Finding God When Disappointed by Christians: Hypocrites?

By Dianne E. Butts:

3 Things to Remember when Christians Disappoint Us

Image by Ambro: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you been wounded by a Christian, or read in the media about the failings of  professing Christians and decided they must be  hypocrites?

Have you then used that as an excuse to not believe in Christ yourself?

Well, do bear in mind:

1. Inevitably, professing Christians will disappoint us, because we all fail at times. Christians are supposed to live their lives striving to do what is right. But sometimes the failings of Christians are huge, which not only makes other Christians look bad but can also desperately wound others.

Know this, though: the Bible is filled with stories of God’s people failing: Moses killed a man and buried him in the sand, not knowing someone was watching. King David had an adulterous relationship and committed murder in an attempt to cover it up. Of course Christians shouldn’t do the terrible things Moses and David  did. The Bible is full of stories about terrible mistakes people made: not to endorse those mistakes, but to chronicle actual historical events and reveal repentance, forgiveness and redemption.

It is the grace of God and His forgiveness that saves us, not our bad (or good) behavior. (See the video embedded below!)

2. Still, God can use people who do bad things. Moses still led the people of Israel out of Egypt and built the tabernacle, one of the greatest object lessons that explains God. King David still fathered the bloodline that led to Messiah, as God promised would happen. David drew the plans and financed the Temple (the permanent version of Moses’ object-lesson Tabernacle) that his son, Solomon would build.

Have you ever done a bad thing? God can still use you for good, if you will begin now to cooperate with Him.

3. To not follow Jesus, because of  bad things some Jesus-followers do, will deprive YOU. When we stand before Jesus on Judgement Day (and there will be a Judgement Day!), telling God you rejected Him because you heard about a professing Christian who groped women, or was accused of not being honest in financial dealings, or made other even more terrible choices won’t fly. God will judge you on what you do. You won’t be able to use any other failing people you justify as hypocrites as your excuse.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. Romans 14:13 (Bible, New International Version)

Are you confused about the relationship between works (good deeds we do) and faith, and how that affects your salvation? Here is an excellent short film from Igniter Media that explains it well, and creatively too!

You Do The Math, from Igniter Media.

Downloads and DVDs are available at http://www.ignitermedia.com.

 ©Dianne E. Butts. Dianne has over 275 articles and short fiction in more than fifty publications. She is a regular contributor to Finding God Daily. You can find Dianne’s blog HERE.

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Finding God in Shrove Tuesday

By Dianne E. Butts:

Some people are finding God in Shrove Tuesday. Do you know what Shrove Tuesday is? Don’t worry. There was a time I didn’t know what it was either.

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. This year in 2012, Shrove Tuesday is Feb. 21. Shrove Tuesday is the day that women in some locations clean out their kitchen pantries to get rid of all the foods that are not allowed for Lent, including pre-lenten meat as well as fats and oils. For some it’s a tradition to use up these tasty morsels by feasting—cooking up the meats and making the fats and oils into pancakes.

I first heard of Shrove Tuesday when I moved to a small town in Colorado and started attending a Presbyterian Church. I remember the strange telephone call I got:

“Hello, Dianne, I’m calling for the church to let you know you’ll be waitressing for our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper.”

“Waitressing?” I asked. “For the what? There must be some mistake. I’m not a waitress.” I then learned everyone in the church was assigned a duty for the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper that was served to the community annually. We were fairly new in town and those people didn’t know me very well. If they had, they never would have assigned me to be a waitress.

“What’s a Shrove?” I asked.

She hesitated. “It’s a supper, “she said. “We serve pancakes and sausage.”

“Oh, “I said. “Is shrove some kind of sausage?”

“No, “she said.

“Oh. Okay,” I said, confused. In January I had received another confusing invitation to the women’s group.

“We’d like you to come to Circle,” a woman told me.

“Oh,” I said smiling.

“We’re having our Sacrificial Meal,” she added.

“Oh,” I said and tried to continue smiling. Reminded me of that story about the cannibal who wanted to have the missionary for dinner. I knew I was the new kid on the block. But what had happened to the last new kid on the block? I declined the invitation.

Now it was February and I was trying desperately to talk my way out of being a waitress.

“No, we all have our assigned jobs”, she explained kindly, “and you’re assigned to be a waitress.”

I thought of the passage in Ephesians 4:11: “He…gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelist, and some to be…” Waitresses? Alas. It seemed my assignment had been set in stone.

“Fine, I’ll waitress,” I said. “But I’d rather be in the kitchen sizzling those shroves.”

Whether or not you observe the Lenten season that leads to Easter, as you prepare for Easter and the celebration of God’s gift to us in Jesus, you might consider what extra items are in your heart that you may want to clean out. If you do that, you might be finding God in Shrove Tuesday.

What is Shrove Tuesday? video:

©Dianne E. Butts. Dianne is a regular contributor to Finding God Daily and is a prolific story and article writer. You can find out more about her at www.dianneebutts.com.

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Find God in Humor: The Way Church Used to Be

By Dianne E. Butts

When you were growing up, did your family go to church? Were you dragged there? Was church fun for you? Or…dreaded?! If you dreaded church, then you need to find God in humor: the way church used to be.

At the bottom of this article you’ll find a wonderful video by humorist Kelly Swanson. She had me laughing with memories! Yes, I was dragged to church as a youngster. But I never had the gumption to fake the flu! We went to church Sunday mornings but I know some of my friends were in church Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings, and eight or nine other evenings of the week as well.

I do have to admit church can be a lot more fun these days. I do often go in my blue jeans. In fact, I always wear blue jeans when I ride my motorcycle to church, which is as often as possible in the warmer months in Colorado.

I’ve had some bad experiences with church, even as an adult. In the thirty years we’ve been married, my husband and I have moved to a new town five times and so have gone looking for a new church five times. Most of the time, it has been surprisingly difficult to find a good church for us to attend. But I have learned a few things about what to look for. Here are some hints:

 

  • Look around. How many people carry their own Bible into church with them? Most of them should. This tells you this church cares about teaching out of the Bible which, in my opinion, is the Number One most important thing for a church to do.
  • Do they open the Bible, read from it, and talk about what it says? I’ve been to many churches that pray and sing and do a lot of things, but never talk about the Bible—even in the sermons. This is a bad sign. I suggest you find another church.
  • Are the people friendly and genuinely interested that you are there? I’ve attended churches for weeks where not one person spoke to me. A church is not a social club, but it is important to build relationships and study God’s Word together. If this isn’t happening naturally, something is wrong.
  • Does this church reach outside to others?

It’s not wrong to search for another church. Find a church that challenges you to go deeper into God’s Word, which is the Bible. Regularly attend a church that helps those who attend grow in their knowledge and understanding of God.

As our country and our world face ever-deepening challenges in economies, violence, war, social issues, and many other concerns, it’s important to find our strength in God daily. (See Samuel 23:16.)

A good church helps people do this. But if that seems too heavy right now, take a moment to find God in humor: the way church used to be.

Enjoy this video: Wipe That Smile Off Your Face, This is Church by Kelly Swanson

Copyright ©Dianne E. Butts ( www.delivermebook.blogspot.com). Dianne has over 275 articles and short fiction in more than fifty publications and eighteen books, and is a regular contributor to Finding God Daily.

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