Happy May to you from Inspiration from a Blind brought to you monthly by www.ShirleyCheng.com!
Are you a sheep or a goat? When Jesus Christ returns to Earth to judge and reign over humanity, he'll separate the "sheep" and the "goats," putting the sheep (true Christians) on his right, and the goats (false Christians) on his left.
So what I'm asking is: Are you a Christian? Do you know what actually makes you a Christian? Does going to church every Sunday, wearing a golden cross on your necklace, donating to charities, and praying to God nightly or even three times a day make you a Christian?
Let's see what makes a Christian "Christian." A Christian...
a) Believes in the only true God, Yahweh, of the Bible
The Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is the primary source that introduces to us the all-knowing and all-powerful only true God, who has made His name known to us as YHWH in Hebrew (Biblical Hebrew has no written vowels), from which scholars produce "Yahweh," and "Jehovah" in English. Since the Bible has been proven historically accurate, scientifically sound, and prophetic, we can trust it as the Word of God, from where an accurate knowledge of God can be obtained. Therefore, if you do not believe in the God described in the Bible, but instead a "god" from a different source, then you might as well believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy--simply put, a god of your own imagination.
b) Believes in the Son of Yahweh God, Jesus the Christ ("Anointed One")
If you only accept Yahweh, but not His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, then you cannot be a Christian, as the name "Christian" implies a follower of Christ, which means the "Anointed." Even if you believe that Jesus existed and that he was a great prophet but don't believe that he is the only begotten Son of God, then you aren't a Christian, either. A true follower of Christ accepts who he is and all the works he has done for humanity.
c) Actively loves Yahweh and Jesus
So you believe in Yahweh and Jesus? Well, that's no big deal. Even the demons believe in the true God and His Son (James 2:19; Mark 3:11), but does this make them Christians?
The ultimate test whether you are a Christian is if you love God and His Son. Believing in them is the easy part; loving them is the hard part.
Moses exhorted God's people, the Israelites, "Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one: and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, WEB) Jesus confirmed this as the most important commandment of all (Mark 12:29-30).
What does loving Yahweh God really entail? How should you love Him?
In the Bible, "love" is more of action, rather than emotion. It's not about a warm, fuzzy feeling we have inside. Biblical love is doing God's will, as opposed to Biblical hatred, where you do not do God's will.
But what is doing the will of God?
Doing God's will equates with obeying His moral commandments, such as for us not to steal, not to commit adultery or fornication, not to cheat our government of our taxes due, not to dishonor our parents, and not to tell lies or spread rumors. Doing God's will is NOT performing external religious duties all the while abandoning God's moral Law. So if you go to church weekly and pray to God nightly, Yahweh will ignore your prayers and not heed the gifts or donations you give to the church. Note what Yahweh said to Israel:
"What are the multitude of your sacrifices to me?
I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams,
and the fat of fed animals.
I don't delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs,
or of male goats.
When you come to appear before me,
who has required this at your hand, to trample my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings.
Incense is an abomination to me;
new moons, Sabbaths, and convocations:
I can't bear with evil assemblies.
My soul hates your New Moons and your appointed feasts.
They are a burden to me.
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you.
Yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves, make yourself clean.
Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes.
Cease to do evil.
Learn to do well.
Relieve the oppressed.
Judge the fatherless.
Plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:11-17)
Israel thought that they had Yahweh's approval when they kept their worship rituals and offered Him many sacrifices and prayers, yet at the same time living a sinful lifestyle. But God was--and is never--mocked. He will not ignore our wicked deeds done outside the church building. It's only when we obey His Law will He look with favor upon our prayers and worship rituals.
When we obey Yahweh to follow His commandments, that means we love Him. When we disobey Him, that means we hate Him. That's how God judges whether we love or hate Him, not by how we feel for Him (2 John 6; Exodus 20:5-6). A Christian can "feel" love for God, but God will not see it as true love if the person fails to do His will. So it's a matter of passive love (a feeling of love) vs. active love. We should have an active love, just as we should have an active faith (trust). It's an active faith (trust) in Christ that saves us (James 2:14-26). A passive faith is the faith of demons, and is therefore fruitless (James 2:19).
Thus, if you do not do Yahweh's will despite believing in Him, it does not make you a Christian. At best, it just makes you a hypocritical one. However, if you actively do His will, then it shows that you love Him, which makes you a genuine Christian. And when you love Him, you will also love His Son, for whoever "loves the Father also loves the child who is born of him." (1 John 5:1)
d) Actively loves fellow human beings
True love for God means that we love what belongs to Him. If you say, "I love God," and hate your brother, you are a liar; for "he who doesn't love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother." (1 John 4:20-21)
So you must love fellow human beings in deeds, not just in words, and this will prove whether your love for Yahweh and Jesus is genuine, for God commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18), and Jesus confirmed this as the second most important commandment of all (Mark 12:31).
Now, add up your score. Do all four points above apply to you? If so, then you are likely a Christian, though final judgment lies in Yahweh's hands through Jesus Christ, who will return to judge all the sheep and the goats.
On that day, King Jesus will say to the sheep on his right hand, "Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me."
Then the sheep will answer him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?"
The King will reply, "Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Then he will turn to those on his left hand and say, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn't give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me."
The goats will ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?"
The King will answer, "Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these, you didn't do it to me." These goats will receive eternal punishment, while the righteous sheep eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46)
If Jesus returns today, will you be identified as a sheep or a goat?
~*~Q&A with Dr. Shirley~*~
Question: What holds people back from obeying Yahweh?
Answer: Pride is what holds most of us back from obeying God. Many of us believe that we are smart and wise enough to make our own rules and govern our own lives; but are we really? Our modern motto is "Follow your heart!" but God's Word says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9, WEB) Look around us and see what we have done to our lives when we have followed our hearts: corruption after corruption of every kind imaginable. Did the Boston marathon bombers not follow their hearts recently? I bet they did, and actually believing in their hearts that they were doing the right thing.
The first sin of humankind, committed in the Garden of Eden, partially stemmed from pride; Adam and Eve felt they could be on their own without God, and that they were good enough--or deserved--what God did not allow them to have: the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. They only focused on what they wanted, not on what God wanted, just as the apostle Paul wrote, "Those who live following their sinful selves think only about things that their sinful selves want. But those who live following the Spirit are thinking about the things the Spirit wants them to do." (Romans 8:5, NCV)
Question: How does a hypocritical Christian impact others inside and outside the Christian community?
Answer: Paul warned, "Be careful! 'Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.'" (Galatians 5:10) In the Bible, sin is often compared to yeast. Just as a little bit of yeast can silently spread throughout the dough, a bit of sin can silently spread to the whole community if left unchecked. Therefore, a hypocritical Christian can negatively affect not only the church (the body of Christ) but outside it as well.
In the body of Christ, members are often role models to one another, good or bad. When a Christian acts hypocritically, others may follow in his or her footsteps, either thinking it is acceptable (i.e. "If he did so and so, then I can, too"), or doing it out of sheer rebellion against God. If the hypocritical person continues living in sin without others correcting them, then their actions may be mirrored by a large number of people.
Outside the body of Christ, hypocritical Christians can and do turn many people away from Christianity, making nonbelievers think that what these "Christians" are doing is a characteristic of the true Christian faith. For example, our Christian faith preaches against stealing, cheating, fornication, and adultery, but are we all living what we teach? No, so for this reason, many nonbelievers are ignoring Christianity--it, to them, is like any other religion available. Why would they need to adhere to Christian teachings if even Christians themselves do not? And what is so special about this particular religion if its followers are not doing what they teach? Hence, hypocrisy is a dangerous yeast that can spread to the ends of Earth, and it will unless each and every Christian stops it as soon as possible.
~*~Dr. Shirley's Corner~*~
Just to remind you that you can now read all of my Kindle ebooks for free if you are a Premier Member of Amazon. Browse all my titles at http://www.amazon.com/author/shirleycheng
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Are you interested in obtaining in-depth knowledge of God's Word to help you deepen your understanding of God and His plans and develop a sacred relationship with your Heavenly Father? If so, you are more than welcome to sign up for the In-Depth Ultra-Ability Bible Virtual Class via e-mail.
· You will study the Bible in depth from Genesis to Revelation in order.
· The study will progress in your own pace.
· You will work one-on-one with me via e-mail only.
· Your personal Bible-related questions will be answered.
· Although the virtual class has no financial cost, it will require your dedication and diligence. There will be lessons to complete and tests to take for all Bible chapters. All assignments are in short question and answer format.
· The only textbook for this program is the Bible. If you do not have a copy of the Bible, you can read it online for free at www.BibleGateway.com.
· The class is non-denominational and is not affiliated with any church or ministry.
· You have no obligations; you may pause or stop anytime, though you are strongly encouraged to complete the study.
Interested? Then fill out the form at http://www.ultra-ability.com and we'll get started. In our study, you'll learn all the essential principles and precepts of God that will lead you to becoming a true sheep of Christ! I look forward to our study time together!
May the grace and peace from Yahweh God and Jesus Christ be with you.!
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Dr. Shirley Cheng
Award-Winning Author with 27 Book Awards
Founder of Ultra-Ability Ministry
Proclaimer of Yahweh God's Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ
Author/Contributor/Editor of 35 books by age 27, Bible Teacher, Poet, Motivational Speaker, Self-Empowerment Expert, Advocate
Board member of World Positive Thinkers Club
"Although I'm blind, I can see far and wide; even though I'm disabled, I can climb high mountains. Let the ropes of hope in Yahweh God haul you high!"
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