Friday, October 16, 2009

BLENDERS...

Blenders ... instead of CHRISTIANS ?

Are we blending into the world...

or are we a distinct people?

There are ways for us to measure ourselves.

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One of the first signs of a true disciple of CHRIST ~ one who applies discipleship to his own life ~ is the fruit that is growing quietly. The ripening and maturing of the fruit is visible to all who come near. Everbody notices it. The neighbors see it, the friends sense it, the children feel it, the husband or wife become slowly aware of it... everybody notices the fruit of discipleship.

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What is some of that fruit?

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Fruit that is Holy makes a distinction between the disciple and the world, which can be seen at a glance. For instance, one fruit of discipleship is the thought-life. Thoughts are made evident to others through conversation, or more apply put, perhaps, through those things NOT said nor discussed. The early Christians were distinct because of how they conducted their conversations ~ and the topics that DID NOT INTEREST them. [Now, that's a thought!]

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Thoughts are apparent through attitudes. Are we defensive? Ready to argue? Grim when things are done NOT our way? These are some of the measuring sticks to see if we qualify as disciples or spiritual babies.

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Discipleship will change all that. A disciple ~ a true disciple of CHRIST ~ will be so involved in CHRIST JESUS that earthly concerns will not matter too much anymore. PEACE will be one distinct fruit. Irritability will be gone with little effort, you see, when one's mind is on Spiritual things of The LORD. A disciple keeps his mind on things which The LORD deems important.

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Another measuring stick to see if we qualify as disciples of CHRIST is our visible, silent witness. Many people will not go into a church because they are afraid "they" will "GET" them ! [Who they is, is not quite clear... but to those who are afraid, they is real.] Supposedly, to be "gotten" by a church (?) means that some kind of discomfort is very real in the mind of that fearful person. So, how does one witness to such a person? How could one let him / her know that CHRIST is available to meet the needs of whosoever would come unto HIM+ ?

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Again, separation from the world is the rule to follow. How do we measure if we Christians are sufficiently separated? This one is simple: we use our eyes. While we are walking in the supermarket or across the parking lot, can someone SEE AT A GLANCE that we follow CHRIST? If not, then we must change our clothing so that a constant visible witness THAT MARKS US AS CHRISTIAN is evident, even without the spoken word.

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This is not radical: we all recognize policemen, firemen, soldiers, and ball team members AT A GLANCE, don't we? We recognize orthodox Jews and orange-clad disciples of an eastern religion at a glance. Even children in Britain and many other countries usually wear uniforms to school to set them apart.

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The early Christians dressed oftentimes to blend in with the earth, not the crowd. In other words, their simplicity and modesty and lack of adornment marked them as belonging to CHRIST. And they lived in a most pagan era!

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When we look over the playground, do our little boys stand out as CHRISTIAN by the way we dress them... or do they blend in with the crowd? Are our girls separated from the world SO MUCH SO that you can identify "those girls are from a Christian family" on the playground or in the neighborhood? We know of two families ~ one in Kentucky, one in Alabama ~ who are NOT members of a "group" which tells them what to do. But their walk with CHRIST is such that they dress their children so noticably Christian that anyone looking will know they come from a Christian family. And that simple fact opens up the doors for witness.

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Why is it important for the children to be dressed differently? One important reason is the witness for CHRIST: others who see the Christian children will come looking for their parents if they are spiritually hungry.

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The other important reason is that we are training the children, no matter how young, to be different from the worldlings... instead of blending in with the non-disciples. We train them to be comfortable with a separate identity.

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Yes, we can choose their clothes for them now, but we will not be able to choose the consequences for them later... if we train them up to enhance their "self" identity. Self expression instead of expressing CHRIST is the lesson the children learn, much to our regret in later years. Then we hear the parents' lament, "Oh, what have I done wrong?" And then, it is too late.

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Being conservative, decent, hard-working, and modest citizens of ANY country is not equivalent to being Christian. Many, many persons live and dress moderately. Many, many persons love their children deeply and work hard. They wouldn't even think of robbing a bank or committing murder.
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But... they bear no witness for CHRIST JESUS the LORD. In their public talk, walk, thoughts, attitudes, and dress no-one would run to them for spiritual help. No stranger laden with sin and dispair would even imagine that CHRIST may dwell in the hearts of the blenders.
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Instead, a person troubled over his spiritual plight would slip next to a priest, a nun, or even an Old Order Mennonite / Amish to talk with them about their problems. Why? Because they can identify them at a glance!
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The evangelical Christians who do know CHRIST JESUS simply are blending in with the majority of conservative society today. And the witness is greatly blunted, if not eradicated altogether.
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True, we may not be able to go to the far-out tribes in the Gobi Desert to witness for CHRIST, but we can do those little things at home and in the public ~ right where we live ~ to lift CHRIST JESUS up. The promise is certain because HE+ said it: If I + be lifted up from the earth, I + will draw all men unto ME+ .
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What, dear friends, is keeping us from doing that?
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Let us make a decided effort to discipline ourselves to separate from the world and its ways and learn to lift JESUS up as our LORD in everyday things, in everyday life... every day.
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Come out from among them;

and be ye separate,

saith the LORD,

and touch not the unclean thing;

and

I+
will receive
you.

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(The Apostle, 2 Cor. 6:17,

quoting the Prophet Isaiah )

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Shake loose the rocks; break up the fallow ground and the hard-packed soil. In our prayer closets, then, let us judge and measure ourselves lest we be judged... and found wanting in the balance.

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In the name of The FATHER,

Who created thee;

The SON+

Who+ saves thee;

and the blessed HOLY SPIRIT,

Who sanctifies thee.

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Sister Judith Hannah + + +



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