Theology is for Everyone

To most Christians, the idea of learning “Theology” is an overwhelming and daunting suggestion. “I’m not a scholar,” or “I’m not interested in working for a Ph.D” is a very common thought process that shuts the door on the subject.

However, Theology is NOT just a scholar’s domain. The learning and the application of Theology to our own heart, mind, and daily life is of the utmost godly value!

“Theology”—though it does include some branches with extremely deep waters—is basically the study of God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, and how He interacts with humanity. Every believer who is committed to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior needs to know as much as they can from the scriptures about their God.

As attenders of [good] churches, we have a tremendous number of opportunities to grow in our knowledge about God (“Theology”) so that we can also grow in knowing Him personally. Faulty thinking about who God is and how He interacts with humanity leaves us very, VERY susceptible to failures and deceptions.

The writer to the Hebrews (most consider this author to be the Apostle Paul, as do I) was teaching and developing their understanding of God and their walking through life in the Spirit of Jesus. Here is what he summarizes as being the foundation or elementary teachings [of Theology] that every believer SHOULD have well established so they can build and grow the rest of their life.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”‭‭

( Hebrews‬ ‭6:1-2 )

Unfortunately, there are too many believers who have had their faith in Christ for 10, 20, or 30 years, but their maturity in truly knowing the things of God and living a godly life are at an “elementary” level. Using a school analogy, by now they should be graduates, instead they are repeating the 1st Grade over and over, not having grasped the basics and not yet demonstrated a practical proficiency in godly knowledge, wisdom, and behavior.

To be clear, though I used a school analogy, growing in Theology is not necessarily about formal academics. It is about growing in the personal study of God’s scripture, and the prayerful application of the scriptures to personal and daily life.

“Let us go on to perfection” means to grow in maturity. It means to shed more and more imperfection, and to draw closer and closer to Christ and the perfection He represents.
Most of us will never be “Theologians” in an academic setting with a Ph.D next to our name, but each of us should be growing in our Theology of God. Anything less than our constant growth in our knowledge of God is not part of God’s great plan for our life. Let’s be sure, every day, that we progressively “go on to perfection” in Him.

See you at the altar of Christ as we read the scriptures, pray, and build each other up in the Theology of our great God.

#PastorsTip

God’s Full Anticipation of Our Full Participation

The scriptures analogically refer to life’s spiritual conflicts as forms of military combat and sporting competition, and to us believers as soldiers and athletes.

If we could see with our physical eyes what we look like spiritually, would we see ourselves as genuine carriers of the “marks of Christ” (as the Apostle Paul said that he did)?

“… for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”‭‭

~ Paul, Galatians‬ ‭6:17‬

Would we see a fresh application of the blood of Jesus Christ to our life, mixed with our own fresh blood from the wounds received in victorious combat? Would we see upon us scars from battles where [with Christ] we had won hard-fought victories in the recent past?

Some fellow believers do not like the analogies [for the spiritual life] of combat and sporting competition, of soldiers and athletes. To them, it sounds too violent or too physical, and not intelligent or sophisticated enough.

However, there are very good reasons why scripture frequently uses the combat and sporting analogies:

  • Life is dangerous,
  • Life is strenuous,
  • Life is competitive,
  • Life can end with eternal death, and
  • Life is an intense war filled with battles.

This particular war has no allowance for “conscientious objectors” or for “pacifists.” Granted, how we engage in the war can and should be prayerfully considered and discussed, but a rejection of participating in this “war” or this “competition” is not acceptable in the eyes of God.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, inspiring them to have a clear perspective and mindset, not one of pacifism but of spiritual combat when participating in the full realm of life:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilʼs schemes.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lordʼs people.”

‭‭~ Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬

We have been provided “the full armor of God” (or in the sporting analogy, the ‘football gear of God’) complete with “weapons of warfare” (that have Divine fire-power) with God’s full anticipation of our full participation!

See you at the altar of prayer, my friends. It’s time for war!

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#PastorsTip #War #Weapons #Armor #SpiritualWarfare #Athlete #Soldier #ConscientiousObjection #Pacifism #Prayer

Suffering for a Season, By God’s Will

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I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2000, that was 13 years ago.

In 2006, about 7 years ago, I had reached such a level of pain and fatigue that I resigned from pastoring a church. I was unable to work, having to be in bed so much.

I believe in Divine healing through faith in the name of Jesus Christ. He has instantly healed me in the past of things, and I have witnessed people being instantly healed while I laid hands upon them and prayed in Jesus’ name. I have seen a 14 year heroin addict instantly delivered as I prayed for him and then touched him.

So, you might ask me why I still believe in Divine healing through Jesus’ name since I have not been healed after 13 years of praying for healing, and having been prayed for by countless others.

You may ask why I still think God loves me if He has not healed me and has allowed me to suffer so much pain for so long.

Well, I don’t have all the answers for why God heals and why He doesn’t. But I do know this: every time I pray for healing, I finish with, “Father, not my will, but Your will be done!”

Jesus’ Crucifixion is our perfect example of how our Heavenly Father at times chooses to accomplish His will through a season of our sufferings rather than through our deliverance, through our bankruptcy rather than through our prosperity, through our sickness rather than our health, and for some through their death rather than through their life.

Does this mean that I have given up hope? No, I believe with all my heart that God is going to heal me, either miraculously or medicinally. There is just a season of time that must pass so that God’s will may be accomplished through my life as I suffer these painful diseases.

Again, “not my will, but Your will be done, Father!” I can honestly say that God grants me the grace that I need (sometimes enough grace for the next moment or two, but I never run short on His supply of grace) and the peace that I need, to be able to truly desire for God to accomplish His will in and through my life BEFORE He heals me.

What about your life? Are you experiencing a prolonged season of suffering? Do you want God to provide the same grace to you that He has provided to me? Do you wish that you could genuinely desire God to accomplish His will in and through your life even if it means continuing in your suffering a little while longer before His healing is finally dispensed?

All we need to do is pray with heart-felt sincerity just as Jesus prayed after He had asked for deliverance from the suffering at hand: “Father, not my will, but Your will be done!”

Now THAT is living by faith!

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