Over 3 years ago, God started to speak to me deeply on the great sin of division, slander, and gossip in the body of Christ. God started to have me in situations where great hurt was being done and I saw first hand the way the enemy used these tactics to destroy and hurt the testimony of Jesus Christ in others lives. One of many devotional articles I wrote during that time was called: God's Church Is Sacred In This Earth. The premise of the devotion was a warning that when we speak against the body of Christ we speak against God's Sacred Church of whom we are all a part.
Recently, God spoke to Francis Chan on that exact same verse (1 Corinthians 3:17) to give us a loving warning to the body of Christ against division.
Here is a recent statement Francis made in regards to people who divide and leave Church fellowship:
"There is this terrifying verse in 1 Timothy where Paul talked about two men who rejected the faith. Paul said that he had handed them over to Satan, by which he meant that he’d put them outside of the church (1:20). Basically, these men were actively opposing the works of God, so rather than pretending everything was fine, Paul removed them from the safety and blessings of the fellowship of believers. He was hoping that the misery of being separated from the church would lead them to repent. Are you catching the weight of this? Paul equated removal from the church with being handed over to Satan! It is crazy to me that we live in a time when people are voluntarily doing this to themselves! No church has placed them outside of the fellowship; instead, they’ve handed themselves over to Satan!"
What a sobering thought that those in our day in North America being critical of so much that is called Christian are doing to themselves what Paul the Apostle had to recommend Timothy to do to others as a last resort to have them repent of their pride and sins.
We are living in a day where we are judging others and not ourselves. We are finding it easy to be critical of everything but our own sins we ourselves struggle with.
Francis again shares on how God wants to send real unity to the body of Christ:
"Real love, unity and blessing were supposed to be found in the church. Many are having a hard time finding that, so they’re setting off on their own. Jesus said that the world would see the supernatural unity and love we share in the church and believe in Him through that. But we’re not experiencing it. We’ve given up on it. We no longer believe it is possible."
Perhaps we can start to change our minds and start looking towards others with seeing their good and not bad, speaking blessings over others and not curses. Remember we are fitted together in a temple of God with all saints of all ages. And Francis gives the example of someone taking a sledgehammer to this temple. What a fearful thing to do, of course we would depart from such an individual for fear of what God Himself would do to him. As the Scripture says, "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them" (Titus 3:10).
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. - James 4:10 Humility is the way to heaven. Christ was humble, the prophets of God were men of humility. The Apostles Jesus choose ended up being men of great humility. Saints in church history are considered those who reached a place of humility. Pride is everything that opposes Gods will and way. The demons are proud and love to come near those who are of a proud boastful spirit. Humility of heart drives satan from us. Humility is not just a sense of being but hundreds of daily choices we make. We can humble ourselves in a manifold amount of ways each day in our thought-life, actions we make, in relationships we are in. The Spirit of God is working with us daily to allow us to choose the right humble choices. Archimandrite Joel Giannakopoulos said rightly: "Humility is, not only to humble your own self, but also to forbear the humiliations which others impose on you." St. Chrysostom said: "For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart, will not be vainglorious, will not be wrathful, will not envy his neighbor, will not harbor any other passion." The Scriptures say to humble "yourselves." And to realize that when we do this we are doing it "before" the Lord not only men. God see's our hearts condition and honours humility. He longs and desires to "lift us up" and grant us His blessings safely as we maintain humility of heart. There are many steps to take towards humility, here is one practical step. Consider to pray out loud this "Litany of Humility" even daily if it becomes a help to you: O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being honoured, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of consulted, deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus. That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
By Sharky and George
Learn from this and have pleasant feelings.
Sometimes I worry that I am proud but this is good as I realise it, address it and don't stumble, let me explain:
Remember this - I read this. My pride is mainly vanity which is the least of the types of pride. And this - Realising and addressing the problem of pride is the main step to becoming humble. Consider if you too - I am isolated but I still do well to try and be humble and listen to other people before I speak about myself lots. Are you like one of the celebrities on TV? No, it's not that bad but only say that if you are in despair about it AND DO squash your pride at every cost. Praise Jesus and magnify him instead e.g. if you have vain imaginations then imagine Jesus as a powerful and beautiful warrior.
Being humble feels pleasant as Jesus gives you grace when you do it.
IF you don't then you will feel like a turkey.
By Jonathan BeWell
Open Letter to Rock Bottom
Dear Down in the Dumps,
You are not in a nice place to visit or indefinitely live. I know, I have been there too many times. Since then I have burned my passport and remain grounded, gladly. The local authorities and citizens do not understand my alien presence. They cannot keep this message out. I will explain later. You will not complain sooner. Listen, look and warm yourself up to light versus darkness. Defect from that infected wasteland. Walk this way for freedom!
Before I believed in anything worth mentioning, I desperately decided to buy into "Allen Carr's 'Easy Way to Stop Smoking.'" Heck, he wrote I could even smoke as I read the book! I took a leap of faith out the hole of butts and ash. I actually enjoyed and laughed at old cues to spark a dart. Nic fits were only a fading memory of how and what I used to be like. I had been deprogrammed from doom and reprogrammed for life. Thank goodness, because all drags from cigarettes had become depressing slave wage reminders of death. I could not prove or understand it but I believed it had worked, setting me free. I see that now was a good sign, open door and ray of hope. Major problems had potential solutions. I believed things could be better.
Before I met and surrendered to Jesus Christ, I waged war with myself and the world. I abused my being with alcohol, marijuana and drug experimentation. I sat much of my life in front of a screen playing questionable games. I cheated on God, my future wife and myself with pornography and masturbation. I was living the bad dream of a wicked party scene. My heart had holes, my mind was free for the taking, my body was in ruin and my soul was lost and bound. Mental health issues coincided with the start of all of the above. By my fourth psychiatric ward stay I actually enjoyed doing my time and running the show. Pride, lust, anger, gluttony and slothfulness as deadly sins were aiming to win. It was either end up a casualty of spiritual warfare or be saved by divine intervention. Enter my Saviour, Lord, teacher and protector.
I read the Bible out of curiousity. I thought I should for its major influence on the world and world view. Believing and in it does not change that in any case. Tragedy struck when my parents' dog died in my arms. What I was doing with my life and would come after hit me hard. God had spoken, my deaf ears had been opened. I quit pot on the spot. I mourned Baloo's death and a life I was not getting. I compensated by binge drinking. I started getting drunk in the morning. I was listening to Harvesters FM, a Christian radio station constantly. They suggested AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. I went and got on the sober wagon. Gaming got the boot. Pornography and masturbation were confessed, apologized for, repented from and rebuked. All of the above related to asking Jesus Christ into my heart and life through a simple, sincere to the point prayer. The Bible was now more than history and what Christianity was based on. It was God's word speaking to me, changing my life for His pure glory, perfect plan and purpose. Not the story of my life, but Jesus Christ's death for the church as his wife. It is thee book that's truth never changes as always relevant. Now I am part of the book of life, hallelujah!
Not the end,
Gregory Keith Jonathan Brumwell 2018
Testimony Saved by Jesus Christ as of December 18, 2016, GKJB-1973
11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
- John 3:11 New International Version (NIV)
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.
- John 5:31 New International Version (NIV)
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.
- John 1:7 New International Version (NIV)