Sunday, May 28, 2017

Christian Mentoring and the Pursuit of Christ-centered Relationships

Relationships are so important. But developing relationships usually takes some amount of time. However, Christian women have a responsibility to develop not only caring and servant oriented relationships for the Lord, but to develop specific mentoring relationships that can help other women become everything that God created them to be, no matter how little or how great the amount of time it may take to develop the relationship. Usually, though, it takes very little time to develop a relationship if we are authentic, trustworthy, kind, caring, and willing to listen to the other person. In fact, you may already be actively mentoring another woman without having thought about it or without having recognized that mentoring was what you were actually doing.

As I was fulfilling God’s direction for me to write a book on Active Relational Christian Mentoring (ARCM), The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring (now available at Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, Google play, and iTunes), I realized that I had been mentoring women throughout my adult life. Some of those mentoring relationships were only for a short period of time to fulfill the specific mentoring purpose that was needed by the mentee at that particular moment in time, while other mentoring relationships developed into lifelong friendships. Most importantly, though, I fulfilled my service to God to be there for other women when they needed another person to talk to them or when they needed someone to help them through a definite struggle or spiritual need. But, I was also there to share the Word of God whenever the opportunity arose. Along the way, I acquired first-hand experience and knowledge about how Christian women can mentor women as a selfless service to the Lord.

In looking back at the mentoring that I had been involved in, I discovered that active Christian mentoring is all about developing a relationship that would enable another woman to open up and acknowledge the type of help that she needed in her life. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is also about each Christian woman finding the time to listen to the mentee and to be there for her. Sometimes, though, it took a little longer for the woman to open up and talk openly about her needs or problems, because she first had to develop a trust in her mentor. But whether it takes a short amount of time or a longer amount of time to develop a trustworthy relationship, every Christian mentor will discover that the service of Christian mentoring is extremely important and very rewarding.

The Importance of Active Relational Christian Mentoring Today

The service of Active Relational Christian Mentoring is more important than ever today. Why is it so important in today’s world? Well, today we are living in stressful and uncertain times; more so than most of us have ever before witnessed. Yes, there has always been a spiritual battle going on between good and evil since Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden. But, Satan’s spiritual battle is now intensely and constantly vying for the souls of men and women, because Satan knows that time is winding down for him and this earth, so he wants to steal as many souls as possible before the end.

Unfortunately, most people don’t want to accept that there is even such a thing as a spiritual battle between good and evil. But who can deny that there is actually a verbal and spiritual battle against those who trust in and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ which is perpetrated by those who ridicule Christians and Christ and hate the Lord. Moreover, this spiritual battle has been going on since the snake in the garden got Eve and Adam to take a bite of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, now this battle is getting worse by the hour as more and more people are refusing to even listen to God or are refusing to acknowledge God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Consequently, the selfishness and the evil that can permeate the hearts of humankind is growing by leaps and bounds.

Adding to the selfishness, thoughtlessness, and evil that now permeates humankind is the devilish agenda of many politicians and liberal professors to control all areas of society through a specific political belief that harkens back to the threat of Marxism/communism. Unfortunately, the young people today who have not truly studied and learned from the political and world history of the early nineteen hundred’s and even up through the nineteen sixties are now being duped again by Marxism/ communism that is being spoon fed to them as socialism. Not knowing the truth of where socialism leads means these people are doomed to repeat what they have failed to learn from the history of a previous time period, and so they will repeat the mistakes of the past. But this time, society may not be able to stop some deviant dictator who appears to want social justice for all.

Today, young and middle-aged people and even some older ones, who have been duped by liberal professors, the liberal media, and duped by the liberal leaning politicians, are swallowing the political agenda of progressivism lock stock and barrel without truly understanding where it can lead. Besides falling for the socialist/communistic idea that government can make everything right and equitable for everyone, they are all leaning toward the socialistic/ communistic belief that religion has no place in society. In fact, their attitude toward Christians is so bad that Christians are being looked down upon as never before. Indeed, Christians can not only feel the spiritual battle around them, but they can now actually see the battles against Christianity that are continually being played out on the world stage today.

Active Relational Christian Mentoring (ARCM) is just one way Christians can touch the heart of the non-Christian as well as it is a way to help the Christian through times of difficulty or during times of need for empowerment. Developing an active mentoring relationship will enable the Christian woman to speak into the life of another woman and will give her the ear of the mentee so that godly discussions and truth will be the norm. Indeed, Christian women have to step forward into the fray in order to teach about Christ and to correct misconceptions put forth by the world and Satan’s minions. Christians who do nothing, though, are allowing the devil to gain footholds in the lives of people who need Christ. However, just by developing a trustworthy and godly mentoring relationship with another woman, a Christian woman can shine the light of Christ upon her mentee, which will allow her to see that there is indeed something called “truth” out there that can make all the difference in her life.

Relationships based on caring, and along with God’s truth will stand up against the spiritual enemy who is always determined to bring individuals down to their lowest point. But we all have to be aware of arrows that fly to bring down Christians and non-Christians as well. That is why Christians must “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  -- (Ephesians 6: 16-18. NIV).

Spiritual Battles are Taking Place Everywhere

The battle against Christians can be seen in many different aspects of our lives today.  These battles are no longer subtle hidden agendas, but instead are just anti-Christian agendas that are right out there for all the world to see. In fact, we can see the plots and agendas against Christianity every day as they are played out in lawsuits around the nation, because they are specifically set against the rights of the Christians to express their religious beliefs in their homes as well as in their work places.

In attempting to stop the rights of Christians to worship in their own way and to stop them from living their faith in their businesses just as they live it daily at home, there is now every excuse and ruse imaginable being used by those who are against Christian values and morals. Lawsuits and the twisting of the truth are just a couple of the ways that that those who are against the belief in Christ and God will attempt to stop the rights of others to worship in their own way. It isn’t good enough anymore to simply let each person have or express their own beliefs. Now, many Atheists and non-Christians state in some form or another that expressed Christianity or one’s stated belief in Jesus Christ actually infringes on the non-believer’s rights not to be around a Christian’s beliefs.

Once upon a time, our country was founded on the belief that everyone could worship God in their own way, and that each person had the right to believe the way they wanted. Each person could also express their belief at any time as given to us in our Constitution’s right of free speech. Simply stating what we believed in and living out our belief in our own way was not infringing upon by others who did not believe the same way. Now the opposite seems to be the norm today wherein if any individual doesn’t like the way that you do your business for the Lord or for yourself, they can claim that you have infringed upon their rights as a customer. Moreover, now just saying the name of Jesus Christ in a public arena can get a person in trouble with the law, and lawsuits can be filed against them because someone else feels like their rights have been infringed upon. Yet, those that worship Satan, Allah, and Buddha have the right to say and act anyway they wish.

If someone had told me twenty years ago that atheists could claim that the Cross or the Ten Commandments makes them sick or could claim that it gives them headaches and that they could actually be taken seriously, I would have laughed. Yet, that is just what many atheist and other anti-Christian people have claimed today, and they are taken very seriously. Atheists no longer just accept that it is their right to worship or not worship in their own way, but now do not want others to be able to worship God in their way. What makes this so unsettling is that they are only going after Christianity as the belief that disturbs them. These atheistic groups leave all other beliefs out of their aim of fire. But it doesn’t stop with just the atheists. 

Some liberal towns are now forbidding Christians to hold Bible studies or small groups in their homes, siting that these gatherings are acting as a church and that a person’s home cannot be designated as a church. The ACLU has even gotten certain public crosses taken down because they are infringing on the rights of others not to view them. Then there is the military that has now limited the use of the name of Christ and the handing out of Bibles by their military chaplains who in the past have used the words in the Bible and the love of Christ to strengthen the spiritual lives of the soldiers. Therefore, it is now more important than ever for Christian individuals to engage in Active Relational Christian Mentoring – mentoring one individual at a time, while allowing the mentee to see the love of God. People need to know about God and His Love for them.

We have to get back to what the early Christian church did in the first century, which was to engage others in talk about the Good News or Gospel message through one-on-one relationships that could answer questions and at the same time be there for the other person. By showing that we care about another woman through the building of a relationship, we can open the door into many different discussions, but most of all we can engage in the discussion of who Christ is.

The Spiritual Battle Between Love and Hate   

Who today can deny that there is a spiritual battle going on between those who hate and those who love. In fact, even in the ever-present world that we can see all around us, we have been introduced to or have seen with our own eyes an ultimate world religion that bases its entire theology on hate as it battles against the people who want to love and to help them. This hate filled religion is the religion of extreme Islam that has morphed even further into the hate-filled politically motivated religion of ISIS. Indeed, ISIS is a particular group of Islamic believers who are living moment-by-moment wrapped in hate and evil that desires that promotes the killing of all Christians, Jews, and followers of any other religion that does not conform to their beliefs.

ISIS hates Christians, Jews, or any group of people who will not succumb to their specific belief in extreme Islam, which is based upon the original hate espoused by Mohammed, their prophet, and is based upon his hate filled writings of long ago espoused in the Our‘an against Jews, Christians, and anyone else who does not succumb to Mohammed’s belief in Allah as the only god. As a political and power based religion that is grounded upon Mohammed’s and their hate of anyone who does not succumb to their form of Islam, ISIS plans are for taking over the world through their bombings, beheadings, and the use of suicide bombers as well as through the overpowering influx of hate being inspired by these extreme Islamic people throughout the nations of the world.

The world of the ISIS warrior is wrapped up in a hate-filled power-based political religion that expects their members to give their lives in order to achieve heaven and peace. Nearly every day somewhere in the world, there are large numbers of people who have been killed by ISIS believers. In fact, just this last week, on May 23, 2017 a terrorist infiltrated a concert in Great Britain and many were killed and hundreds were extremely hurt from just this one act of hate. This is a very evil religion whose believers want to impose their beliefs through world domination upon people everywhere. It is through their efforts of hate and evil actions that they believe they will be accepted by their false god Allah into heaven. Moreover, it is through their own efforts and actions of murder, intimidation, and mutilations that they believe they will be accepted by their false god and brought into paradise forever. So, it is no wonder they behead and torture people.

Christianity is not a “religion” per se, but is about God’s Love for Us

Christianity, though, is not a religion per se, this according to Hal Lindsey who wrote the book, The Late Great Planet Earth. Lindsey said, “Christianity is not a religion. Religion is the process of man trying to achieve goodness, perfection, and acceptance with God by his own efforts. Christianity, on the other hand, is God taking the initiative and reaching for man. Christianity is God saying that man cannot reach Him except through the one path He has provided – through the acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ. But the scene has changed rapidly in the intellectual community in the past few years. Many of those who scoffed at ‘religion’ have become addicted to the fast-moving upsurge in astrology, spiritualism, and even drugs.” (p.104, The Late Great Planet Earth, c. 1970). In other words, peoples’ religion is now some form of spiritualism as found in astrology, drugs, and other false religions such as Christian Science and Scientology. In fact, the “me” generation now depends on drugs and false religions to get them through the day. Sadly, they are still searching for what can fill that God-shaped hole in their soul.
Indeed, Christianity should not be categorized as a religion according to Hal Lindsay’s definition of a religion. For, Christianity is the result of God sending His Only Son to take on the sins of mankind as He hanged upon the cross. God’s love for His creation, humankind, was the reason God sent His Son to earth. Moreover, in sending His Son to earth, God knew that His Son, Jesus Christ, would die for all our sins, but He also knew that Christ would rise again the third day conquering the eternal death that Satan wanted for everyone. For, with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Satan’s plans for the soul destruction of all of humanity was defeated. Because of Christ’s actions, now those who believe in Jesus Christ as the resurrected Son of God, will be saved from eternal destruction, and they will instead spend eternity in Heaven.

Sadly, there are still many who refuse to believe in Jesus Christ. Instead, they are continually misled by Satan, who has even used Christian denominations and their theologies to misrepresent the truth of the Bible and the love of God to them. Moreover, Satan continues to spiritually battle for the souls of people through his lies and deceptions to mankind and through the encouraged evil actions of men and such groups as ISIS. That is why it is more important than ever for Active Relational Christian Mentoring to become second nature to every Christian woman. This is because, women have the opportunity to develop godly relationships with other women for the purpose of sharing the Gospel, of helping other women during difficult times, or of being there to encourage and empower them to be all they can be for God, themselves, and their families and friends. In other words, women have an opportunity to stop this rumble of hate that flows throughout the world today. Just by being authentic trustworthy and loving Christians, women can show other women the Christian love which can fill their souls in knowing and accepting Christ as their Savior. Indeed, Christian mentors who step up to help other women can change the world one person at a time.

Although, Satan knows that he will be ultimately defeated, He is still doing everything in his power to destroy the human soul and to keep that soul from experiencing the love of God and a future eternity with Him. And because Satan’s evilness has permeated the hearts of many people, those people will also do everything in their power to keep God’s love from being experienced by the non-Christians who have yet to find the truth of God’s love for themselves. That is why Atheists, non-believers, and many others work so hard to keep Christianity out of schools, out of the work-place, out of organizations and out of any other area they can. Instead, they preach inclusion of all religions except Christianity. For some reason, they are afraid of the love that surrounds those who are true “born-again” Christians. And for some reason, they have bought into the idea that hate and mistrust is a better way to live than to love your neighbor as yourself. Christians know better though. For, love is the key to all goodness in the world. Moreover, God is love. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. (paraphrased. See John 3: 16). But Satan does not want people to know about God’s love, so the spiritual battle against Christianity and God continues.

What can Active Christian Mentoring Relationships Do to Stem this Tide of Satanic Deception?

Sadly, this spiritual battle perpetuated by Satan and the religions of hate against the Christian belief of “loving each other as we love ourselves” will continue until Christ comes again. In the meantime, it is important that Christians continually share Christ’s love with others through such services as every day active mentoring relationships. Yes, we are living in an extremely stressful time, because it seems that the evil and hate that we face in this world is sometimes winning. We feel that way because the killing for pleasure and the type of extreme killing espoused through the hate of ISIS seems to have invaded every part of world today. Moreover, it is easy to see the results of this hate within the nightly news about people who were killed by evil men or groups like ISIS. Then when you add to their promotion of evil and hate, which is being promulgated throughout the world, it can seem overwhelming. But, what is so terribly sad for our country is the hate that is not only within the hearts of atheists and within the hearts of liberal progressives, but is now avidly expressed in words of hate and derision from politicians and the media on a daily basis. These words of hate and disgust are projected within their political views that portray “everyone else as stupid” and deplorable if they do not believe and adhere to what “I”, the progressive, believes which are shown within the belief and verbal expressions voiced by the progressives’ on a daily basis. They believe that their rights are the only rights that should be allowed.

Sadly, at every turn we now have a world that seems to be leaning toward hatred within every arena of life rather than a world that turns to Christian love. That is because people were not taught that they are loved by God and that Christ loved them so much that He gave His life on a cruel cross for them. For in conquering death, Christ has given them the right of life everlasting, if they so choose to believe on Him. But only with Christ in your heart can you truly understand what love is. That is why we must do what we can to help others by stepping forward to develop relationships that can lead to Active Relational Christian Mentoring and that can explain and show what Christian love is about.

Trying to Find the Truth

To make matters worse, few people know where to look in this world to find the truth let alone believe that there is actually something called the truth. That is why we live in a media frenzy that continually perpetrates false so-called truth, or downright lies for the pleasure of it and for the money that can be made from the juicy falsehoods or deceptions. Why is this occurring? Or rather, how did we let this situation occur in the first place, let alone how did it happen so rapidly? Well, it did not happen rapidly. It has gradually happened over the last 75 years as we Christians have failed to speak into the lives of others and have failed to mentor for the Lord. We are in today’s situation because we have failed to mentor each successive generation with the truth and with God’s love. We created a vacuum where love should have been espoused and lived and taught to each generation. But, when there is a vacuum, something fills that vacuum quickly, and that something does not have to be love. For example, when Christians failed to teach each other and their children about God and Christ, something else easily came into that empty space. In this case, it was selfishness and false religions as well as false narratives by those progressive liberals who would like to take over the United States and make this country into a communistic nation.

Oh, you are probably saying to yourselves that is not possible and I am just trying to scare you. But I am not trying to scare you. The scare is already here and it is the realization that we are now in the midst of false news reports, groups of people trying to overthrow the president by any means possible and coups planned by groups with hidden agendas, while we are at the same time in the midst of selfish, anti-Christian people who will do anything to put a stop to the worship of God and Jesus Christ. They will also do anything to bring down our nation by inciting and promoting riots, by allowing socialistic/communistic professors to teach our youth and be paid for it, and by teaching our young people a different view of capitalism and patriotism than the one that their forefathers enjoyed. They have made the truth a lie.

Whether it is a teacher, a college professor, an entrepreneur with hidden agendas, or just liberal progressives who want what they want, they are teaching our youth and the next generations that there is no such thing as truth. Instead these false teachers, professors, entrepreneurs, and liberal progressives as well as our politicians are teaching young people to hate those that have conservative Christian love and values in their hearts. They are teaching the young people that those who espouse love actually have hate in their hearts. How did we get to this point where simply changing the story or making up a false story can easily breed even more hate? It occurs when people believe the false story that Christians don’t really love others. Sadly, these young people have instead been taught to hate all Christians because they have been told that Christians lie about loving others.

So, what can we do about stopping our fast-moving world from being overcome with hatred?  Well, we can continually show our love to others by reaching out and doing loving acts of kindness. We can show our love by sharing the Gospel. And we can begin again where we left off so many years ago. We can again “actively” mentor our children, our youth, our young people, our friends, our neighbors, and our family members. We can show the falsehoods for what they are by instead being that loving mentoring Christian who is willing to help and to fill people’s lives with the truth. We can also start this mentoring process by developing active Christian mentoring relationships with other women.

The Role of Women in Spreading the Good News

Women are extremely important to the spread of the Word of God. We know this to be true from the many women in the Bible who developed relationships to teach and mentor others about the Christ and the Gospel message. Just think about Pricilla, who with her husband, Acquila, spread the Good News by starting small groups and sharing the Word with others. (See Acts 18). Then, think of all the women that supported Christ and the disciples during Christ’s ministry, starting with Christ’s own mother, Mary. At the wedding in Cana in Galilee, Christ’s mother knew that Jesus could do miracles and “His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” – (John 2: 5. NIV). Shortly thereafter, Jesus turned the water in six ceremonially washing jars, with each holding twenty to thirty gallons of water, into wine. Moreover, the wine was the best wine that could be had. Mary supported her son and later she was with the disciples in the upper room as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit that Christ had promised. She believed He was the Son of God and supported Him.

Not long afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby cities and villages to announce the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God. He took His twelve disciples with Him, along with some women he had healed and from whom He had cast out evil spirits. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Johanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and the disciples.” – (Luke 8: 1-3. NLT). Notice that these women believed in Jesus and were there to show their support. Later after Jesus went back to Heaven these women surely supported each other during the backlash from the Jewish leaders and Rome against Christianity. These women would have also taught their children, family, friends, etc. about Christ and redemption. In other words, they were not only developing Christian relationships but they were mentoring those that needed to know Christ as their Savior too.

Other women played important roles in the spread of the Gospel message. What about the Samaritan woman at the well to whom Jesus explained what living water was? She then ran into town and told everyone that the Messiah had come, for Christ had told her everything about herself that no one else could have known. Long after Christ left the area, this woman surely continued telling everyone that she ran into that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. She was not afraid to let the people around her know who Christ was. (see John 4: 1-26). Are you afraid to tell others about Christ?

Then there were Mary and Martha the sisters of Lazarus. These women hosted Christ and the disciples in their home. Furthermore, they too would have told other women about Christ. Moreover, Mary would certainly have told them what she had learned sitting at the feet of Christ. Then when Christ resurrected their brother, Lazarus, they would certainly have told all their friends and family members what Christ had done. Obviously, they did not sit back and keep quiet about Christ, so how can we. We must tell others and especially our children and family members about the salvation offered through Christ. But we must also help them in any way that we can. However, in order to help another woman, we have to first develop a relationship with her that will allow us to speak into her life. What are you waiting for? You have the power to influence and change the world one person at a time. Just reach out to another woman and develop a mentoring relationship that will allow you to help her, counsel her, befriend her, or support her. You are important to God, and you are important in the lives of those who need your talents, knowledge and love.  

To know how important a woman’s knowledge and influence is, all we have to do is go to the Bible and read about Christ’s resurrection and then His appearing first to two women. It was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went to the Christ’s tomb and found it empty. As they were turning away, Jesus met them and told them “Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see Me there.”  -- (Matthew 28: 10. NLT). So, the two women ran on to tell the others that Christ had risen and was alive. Can you imagine the affect that seeing Christ alive had on those two women? Certainly, no one could stop them from telling many people that Christ is God and is alive? Can you imagine the mentoring relationships that these two women must have developed with other women during that time period? Surely, they, just as the disciples, helped the world to discover the love of God and the Salvation offered to all who would believe on the risen Lord and Savior. You, too, can share the Good News! Just start by developing a mentoring relationship with another woman.

I could go on and on with the names and godly acts of women during the first century who must have developed active mentoring relationships with other women in order to share the Gospel message. In fact, the Apostle Paul speaks of the relational mentoring of Timothy’s mother and grandmother and gives them great credit for raising such a godly young man. Thus, we discover that parents can have a great relational influence upon their children and even upon their children’s friends. That is why it is so important for mother’s today to speak into the lives of their children through their mentoring relationship. It is also why these same mothers can easily speak into the lives of their children’s friends, if they so should choose to do so. Please choose to reach out actively mentor others for the Lord. Are you speaking into the life of your children? If not, you should be that example of Christian values and truth.

Relationships are extremely important for many reasons, but they are especially important in telling others about Christ and in showing them how Christians lovingly care about their friends and family and even strangers. Active Relational Christian Mentoring can begin to staunch the flow of untruthfulness or lies. Indeed, Active Relational Christian Mentoring can turn this country back from the brink of disaster, one person at a time. But, if Christian women do not step forward to develop relationships and speak into the lives of other women, then we will all get to see what fills the vacuum that we have left by doing nothing. Certainly, that vacuum will not be filled with love and truthfulness if we do not tell others about the love of God and our Savior. However, if each Christian woman steps forward to take even 20 minutes a week to speak into the life of another woman, we can fill that vacuum with love and the light of Christ. You can do it! You can mentor another woman for the Lord.

If you are interested in the Christian service of mentoring, you might want to read Vicky Lynn Thomas’ recently published book on Christian mentoring entitled: The Three Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring.

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