Many people confuse church doctrine for Bible principle this is not necessarily so. Church doctrine is just like the rules in a neighborhood that has a Homeowners Association (HOA).it varies from place to place. The reason I prefer a non-denominational church and living in a non-HOA community are one and the same: God has enough principles for me to live as He wants me to and the government has enough laws for me to live so as not to offend my neighbors. Many of the people I am friends with prefer their denomination and though not as many I have a few friends who prefer to live in a HOA community.
How much of an individual can you be? If you live in a community that has a Home Owners Association there may be guidelines for lawn maintenance, house painting, parking and such. Whereas, if you leave in an non-HOA community you cut your grass when you feel like, paint your home the color of your choice, and park according to the laws of the county. Homeowners Associations discourage individuality and promote conformity.
It is easier to determine which are HOA rules and which are federal, state, and municipal laws than it is to determine which are church doctrines and which are Bible principles if you have not studied your Bible. For example: Which day of the week should you attend services? Adventist and Jewish individuals honor the Sabbath on Saturday. The Bible declares:
“So don’t let anyone stand in judgment over you and dictate what you should eat or drink, what festivals you should celebrate, or how you should observe a new moon or Sabbath days- all these are only a shadow of what shall come. The reality, the core, the import, is found in the Anointed One.” Colossians 2:16-17 THE VOICE
Like moving into a community with a HOA people join a church without fully appreciating the ramifications of the rules. I had a friend that painted her house the color she thought was required except it was slightly different, barely noticeable to the naked eye. This friend was cited because she had not purchased her paint from the designated store who had a contract to sell a particular color of paint to those homeowners. Another friend joined a church and was shocked to discover another member was told she could no longer be considered part of the church because even though she gave it was not ten percent of her income. The woman with who lived in the HOA did not have to repaint her home because she had an advocate point out their were homes that were not painted and other homes who had not maintained their property according to the guidelines. The other friend left the church.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as In my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
Church doctrine are guidelines the particular group of believers will follow just like the Homeowners Association has guidelines for the homeowners to follow. Most people will read the rules of the HOA before purchasing a home they would never move into a community that has rules that go against local, county, state or federal laws. Very few people will read the church doctrine, their statement of faith, and compare it to what is written in Scripture.
Philippians 2:12-13 tells us that salvation is an individual responsibility. Read the Book!
I remember shopping with my mother and Aunt at a linen outlet store in one of the Carolina’s. The sisters were debating which sheets were worth purchasing one with at least 600 thread count or one with a minimum of 800 thread count. I thought they were both to expensive. This was one of the most memorable memories and many incidental lessons my mother and my aunt taught me.
Today when purchasing sheets I look at the thread count, if it is less than a 600 thread count, no matter what the cost, I will not consider purchasing it. I taught my girls about thread counts, I also passed down to them many of the lessons I learned from two very classy ladies.
I feel sorry for the young girls of today, their knowledge of what it means to be a lady is very much lacking. Consider the story of the “Princess and the Pea” the real Princess knew what it meant to sleep in a bed of quality. Young females today focus on quantity not quality.
Many people, males and females, accumulate lots of stuff they have: lots of electronic gadgets, lots of clothes and even lots of relationships. When things brake, became tattered and warn, or no longer interest the individual they are discarded and no interest are sought. No one taught them how to look for quality that would pass the test of time.
When my mother died she had a closet full of sheets that were as good as new. When my aunt moved in with her daughter and the content of her home was sold the items were in as just as good condition as the day she had bought them. Because I was taught by very intelligent women who started out in life not being able to afford the best but learned how to get the best that they could afford I know how to spot quality in not just in things but in people as well.
Making purchases on time, as the old folks use to say, is addictive which is why many people have poor credit ratings. From about September through December is the time in the year in which the temptation to not use cash increases particularly when we want to buy nice things for friends and family not to mention all of those wonderful sales!
Because of my debt, and my desire to become debt free, I made the decision to live a cash only lifestyle. This is difficult not because I cannot tell myself no but because other people do not appreciate this concept. Many believe as long as the bill gets paid it does not matter if you charge it. Often people have to work extra jobs to take care of daily expenses such as housing, utilities and food in addition to credit card fees, I do not want to live like that.
Recently I was trying to convince myself that it would be OK to purchase something with in-house financing because it was a business related purchase. The item I needed was to replace the one that I broke, I have gone without this item for 3 months to wait one more month would not be a major problem. I decided to continue doing what I have been doing- just waiting until I can afford to pay cash.
Charging the $50 item may not seem like a big deal however it would not have just been $50, there would be shipping and handling fees in addition to finance charges which could easily bring the purchase total to $80. If I made payments instead of paying the entire balance off in less than thirty days I could easily end up paying over $100 for an item that cost $50 and was worth less than that.
The accumulation of fees charged by various institutions such as: credit card companies, automobile finances companies, and banks that hold the mortgage leads to large debt. Many people have student loans others have outstanding medical bills; things happen, emergencies occur which can create additional financial burdens.
The best thing to do is not do it. Do not use your credit cards to buy Christmas presents. Do not order gadgets on television that promise 3 or 4 payments. Do not pay your tithes with your credit card. I repeat: DO NOT PAY YOUR CHURCH TITHES WITH A CREDIT CARD!!!!
Learning to live a cash only lifestyle is difficult; even a person with bad credit can get some type of credit. Far to many people are using credit cards to pay for things they want but not need. The longterm consequences of buying on time is having to work when you should be relaxing. The long term benefits of living a cash only life now is the peace associated with being debt free.
You may not be able to get the latest iPhone, or the newest flat screen television, your car may be old and in need of a new paint job, you may not be able to afford to go to the movies every week or a restaurant once a month because you do not have a credit card.
You will be debt free sooner rather than later. Even if you are working two jobs now you will soon be down to just one. And you will know who really appreciates you for being you when you see the expression on their face when you don’t buy a gift or the gift is not as expensive as what you use to buy.
Today is the best day to stop using your credit card. Of course it will be easier in January because by then you will have reached your limit on everything.
Satan cannot stop what God has started unless you let him; he will try to stop you. Jesus said:
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10 NKJV
Many people do not recognize when they are being attacked because they are focused on what people may or may not be doing. But the thief, Satan, comes to stop you from fulfilling your goals (kill), take away your peace and joy (steal), and sabotage your relationships (destroy). Directly with attacks on your finances, health, emotional well being or indirectly by attacking your loved ones if it means stopping you from moving forward he will do it.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow of turning.” James 1:17 NKJV
The bad stuff is not from God, it is Satan doing his best to stop you from reaching the blessings God has for you. However, if you don’t quit you will have what God has assigned to you. Yes, it is hard particularly when you are in the middle of a health or financial crisis.
As Christians we must remember to keep our eyes on Jesus. We must know and subsequently remember God’s words and His promises. It is because of Jesus that Satan cannot stop you.
“Finally my brethren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pastures!” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1 NIV
It really doesn’t get any plainer than that. If you are in any type of leadership position God is holding you responsible for those you lead. I use to think of shepherds as only pastors; a shepherd is a person who leads a person or group of people. Therefore a shepherd can be: parents, employers, church leaders, and even government representatives. If you expect people to follow you you are acting as a shepherd.
“Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing.” Declares the Lord.” Jeremiahs 23:2-4
God’s will will be done, this is especially good news today. There are people who are creating strife, generating confusion and leading people in the wrong direction by manipulating God’s word, lying and omitting biblical truths from their messages. Those who are children of God will be delivered from this lack of godly leadership because God will put individuals in their path who will point them in the right direction.
But Scripture declares to those who are destroying the people and moving them away from God’s covenant they will suffer the consequences. That day is now.
There are over 1 thousand reasons why you can’t do something but only one reason why you can: because it is what you were meant to do. When a person says “I can’t” it should be because they don’t have time: “I can’t go to the movies with you I am doing some research and a movie would delay my progress.”
One of the things I have to do when I am motivating myself is to stay away from discouraging people. For every five minutes of conversation I have with one of these personality types I spend a half a day reminding myself that they do not know everything. It is a problem because I know a lot of negative speaking people, they do not do it intentionally but they do it.
Many of the people I speak to have a victim attitude in which they believe “they won’t let” them accomplish a goal. This popular theme associated with lack of success is supported by the large number of organization designed to validate victimhood: American Civil Liberties Union (though they occasionally do right a wrong), Rainbow Coalition, NAACP, National Organization for Women and any other program that is designed to remind people of their gender, skin color or lifestyle. Far to many people have grown up hearing about how one culture keeps another culture down; if you are the suppressor you are suppose to feel guilty, if you are the suppressed you are a victim and will not be able to succeed. The good news is there are numerous people who ignored “they” and became successful despite their words, behaviors and ideologies.
I don’t know anyone who does not put off doing what they dream of doing it is called procrastination. There are lots of reasons why we procrastinate: “I can’t,” “they won’t let me,” or “now is not a good time.” The truth is people are afraid and do not want to face their fear.
Fear is at the basis of many peoples inactivity. In order to fulfill your God given talent and maximize your potential you have to step out of your comfort zone and live. You must share your identity, often with people who do not know you but will judge you without the foundation of a loving relationship, and face possible rejection. All do not think you are so great and your ideas, in their opinion, may suck! Failure is the foundation for success fear stops you from failing.
You destroy yourself by giving into the opinions of the world. By allowing the media and various organizations tell you that you are a victim because you are: female, African-American, Latino, Hispanic, or whatever you set yourself up for failure. Victims must become victors in order to live victoriously. It is amazing the number of Bible quoting Christians who fall victim of the same mindset and avoid success with self destructive words and activities.
Failing is a part of success, you will not know what works until you discover what does not work. If your first marriage was a disaster- you know what does not work in a relationship. I was in six different multi-level marketing businesses that did not work however I knew that I wanted to own my own business so despite the opinions of others I started my own business- those failures taught me: 1) what I did not know 2) what I do not want to do and 3)gave me excellent experience.
There really is no such thing as an overnight success, you have to be willing to dedicate time and energy into doing what it is you want to do. Not everyone wins the lottery, you will not be an instant millionaire chances are if you are starting a business you will be in the negative for a year a two.
As a writer the quarterly royalty checks are barely enough to put gas in my tank. This is the reality of competing with thousands of other writers in a market in which there are very few people who want to read “clean” fiction or non-fiction that stimulates thought. Five years after my first novel was published: THE TRUTH ABOUT VASHTAI, I am not discouraged. I am a writer even if other people see me as the woman who sells soy candles, homemade soap and quilts.
My message to you: Just do what you do and stop listening to people who have yet to reach their own potential. No matter who you are, where you started, or how you got to where you are now as a child of God you can do all things THROUGH Christ if you keep your eyes on Him. This is what I am doing- SEE YOU AT THE TOP!