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Modern Beauty In Christian Living

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Christian Magazine image:walk4life.com

Put Your Trust In God... Not Man! 2012 Fall/Winter Edition Jesus Is a Healer! Breast Cancer Awareness!

“God Has A Plan For Your Life”

Discovering Your Purpose! by Ronald Dupree

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Editorial Staff

IN EVERY ISSUE pg

6 | A Word From The Publisher

8 | Invitation To Christ

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Acknowledging Our Youth

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Co-Founder/Publisher Elizabeth Jackson

Photographer Ferrell Phelps Jr.

Advertisement Director Byron Jackson Jr.

Sports Photographer Keith Tillis

Counselor/Minister Ronald Dupree

Writer/Editor Kyauta Gajere

Chief Editor Teesha Walker

Ad Salesperson Pamela Survillion

Assistant Editor Melvin Kirks Jr.

Writer/Editor Alfred Thompson

ada Walker is a unique and remarkable dancer, showing abilities and talents far beyond her age. A fifth grader at Houston Academy of Fine Arts, she began dancing at five and it has become her passion. Her parents are relentless in their support of her commitment. Jada is caring, humble, gracious and respectful. She is also an academic achiever, maintaining an A average. She has won various awards and performed in many dance productions. Her passion for the art of dance has gained her even more invitations to participate in dance troop and camps.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 3 | God’s Divine Connection by Pastor Melvin Kirks Jr. pg

4 | Suffering In Silence Before Released by Ronald Dupree, Minister

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7 | Inspirational Message: Ronald Dupree

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10 | Lessons From the Thief on the Cross Pastor Andy Woods

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12 | Did You Know?

Sponsors The BeautySpot Covenant Consultant Setapart Photography Interactive Hair Studio Ferrell Phelps Photographer Individual Contributors Mrs. Annie Price Byron Jackson Jr.

For advertisement, please contact our Director of Advertisement: Byron Jackson Jr. @ 832-754-4379 or email:byron.jackson66@yahoo.com

For Suggestions, Comments, Life Stories, Sponsorship or Monetary Contributions mail to M’Bracing Beauty Christian Magazine @ P.O. Box 90425-Houston, TX 77290-0425 Our Publisher, Liz Jackson email her at lizj.mbracingbeauty1@gmail.com For Further Infomation contact our Office: 281-886-6599 ©2012-13 M’Bracing Beauty Christian Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form without written permission from our company.


God’s Divine Connection - Through Others by Pastor Melvin Kirks Jr. In different situations God use others to demonstrate His love, one to another. Many people go the extra mile using the kindness of the Lord as their guide. These are two of God’s people that I am very proud to present.

Breast Cancer & Chemotherapy Willie Mae Kirks was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in February 2011. There was a feeling of helplessness but not hopelessness, knowing that God is the author and finisher of her faith, she turned to the Lord in prayer . “The response was immediate and on time. God sent two of His Spiritual Vessels my way for guidance and comfort and He’s not done yet. I know that the challenges and tests in my life are not over until God says it’s over. So for all the women out there, who feel like there is no hope, put all your trust in God. I have not had the symptoms that I was told I would have, loss of appetite, nausea, etc. In fact, I feel better now than before being diagnosed and I am still working during Chemo, Praise God!” God hears the prayers of His children and will reassure them of His love for them

and He will comfort them in their time of need. God has placed His Spiritual Vessels in areas to provide a service unequal to any other service on earth.

Coise Cox better known as C.C. She is also one of God’s spiritual vessels and a RN at Herman Memorial hospital. Although her job duties do not include spiritual attitude, she injects her patients with 80c.c’s of love and understanding and 20c.c’s of knowledge as to what a person is to expect once treatment is started. This loving and caring attitude can only be found when God is present in your life. She demonstrates the love of God towards others while she performs her daily functions as a RN.

What About Transportation? Aaron Buckner is also considered in my eye a person who has demonstrates the love of God. She is a Medical Assistant at Memorial Herman, and in her spare time she sells candy for the purpose of other people. A prime example of the cliché “it’s not all about me.” She donates her time and efforts to be available for people who would like to buy candy and here is the best part, she does this for people who can not afford transportation to or from the treatment center so that they might receive the treatment they need to sustain their lives. We thank God for His Spiritual Vessels; you never know they are there until you need them. Thank you C. C. and Aaron for your love and caring attitude.

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The TeQuandra Chizer Story by Ronald Dupree | M’Bracing Beauty Magazine

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uffering In Silence Before Released

TeQuandra Chizer, pastor MBM – Your story is one that many have experienced or may be in the midst of right now. What is your purpose for sharing your story with M’Bracing Beauty Magazine? TC – I pray that this article will cause someone in a similar situation to allow God to open their eyes, ears and heart. It is difficult to be in a marriage or any relationship where you must endure abuse. It is equally difficult to walk away from a situation after you have invested time, love, energy, and children. Nevertheless, neither of these things are valid reasons to remain in an abusive relationship. MBM – How did you meet your husband? TC – My husband and I met in 1998 at the Almeda Skatingrink. We expressed interest towards one another two years later. I knew I wanted to be in a relationship with him because of his personality. He was fun, caring, cool and he never seemed to change. MBM – Were there any signs of abuse towards you during the dating process?

Being saved or called into ministry does not exclude you from the same trials of those who are not saved. The difference is the trials of a child of God are attached to a greater purpose. In one way or another there will be triumph from a child of God’s tragedy. M’Bracing Beauty Magazine has interviewed Pastor TeQuandra Chizer with “The Love of Christ Ministries” to expound on a recent tragedy to triumph experience in her life. TC – There was abuse during the dating process. The worst event I can remember came before marriage. He thought that I was going to leave him so he decided to kidnap me. He dragged me on the dirty ground and made me get into his truck. He had a gun and was telling me “If I can’t have you nobody will.” We began driving down a dark road where he stopped and parked the truck, then he got out. While he was standing outside the truck I reached over to press the brake trying to put the truck in drive. Once he saw the brake lights he fired one shot, so I froze. I didn’t want him to start shooting at the truck. He got back in the truck and put the gun to my head and promised to kill me if I left him. As he drove back to the house he tried to convince me that he loved me. MBM – Why did you remain in the relationship after the abuse started? TC – I honestly believe one of the reasons was out of fear. I also wanted to believe badly that this was the person that I was supposed to be with. I wanted to impress people as well. I felt

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embarrassed and ashamed for people to know that we were not together anymore. MBM – Why did you decided to marry this person who was abusing you? TC – There were numerous reasons. As I began to grow spiritually, I no longer felt that it was acceptable to God to live with him and not be married to him. I also felt an obligation to get married to him because I had made a covenant with God. Secondly, I felt like I had to prove a point to his ex-wife. I wanted to prove to her that I could be a better wife than she was. As crazy as this may sound, this was how I was feeling and thinking at the time. MBM – How has this relationship affected your children? TC – My oldest two children told me that they once plotted to stab him. My oldest daughter grew a deep dislike for him that she has been unable to release. My oldest son grew to a place of forgiveness, but he once resented him as well. My two younger children (which are my husband’s children) have not been able to express themselves


about the issue. My youngest daughter never expressed anything more than “I’m scared when y’all fight”, and my youngest son is still a baby. He came to a point where he would say “don’t holler at mommy” or “don’t holler at daddy” whenever he thought that we were engaged in an altercation.

MBM – What advice can you give to the readers? TC – Many times God speaks to us and we refuse to hear Him clearly out of fear. The fear of “what if” plays a major role because you are constantly asking yourself “what if things could change”, “what if the kids never see him/her again”, what if I’m going against God’s will by leaving”. I’ve battled with each of these “what ifs” and more, because nobody gets married with the intention

MBM – Are you still in this abusive marriage? TC - I am happy to say I’m no longer in that abusive marriage.

of getting a divorce. I pray that it will cause someone to open up and allow God to be their guide. I pray that they do not find themselves hindered by asking the “what if” questions. Be still long enough to be able to decipher the difference between God’s voice and your own wishes. If you have any questions or comments with TeQuandra Chizer, a servant of Jesus The Christ, please contact her at : www.facebook.com/ pastortlc / PastorTLChizer@gmail.com

Being in an abusive relationship is never okay. We encourage both the abused and the abuser to seek both professional and spiritual counseling. If you are in a similar situation you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). If you are the abuser in the relationship you can contact the Domestic Violence Institute of Texas at (281) 477-9105 for counseling and classes on how to control your anger and how to resolve problems without violence.

Modern Beauty In ChrIstIan LIvIng

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CHristian Magazine

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over & under Estimation How It can affect Your Business

Dr. paul D. Landrew

Half MaratHon at 53 Beverly Myles

Looking for Help!

Inspirational Message:

See How She Did It

by Sharnelle Jones

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Modern Beauty In Christian Living

Christian Magazine 2012 Spring | Summer edition

Put Your Trust In God... Not Man!

Inspirational Message

Tarsha Jackson, MinisTer

the GoSpel

ChriSt

died for our SinS, And roSe from the deAd!

Are You SAved?

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Put Your trust in god... not Man!

“A Wise man will hear, and will increase learning” Proverbs 1:5

“Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (Ps. 95:2 KJV)

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A Word From The Publisher

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ncourage One Another!

“Patiently correct, rebuke and encourage your people with good teaching.”

“Christians are to encourage one another. A word of encouragement offered at the right moment can be the difference between staying strong in the faith or collapsing along the way. Believers ought to be sensitive to one another’s needs for encouragement, ready to offer supportive words or actions. The Bible gives several examples of encouragement and commands for believers to encourage each other.”

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he Scripture tells us that God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well… if your gift is to encourage others, do it (Romans 12: 6,8). Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you to live in complete harmony with each other – each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other (Romans 15:4,5). For instance in Ephesians 6:22, Paul said, “I am sending him [Tychicus] to you for just this purpose. He will let you know how we are and he will encourage you.” We never know when God is sending someone to us just for this purpose, which is to let us know that He (Jesus) is much alive and working on our behalf and to encourage us to not faint, but keep the faith. Paul also said

in 1 Thessalonians 3:2, “We sent Timothy to visit you… we sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in the faith. So comfort and encourage each other with these words (1 Thess 4:18).1 The primary purpose of verse 13-18 is to urge mutual encouragement, not to give a chronology of future events, though that is involved.”2 “Encourage those who are timid.”3 Which means if they are in fear of or nervous about something we should encourage them so that they might regain their strength in the Lord. “Take tender care of those who are weak. Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. Be patient with everyone.”4

your people with good teaching.” I encourage you my brothers and sisters to keep the faith. Encourage one another. Demonstrate love one to the other and put your trust in God, not man. Do not be afraid of your trials and tribulations, for they are there to make you strong, to build character and to demonstrate God’s plans, power and purpose in your life. Just maybe He wants to use you to show others His plans, power and purpose. So let the Lord use you, for he knows what’s best for us. Adopt the words of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, “Nevertheless, not My will, but thou will be done.”

Trust Him, The Scripture commands us in II Tim 4:2 to “Preach the Word of Elizabeth Jackson, Publisher God. Be persistent, whether the 1. Neil S. Wilson & Linda Taylor, Tydale Handbook Of Bible Charts Maps. Pg 520 time is favorable or not. Patiently &2.Study Notes- Glo Bible 1 Thess 4:18 3. Neil S. Wilson & Linda Taylor, Tydale Handbook Of Bible Charts correct, rebuke and encourage & Maps. Pg 520

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4.Neil S. Wilson & Linda Taylor, Tydale Handbook Of Bible Charts & Maps. Pg 520


Inspirational Message | M’Bracing Beauty Magazine

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od Has A Plan For Your Life: Discovering Your Purpose Malachi 3:3

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will Ronald Dupree, Minister

In fact, He often depends

more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than He does on our reading the Bible. And the reason is obvious, we face circumstances 24 hours a day. We learn things about God when we are in trouble that we can't learn any other way. Adversity draws us closer to Him! “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Ps 34:18). Problems force us to look to God and depend on Him instead of ourselves. Paul writes, “We saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we

purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Rick Warren says: “God has a purpose behind every problem.” He uses circumstances to develop our character.

put everything into the hands of God” (II Cor. 1:9). Submitting the situation to God and trusting Him with ways, means and timing, is hard for most of us to do. Why? Because it means giving up control! If you feel like you are in the melting pot today, maybe God put you there. Have you ever thought of that? The refiner is burning away the impurities and removing the obstacles in your life.

“The Refiner is burning away the impurities” 7

He will sit as a refiner of silver. He will purify them like gold. Then the Lord will have men who will be acceptable. Since God's plan is to make us more like Jesus, He will take us through the experiences Jesus went through. What are they? The wilderness of temptation, rejection by your family, the strain of caring for others, criticism from religious folks and betrayal by those you love and have invested your life in. Where are you right now in life? Are you in the melting pot? Ronald Dupree


The Prayer of Salvation Romans 10:9,10

You Can Receive Jesus Christ Right Now by Faith - Through Prayer: “Lord Jesus, I need You to come into my life. I thank You for dying on the cross for my sins and arose from the dead. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Now That You Have Received Christ!

The moment that you received Christ by faith, as an act of will, many things happened, including the following:

1. Christ came into your life. Rev. 3:20 and Colossians 1:27 2. Your sins were forgiven. Colossians 1:14 3. You become a child of God. John 1:12 4. You received eternal life. John 5:24 5. You begin the great adventure for which God created you. John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; I Thessalonians 5:18

Can you think of anything more wonderful that could happen to you than receiving Christ? As soon as you can find a Bible believing and Bible teaching Church so that you can begin to hear and study the Word of God. Remember, Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” Paul D. Landrew

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AFTER YOU PRAYED THE PRAYER OF SALVATION BELOW ARE SOME SUGGESTED CHURCHES YOU MAY CONSIDER GOING TO FOR MORE BIBLE BASED TEACHING AND GUIDANCE IN THE WORD OF GOD. Pastor Paul D. Landrew St. Stephen Baptist Church 170 Rittenhouse / 609 Little York Houston, TX 77076

Pastor Raynard Hillis Christian Community Fellowship 790 West Little York Houston, TX 77088

Pastor Paul D. Landrew St. Stephen Baptist Church 501 Murphy Rd. Stafford, TX 77477

Pastor Henry Thomas True Fellowship Baptist Church 3115 N. Fry Katy, TX 77449

Pastor Bennett T. Cortez Greater Faith Baptist Church 9235 West Montgomery rd. Houston, TX 77088

Pastor Byron Jackson Sr. Spring Chapel CME Church 23486 FM Rd. 838 Overton, TX 75684

Pastor John Aldoph Antioch Missionary Baptist Church 3920 West Cardinal Drive Beaumont, TX 77705

Pastor Melvin H. Kirks Jr. Bridge Crossroads Church 12515 Fondren Ste. F Houston, TX. 77035

Pastor R. L. Booker Just Church ministries 13547 Bammel North Houston Houston , Tx 77066

Pastor Demetrius Moffett First Church of God 911 Main Street Orange, TX 77630

Pastor Andy Woods Sugar Land Bible Church 401 Matlage Way Sugar Land Tx, 77478 What The Bible Says About Our Greatest Salvation “Christ took our punishment and died in our place. Since our attempts at righteousness will not satisfy God, Christ clothed us in His righteousness in such away that when God, the Father, looks upon us, He does not see our sin; He sees only the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ.” L. Moyer Hebrews 2:1-4 -“What has been the greatest moment of your life? For some people, the answer might be their wedding day, the birth of a child, or an important promotion. But for believers, the best experience is salvation, when their eternal destiny was changed. New Christians often have a fervor to share their faith. In time, however, many find their hearts cooling as they focus less on their relationship with Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 2:1 instructs, “Therefore we must give the most earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. Salvation is God’s amazing solution to man’s sinful condition: it is His gift of rescue - through the death of 9 Jesus- from the penalty of our transgressions.” Charles Stanley


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alvation: Lessons from the Thief on the Cross by Dr. Andy Woods


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uke 23:39-43 records the famous death-bed conversion of the “thief on the cross.” There were seven truths that the repentant thief understood. Studying these truths is important since they are the same realities that all must embrace in order to gain peace with their Creator. These verses say:

One of the criminals who hung there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” First, the repentant thief recognized the brevity of this life. He understood life’s temporal nature because

he was dying. The Bible is clear on the topic of the brevity of this life (Ps 103:1516; Jas 4:14). Thus, all of us should be concerned regarding what will happen to us when this life ends.

God. This understanding is evidenced by his statement in verse 41, “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds.” He obviously understood the reality of his own guilt since in the first-century Roman world, the reason someone was sentenced to hang on a cross was because he had committed a capital offense. However, it is not just those who have committed terrible crimes who are guilty. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In other words, every member of the human race stands guilty before God because of our sin and our position in the first sinning man, Adam.

Second, the penitent thief understood the reality of the afterlife. In other words, he understood that life after death was just as real as the present life. This understanding explains why the repentant thief spoke with such confidence about Christ’s coming kingdom (verse 42). The Scripture teaches the reality of the afterlife. Because God has designed the soulish or immaterial part of man to live forever (Eccl 3:11), all people will exist forever, either with God in His kingdom or forever separated from Him in Fourth, the thief on the cross a place of conscious torment understood the uniqueness of (Dan 12:2; Matt 25:46). Jesus Christ. Verse 40 says, “But the other answered, and Third, the repentant thief rebuking him said, ‘Do you not understood his guilt before even fear God?’” Here is an indication that he understood that Jesus Christ was God. Verse 41, in reference to Jesus, he said, “but this man has done nothing wrong.” Thus, perhaps the penitent thief understood something about Christ’s sinless perfection. He recognized that Christ was different than any man he had ever encountered. Of course, this too is a reality that people must understand in order to be saved. Jesus is not one among equals, but the unique God-Man (John 8:5810 59; 20:30-31; Rev 19:16).

“For All Have Sinned and Fallen Short of the Glory of God.”


Fifth, the thief understood that Christ had the power to save him. Not only did he understand his own guilt, but he also understood that Jesus, this extraordinary Man, could do something to help him with his specific predicament. Thus, in verse 42, he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” Jesus not only claimed to be God, but He also claimed to have the ability to help men with their primary problem: their guilt and sin before a Holy God. The solution to this dilemma is found in Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:5). Sixth, the repentant thief understood that he could not be saved through his own good works or any act of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness means that human beings can do something to merit favor from

God. Since this thief was nailed to a cross, what acts of self-righteousness could he do? He could not join a church, do good deeds, or even be baptized. He was in a helpless position. We also are in a similar helpless position since we are incapable of doing any sort of righteous act to merit God’s favor. God sees our acts of self-righteousness as a filthy garment, if we are using them to gain favor from Him (Isa 64:6). Seventh, this thief understood that it is never too late to ask God for salvation. Although he knew that his death was imminent, he still believed it was not too late to cry out to Christ for mercy. Although guilty of a capital crime and dying, he did not believe that it was too late for him to experience divine grace. The thief’s persuasion proved correct as Christ gave him

immediate validation of salvation, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (vs. 43). No matter what you have done, or how long you have lived, or how close you are to death, it is never too late to ask God for salvation (2 Cor 6:2b). However, once you die and you pass into the eternal realm, then it is too late (Luke 16:19-31; Heb 9:27). Do you know these spiritual realities? Do you understand the brevity of this life, the reality of the afterlife, your personal guilt before God, Christ’s uniqueness and power to save you, the impotency of self-righteousness, and that it is not too late to trust Christ for salvation? If so, do what the penitent thief did and trust in Christ alone for your salvation.

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alitha Cumi Dance Experience

Talitha Cumi is an aramaic expression that means “Damsel (or daughter) I say unto you, Arise”.It is taken from Mark 5:41, the story of a 12 year girl who died. Jesus visited her home and spoke these words over her and her life was restored unto her. We believe that through Christ we have the ability to speak to dying and dead situations and restore life back into them. We seek to translate this same power and influence into the hearts of our audiences; thereby offering them a true Talitha Cumi Dance Experience. 11


Did You Know? | M’Bracing Beauty Magazine

Carnal Christian – What does Scripture teach? Question: “What is a carnal Christian? Can a true Christian be carnal?” Answer: In answering this question, let’s first define the term “carnal.” The word “carnal” is translated from the Greek word sarkikos, which literally means “fleshly.” This descriptive word is seen in the context of Christians in 1 Corinthians 3:13. In this passage, the apostle Paul is addressing the readers as “brethren,” a term he uses almost exclusively to refer to other Christians; he then goes on to describe them as “carnal.” Therefore, we can conclude that Christians can be carnal. The Bible is absolutely clear that no one is sinless (1 John 1:8). Every time we sin, we are acting carnally. The key thing to understand is that while a Christian can be, for a time, carnal, a true Christian will not remain carnal for a lifetime. Some have abused the idea of a “carnal Christian” by saying that it is possible for people to come to faith in Christ and then proceed to live the rest of their lives in a completely carnal manner, with no evidence of being born again or a new creation (2 Corinthians

BELIEVERS

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hristians UNBELIEVERS

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arnal

There are Two Groups of People In this World Unbelievers & Believers e tur Ma tian: f o ris Ch Meat the rd On he Wo t Babes in Christ (new converts)

I Peter 2:2

Carna Chris l tian Seek F leshly : Thi

I Cor. 3:1-5

ngs

5:17). Such a concept is completely un-biblical. James 2 makes it abundantly clear that genuine faith will always result in good works. Ephesians 2:8-10 declares that while we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, that salvation will result in works. Can a Christian, in a time of failure and/or rebellion, appear to be carnal? Yes. Will a true Christian remain carnal? No. Since eternal security is a fact of Scripture, even the carnal Christian is still saved. Salvation cannot be lost, because salvation is a gift of God that He will not take away (see John 10:28; Romans 8:37-39; 1 John 5:13). Even in 1 Corinthians 3:15, the carnal Christian is assured of salvation: “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” The question is not whether a person who claims to be a Christian but lives carnally has lost his salvation, but whether that person was truly saved in the first place (1 John 2:19).

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However there are three types of believers. There’s the Mature Believer, Carnal (fleshy) believer, and the babes in Christ. But we will learn about the Carnal Christian.

Christians who become carnal in their behavior can expect God to lovingly discipline them (Hebrews 12:5-11) so they can be restored to close fellowship with Him and be trained to obey Him. God’s desire in saving us is that we would progressively grow closer to the image of Christ (Romans 12:1-2), becoming increasingly spiritual and decreasingly carnal, a process known as sanctification. Until we are delivered from our sinful flesh, there will be outbreaks of carnality. For a genuine believer in Christ, though, these outbreaks of carnality will be the exception, not the rule. http://www.gotquestions.org/carnal-Christian.html

The word “Christian” is used in many different contexts today. However, very few people understand what a “Carnal Christian” is all about. If we search, we will not find the phrase “Carnal Christian” in the Bible but the Scripture does teach about being carnally minded and living out of our old sin nature or what we inherited as part of humanity. The biblical word translated “carnal” is also


translated “flesh” and it denotes mere human nature or the earthly nature of mankind apart from divine influence, and therefore it is prone to sin and opposed to God. A Carnal Christian is a believer in Christ who is more influenced by their human or earthly nature rather than the nature of God. Scripture teaches that we have our treasure in an earthen vessel (2 Corinthians 4:7). An earthen vessel is made from dirt. Genesis 2:7 says that God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. We could then say we have what is ours as believers in Christ in a body of flesh or dirt. We are also told that when we come to Christ we are a “new creation” (1 Corinthians 5:17). However, the new creation has to do with our spiritual life and is not a transformation of our old flesh or our carnal body. The issue then is what controls our treasure. Are we as Carnal Christians controlled by our carnal or fleshly sin nature or do we surrender to the new creation, which is empowered by the Spirit of God? Carnal Christian – How is it defined? The Apostle Paul speaks about Carnal Christians in Romans 8:6-7 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. The characteristics spoken of in these passages are that the carnal or fleshly mind, which is human viewpoint, is enmity against God or is anti-God. It cannot please God, is unable to digest solid spiritual food, and is filled with strife, envy, and division. These are very unhealthy spiritual traits and the reality is that all believers are

carnally minded at one time or another. It is a matter of growing up and becoming mature. That is a process that continues on a daily basis as we acknowledge our need of grace and submit to the process.

are not fulfilling our true spiritual purpose, we suffer self-inflicted misery. Carnal Christian – What is the remedy? How can you be transformed from being a Carnal Christian to being a Spirit-led Christian? We find an answer in Romans 12:1-2 where we read that you can choose to submit your flesh or carnality as a living sacrifice or what that is set apart unto God and not be conformed or molded by the pressure of the world and the flesh. You can be transformed, which is a continual process, through allowing the Word of God to renew your mind so that we may prove or authenticate, to put to the test, what is the good and acceptable or fully agreeable and complete will of God.

We fully surrender to the LORD as He works through every situation in our live to conform us to His image. So then, we know that a Carnal Christian is one who is characterized by inner mental attitudes that are not in agreement with God’s viewpoint and from our inner mental attitudes come our actions. We could then say that a Carnal Christian is one who does not focus upon God’s Word, does not see the necessity of obeying God and does not experience the abundant peace and joy that is the believers if they submit to the power of the Spirit in their lives rather than being led by It is God’s will then for a Carnal their old carnal nature (Galatians Christian to mature and grow 5:16). strong in their faith and walk in obedience. The ongoing process A Carnal Christian is often very that takes a believer in Christ frustrated because the Spirit of from a Carnal Christian to one God is faithful to us and convicts who is engaged in maturing as a and convinces us that when we child of God is the choice to take are operating out of our carnal in the solid food of the Word, flesh, we are not fulfilling God’s which equips us as Christians purpose for us. Our purpose to be able to discern or reason as children of God is to bring what is good and what is evil. glory to Him in all our choices (Hebrews 5:13-14). and actions and so since we

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PIRITUAL MATURITY

What Does It Takes To Grow? The Bible! A. The Purpose: The purpose is the same goal that Epaphras had for the Colossian Christian. He prayed for them, “That you may become mature Christians and that you may fulfill God’s will for you” (Col 4:12). That’s what God wants for us. He wants us to grow up. You can circle the word “mature” and “God’s will” they are both in the same sentence. It is God’s will that you grow up. Listen to the verse from the Apostle Paul: Ephesians 4:14,15, “We are not meant to remain as children but to grow up in every way into Christ.” “Do you realize that God wants you to grow up? I have a friend who works at the Medical Lake facility for those with developmental disabilities. I went out there one day with him and saw men and women with mature bodies, but immature minds. It was tragic. One young man looked to be in his late 20’s, in a wheelchair. The aide would place a plastic ball in his lap, and he’d try and try to knock it off with his hands. Sometimes it would take him a full minute. Sometimes it would take him 3 to 4 minutes.” If we look at arrested development mentally, physically, and think, “How tragic,” what must God the father think when he looks at arrested development spiritually? Here’s a question for you…. B. What is Spiritual Maturity? Being like Christ Eph 4:13; according to this verse, you can define spiritual maturity in one phrase. That phrase is this: Spiritual

maturity is being like Christ. Most of us want to grow. Most of us want to mature. Most of us want to be like Christ. Many times we don’t know how to get started. C. OVERVIEW: Seven Maturing Christians:

Habits

of

We will focus on the seven basic habits every Christian needs to develop in order to grow to spiritual maturity. My goal is to …. Equip you with skills you need to begin these habits. Explain the tools you need to continue these habits.

the basic things a beginner must learn about Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right.” (NLT) 2. Spiritual maturity doesn’t happen quickly. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:18, “Continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” (That indicates a process. It takes time. It’s not instantaneous) There are some Christians that have known Christ for 50 years. By now they should be mature. But they are poking along at 1 mile per hour. Or some of them have stalled out. Not going anywhere. Just sitting there, causing a traffic jam behind them.

1. In order to grow we need Theme verse: 2 Peter 3:18 to eat – Bible

2. In order to grow we need There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth. There’s no instant pill I could to breathe – Prayer

give you that you could take and

3. In order to grow we need tomorrow you’re going to be spiritually good spiritual hygiene – mature. IT TAKES TIME. It takes an intentional pursuit. It won’t come Confession of sin 4. In order to grow we need a caring family – Fellowship

automatically or quickly.

3. Spiritual maturity won’t happen without discipline.

5. In order to grow we need I Tim 4:7 says, “Take the time and the regular exercise – Service trouble to keep your self spiritually fit.” Is physical fitness automatic? No.

6. In order to grow we need Neither is spiritual fitness. It takes time protection – Temptation and trouble. Just like to be physically fit you’ve got to exercise, develop some

7. In order to grow we need basic habits. That’s true in the Christian to give – Stewardship life. The Bible says, “Discipline yourself

D. Facts About Spiritual Maturity:

for the purpose of godliness.” It takes discipline!

1. Spiritual maturity doesn’t happen automatically. Did you know that you can be a Christian and never grow up spiritually? Hebrews 5:12-13, “You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again

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E. The Goal: That I will commit to the habits necessary for spiritual maturity…

By John Underhill


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