they were genuinely surprised, even dumbfounded, when the loved one died. What they had believed with such certainty turned out not to be true. Their faith could not heal the person — only God could heal, and he chose not to, despite their prayers, their faith, God’s love and God’s promises.

When such disappointments happen, a new trial sets in. If faith in the healing turned out to be a mistake, what about faith in Christ? Was it also a mistake? That is one of the dangers of the “word of faith” teaching — it links faith in our Savior to faith in specific predictions.

Did Jesus promise to heal every disease? He did not heal Epaphroditus, as least not as fast as they wanted him to (Phil. 2:27). Even in his earthly ministry, Jesus did not heal everyone (John 5:3-9).

Didn’t Jesus die for us, forgiving our sins? Doesn’t that mean that we have no reason to suffer? Some say so, but we should test this line of reasoning with another fact: Jesus died for us. Does this mean that we should never die? We already have eternal life (John 5:24; 11:26). But the fact is, every Christian dies. There is something wrong with the line of reasoning. We do not yet experience everything Jesus accomplished for us.

There will come a time when we will be raised imperishable. There will come a time when we never experience pain. There will come a time when we receive the full benefits of Jesus’ redemption. But that time is not yet. Now, we share in Jesus’ sufferings (1 Pet. 2:20-21).

Jesus promised persecution, not freedom from pain and sorrow. When Paul was beaten, stoned, and imprisoned, he felt pain. Paul had great faith, but also many sufferings (2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 3:10; 4:12). Although Jesus atoned for all sin, Christians still suffer despite their faith — and sometimes because of their faith.

We suffer from persecution, and we suffer the incidental pains of living in a world in which sin is still common. Sin hurts innocent people, and sometimes we are the innocent people who are hurt. Sometimes it results in early death, sometimes in slow and pain-filled death. We may suffer physical damage from a burning, a beating, a car accident or asbestos fibers. Our health may suffer from exposure to cold, from smoke in a house fire or chemicals in our food. We may suffer from wild animals, large or small, or even microorganisms. God has not guaranteed to protect all his people from all possible problems.

Is it always God’s will to heal people who have faith in Christ? The biblical evidence is that he sometimes does, and sometimes does not. Stephen was killed, James was killed. Eventually all the first Christians died of something. Yet, how many times did God save them out of danger before they eventually died? Perhaps many times.

Have you ever wondered about preachers who claim to heal all infirmities, yet they themselves wear eyeglasses? There is no reason why biblical promises would apply to one kind of ailment but not the other. The scriptures sometimes cited in support of a universal promise of healing do not make any exceptions for eyesight, age, accidents or anything else. But both Scripture and experience tell us that these verses were not intended as universal guarantees.

Yes, some have been healed, sometimes dramatically. These are examples of special favor, grace and mercy. We should not take these examples of exceptional grace and create universal promises out of them.

And we especially should not imply that people who aren’t healed do not have faith. Sometimes their faith is demonstrated through their suffering — they remain cheerfully confident that God will do what is best for them. Whether they live or whether they die, whether they have prosperity or poverty, they trust in God. There is nothing wrong with their faith. What is wrong is a teaching that implies that they are somehow not doing enough.

Just a thought for today,

Pastor Mike