I am a Child of God.

Whether a Methodist, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, Mormon etc., becoming a part of a church family can become a large part of one’s identity and lifestyle.  Church membership is a place where you can belong and there was a time when I wore my church denomination and local membership with some level of pride. However, there also came a time when I had to truly figure out ‘Who I am’  and to ‘Whom I belong’.

Quite simply, I broke it down and figured out that this is who I am.

I am a Child of God – a Christian.

Nothing more… nothing less.

I belong to God. He is my Father. God created me, formed me in my mother’s womb and claimed me as His own. He loved me first, before anyone or any other church or denomination ever existed. My identity is in Him. My choice to serve God as a Christian is based on my belief that God is my Creator, my Father, and that he has given me the free will to claim salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The denomination that I attend – it’s not as important to me as it once was. The churches in the New Testament were of no denomination, they were just referred to by their location – Corinth(Corinthians), Philippi (Philippians) and so on. People attended these churches regularly depending on where they lived, not according to the doctrines that each church held. People were simply ‘Christians’ or the ‘Saints in Christ Jesus’ (Phil 1:1, Eph 1:1).

Whilst each denomination may claim to hold ‘the truth’ – claims of exclusivity in areas of doctrine, prophecy etc., often yield an unfortunate consequence of dividing the body of Christ based on our limited ability to accurately interpret the Bible.

Therefore church denomination and membership, programs and prophecy interpretations, being theologically ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ are no longer a priority to me. I want to focus on following the example of love, forgiveness, grace and mercy that Jesus gave to us.  My priority is to serve God outside of the church, just as Jesus served and nurtured people outside of the synagogue.

Church denominations and conflicting doctrines are not going away. However, it is important that we do not forsake fellowship with other Christians.  Choosing a church requires individuality, humility, prayer, questioning, direction from the Holy Spirit and Bible study regardless of whether our family has a generational history in a particular denomination. We need to be open minded and aware that every church is fallible and there is no church or doctrine that can save us – therefore it is vital that our relationship with God is well-established as we search.

As I write, I am reminded of the promise that God has given to me:-

‘In my Father’s house are many mansions; If it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.’ (John 14: 2 -3; NKJV)

I firmly believe that the True Church that I am seeking, the ‘True Church Membership’ that I need – safely rests in Heaven – with My Father.

HEALTH WARNING! – FRUIT IS BAD FOR YOU!

On this special occasion of Spiritual Sandwich’s first creation, there is no better place to start than ‘In the beginning…’ with Genesis.

We remember how God created the heavens and the earth and on the third day He ‘brought forth grass and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind’ (Gen 1: 11). ‘God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good’ (Gen 1:31). Life in God’s Garden was incredible and Adam and Eve’s happiness was immeasurable – however that was not to last. Eve was tempted by a serpent (alias Satan) to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil for which God had commanded them both not to touch and since then, humans have been pre-destined to experience the consequences of this sin – pain, immorality of all kind and death – a piece of FRUIT brought down the entire human race!!! FRUIT – Guilty as charged!!!!

FRUIT IS EVERYWHERE…EARTH IS DOOMED!! FRUIT IS A DANGEROUS TEMPTATION AND THE EATING OF FRUIT IS EVIL!!! REFRAIN FROM EATING FRUIT AT ALL COSTS!!! YOUR SOUL SALVATION IS AT RISK!!!

Most of us, if not all, know that fruit was indeed the innocent party – and it was Eve who was tempted by Satan to commit this most heinous crime against God and humanity. So where am I going with this?

Well – there are many potentially ‘innocent’ and ‘guilty’ parties in and outside of our churches that church-goers accuse of causing them to sin, or out of fear they choose to shun entirely. Other Christians, non-Christians, musical instruments, media equipment, make-up and jewelry (to name a few) are criticized/avoided by some church goers because they may have had unsavory associations and/or a questionable history within the secular world.  Well – surely we should add fruit to this list, after all, it did bring down the human race.

This argument seems nonsensical on the basis of a modest piece of fruit with no thought processes of its’ own putting together a plan to cause this notorious fall of mankind. In my humble opinion, it is not and has never been the object or person (whether we think it’s good or not) that causes us to sin. It is our own heart and sinful thoughts and motives that lead us there.

Let’s call a spade a spade and stop trying to pass the blame onto someone else… or some inanimate object. When we blame something or someone else – we lose power – God’s transforming power! Consequently, we give control to the person or thing, and deny ourselves the opportunity to acknowledge and take full responsibility for our sin, ask for complete forgiveness and make the complete transformation that will give us the power through Christ, to have victory over that particular sin.

Let’s not forget that Adam blamed Eve and God, and Eve blamed the snake, it is clear… some things are difficult to change…as humans inheriting a sinful condition, we love to place blame elsewhere! But do you want to be transformed? I do!!! Then let us then seek to claim the full power that God has given to each of us, by accepting full responsibility for the things we think and do, asking for forgiveness – and in doing so, we can claim the complete spiritual renewal that God has in store us.