The Believer's Armory: 

M.E. Brines' blog with articles & links to important resources to equip Believers for spiritual success in a world steeped in the occult.


Being a Disciple Changes You

Matthew 5:13-16

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men.  (14)  You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  (15)  Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the grain-measure, but on a lampstand. And it gives light to all who are in the house.  (16)  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.

* * *

We’re supposed to be a beacon and demonstrate the love of God to mankind through our actions. We’re supposed to be different; otherwise what’s the point of being a disciple? But if you’re not any different; if being a follower of Christ hasn’t changed your life, then maybe you’re not really following Jesus.

Repent is an old-fashioned word that you don’t hear much these days, rarely in church and never outside it. It basically means to turn. When a person repents he turns from the way he was going with his life and takes a new path. Jesus refers to “the way that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13) and contrasts that with “the way that leads to life.” To repent means to turn from the one path to the other. If you want to change your destination you need to change the path you’re on.

On the other hand we hear a lot of talk about “having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” and “accepting Christ” into your life. These terms can be misleading. I think the old word “repent” was better.

You can have a personal relationship with someone and be unchanged by it. We do this with our co-workers all the time. I used to manage a fast-food restaurant. My employees changed constantly, coming and going like the tide. I was friendly to them. I knew their names and interests, which ones were dating who, and what clubs and pastimes were important to them. It was important to have a relationship like that. If I needed to call someone in to work on Sunday morning it was good to know who’s going to be in church so I didn’t waste my time trying to get hold of them. I needed to know who was on a sports team and wasn’t going to be able to work Friday night because he had a game or that Bob and Linda are dating and if I schedule them on the same shift together they’ll spend more time flirting with each other than actually working.

But having that kind of relationship with them didn’t change me. When the person quit after a few weeks or months, someone else would replace him and the burgers would continue to be flipped. Life went on pretty much the same.

We see this same sort of personal relationship among people in the church today. They show up Sunday morning and go through the ritual: have a nice cup of coffee and a donut, say “hi” to the folks, sing a hymn or two, nod through the sermon and then go home, the same old, same old. Nothing changes, neither the person behind the hymnbook nor the world outside.

People seem to think that “accepting Christ” is like accepting a gift, and maybe in some ways it is. But the problem is, most people treat it like the gift they got from Aunt Sadie last Christmas: that itchy wool sweater with the arms that are a little too long? They put it on and change the way they appear, maybe look a bit more neat and presentable. But after a while either they get bored with it or they put on a few pounds and it doesn’t really fit anymore, so it ends up back in the closet and only gets worn on special occasions like Christmas and Easter (when Aunt Sadie’s around.)

This is why people drift away from the church. They ‘accept Christ’, but they don’t repent. They pray a little prayer of acceptance and then go on just like they did before. They’re the same old person in a new sweater. Sometimes after a while they decide they like the feel and the cut of a different garment and end up at the Mormons, or the Methodists or the Moonies or someplace else, at least for a little while until they drift off further down the Road to Destruction again. Praying a little prayer of acceptance is meaningless unless it leads to genuine change in your life.

Now, some of you are going to be offended at this point because I put the Methodists in the same category with the Mormons and Moonies. (The Mormons would probably be offended, too.)

But I did that for a reason. Yeah, I know that the Methodists are a Christian church, and that they’ve got the same gospel we have. As a matter of fact I went to a Methodist church when I was a kid, so I know all about them. But it doesn’t matter: Adventist, Baptist, Charismatic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist or whatever denomination you like, Protestant and Catholic, every church is full of people who are going straight to hell when they die.

“But how can you say that!”

Well, I didn’t come up with it on my own:

* * *

Matthew 7:21-29

Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.  (22)  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works?  (23)  And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!  (24)  Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.  (25)  And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock.  (26)  And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  (27)  And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall.  (28)  And it happened, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His doctrine.  (29)  For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

* * *

Churches, your church, my church is filled with people who’ve gone through the motions of accepting Jesus, who think that all they need to do is mumble a little prayer and they’re saved.

I know. I used to be one of those people.

But there’s more to being a disciple than just saying a little prayer. We have to repent, get off of the path we’ve been following and onto a new one:

* * *

Matthew 3:1-3

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."

* * *

In the Bible every time someone repents and begins to follow God they are changed. They’re no longer the same person.

Moses messed up his life so bad he ended up a fugitive from justice, a murderer, herding sheep on the backside of the desert, too afraid of Pharaoh to even speak directly to him. (Exodus chapter 4) But he was changed and became a mighty man of God challenging Pharaoh to his face and becoming the leader of a nation.

Gideon changed from being a coward into a successful military leader. (Judges chapter 6)

Trying to keep a low profile at Jesus’ trial, Peter denies that he even knows him, not just once but three times. But after the resurrection he became a new person. His whole attitude changed so radically that he went down to the temple to preach, the most public location in the city, the one high-profile place where the authorities who murdered Jesus just days before couldn’t help but notice him.

Paul went from being leader of a lynch mob trying to stamp out Christianity to being the foremost missionary spreading Christianity and a victim of many such mobs himself.

Again and again we see people undergo radical change after they truly begin to follow God. Now, here’s the hard part: examine your own testimony. Is there any difference between before you ‘accepted’ Christ and now? If you’re like most people in any church, the answer is probably no. There’s little more change than putting on that itchy sweater, and for the same reason - deep down inside you’re still the same person.

Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Yet it’s a statistical fact that the average churchgoer leads not even one other person to Christ in their lifetime. [from www.barna.org] Is this any wonder if the typical church member’s ‘relationship’ with Christ has made no more difference in their lives than their relationship with their Aunt Sadie? If Christianity has made no essential difference in your life, why should anyone else want to bother with it?

* * *

Second Corinthians 13:3-5:

Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me (who is not weak toward you, but is powerful in you; (4)  for even if He was crucified out of weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For indeed even we are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you), (5)  examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith, prove your own selves. Do you not know your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are reprobates?

* * *

Examine your life. Has your relationship with Christ made a difference? Are you truly a “new creation?”

If not, then it’s time to repent; it’s time to turn from your own way and follow God.

* * *

Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him (Christ) the iniquity of us all.

* * *

Do you find church a bore? Or is it a whirlwind of social activities of no more significance than membership in the Elks Club or the VFW? Do you attend Sunday worship out of a sense of duty, because ‘it’s the right thing to do on Sunday morning?’ Do you wish the sermons were shorter and donut time was longer? Do you ever wonder why in other countries where Christianity is illegal that Christians risk imprisonment or death to participate in such a dull, unsatisfying activity as studying the Bible?

Maybe it’s because they’re on a different road? Maybe it’s time to turn back from the way you’re going and seek the narrow road that leads to life: a changed life. Because without that change you will never achieve what Jesus your master expects of you.

To be continued....

* * *

Has Christianity lost its cultural relevance? Has the Church’s misguided efforts to market itself to non-Christians doomed it to irrelevance? Is it time for a new Reformation?  Spiritual Embezzlement Made Easy

What does Jesus expect from his followers? How did he train his disciples? Revolutionary Discipleship

Why do those who disagree with you politically believe the ridiculous things they do? Why don’t they see what’s so obvious? How does the Progressive Mentality differ from the Conservative Mentality? What are their origins? Their motivation? Their goals? What part does religion play in political worldviews – for BOTH sides? What does the Culture War mean for the future of the US? Read Conservatives are from Mars & Progressives are from Venus

With all the depressing news lately do you need something to pick you up and make you laugh? In a world where sugar, cream and caffeine are illegal can one man give the people back their just desserts?  Strike a blow for frosting and freedom! Read The Donuts of Doom, a whimsical steampunk fantasy e-novel Also available in paperback.

 

 

 

 

 


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Previous posts:

·  Should Christians Understand the Occult?

Cultural Posts    Philosophical posts    Steampunk Posts


Who is M.E. Brines?

M.E. Brines spent the Cold War assembling atomic artillery shells and preparing to unleash the Apocalypse (and has a medal to prove it.) But when peace broke out, he turned his fevered, paranoid imagination to other pursuits. He spends his spare time scribbling another steampunk romance occult adventure novel, which despite certain rumors absolutely DOES NOT involve time-traveling Nazi vampires!

A former member of the British Society for Psychical Research, he is a long-time student of the occult and a committed Christian who sees himself as a modern-day Professor Van Helsing equipping Believers for battle against the occult Principalities and Powers that rule a world in darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)

The author of three dozen books, e-books, chapbooks and pamphlets on esoteric subjects such as alien abduction, alien hybrids, astrology, the Bible, biblical prophecy, Christian discipleship, conspiracies, esoteric Nazism, the Falun Gong, Knights Templar, magick, and UFOs, his work has also appeared in Challenge magazine, Weird Tales, The Outer Darkness, Tales of the Talisman, and Empirical magazine.

*I'm often asked how I square my Christianity and "messing around" with the occult, as if I'm partial to bestial things with a goat under the amber light of the moon or something. No so. I'm a student, in the same way I used to study Soviet weapons and tactics back when I was a US Army officer. This gives my work a unique perspective no matter what your belief system. I don't judge. I just present the information and let the reader decide.

Cool Links:

Desert Breeze Publishing

Crimson Frost Books

Armstrong Economics Blog

Christian Fiction Online Magazine

Cold Case Christanity

Tales of the Talisman magazine

Weird Tales magazine

Indie Books R Us

Society for Psychical Research

Ghost Hunting Theories (+ Bigfoot)

Gnostalgia (the Esoteric Steampunk Lodge of the Retro-Future)

Where the Map Ends

Why Star Trek is dead. (Postmodernism killed it)

Smashwords is great place 2 get e-books, 7 different formats, Nook, Kindle, EPUB, & more! Many are FREE. Check it out!!! https://www.smashwords.com/


The Struggle of Nations Game  

(This could be you)

Ever wanted to rule your own nation? Now you can! The Struggle of Nations is a historical play-by-e-mail game where each player is the leader of his own nation. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing government or rebel faction. Weekly turns represent the passage of a year in game-time. During each week you can plot, plan and scheme, then turn in your national budget and orders by the deadline. Track your progress using the economic report and full-color maps on the web site. Read about your exploits in the weekly newsletter!

The game accommodates busy players by enabling you to spend whatever time you like during the week conducting diplomacy with the other players via e-mail and determining your budget and orders, as long as they are finalized and submitted by the weekly turn deadline. You devote to the game exactly as much or as little time as you choose. 

The rules are realistic and complete yet with a human referee to allow customized options. Players can manipulate tax rates, social programs, propaganda, and forge a customized military with secret weapons of their own design. The possibilities for economic growth, conquest, colonization, exploration, and research are endless.

Set in a 19th century steampunk Victorian world, The Struggle of Nations allows players to develop their countries as they see fit, accommodating any ideology or style of play. The game only ends if one player manages to conquer (or destroy) the world. In previous sessions the game lasted until the early 21st century as players began to explore and colonize the solar system. What could YOU accomplish if you ruled a nation?

Find out in The Struggle of Nations! Choose any nationality or secret society you like.  Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing nation or rebel faction. Just contact the Game Master by sending an e-mail to "son@cox.net." For the rules of play, click on The Player's Handbook below. The game is FREE (although we request a donation of $5 per turn.) Sign up today!  


The links below lead to the Player's Handbook, and other useful documents. The player's handbook helps players fill out their order packets correctly so their orders are not misunderstood by the Game Master. 

Player's Handbook        

Understanding Technology    Tips for Small Countries     

 Military Equipment:

TL1-6    TL7-12    TL13-18

Current Economic Report

Current Maps: 

Europe    Asia    Africa    

North America    South America    The Pacific   

Game Newsletters:

1856    1857    1858    1859    

1860    1861    1862    1863    1864    1865    1866    1867    1868    1869

1870    1871    1872    1873    1874    1875    1876    1877    1878    1879

   1880    

An Austrian light panzer:

 

An Austrian cruiser down for the count

Montigny_Mitrailleuse.jpg

 

Austrian troops laying barbed wire

 

You can join the game discussion group by using this URL:

http://groups.google.com/group/the-struggle-of-nations?hl=en

All attached documents are Copyright 2012 by Michael E. Brines