Every so often I will go to the Christian Book Stores, to look for a devotional book, study materials, movies, music and other items etc. I spend a lot of time when in the store just looking around, one of the reason my wife dreads going with me if she knows that I will be stopping at the Christian store. There are so many books and study materials to choose from. How do you know what is the best ones? Most of the time I notice it is a matter of preference, people tend to buy the materials of the preachers or teachers they like. And I understand that because I also tend to stick with the preachers and teachers I like. However many of the things sold in Christians Stores are not even Christian. I see books on many different topics and from many different people from a wide range of views.
Now I am not writing this to tell you whose books, study Bibles or materials to buy, I do wish to warn you that not everything in the Christian store is Christian. It is so easy for new believers as well as older believers in the Faith to be deceived to believe something is good just because it is sold in the Christian store. I am not going to call out any names in this letter but my prayer is that you will truly take this into consideration the next time you walk into a store that sells Christian materials.
The Word of God warns of false teachers deceiving many people to believe in false Gospels and today they are everywhere. So please before you just buy something marked Christian, be sure you check and see if what they teach is sound Biblical teaching.
The Word of God must always be our filter when listening to a preacher, reading a book, listening to music and watching movies. If what the preacher, book, music or movie is teaching does not line up with Scripture, get away from it. There have been times I watched or listened to preachers or teaching that at first sounded Biblical until I started digging into the Word of God and seeing the conflicts between their teachings compared to the Bible.
Trust the Word of God over all materials sold in the Christian Stores, again if they don't line up with Scripture............flee from it!
By Ricky Gantz
Some people believe that you can share your faith with others without even speaking a word to them, they think that by the way you live your life people will see Christ in it and that will bring them to Jesus. The way we live our lives is important! It may cause people to come and ask questions why we might live a certain way, however without speaking to them and sharing the Gospel with them, we cannot just assume they would come to a Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ just by seeing how we live.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."
Now brotherly love I believe should be very evident in a Christian’s life. One thing I have noticed as a Christian that many times this becomes neglected. We may love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we may even pray for them at times. However sometimes I believe we can get caught up in our own lives that we fail to notice or give time to a brother or sister in need. I will admit, it is very easy to become distracted by other things that we neglect loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Paul also wrote in Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. In this verse Paul tells us to bear one another’s burdens, this can be a hard thing to do at times. Mainly, because Christians can sometimes keep things to themselves and not share their struggles with another brother in Christ. For example if a brother struggling with a sin in their life and wants to share it with someone, most of the time they will not, because they fear others knowing their sin and don’t want to be looked down upon or having it spread throughout the Church. Another example could be that maybe you have taken your struggle to another person, a pastor of brother in Christ and afterward you have felt coldness from that person. That’s why it is very important to have a brother or sister in Christ you can trust and share with in times of struggles with sin. Someone you know will be there for you and pray with you to help you deal with the sin and by God’s Grace overcome the sin.
Remember Christ said they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another, let us love the way Christ loved us, sacrificially! Take time to pray for and love a brother or sister in Christ, we all need it at times and believe me it will be just as beneficial to you as it will be to them.
By Ricky Gantz
Hebrew 9:27 says "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and B)'>after that comes judgment," as I look at this verse, I cant help but think of the thousands of people who die everyday apart from Jesus Christ. Many who flat out deny him and those who profess him with their lips but who have never truly repented and placed their faith in him.
As a Christian I understand the importance of having true saving faith, because I grew up in Church and associated my Christianity with the fact that at one point in my life, I said a prayer and was baptized assuming that I was saved and never had to worry about hell. And I lived my life in the same manner. It wasn't until Christ brought me to my knees broken over my sins at age 32 before I understood that saying I was a Christian and actually understanding what it meant to be a Christian was two different things.
What worries me is that so often over the last five years of true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ I have seen so many people who are like I once was. Believing myself to be saved and on my way to heaven on a broad road, based on my saying a pray, baptism, or belonging to a Church. But in reality I was still separated from God dead in my sins. It breaks my heart but I understand how we can become so easily able to think ourselves right. In Luke 16:15 Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."
Are you guilty as I was of trying to justify myself, how I was living and at the same time calling myself a Christian. Sometimes even basing it on my comparison of others who call themselves Christians and seeing my life did not look much different then theirs. It says in Matthew 15:8-9 "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." I professed belief in Jesus, yet just as this verse says my heart was far from him. And so many my family members and friends no very little about what it means to truly follow Jesus Christ, but will not talk about it because they believe themselves right in their own eyes.
And this brings us back to Hebrew 9:27 "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment," We will all die one die that's guaranteed, we don't know when but we know when we do after that comes the Judgment. Take time today examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith as the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" Don't assume yourself right with God based on what you have done in your life, because if you are basing it on yourself, then you can have no assurance of salvation. Salvation is a gift from God by his Grace through Faith, not by our works but by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
by Ricky Gantz
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