A Christmas Letter to God
I’m so sorry about all the disunity among Your children right now. Humility, gentleness, patience, accepting one another in love (Your gifts) are in short supply.
The enemy has really done a number on us. I suppose he is working overtime because he is running out of time to steal, kill, and destroy the life You have planned for us.
We can’t see beyond all the hatred, bitterness, and personal attacks on each other to be able to recognize how Satan has duped us. He is our enemy, not each other.
Those who reject You don’t understand that it is their own disbelief that condemns them. But Satan conceals that from them too. I am so sorry that Your children don’t show more of Your love towards those who have rejected You. Satan blinds the world to the fact that Your love leads to peace and sets them free from their bondage of disbelief.
Perhaps we could start by asking for Your help to trust You more, especially during these dark days. Help us to trust You like Mary and Joseph did when they faced the dilemma of Mary’s untimely pregnancy. Help us to quieten down, let go of the negativity all around us, and trust that You ARE in control (for we act as if You are not)!
Ephesians 4:2-3, “with all humility and gentleness with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with peace that binds us.”
What is accomplished by concealing the importance of discipleship in our churches?
Some subtle alterations take place when churches fail to grasp the balance that needs to be maintained concerning conversion and discipleship. Consider these:
Churches over-focus on evangelism while the role of discipleship fades away into confusion. Evangelism must be followed by discipleship if the church is to be filled with Christians who are growing and maturing in their faith.
Satan doesn’t shutter in fear when we become believers in Christ. It’s our being discipled that sends shivers up his spine!
New converts are often left to fend for themselves as they face the world and encounter life’s challenges. Without the counsel of a discipler, we fail to learn that God’s plan is to take what Satan means for bad and turn it into good. Romans 8:28
Consider what often happens to new adult converts. Too often they are given responsibilities within the church by virtue of their physical age, not spiritual maturity. In the physical world, no one would expect an infant to teach a class of adults! No wonder many face burn out and/or disillusionment. They need to be a learner; not a teacher. Many leave the church because they were put in just such a position.
Without discipleship, our churches are likely to be filled with immature Christians. These baby Christians, simply put, are suffering from failure to thrive. Due to their immaturity, they are easily deceived and manipulated by Satan. They haven’t been taught how to recognize the truth from a lie. Which is why fiery darts can be so deadly in these cases.
Fiery darts of Confusion dull our understanding of these terms
Conversion births us into God’s kingdom. Discipleship means to allow God to form our lives, our real, everyday, actual practices, choices, and beliefs – to look more and more like Christ.
Conversion and Discipleship are the two parts of the whole. Conversion is all about the birth and Discipleship is all about growth after the birth.
Disciples making disciples go out into the world impacting for Christ the systems we create and participate in. (and that makes for a better world for all.)
Who do we believe?
Why do we so easily believe the lies of fiery darts? But struggle to believe Truths from God’s Word?
If the darkness of the world, Satan, and our flesh influences our thinking more than God’s Word, then our thoughts, attitudes, and actions will reflect that darkness. Thus our focus will be on the darkness, blinding us to the light of God’s truth that lies beyond it.
Yet, if we desire to believe God over the lies of the enemy, we must do the following:
We must seek God.
When God speaks we need to listen.
When God speaks we need to believe.
When God speaks we need to act on His words.
Take to heart the following:
…when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. Is 43:2 ESV
The LORD is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you. Do not be afraid or discourages. Deut. 31:8
Don’t be afraid anymore, only believe. Mark 5:36 NASV
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Yet sometimes the problems we face threaten to overwhelm us. We believe God,. We believe His Word. We go to it daily. We talk to God about it a lot, but the hoped for solution evades us! What do we do in situations like that?
As we wait, we continue to pray and search the Scriptures. We focus on verses like the ones above. We become alert to the encouragement God sends us as we go about our day. Through those encouragements and God’s word, we grow in our faith and perspective of the problem.
We learn to recognize the fiery darts and how to reject them. We learn to replace them with the Truth thoughts from Scripture that God directs us to.
We may not feel so good about the way things are going, but we must remember that if God says He will never leave us, that He will not fail us, then in spite of how things look, we must take Him at His word.
Our well being depends on who we believe!