The Ultimate Cultural Sin — Intolerance

it considered worse to judge evil than to do evil

Tolerance is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

Are you tolerant? As Christians, we are called to love others.  I Corinthians 13 says that love is patient, kind, and it is not rude.  So we are bound by Biblical principles to be patient and kind to those of different opinions and behaviors that we do not necessarily agree with.

In our culture, the only wrong –is saying that something is wrong.

It’s actually quite confusing because we are told we are wrong for holding to our Biblical beliefs.   For example, Kirk Cameron was a guest on the Piers Morgan show to promote his movie, Monumental.  He had no plans to discuss issues outside of this movie but he was asked for his views on gay marriage.

Now, if Kirk strayed from what the Bible says on gay marriage – that would be newsworthy. But he did not. He stated what scripture says and his personal convictions and that led into a huge media frenzy about how intolerant he is.

This is tricky for Christians, right?  Just verbalizing our beliefs immediately puts us into the category of “intolerant” – the ultimate cultural sin.  Which leads us to silence.

Our culture says there are “no principles, there is no right or wrong.”

We believe “the Bible defines right and wrong”.

Hence, each time we hold to our Biblical principles we are seen as intolerant.

How Tolerant Should a Christian Be?

 1.) Freedom of Religion.  In America, we have the freedom of religion. It is a wonderful blessing.  I believe all religions should have freedom to practice their faith and we should tolerate each other.  This does not mean we do not hold out the good news of the gospel to them, but it does mean that we are loving, patient and kind to those of other faiths.  We do not want to be clanging cymbals as I Corinthians 13 says.

We cannot expect someone that holds to a different set of beliefs to follow our set of beliefs nor do we have to adhere to their belief system.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” ~ I Corinthians 13:1

2.)  We should love our neighbor.  The greatest command is to love God and the second, is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Everyone God has placed into our lives – brothers, sisters, Aunts, Uncles, co-workers, church members, cashiers, bank tellers, coffee baristas, bus drivers, you name it – we are commanded to love them.  Be kind.  Be a friend.  Listen, love, comfort, encourage and pray for those God has placed into your life.  Love your neighbor, so when doors open for sensitive topics to be discussed, they know without a shadow of a doubt, you have their best interest at heart.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” ~Mark 12:30,31: 

3.)  Give Grace to your brothers and sisters in Christ.   I need grace.  I need the cross and redemption and I need forgiveness. Each of us are at different places on our journey.

Some have just begun and others, have been in the church all their lives. Some have been in strong, Bible preaching, doctrinally sound churches and others have been in weak churches.  Some have strong holds that they need to break free from.  Some have trials and burdens that are weighing them down and need the body of Christ to be there holding them up.  Some have not studied scripture and are led astray by culture – we need to lovingly lead them back to the truth.  Grace.

Galatians 6:1,2: Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

4.) Stand strong on the core doctrines of the faith.  As believers we have core doctrines. Jesus is God. The Bible is God breathed.  Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the 3rd day.

If someone claims to be a Christian but speaks against these core doctrines – no tolerance.  The church is not to tolerate heresy within the church.

2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

5.)  What the Bible calls sin – within the church – we call sin.  I sin –every.single.day.  I have to agree with the Bible on my sin.  When I lose my temper with my kids – that is sin. When I disrespect my husband – that is sin.  When I gossip with a friend – that is sin.  When I feel lazy or impatient or grumpy or whiney or mopey – that is sin.  The life of the believer is one of repentance and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.  As believers – we must not tolerate sin in our own lives.

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
I Corinthians 6:9-11 (
niv)

The church will become a very unfriendly place if we spend all our time confronting sin in other people’s lives.  So this is not about confrontation and more about self-reflection. What sin are you tolerating in your own life.

Repent.

C S Lewis A christian

This mantra of tolerance – to the point of accepting sin –  has seeped into the church.  Never have I seen sheep attacking each other in a pasture but that is exactly what is happening in the family of God.  Not only is the world silencing Christians, but the liberal, progressive Christians also demand us to be silent about Biblical principles with the threat that they will label us as intolerant, judgmental, and unloving.

Speaking the truth in love –is not unloving.

I will not be silent nor be silenced – not on-line nor in real life.  I believe that life comes through the written words of God.  That God transforms lives through his truth and his truth sets us free.  I want to see the lost souls saved, broken hearts healed, the spiritually dead risen to new life and those bound up in sin – free!

I love God. I love people.  And I want the people I love, to know the God I love.

But it comes with a cost.  Evangelism. Standing on God’s word. Defending truth.  It’s sweet when we see a love one saved but it’s not so sweet when we anger those we love and the gospel offends. That is when the words begin to be thrown like daggers at us…

intolerant

judgemental

hater

Pharisee

Ouch!

Next Monday, I will discuss how we should respond to these sorts of labels.

But I close with this question.

Are we sincerely loving others?  God defines sincere love in Romans 12:9:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**Previous Posts from this series:

Speaking the Truth In Love

The Authority of Scripture and 5 Ways to Defend Truth

 

 

 

What I’ve Feared All My Life

Lexi's birthday

One of our favorite annual Birthday traditions is a Daddy/Daughter date to Friendly’s Icecream Shoppe.

This is a really random post that has no spiritual implications but I have a confession…something I’ve feared for 38 years…

Dogs.

Yep – it’s lame I know.

It’s been a problem that has hounded me (no pun intended) since I was a child.

I LOVE people. And when you are afraid of a family’s dog – let’s just say – that family…does not love my fear of dogs.

I’m a huge inconvenience to have over because these poor dog owners ie. my real life friends – have to put their dog in the basement or their bedroom or laundry room or outside.  Oh – it’s so sad. I hate that I have this irrational fear.

So you say.  Well, what happens if they don’t put their dog away…sometimes I keep my cool. For example, at Christmas time my husband’s brothers dog walked through the house (a 90 lb dog that had gotten out of his cage) and I kept my cool.  If it had decided to actually hop up on the couch with me or barked at me – well the composed Courtney would have left the house and a frantic one would have showed herself.  I would probably jump on your back for a piggy back ride!  (Just saying I think that could happen – I wouldn’t really know from experience or anything. lol!! ;) )

So the story goes like this.  Alexis loves loves loves dogs.  She collects stuffed animals that are dogs, reads books about dogs, watches youtubes about dogs, begs for one all.the.time and insists on petting every dog we pass wherever we are (which is usually a deep breathing exercise for me).

So my husband is allergic to dogs. Praise the Lord! We have an excuse not to get one!  So it was easy to say – “sorry honey, but daddy’s allergic.”

Until one day my husband said – let’s get her a fish or a rabbit or….do you know where this is headed????

Yep – a puppy. Let me introduce you to “Snowball”.

puppy 1

Alexis turned 9 this past Tuesday and her dreams are coming true – (this could be a nightmare. Lol.).  This sweet puppy is only 2 weeks old, so I have 6-8 weeks to prepare for the arrival.

I have never had any pets before – another weird fact about me right? Not even a gold fish friends!

It’s time I face my fears.  Now I’m not real brave…because this dog stays quite small.  She’s a hypo-allergenic Bishon. But it’s a start.  You have to start somewhere right?

puppy 2

So dog lovers- any advice for this first time puppy owner?  I have no clue what I’ve just gotten myself into but I’m excited and looking forward to tackling this fear in 2014!  Maybe, just maybe if I come to your house – you can let your sweet dog roam free without having to give me a piggy back ride! Lol!

Do you have a dog – what kind?  Help me set my expectations for what’s coming into our home – I’d love to hear!  And does anyone know where I can get tranquilizers for my visits to Petsmart and the vet?  Haha – I’m kidding…well half kidding.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Comfy Cooking With Kids

Today’s post is written by Janelle from ComfyInTheKitchen.com

JanelleBookAmazonFile

Hi Ladies! I am SO excited to introduce to you the release of my latest ebook, ”Comfy Cooking with Kids“…  designed to help guide you and guide your children, in the kitchen!

 To celebrate, I’m practically giving it away for 99 cents at Amazon.com for 2 days only!

That’s RIGHT! From Wednesday, April 2nd until Friday, April 4th you can hurry over to get your Kindle version for JUST 99 cents!!! 

Please feel free to leave feedback on Amazon to let me know how you are enjoying the book! Also, feel free to share this deal with anyone- FB, Tweet, and Pin away!

I pray you’ll enjoy using this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. As always, I will continue to pray for your families and the ministry you’re teaching them ….starting in the kitchen!

About the ebook:

JanelleBookAmazonFile

 You’re about to teach your children all about how to get “Comfy in the Kitchen!”

As you go through this e-book with your kiddos, you’ll teach them how to: Use many basic kitchen tools, incorporate simple cooking techniques, properly set a table, make delicious recipes the entire family will love, and even teach them how to clean-up afterwards! All of the recipes displayed are handpicked to be simple enough for small children to make with a parent and/or older children to make on their own. A variety of different cooking tools and techniques are highlighted to help your children gain cooking confidence.

Because cooking goes beyond just following instructions, “Food for thought” ideas are highlighted under each recipe giving you teachable moments to share with your children. Some examples include: “What is Shoe peg Corn? How do I separate an egg white from the yolk? And, why do we use oil rather than butter when we cook on high heat?” Who knows, maybe you might even learn a thing or two!

Gluten-free options are also available under each recipe to accommodate my allergy-suffering friends (hand raised!). So, here we go…. let those kiddos crack eggs, pour milk, measure, and make a mess. Did I say make a mess?! Ohhh, yes I did, but don’t worry, Mama- as I mentioned above, the kiddos will learn how to clean up the kitchen in the last chapter, they’ll even learn how to make their own cleaning supplies. Last, but not least, when the baking and cooking is done, make sure to sit down and take in those precious moments and indulge in the delicious creations you and your children have made together!

Example Recipe: Classic French Toast 

french toast

*Food for Thought: It’s easier to whisk eggs when you break the yolks first! Just poke them, then easily whisk together.
*Gluten-Free Option: Use Udi’s GF bread.

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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin


Available for 48 hours at Amazon.com at the LOW introductory price of JUST 99 cents! Hurry! 

1960199_584514274975819_1837448153_n copy

You an also “buy now” using the coupon code: womenlivingwell and get it for $.99 below!

snapshot-5
*Also available on Amazon

Congratulations Janelle on your first ebook release! I’m SO excited for you!

Janelle and Courtney

Walk with the King,

Courtney

5 Ways to Defend Truth

God's word defines truth.

Before we get started with the #TruthInLove series, we need to define some terms.

Truth is reality…what really is.

Subjectivism is where truth and reality are determined by the subject or person.

Relativism is the theory that there is no objective standard by which truth may be determined.  There is no absolute truth.

As Bible believers we believe in absolute truth which means we stand opposed to relativism and subjectivism.  Truth is not relative to time, location, and people groups.  Truth is not subject to peoples opinions or culture.  God’s Word defines truth.

Whew – that was a lot of words that we don’t deal with on a daily basis but here’s the point!

A world of relativism is a world of contradictions.  If I say the coffee pot is empty and you say the coffee pot is full and we are both right…then our world makes no sense.  This is impossible.

If a Christian says “there is a God” and an atheist says “there is no God” we cannot both be right. It is impossible.

So then we move into moral issues.

If culture teaches our teens that sex outside of marriage is okay and even good and we say it is wrong  (I Cor. 6,7) it is impossible to both be right.

So the struggle for us as believers is living in this world of contradictions.

those who reject the Bible

Sometimes in our goal to love others well – the church becomes wishy washy.  While it’s vital we love others well - we must not be ashamed of drawing a line in the sand and saying – “this is wrong”. Period.

But is the Bible absolute truth?  I mean if we aren’t sure –we will never speak up right?  And when we do speak up – should it be via a twitter war or a facebook debate, or should it be privately amongst our children and in Bible study groups, or should it be from blogger to blogger – one on one?

I can’t answer the questions of when to speak up – you will have to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading but I can answer the how.  It MUST be done in love.  How can you know if you are doing it from a heart of love? First, ask yourself –do I love this person that I am talking to?  If you really don’t care for this person, then most likely –the truth you are about to share is going to come off in a tone that makes your truth impossible to accept.  We will be like clanging gongs and cymbals as I Corinthians 13 says.

If we can’t speak in love, we are outside the will of God —do not speak at all.

But if we love the person, pray and then proceed boldly.  Stand firm, let nothing move you. You have entered a spiritual battle.  The enemy is not the person you are contending with but rather Satan himself, the father of lies.  Do this with gentleness and respect.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I Peter 3:15

If your confidence in the authority of the Bible is not strong – it will be scary to speak up.  So let me give you some facts to build your faith upon from Josh McDowell’s book Evidence Demands a Verdict.

The Bible is unique!

It was written over a 1500 year span by more than 40 authors from every walk of life – kings, fishermen, poets, and scholars. It was written in different places such as the wilderness, prison, and palaces.  It was written in times of war & in times of peace, in times of despair & times of joy.  It was penned on 3 continents -Asia, Africa, & Europe and written in 3 languages –  Hebrew, Aramaic, & Greek.  The Bible contains hundreds of controversial topics…WITH an amazing degree of harmony.

Boom!

Find me 5 random men from your local town who could do this with harmony!  It can not be done – this is what makes God’s word – God’s!

2 Timothy 3:16 says: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

The Bible is the Book of Books! It is not merely a book about God – it is a book from God.~ R.C. Sproul

The Bible is the #1 best selling book of all time. No other book in history has been translated, retranslated & paraphrased more than the Bible. The Bible has been translated into over 2,200 languages. No other book comes close to it’s unique influence on civilization including calendar dates (B.C. Before Christ).

The Bible contains over 300 prophetic references to the coming Messiah that were perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Here’s just a few…
Born Of a Virgin – foretold in Isaiah 7:14 / fulfilled in Luke 1:26-35
Seed of Abraham – foretold in Genesis 22:18 / fulfilled in Matthew 1:1
Tribe of Judah – foretold in Genesis 49:10 / fulfilled in Luke 3:23,33
Born in Bethlehem – foretold in Micah 5:2 / fulfilled in Matthew 2:1
Shall be called Immanuel – foretold in Isaiah 7:14 / fulfilled in Matthew 1:23
Ministry of miracles – foretold in Isaiah 35:5,6 / fulfilled in Matthew 9:35
He was to enter Jerusalem on a Donkey – foretold in Zechariah 9:9 / fulfilled in Luke 19:35-37
Silent before His accusers – foretold in Isaiah 53:7 / fulfilled in Matthew 27:12
Wounded and Bruised – foretold in Isaiah 53:5 / fulfilled in Matthew 27:26
Hands and feet pierced – foretold in Zechariah 12:10 / fulfilled in Luke 23:33

Do you see why we have no reason to give way to fear and ride the fence?

Sweet Christian sisters – some will make you doubt the Bible.  Some will make you feel like you are less than them – less intelligent, less cool, or less culturally relevant.  But you can have full confidence that God’s word is truth.

Where God’s word speaks – we must speak.  And that is what I will focus on in the coming weeks of this series.  God has clearly spoken to the cultural issues of our day.

Where God’s word is silent regarding gray areas – that’s where I will be silent and leave room for personal convictions and grace.

In the book of Judges there is a phrase used over and over…and over.  It says: “In those days, everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” This is the world we live in – a world of no absolutes — a world where right and wrong is defined by feelings and truth has been twisted to suit our own opinions. We must not let this seep into the church.  We MUST be bold and courageous and stand for truth!  The father of lies has taken enough ground – it is time we stand firm and say – you have come this far and you will go no farther. We will not let you mar the bride of Christ. We will not fall for your tricks and deception. We will not play footsies with those who twist your word.

5 Ways to Defend Truth:

1. Get into God’s word – read it daily. Know what it says!

2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” esv

2. Pursue sound doctrine. Don’t follow teachers who itch ears (or spread their quotes and links on your social media).

2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

3. Love everyone including your enemies. Pray for the church, the beautiful bride of Christ.

I John 4:8: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

4.  Be bold, courageous and unashamed!

2 Timothy 1:7,8: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” esv

5.  Do not be surprised when you are slandered because of your stand for truth.

I Peter 4:12-16: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

May we unite and lift the name of our Lord Jesus Christ higher and shine unashamedly in a dark and weary world.

I look forward to going deeper in with you next Monday!

Chime In: What is the most difficult part for you when defending truth? Is it feeling unequipped and unsure of what scripture says? Is it being called names like judgmental and intolerant? Is it fear of losing a friendship? Or is it a fear of confrontation?

I make this list straight from my heart – these are MY fears too. You are not alone.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**The next post in this series is here >>>> The Ultimate Cultural Sin – Intolerance