Alienated from Man and God

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God did not create us to live in a bubble or vacuum, he created us to be part of the body of Christ and have fellowship with one another. He created us to interact with other human beings. He created Adam and realized that one being was not sufficient for growth, hence the creation of Eve. He created an immaculate relationship between himself and man. Their sin of not listening to God (conversations about the Does and Don’ts) led to the fall and their estrangement from the Garden of Eden. This is the moment man became alienated from God.

“I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother’s brothers.”
Psalm 69:8

In swept the 21st century and the advent of social media as a norm. Not all norms support personal or spiritual growth. As we become more addicted to life online, we begin to (only) find satisfaction in cursory relationships, human interaction becomes secondary. Verbal communication becomes infrequent unless we are in forced social settings such as school or work where interaction, teamwork, and meetings require you to hold a conversation. We are quickly becoming estranged from other people and going down the wormhole of alienation from everything, other people, family, and Christ. Once you are locked into your addiction, nothing else matters.

Verbal communication creates a dynamic environment where people practice the characteristics of Christ; kindness, honesty, faithfulness, trustworthiness, compassion, forgiveness, commitment, patience, gentleness, self-control, humility, loving and prayerful. Verbal communications create a form of harmony between neighbors. True reconciliation can only be accomplished when we acknowledge our sin and repent asking God’s forgiveness.

“ Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

When we move away from real human interaction and into the world of a limited number of characters and meme’s, we find that we create versions of ourselves that are often ruthless, arrogant, diabolical, self-obsessed, and dangerous. We create alternate self-images. Bullying becomes comfortable, there is no guilt in this setting, life, and death are reset and/or erased. At some point, we lose the ability to comfortably interact with people on a daily basis and begin to ease into an estranged and self-imposed isolation and alienation from others.

We find that the people on the other end of the smart chat, the game, and the community groups are pretending to be someone they aren’t. Their world becomes a fake world, much like fake news. It is created in Petri dishes, which leads to depression and often suicidal tendencies.

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The most deadly trait we lose is that of being prayerful. We neglect our relationship with our Lord and soon become estranged. Not because he does not want to communicate with us, but because we shut him out. We reject our relationship with him, it is not the reverse. We begin to live in a world of isolation.

Alienation is the mother that gives birth to other alienation’s: the alienation between God and man, man and God. (Ferguson)

Isolation opens us up to spiritual attack. Sin, depression, selfishness, anger, and hate become comforting.

“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”
Romans 7:21

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Christians should never isolate themselves from other believers. The church is built on community. Through community, we establish corporate prayer. Through corporate prayer, we establish a relationship with other members of the community and God. Our world becomes more welcoming when we support one another and establish a norm we lost when society changed from small-town life to city life. We lost a sense of connectedness that some think is reignited in online social and gaming communities. The truth remains that they are alienated from the World, isolated from their family members and estranged from God.

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
Thessalonians 5:14

Let us encourage the disheartened and lost to re-enter life and reconcile with our Lord, the guardian of our souls. ‘Alienation from God is not only real but dangerous-and the depth of the alienation is evidenced by the fact that we think we are in no danger at all.’ (Ferguson, Ligonier Ministries)

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Images from Google Images

God, Crisis, and Grace

How often do we find ourselves in fervent prayer when we find ourselves in the midst of uncertainty and crisis? The answer is all too often. We seem to call out to God most often with heartfelt tears during these times. And, our God is so loving, He returns our prayers with grace. His grace is stronger when we are at our weakest. It is through faith that we receive God’s free unmerited grace.

“My grace is sufficient for you, For my power is made perfect in weakness.”       2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

It seems that when we are in constant prayer, we open our hearts to Him in search of help. How wonderful would that be if we always prayed as if we are in crisis, and in some respect, we are, maybe not as obvious, yet in crisis? The battle over our soul rages daily. The evil one does not want us free, he wants to strip away our salvation, shackle us to demons and lead us to hell. I would say that is crisis enough to stay in fervent prayer.

But through our Lords grace, we survive to tell our stories, our testimonies, to others to show them the way. It is through these testimonies that we share our relationship with God with others. It is through these experiences that we become disciples.

As the battle rages and we become more intimate with God through reading the scriptures and applying them in our daily lives, the stronger in the Word we become, the more we take the mantle of Christian Warriors, and the greater the number of people who want to follow Christ and establish the same relationship with God as you. Through our testimonies, others come to Christ and more readily receive God’s Salvation. “My power becomes perfect in weakness,” says the Lord.

When we are weakest, His grace is sufficient (enough) to carry us through times of uncertainty. When we are weakest, we stay in prayer. When we are weakest, we seek His lifeline.

When are we weakest? The answer is every day because we are under attack every day. The evil one wants our soul. We must be ever vigilant and stay in prayer.

Our strength rests on our weakness. Our weakness connects us to His grace and mercy.

Active Practice

To Young Christian Warriors, we might think of the word, weakness as lacking strength, fitness or vigor, a liability. However, biblically weakness is defined as dependence upon the Lord. This dependence cultivates the endowing of grace. It is not until we run out of our own options that we, in weakness, call on the Lord. Man is weak by nature. We succumb to our weakness, human frailty, finding it easier to give in to the negative behaviors than those defined as the Fruit of the Spirit. When our weakness abounds,  it is at this point that God reveals His power and grace. (BibleStudyTools.com/weakness)

In line with the mission of this site, we learn that to become a Warrior we must become equipped with the power of The Word and how the Holy Spirit uses it to communicate with us. It is through God’s grace that we have been invited to receive His grace and unmerited favor, and it is through His grace that we are strong in our weakness as Paul says.

Steps:

  1. Receiving Gods grace means we must practice living in our weakness, stop relying on ourselves and begin calling on the Lord for guidance and direction.
  2. We must learn self-restraint. When we begin to exhibit negative behaviors and our internal self-talk begins, we must listen. Self-talk is often the Holy Spirit prompting us to stop what we are preparing to do or say.
  3. We must identify scriptures that affirm our strength in the Lord and use them when we begin to tell ourselves that only we can resolve what is before us.
  4. Finally, we must tell our experiences, our testimonies, to others about how God provided a way of escape, supplied our need, open doors, healed us and loves us.

 

Image from: Google Images

Children Model After Christ

Jesus and a childChildren that model their lives after Christ, their Father in Heaven, are strong warriors. Do you recall being able to single out a few students that you respected at school, or in your neighborhood? These students championed their God-given purpose, though they may not have understood it at that time. They fixed their thoughts on truth, honesty, respect, love for others, and moral excellence. The children you respected as a child, stood out as if they were a beacon. Many were the class leaders, and others were the quiet, respectful children sitting in the middle of the room almost invisible, but both types possessed something others recognized in them but did not know how to acquire themselves, it was elusive.

Our purpose as parents is to nourish our children’s desire to become Young Christian Warriors. Christ provides a clear way to meet this goal. The world also offers a way, though the moral compass may not always point north, and is not ‘the way’. Teaching our children is the core of what Christian parents should do to help their children become Young Christian Warriors, and receive the respect they deserve. Our children must spend time daily learning the Word and practicing the characteristics and virtues identified in the Bible.Girls Helping

This study focuses on two scriptures that our children should learn to become the leaders God has defined them to become. These two scriptures also explain why adults should treat children with the respect God expects them to receive.  Teaching our children Christ-like behavior will build them up to become respectful leaders.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

God stores treasures in us before we are born. Some are able to use them with little instruction or effort, others need guidance; all children deserve to be respected for who they are in Christ, regardless of age, we are all under construction and strive to do better, none is perfect, except Christ.

Paul wrote:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

My granddaughter often queries why adults do not listen to children as if they are non-persons until they reach adulthood. She believes that God speaks to children just like he speaks to adults and, children can discern just like adults. I believe there is truth to her thought. I have held conversations with children the caused me to query, who is inside this child. Children are thinkers, and children that are believers think like God. They demonstrate Philippians 4:8 and 1 Timothy 4:12 through their walk and interactions with others. Some, like my granddaughter, refuse to cut corners to complete an assignment, they will not skim the story when the instructions clearly stated to read the entire story before answering the questions, they stand by the child that is feeling sad or hurt, hold the door for adults, turn in items found on the playground, watch how they communicate with others, act in faith, and love their neighbor.Three boys

Are my granddaughter and other children perfect? No. They are children and will mature as they travel the developmental stages of childhood. The difference is their moral compass points to the north, so while they may veer from the path of righteousness, they know the difference between right and wrong. When they join friends (see September 25th Post, Ask Your Children, Who is a Friend?) or try things that are questionable, they will feel the tugging and hear the quiet voice that says STOP, this is not the path I have chosen for you.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
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Steps
    1. Teach them the two scriptures, one at a time
    2. Discuss the scriptures throughout the week and how they relate to your child’s day-to-day activities
    3. Every day ask them how they applied these scriptures throughout the day and to give examples
    4. Celebrate that they are becoming Young Christian Warriors

“Sound doctrine is not only right believing, but is right behavior.” The Complete Companion for Spirit-Filled Bible Study by Jack Hayford, General Editor, 1995. Our youth should not be looked down upon because they are young, they deserve respect as children of God, growing in his likeness.

two girls      Father, Mother and Children         A boy on crutches       Children working together