Monday, December 29, 2008
Christians have made it a point to ensure that their religion reaches out to others in recent years. To make sure that they reach all people who love their God, they have gone above and beyond simply doing local service. They are using both traditional and non traditional methods to spread the word of God.
Christians have made a number of Christian books available for those who may be interested. Several genres of Christian books exist that will appeal to adults as well as children. Many of these books are available online as well as in local bookstores. A larger selection will most likely be found in online bookstores. The main goal of Christian literature is to share their inspiration for Christ with others and help spread the word of God.
Christians devote their lives to God. They hope to help you children lead well balanced lives. Many Christians wish to educate their children using educational books and software that refer to their beliefs. This is why many Christian families choose to home school their children.
The Christian church will accept anyone who is has an open heart for their God. They have made is a priority to make everyone feel welcome. And in times of need or crisis support everyone regardless of religion, creating a broader sense of community.
The Christian church has been at the front of the effort to bring church to the masses through the use of television. This has transformed the lives of many who wanted to go to church but were unable to.
Christian music is meant to be an inspiration and offers guidance to its listeners. The genre has had its share of popular songs, and has given a chance for great expression to anyone who loves music. On the radio, in the home, and in church, Christian music is used to praise God, and share this praise with any willing listeners. The music is styled much like popular secular music to appeal to a wide audience.
Christians have been making progress lately in spreading the word of god to others. They have made "Christian church" accepting of anyone that is willing to open their hearts to their God. They go out of their way to make people feel welcome. In times of need they support their community regardless of the religion of those whom they are helping. The beauty of "Christian music" is it is there to inspire all of us, to guide us in the right direction. Many Christian singers have had very popular songs in the past. The music gives everyone a chance to be expressive through song.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I have always believed that if you make Bibles available to children, they will come to love reading the Word. Of course, you don't want to start out giving a King James Version to a child - that would be too difficult to understand. Choosing a Bible for your child is very important and not to be taken lightly.
Start when your child is very, very young and get a board book that has a number of Bible stories, brightly colored and with appealing drawings. My daughter still thinks of Jesus as "Purple Jesus" because of her earliest Bible, which featured our Lord in a purple robe! Start simple, keep the stories short and read them over and over. Augment the Bible stories with songs from Scripture.
Bibles for kids can gradually work up to the level of reading and at that point, you might want to consider one of the easier translations, such as English Standard Version, or even The Message. Children like things to be simple and straightforward, not high-flown and complex, such as a KJV Bible.
Try to look for Bibles for kids that have articles pertaining to their particular areas of interest, or to social issues that face even young children today. While I don't wish to appear sexist, it is nonetheless true that a boy is not interested in clothes as much as a girl would be - so maybe a Bible with articles written by Christian athletes would be a good choice for a boy. Perhaps a Bible that deals with emerging issues of womanhood and dating would appeal to a young girl.
Another aspect of Bibles for kids is cost. Try not to buy a very expensive, leather bound Bible for a child; it can be intimidating in that they will be afraid to handle it for fear of getting it damaged. Look for a Bible with a "cool" looking cover, in a translation that is easy to understand.
You want your teen to fall in love with the Lord. You want them to hunger and thirst for a deeper walk with God. Do everything within your power to facilitate that! If it means going to a Christian rock concert with your teen, DO IT. If it means buying music for them that you might not enjoy - BUY IT. Make Christianity readily accessible and desirable to your teen. It is an eternal investment!
Hi...My name is Hwang Keum-OK, and I want to tell you about a great site: http://studybibles.livejournal.com/ It's full of great info for anyone looking to choose a Bible -- for themselves or for someone else. That site again is: Study Bibles I hope you'll stop by today and check us out!
Friday, December 26, 2008
My family is a cross-section of religious denominations. Some of us are Catholic (my parents and my oldest sister), some of us are nondenominational (my only surviving brother), some of us are Lutheran (my youngest sister) and then there is me - a Nazarene. We were all raised in the Catholic Church, and there are things about it that I still enjoy.
When I was a child, it seemed to me (perhaps my mistake) that the Church we attended was not big on encouraging Catholics to read the Bible, and I didn't realize until I was much older that there actually were Catholic Bibles. The most popular of these is the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, with the seven books not found in Protestant Bibles (among these, 1 and 2 Maccabees).
There is a new openness to the Scriptures among Catholics today, and I am thrilled about this. In the early days of Catholicism, of course, most of the people were illiterate, so it fell to the priests to disseminate the Word to the populace. This led to some interesting times(which I will not go into here), but one of the effects was a general perception that it was up to the priest to know the Word, not the people, and I am delighted to see that this has undergone a sea change!
Catholic Bibles are now available in several different translations and all are a joy to read. My oldest sister, who actually spent eight years in the convent, is an avid Bible student and reads her Catholic Bible daily.
There are several versions of Catholic Bibles, in addition to the Douay-Rheims; the New American Bible is quite good, as is the New Jerusalem Bible, and the New Living Translation. You can also find a Catholic version of the Bible printed in many different world languages, most notably Spanish, as there is a large segment of the Spanish-speaking population that is Catholic.
It is encouraging to see that the Catholic Church encourages Catholics of all ages to study their Bibles and develop a deeper understanding of God's Holy Word. After all, one of the most important Sacraments is Confirmation and before a child can go through this, they must know their Scripture.
It is a blessing to know that, doctrinal differences aside, more unites Catholics and Protestants than divides us. After all, we are all believers in the one God, Master of the Universe, the Alpha and the Omega, praise His Name!
Hi...My name is Hwang Keum-OK, and I want to tell you about a great site: http://www.studybiblelover.wordpress.com/ It's full of great info for anyone looking to choose a Bible -- for themselves or for someone else. That site again is: Study Bible Lover. I hope you'll stop by today and check us out!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Dear, I don't know how you look at things lately, but the truth is nude before our very eyes; the truth is that the coming of our king is at hand, so let us prepare ourselves as the bride prepares for the groom.
These words had been given to the apostles to be handed down to us but we haven't paid much attention to it; let us take out the little old dough left in us so we can effect our walk with Christ Jesus our Lord, our soon coming king.
You remember Christ Jesus our Lord told us: old wine must not be poured into old wineskins for that will burst the whole jar causing making a waste; but rather, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. So therefore dear, as Our Father so delight to pour out his greatness into us; let us rid our lives of all unrighteousness. Let us purify our very lives in the blood of the lamb.
We have lived in times and times past of sins and of one form of sin or another, let us offer ourselves completely to the blood of the lamb so we can take a whole bath to cleanse us completely.
O how it grieves my heart the most that we sometimes think of ourselves too pure and holy, refusing the blood bath. But this is what our Lord tells us: "you will not be cleansed if you didn't see yourself as one that needs it."
But our dear Father is now looking round and round for those that will yield completely to his Spirit so as to complete his work of salvation. We don't need to hinder him from completing his plan of salvation because we will fail him if we do.
Look back, really deep into your life: does everything of you please Our Father? Remember our strength and joy lies in doing the will of Our Father for that was the way we were taught unto salvation by Christ Jesus Our Lord.
The enemy is at work in the very small areas of our lives that harbors evil; and it will surprise us one day that he will work out in these very small areas of our lives into even destroying our salvation in Christ. Let us yield therefore into everything of him.
Remember to trust in the Lord at all times as we have been instructed, not on our own understanding and might.
Do you realize the truth that for us Christians all that we toil for not in the Lord will not stand the test of time? But if we learn to depend on him at all times, then will our various needs be supplied by him for the advancement of the kingdom.
copyright 2008 christperfect,
achieving perfection in Christ--
Thursday, November 27, 2008
One of the most mysterious subjects of the Christian faith is prayer, particularly regarding how it works, and how it is answered. Many unbelieving people simply cannot entertain the logic of prayer. It is clearly something that must be experienced very personally. But, how does prayer actually work? How is it answered? There is probably no simple or succinct answer. But, let me take you into one way how prayer is answered from my own personal experience.
I've prayed recently, for several weeks in fact, for an extra portion of epieikes (pronounced epee-aa-kes), the character quality of spiritual forbearance, gentleness, and reasonableness, which Paul talks about in Philippians 4:5 and 2 Corinthians 10:1. What led me to this prayer is I recognised within myself a lack of gentleness and grace in certain situations--to not endure situations patiently is to fall short as a Christian; it is God's will that all Christians grow and mature in epieikes.
I focused on the meaning of the word, journalled about it, set daily goals, and finally, asked God, not once, but several times over several days and even weeks. Before long I felt his presence helping me in situations where my patience was tested. I felt a peace that transcended my own understanding. I understood it as God helping me; answering my prayer.
Yet, I was not being given more patience to be gentler; but, I was prompted or reminded and made more aware when I needed to be gentler and more reasonable. Then it seemed to be more simply a matter of my will; did I want to decide in that moment to be gentler and more forbearing? The answer was of course "yes," as I'd resolved to cooperate with God. There is no better feedback than getting through a challenging situation successfully. This is how God answers prayer; he goes through the challenge with us. His Spirit then encourages us and we grow in confidence and we're better prepared for the next challenge.
Our faith is summarised by a relationship with the one and only living God: 1) him talking to us, mainly through his Word, and what that says to our minds and hearts--and it's us listening and obeying; and 2) it's us talking to him, in reverence and in wanting to please him by wanting him to fashion our characters closer to his--this is freedom because it is freeing ourselves from ourselves and our selfish desires.
On the subject of need, it is said by the apostle James,
"If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded (literally 'double-souled') and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord." -James 1:5-8 (NRSV).
We see God at work in prayer when we're seeking to join with his agenda and we're willing to do our 50 percent by being fully committed to the goal. God will always grant us an affirmative answer if we're praying in line with his will and we're willing to make the right decisions in cooperation. I think this is part of the intent of John 15:7 where Jesus says, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (NRSV) We only see prayers go unanswered or answered non-affirmatively when they go against the grain of God's will. We also must remember the 'what' and the 'how' are also different. God might grant the prayer, but how he'll do it and when might not always match with our expectations--yet God's purposes and reasons are always perfect.
God knows what is best for us. He won't give us things that are not good for us. Praying for a Mercedes Benz, as Janis Joplin sung about cynically only days before her death, is futile as it's not in line with our best, spiritually. Prayer is a spiritual medium for spiritual reasons for spiritual gain. It never works materially--that would be luck. And luck has no science or logic to it, and it definitely has nothing meaningful to say regarding spirituality.
Jesus said finally (from The Message paraphrase),
"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?" -Matthew 7:7-11.
God wants what is truly best for us, even though we might not understand at the time. Isn't it ironic what Jesus said next... "Do to others what you would have them do to you." (v. 12)
And, now, what should we pray for?
Copyright © 2008, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steve_Wickham
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
When you make a wrong choice or do something that displeases Him, most times, you know it immediately. There is uneasiness that you feel inside of you. The Bible tells us that Christian faith without works is dead. That means if you do not put your faith into action, it is not really faith, it’s just nice ideas. But when God truly does work in our lives, it affects everything about us - our words, our thoughts, and our actions. How do you know someone is kind, how do you know someone is gentle, how do you know someone is generous? How do you know someone is a follower of Christ? By their Christ-like actions!
"You are generous because of your faith. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ." Philemon 1:6, (NLT).
Paul says in his letter to the Thessalonians with a compliment and exhortation about how well they were living. He could truly see God’s love in them. He told them that the way they responded to the Gospel, and the way the Holy Spirit confirmed their faith was evidence that God was holding them in high esteem. In other words, by their daily actions, they were letting God’s love truly show through them.
Open your heart fully and receive His love today. Then turn around and love Him in return by truly following His commands. We all have areas that we can come up higher in, but the Good News is that God is always at work in our lives to mold us and make us more like Him. Ask Him to search your heart and mind today. Surrender any area of your life that is not pleasing to Him. As a Christian, invite Him to have His way in your life, and allow Him to finish His perfect work in you!
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13, (NLT).
Always know that He didn’t just give you the desire to please Him; He gave you the power to please Him, too! He did not just call you; He equipped you! Follow that inner prompting so that your actions will line up with what God puts in your heart. He wants you to continue growing spiritually. His plans and purposes for your life are always good. And when you are submitted to Him, nothing can stop the Almighty God from accomplishing great things in and through you!
By: Steven E Coffman
Family-eStore will try to provide you with articles of interest to a Christian and patriotic way of life. The articles are written by Steven E Coffman (Owner) of Family-eStore.com (National Essay Contest) winner 1969.
The Christian articles are intended to bring you closer in your relationship to our Father in heaven.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
When a man realizes his guilt and goes against god’s law that makes him to call lord for forgiving him of his sins. Repent is also defined as to change one’s mind. Repentance begins when a person’s sin is corrupting his life and he is offensive to god.
The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ.
Biblical references to “repentance”
Acts 3:19 – repent and be converted, that your sins might be wiped away
Acts 17:30 – god is declaring to men that all everyone should repent”
Acts 26:20- repent and turn to god, performing deeds appropriate to repentance
Acts 5:31 – to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins
Repent means a change of mind, a change of attitude. It also means that a change from not trusting god to trusting god. It also means a change from not believing god to believing god. If you find a church and pray there, god will definitely forgive you for all the sins.
A belief in god destroys the love of sin. If a person has faith then his heart is purified because this enables one to choose as what is right and what is wrong. The sin is not destroyed until a person repents. God says does not lie but you lie then you have broken his law and sinned. He tells not to cheat, not to lie etc. all these things are considered as sin. The Old Testament contains the law of god. If the law of the lord is not kept it is considered a sin. Jesus came on earth to take our place and die for our sins. He took the judgment upon him. He who trusts what god did on the cross his sins will be removed. He will be saved from god’s future judgment.
Meaning of faith means accepting god’s will over our own will. The other words to consider for the word faith is trust, reliance, loyalty, commitment, dedication, conviction.
The blood of Christ was sacred blood because it was a blood of the perfect man. Christ alone was a perfect god and perfect man. The blood of Christ is sinless blood. His blood is like a lamb without spot. All other human blood is not pure because of Adam’s fall. But the blood of the lord did not contain any sinful corruption. The blood of Christ is sacrificial blood. The blood was shed once for all. The blood of Jesus was sufficient blood. His blood was shed once for all. Christ’s blood is a shielding blood. Lord saves us completely from the insinuations and accusations of the arch enemy the devil. People who want freedom from sin can be rescued only from the blood of jesus. The blood of Christ means everything to the believers.
Kevin Russel is a Copywriter of Us Churches. He written many articles in various topics. For more information visit: http://www.rchurch.com contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
When others around you look at your life, do they know that God loves you? Can people tell by your actions that you belong to God? Do they know you are a follower of His? Remember, the evidence is in your words, actions and deeds. The most important thing you could ever know and show is that God loves you. His love truly changes us. His love empowers us. His love takes us to new levels. His love gives us eternal life.
When you make a wrong choice or do something that displeases Him, most times, you know it immediately. There is uneasiness that you feel inside of you. The Christian Bible tells us that faith without works is dead. That means if you do not put your faith into action, it is not really faith, it's just nice ideas. But when God truly does a work in our lives, it affects everything about us - our words, our thoughts, and our actions. How do you know someone is kind, how do you know someone is gentle, how do you know someone is generous? How do you know someone is a follower of Christ? By their Christ-like actions!
"You are generous because of your faith. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ." Philemon 1:6, (NLT).
Paul says in his letter to the Thessalonians with a compliment and exhortation about how well they were living. He could truly see God's love in them. He told them that the way they responded to the Gospel and the way the Holy Spirit confirmed their faith was evidence that God was holding them in high esteem. In other words, by their daily actions, they were letting God's love truly show through them.
Open your heart fully and receive His love today. Then turn around and love Him in return by truly following His commands. We all have areas that we can come up higher in, but the Good News is that God is always at work in our lives to mold us and make us more like Him. Ask Him to search your heart and mind today. Surrender any area of your life that is not pleasing to Him. As a Christian, invite Him to have His way in your life, and allow Him to finish His perfect work in you!
"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." Philippians 2:13, (NLT).
Always know that He didn't just give you the desire to please Him; He gave you the power to please Him, too! He did not just call you; He equipped you! Follow that inner prompting so that your actions will line up with what God puts in your heart. He wants you to continue growing spiritually. His plans and purposes for your life are always good. And when you are submitted to Him, nothing can stop the Almighty God from accomplishing great things in and through you!
Family-eStore will try to provide you with articles of interest to a Christian and patriotic way of life. The articles are written by Steven Coffman (Owner) of Family-eStore.com, (National Essay Contest) winner 1969.
I am a person with strong Christian and patriotic beliefs. Tenacity, faith, and a belief in God, Country and Family are key components to success in life.
The Christian articles are only intended to bring you closer in your relationship to our Father in heaven.
The Patriotic articles are only intended to show pride and patriotism to our "Land of the free and home of the brave", (The United States of America).
I hope that you enjoy and are enlightened by them.
We donate 10% all sales to charity.
Something good recently came into my life and I felt that it was proof that the Laws of Attraction work. Then I thought of my mother's favorite statement; she would always say:
Live right and be kind to others and it will always come back to you!
I told my niece what had happen to me and her reply was that "the lord works in mysterious ways". I am always careful not to get i nto religious discussion with people, so I simply agreed with her. But, what I was really thinking was who should get the credit when something good comes into a person's life? My understanding of a miracle is that it is an extraordinary event that many people believe is caused by divine intervention into human affairs. Because miracles were believed to be divine intervention, it was once common for people to pray and solicit (their definition of the divine) to make a miracle happen. If the solicitation materialized, they would give the credit to their "God".
Somewhere in our historical evolution we did stop looking for miracles. I do not believe that humanity became any less religious, but as reports of miracles became almost non-existent people simply stopped expecting them to happen. It is similar to the old idea about talking to God. At one time people did not think it unusual for people to state that God had spoken to them. Like miracles, talking to God is no longer considered feasible. Perhaps, our fast paced modern lifestyles have left us with no room for such ideas. But, thankfully, people have really begun to study and to get a clearer understanding of what spirituality is.
Because of the rise in spirituality I believe the answer the question "Have We Stopped Looking For Miracles?" is no! What we have stopped doing is expecting miracles resulting from some type of divine intervention. The study in spirituality has given us the understanding that we are co-creators with the divine. We can manifest our own miracles. Using the laws of attraction along with the art of goal setting, we can see the magic of miracles manifest into our daily lives.
As spiritual beings, our goal should be to master the human mind, which will free us to transform through the processes of love, forgiveness and spiritual connection that creates exceptional growth. In our attempts to humanize the divine, we often forget the divine's omnipresence. Since the divine is in us, the miracle too must be in us. It is us who are the force and the power. The better we understand this, the greater our ability to step into a whole new way of living, creating and experiencing life. We all have the ability to manifest a miracle and the tools we need to accomplish this are readily available.
Herman was educated in the field of psychology and has had a long time interest in things of a spiritual nature. Recent studies have focused on abundance through spirituality. You can learn more about a Proven Miracle-Manifestation System by clicking the link below: http://www.spiritualmoneymaker.com/
One of my passions is asking questions, and then waiting for the Answers from God. I have noticed that so many people wait for the "big problems" before they think to ask for help. I think that is a mistake. My experience has proven to me that the Divine is always available when we ask, and then open. I have also learned that when we make it a habit to ask, and keep asking, then we open up a space that really allows the Divine to flow in and out of our life, in often simple, but miraculous ways.
Recently my daughter was in need of a band aid. We had nothing appropriate available and it was pretty critical that we find something fast. This may seem like a small thing, and I suppose it was. But there was a lot of "drama" surrounding the occasion, as there often is when sharing a home with a preteen girl. I found that I was beginning to be drawn into the drama and the situation was slowly slipping away.
But then I stepped back and opened up and asked. I became very calm and sort of disconnected from what was going on around me. I then found myself telling my daughter I would be right back, at which time I went up the stairs and into the storage area. I then found myself opening up a side pocket of a suitcase that hadn't been used in 6 months, at which time I pulled out one lone band aid.
Perfect for the job.
It wasn't until later, when everything had calmed down and I had time alone that I realized the significance of the event. I will never know if some part of my subconscious mind remembered seeing that band aid there and allowed it to come to the surface, or if it was something else.
Truthfully it doesn't matter to me which. What does matter is that I asked, and I was answered.
And peace was restored to my home.
Thank You God.
The Answers from God, they always serve our highest and our best.
Rev Cyndi Krupp
Learn more about Rev Cyndi's teachings
by visiting http://www.PracticalSpiritualityTeachings.com today
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Nonetheless, we will go ahead and indulge in a favorite evangelical pastime. That is, debating about whether or not Washington was a Christian. The assumption of the "pro" side is that if we can prove the founders were Christians, we thereby prove that the U.S. Constitution is Christian. The "con" side responds that the Constitution is not a Christian document and Christians are better off admitting it.
Most Christians are firmly convinced that Washington was a true blue, born-again, evangelical Christian. Others have their doubts.
One of the key questions is why did George Washington refuse to take communion for most of his adult life? For the serious Christian, such refusal is an act of self-excommunication.
Two hundred years from now some wannabee historians will seize on religious quotes by Barack Obama to prove that he was a Christian. Christians today do the same thing with Washington, but references to the Lord Jesus Christ in his voluminous collection of public and private papers are surprisingly scanty?
More important, defenders have to explain why George Washington occupied the rank of Grand Master in the Masonic lodge. Each promotion in the Masonic lodge requires taking an anti-Christian oath?
When it comes to Washington's religious/philosophical bent there is too much of a mythical nature to rely on anything other than primary source documents. These include such things as Washington's public and private correspondence and the writings of those who knew him well, like his pastor.
Washington and the Pietists
In the mid-20th Century, conservative Professor Paul Boller conducted an exhaustive study of Washington's public and private writings, together with statements by contemporaries. His book was entitled, George Washington & Religion.
Washington's pietistic biographers popularized an encyclopedia of stories about his religiosity based on hearsay and scanty evidence that could never hold up in a court. Far different was the story that emerged from Boller's study of the source documents.
The pietists include stories about Washington's rigorous devotional life and his partiality for taking communion in their particular denomination. In one account George Washington drew his pistol and fired on a subordinate who interrupted his devotions. Everyone read far more into Washington's religious pronouncements than actually existed.
Washington and His Pastor
People who were close to Washington knew better. Dr. James Abercrombie, his pastor at Christ Church in Philadelphia during his Presidency was skeptical about Washington's Christianity.
While his wife always went forward to kneel on communion Sunday, George Washington walked out the back door. When rebuked publically, he promised never to attend church on communion Sunday.
Dr. Abercrombie left us these words: "That Washington was a professing Christian, is evident from his regular attendance in our church; but, Sir, I cannot consider any man as a real Christian who uniformly disregards an ordinance so solemnly enjoined by the divine Author of our holy religion, and considered as a channel of divine grace."
But, as noted above, analyzing the personal faith of anybody is somewhat risky business. We are on safer ground with a careful examination of what the founders actually gave us. Their critical flaw was a failure to distinguish between the biblical covenant model and the man-centered social contract.
George Washington clearly valued Christianity as a socially cohesive force, but he saw it as the servant, not the master of government. He spoke often of the sovereignty of God, but his god was the Masonic Grand Architect of the universe.
Thus, he strongly encouraged chaplains in the Continental Army, but all of his senior officers were Masons. He also served as a leader in his local church, but only attended about once a month. Church attendance was part of his Masonic duty and a means of expressing his humanitarianism.
Evangelicals are quick to point out that the founders were not "Deistic." More likely they were Unitarian. While most were church members, men like Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and Washington, looked at Christ from a Unitarian perspective. That is, Jesus was not divine and certainly not relevant to the affairs of civil government.
By: Oliver Woods
For more information about the anti-Christian features of the U.S. Constitution visit www.america-betrayed-1787.com/us-constitution.html Dennis Woods is webmaster and also a political pollster and fundraiser in Oregon, using the Dog Catcher Campaign Strategy: www.america-betrayed-1787/gary-north.html
Israeli archaeologists unearth Herod family tombs
Man's basic thought pattern is such that he consciously or unconsciously keeps evaluating his self worth all his life. Every evaluation is based upon some standard or other, which must be reliable if our conclusions have to be right. Also, if we use standards which vary from place to place, time to time, and from person to person, we are going to be delusioned in the long run. Nothing will ever seem permanent. No achievement will seem to last for sufficiently long time in our lives.
The world has its own standards of evaluating one's worth. Most of them are based upon performance or apparence. Such standards are very deceptive for the Christian because spiritual self-worth is never to be evaluated on the basis of worldly standards. It will give rise to several problems, some of which are:
1--We never know when we have achieved enough. There are no standards in this world for lasting achievement. The more one achieves, the more one has to gather to keep it, according to the world. Worse, the best achievers in the world become obscure after their active life comes to an end.
2--If achievement is our measuring-stick, them comparison with others becomes essential. Comparison is a very dangerous game because it brings out the worst inside our hearts. If we are succeeding in everything, then we start comparing ourselves with the non-achievers. This results in all kinds of pride and associated feelings. On the other hand if we start loosing then we will start criticizing the achievers. The goal now is to show that their success is a failure, and that our own failures are successes. This results in all types of criticisms, backbiting, jealousy and associated feelings.
3--Since no person can be a consistent achiever, false fronts become necessary to keep others thinking that all is well with us. This leads to dishonesty in personal and public life.
4--The older we get the more miserable we become. Our time of peak achievement is past and we can no longer keep up with the old successes. This is a sure invitation to frustration and all kind of self-pity in the spiritual life.
The Lord does not want any of His children to be frustrated in their lives. He has provided for their needs in unique ways. One of this is to make all of us equal in Christ. We all have the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us so that in front of God we are fully and uniquely righteous as far as our position is concerned. Any serious Bible student can discover in Bible at least forty unchanging gifts that God gives to everyone of His children at the moment of their salvation. These are the standards on basis of which we should evaluate our spiritual self-worth. In this article we would like to suggest at least four things which every person should remember.
First of all, we are people who have been chosen by the Father. He did not need either to love us or to do anything for us. But in His infinite grace and mercy He loved us. This means that every person in the family of God is an object of the eternal and unchanging love of God. This ought to give confidence to every child of God who thinks that he is not loved.
Second, the Son Himself paid the penalty of our sins. The Lord Jesus did not need to redeem us paying the penalty of our sins by His death on the cross. But He still did do for His love for us. If the Eternal Son Himself has redeemed us by His sacrifice, we do not need any worldly standards to measure our worth. By paying His life for us, He has infused a worth into us which is beyond every precious thing in this world.
Third, the Lord loves us so much that He has made a whole system to protect us from corruption. This includes the presence of Holy Spirit inside us, and also of the provision of the Word of God for protecting our souls. God gave apostles and prophets, and now He has provided evangelists, pastors and teachers in the local church so that they may guard our souls by preaching and teaching the word of God to us regularly.
Fourth, just as every person puts his identity on his valuables, God also has put His mark upon us. Many people put their seal or their name on the costly books which they purchase. God has done more than that. To show and to keep His ownership upon us, He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit's indwelling in us is a clear indication to us and also to the whole world that we are the everlasting possession of God, which He shall present as the uncorrupted Bride of the Lord Jesus.
Many more things can be added to the above list, but they are not necessary. The four things mentioned above should be sufficient to give confidence to every person who is going through the crisis of self worth evaluation in his spiritual life. Others, who are not at this moment passing through this stage, also must remember these things because sooner or later they will pass through these feelings. If they remember these things at that time, much frustration will be avoided. Our spiritual worth is not based upon who and what we are, but rather on who and what we have been made by Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Johnson C. Philip is a scientist (PhD in quantum-nuclear physics), and has worked extensively in the fields of free distance education and alternative medicines. His works in Christian Apologetics enjoy worldwide reputation.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Why am I asking this question? I am asking it because as sons or daughters of God you can only be one of these things or only carry one of these titles, you cannot, in Truth, carry the other, it's impossible. Now some of you may ask the question; is there any difference? I will answer, there most assuredly is. In fact the difference is so vast; it's like a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon. Oh come on, I hear some of you say, but I say, yes, it's true what I say.
OK, so let's get straight to the point, what is the difference, for it's more than semantics or language games? The difference is wrapped up in how mainstream Christians use this term 'redeemed sinner', for, in reality, this term is an identity tag, a label or a title. If, as a True Believer or Born Again son of God, you go around telling people you are a redeemed sinner you are automatically giving them a confused image, a mixed signal or a weird idea. You see, they could come back at you with the question: "well, are you redeemed or are you a sinner - are you still a sinner or are you now redeemed?" Moreover, if these questions were asked, they would be very pertinent questions indeed, and questions that any non-believer would be entitled to ask of you. The issue here is how would you answer them and what explanation would you give them? Here is an example of what you could say; "I am a sinner who is redeemed." Hello, excuse me, you're a what!? "I am a sinner who is redeemed" Hang on a minute, don't you mainstream Christians teach that sinners are going to hell? "Yes, but I am redeemed so I am not going to hell." No, you didn't say you were redeemed, you said you were a redeemed sinner, now which is it!?
Do you see the point I am making here - I do hope so? The name tag 'redeemed sinner' which many Christians carry around like a cloud and in most cases without even knowing the meaning, keeps them in bondage and slavery to sin. How, when they are supposedly saved? Easy, because they still see themselves as sinners. I have already said, and showed, how it would confuse non-believers, but what does it do to those who carry this title or identity? Simple, it confuses them too and even more so, whether consciously or sub-consciously, or worse, both. Many of you will have heard it used hundreds of times and never seriously considered the implications of its use. So, without further ado here is the profound but simple explanation.
If you are Born Again and you are a son or daughter of God then you are redeemed or saved; that's it, there is nothing more to it; our Lord's sacrifice was a complete redemptive sacrifice and through His sacrifice all of our sins - past, present and future were dealt with at the cross. This, though, is only half of the wonderful gift for His Resurrection gave all of us; all those who believe in Him and express that belief through Faith in action,a new identity. I cannot emphasise this Truth strongly enough, for, it is crucial to your Spiritual wellbeing and welfare.
You see, this title 'redeemed sinner' doesn't even say what the bearers of it would like it to say i.e. that I was a sinner and now I am redeemed. This title 'redeemed sinner' is used by them in the present tense and if we say we are redeemed sinners then we are admitting that we are still sinners and redeemed at the same time. This is impossible, because: 1) sinners cannot inherit the Kingdom of God and 2) if we are 'redeemed sinners' then we are neither one thing nor the other and it's no use us using the excuse that we need to be reminded of our wicked past when our Father in heaven has not only forgiven all our sins but forgotten them as well:
Psalm 103:11-12 For as the heaven is high above the earth [so] great is the mercy toward them that fear (love and revere) Him. As far as the east is from the west [so] far hath He removed our transgressions?"
If the Father God has forgotten our past and all our sins why do we need to remind ourselves of them through the use of this nasty little name tag or title!!?? The answer to this is very simple; we are Redeemed, plain and simple; nothing more and nothing less. Our sinful past is behind us - gone forever. We now have a new identity; Sons or Daughters of God, Kings, Royal Priests, Brothers and Friends of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Have you noticed the absence of the word 'sinner' from all these wonderful titles? In fact, there is no such thing as a redeemed sinner for as I said earlier, sinners cannot inherit The Kingdom of God only those who are perfect in The Father's sight; those who are Redeemed. Redeemed sinners are not perfect, because they are still sinners.
Now, if you are Born Again you must begin to see yourselves as The Father sees you - perfect and in a new positive light, for that is where you are now walking - in the Light. For The Light is Jesus Christ. For further understanding on this most important Spiritual issue please see my two articles on Grace - real Grace: "The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ - His True Grace, Not the Watered Down Religious Version!" and "For by Grace Are Ye Saved Through Faith, and That Not of Yourselves, It is the Gift of God - Eph 2:8"
Finally, if you are in any doubt about what I have said above, here is some Biblical proof:
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
From the Living Bible it reads: He died under God's judgement against our sins, so that He could rescue us from constant falling into sin and make us His very own people with cleansed hearts and real enthusiasm for doing kind things for others.
Notice the term from the KJV: "Redeem us from ALL iniquity" not some of our iniquities, so we can continue to call ourselves 'redeemed sinners'. Let it sink in, once all our iniquities are redeemed, that is, when we confess those iniquities at Baptism, we are redeemed completely and there is no half way house. Non existent half way houses are for redeemed sinners, so get with it and start to see yourselves in this amazing new light, for that is where you are now walking - in The Light and Redeemed, if you are truly Born Again.
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If you have any questions then please write to me at yes2graceatgooglemail.com Please add '@' in place of 'at' - thank you.
"The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about and refuse to investigate."
Dr Wayne Dyer
Revised and edited 14th November 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Much is being said today about "the apostolic." There are those who believe a restoration of "the apostolic" is necessary. Various views of what apostolic means include: a succession of leadership traceable back to Peter, a particular doctrine instructed by the apostles or a particular church organizational structure with an individual in leadership, calling themselves an apostle. Many of these may contain some elements of truth or they may be man's attempt to apply the principles of apostolic, but they often can fall far short of God's original intentions. In this Ezine I would like to present a view of apostolic for us to consider.
To begin with, the word apostolic is not contained in the scriptures. This word is a creation of man. So what is this word based on? In my personal experience, apostolic is used as an adjective to describe the type of ministry first demonstrated by Jesus, as The Apostle, then His apostles. The Greek for apostle is apostolos. According to Vine's it is "one sent forth." Holman Bible Dictionary says it is "a person sent to accomplish a mission. An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political or educational situations." An apostle is one who has been specifically sent by another to deliver a message or conduct business according to the one doing the sending.
Scripture shows us that the word apostle and sent are similar. According to Thayer's, send or sent is apostello; "properly, to send off, send away." Furthermore, Thayer's tells us there are four components to being sent.
- First, they are ordered to go.
- Secondly, they are sent with a commission or something intended for another.
- Thirdly, the place of their sending is specific.
- Fourth, the completion or manifestation of the duty is proof of the sending.
In the literal sense of the word, anyone who has been given a job to perform then sent (apostello) to do this duty for the one sending is an apostle (apostolos). In Matthew chapter 2, those that Herod "sent forth" to slay the children in Bethlehem were apostello. In John 1:19, the Jews "sent" or apostello as their apostolos, priests and Levite's to question the identity of John. If you are part of an organization or business and you delegate someone to go and relay a message, represent you or conduct business for you, they have been sent (apostello) by you and are your apostle (apostolos).
The major significance of biblical apostolic is WHO is DOING the sending.
And What are we being sent to accomplish.
Being apostolic is being sent as a representative of Jesus Christ. It is from Him we are to get our orders. Jesus stated that all power had been given to Him. When He sent out his disciples in Mark 6:7-13, they were given specific commands of where, who and what to say. When they operated as He commanded is when they saw the miraculous happen. In Acts 19, we see the sons of Sceve attempting to operate under their own initiative. They were attempting to accomplish something of benefit, yet they were not effective. Their problem was they were not sent. I can desire to do good things for the kingdom, yet find frustration and limited results IF what I am attempting is not what He has sent me to do.
This is significant for us to grasp because if we desire to see His kingdom manifest or reach the lost of this world with His miraculous delivering power we MUST make sure we are operating as His representatives in the manner that He has determined. We must make sure we are not perpetuating man's traditions, values or structure. In my personal life and ministry, I must be sure that I am operating in a manner that He has authorized. Our churches must carefully evaluate and make sure we are performing His mandate and not our programs. The power to impact our worlds only comes when we are operating in accordance with His commission.
Food For Thought
Am I operating according to my plans or His sending?
The wisdom of God is the Source of true wisdom, and He grants it generously to those who sincerely seek wisdom, ask for it in faith, showing a wholesome, reverential fear of Him.(Prov 2:1-7; James 1:5-8) Divine wisdom in the absolute sense is found in God, who is “wise alone” in this sense. (Rom16:27) Knowledge is acquainted with fact, and, being the Creator, who is “from time indefinite to time indefinite” God knows all there is to know about the universe, its composition and contents.
God’s Wisdom emphasizes on sound judgment. It is based on knowledge and understanding; the ability to use knowledge and understanding successfully to solve problems, avoid or avert dangers, attain certain goals or to counsel others in doing so. Wisdom therefore implies a breath of knowledge and a depth of understanding, these giving the soundness and clarity of judgment is a characteristic of wisdom.
Understanding is the ability to see how the parts or aspects of something relate to one another. Seeing the entire matter and not just isolated facts, is understanding. Prov 9:10, In saying that “knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is,” shows that true understanding of anything involves appreciation of its relation to God and His purposes. Because a person with understanding is able to connect new information to things he already knows, “knowledge is easy to him who understands.”
Understanding fortifies wisdom in other ways. For example, a person may obey a certain command of God, due to recognizing the rightness of such obedience, and this is wisdom on their part. But if that person gets true understanding of the reason for that command, the good purpose it serves and the benefits accruing from it, their heart’s determination to continue in that wise course is greatly strengthened. (Prov 14:33) A wise person with true understanding is happy to get any information that will grant him a clearer view into the underlying circumstances, conditions and causes of problems. Thereby he “gets knowledge” as to what to do regarding the matter, knows what conclusions to draw and what is needed to solve the existing problem. (Prov 9:9)
Intelligence is another major factor in God’s wisdom, the heart, which prominently relates to motivation and affection, is clearly a more important factor in gaining true wisdom. (Psalm 49:3-4, Prov: 14:33) God’s servant wants to get “sheer wisdom” in his “secret self,” have wise motivation in planning his life course. (Psalm 51:6; 90:12) The heart of the wise is at the right hand that is, ready to help and protect him at critical moments. (Psalm 109:31) The heart of the fool is at the left failing to give him the needed motivation.” (Eccl 10:2-3) The truly wise person has trained and disciplined his heart to give the proper motivation (Prov 23:19) it is as though he had written righteous commandments and law ‘upon the tablet of his heart.’ (Prov 7:1-3)
The wisdom of God is the ability to put knowledge to work or use it, the intelligent application of learning. A person might have considerable knowledge, but not know how to use it because of lacking wisdom. Therefore, knowledge and wisdom work together with understanding. Jesus linked wisdom with accomplishment in saying: “Wisdom is proved righteous by its works.” (Matt 11:19)
God’s grand purpose is founded on and centered in His Son, Christ Jesus “has become to us [Christians] wisdom from God.” (1Cor 1:30) In whom are hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom. (Col 2:3) Only through Him and by faith in Him, God’s “Chief Agent of life,” can salvation and life be attained. (Acts3:15, John 14:6) There is, therefore, no true wisdom that fails to consider Jesus Christ, that does not base its judgment and decisions solidly on God’s purpose as revealed in Him.
Solomon asked for and received from God knowledge and wisdom. (2 Chron 1:10) In the case of two women who claimed the same child, Solomon had knowledge of a mother’s devotion to her child; he displayed wisdom by using his knowledge to settle the dispute. Solomon also found that, while such human wisdom produces varied pleasures and proficiency that brought material wealth, it could not bring true happiness or lasting satisfaction. The wise man died along with the stupid, not knowing what would become of his possessions, and his human wisdom ceased in the grave. (Eccl 2:3-11)
Solomon does not say human wisdom is utterly without value. Compared with mere foolishness, which he also investigated, the advantage of wisdom over folly is like that of ‘light over darkness.’ For the wise man’s eyes ‘are in his head,” serving his intellectual powers that in turn feed the heart, whereas the stupid man’s eyes do not see with thoughtful discernment. (Eccl 2:12-14) Wisdom offers a security of greater value than money. (Eccl 7: 11-12) But Solomon showed that its worth was all relative, entirely dependent on its conformity to God’s wisdom and purpose. (Eccl 2-24; 3:11-15; 8:12-13; 9:1)
A person can be excessive in striving to manifest the wisdom of God, pushing their self beyond the limits of their imperfect ability in a self-destructive course. (Eccl 7-16) But by obediently serving their Creator and being content with food, drink and the good that his hard work brings him, God will give him the needed “knowledge and wisdom” and rejoicing.” (Eccl 2:24-26) “Wisdom is the principal thing,” Prov 4:7) for without it knowledge is of little value. God abounds in and provides both knowledge and wisdom. (Rom11:33, James 1:5) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov 9:10)
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In fact, it was difficult to make anyone happy. I would try to adjust the mix of the music and try tried to educate members of my congregation. It just didn't seem to matter... That was until I figured out that the issue wasn't really about hymns or choruses (at least for most people). The debate about these two styles of music was simply a way of voicing other thoughts and issues that were weighing on people's hearts. I came to realize that in almost every case, when people voiced their dissent about hymns or choruses they had another issue that needed to be addressed. Here were the five most common issues that I found...
1. Congregation members wanted to feel that they were valued and that the things that mattered to them mattered to the leadership of the church. They wanted to be heard and they wanted to feel that their opinion, likes, dislikes and feelings were important to someone else. Many of the older members of the congregation didn't want to feel forgotten while younger members wanted to feel that they had some say in the way that the church worked too.
2. There is an incredible amount of selfishness in the Church. Many church members are looking for a church that will "meet their needs" above all else. This tends to produce a consumeristic mentality that leads individuals to a place of evaluation instead of participation. Often the framework of the hymns vs. choruses debate needs to be reframed so that members realize that it is not "all about me" but instead it is "all about Him".
3. The debate over the style of music for a church is often more about change and change process than it is about music. Change is painful and almost nobody likes it. Sometimes as church leadership, we forget that most individuals struggle with change, especially if it is rapid. Congregation members want to feel comfortable when they come to church and change can make things comfortable. Often if the issue of hymns vs. choruses is raised as a tangible example of resistance or feelings of uneasiness with change.
4. Although there will always be a few people that love to complain about everything, it is important to remember to give people the benefit of the doubt when they raise concerns about hymns vs. choruses. Often, when people advocate for more of one or other style of music they are genuinely worried about the worship services being relevant and ministering to a specific audience. Amazingly, two people who sit next to each other in the pews can view the target audience of the church as two completely different groups of individuals. A leadership who casts vision well and has a clearly defined target in mind can really help to alleviate this problem. Many individuals who may have a preference for Hymns or choruses are willing to put aside their personal likes and dislikes in order to better minister to a different generation. This is one of the things that makes the body of Christ strong.
5. Sometimes it is not about the music at all but instead is about the theology. It is tough sometimes to tell if this is the real issue for someone or just a way for them to reinforce their point. Either way, both hymns and choruses should be evaluated carefully to ensure that they reflect sound doctrine and fit with the teachings of God's word. Churches that choose to do less hymns will often need to work harder to ensure that their music is not only doctrinally sound but is also theologically rich.
Leading worship can be a hard job. However, understanding where people are coming from when they bring up this issue can be even harder. These are five things that I noticed when dealing with the issue of hymns vs. choruses at my Church. Perhaps you will see them at your church as well.
Jeff McRitchie is the designer and Director of Marketing for MyBinding.com.He has written over 500 articles on binding machines,binding covers,binders,laminators,binding supplies,laminating supplies,paper handling equipments,index tabs, and shredders.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Hearing read readings from the New Testament, "The melody of the Bible..."
For many years I have enjoyed and learned from hearing read and reading the New Testament. My Bible is "The New Oxford Annotated Bible" New Standard Revised Version. I also hear the Bible on Sunday when I attend Sunday worship services. In the Church where I attend the Gospel is read on Sunday by the Priest (minister), who usually reads in a manner that is proclamation. We have three readings usually.
The second is an Epistle. I look forward during Sunday worship to hear the Gospel and the Epistle. We also read from the Old Testament, but my poem for this post is about hearing the New Testament.
I think the Old Testament has much to teach us, and tells the history of man with God, or as some say, the history of God in human history. Liking the Old Testament, I wanted to include a mention of it so not to ignore the books.
This is a serious revised poem from the original.
The melody of the Bible...
by Peter Menkin
You cause my yearnings,
speakers so fluid as doves
lovely messengers, you bring
me to desire the Gospel
words that make
Desire to hear of Him,
those fruits given
with mercy, healing
in his blood,
"joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the Head."
Audio reading of poem by the poet is here:
Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA (north of San Francisco).
I remember, years ago, when one of my daughters wanted a new bicycle. There was only one problem - she was going through a period of time when she couldn't seem to stay out of trouble for 24 hours at a time! Not "big" trouble, mind you. Little things - like not doing her chores, leaving her homework till the very last minute, snapping at her sisters. The typical "little" things that kids do when they want to see just how far they can push it. She was becoming a world class pusher and she wasn't even 14 years old, yet.
She got it, somehow, into her mind that she deserved a new bicycle in spite of all of our, "Sweetie, you have to start trying harder..." talks. I kept telling her that until she pulled it all together, she'd be riding her old bike (which, to be honest, was a perfectly good bike) and that was that.
This all went on for several months. Several long months. Then, I started noticing little things. I homeschooled my girls and I noticed that she went from being the last one to complete an assignment to being the first. I also noticed that she was putting her all into her chores. She got to the point where she didn't just do her given chores, she actually looked around to see if anything else needed to be done. She was doing what was expected PLUS what wasn't.
Also, when she'd hang out with me in the kitchen, I noticed that she didn't JUST talk about the bike anymore. She talked about what I was cooking. When she crept up on me in the flower garden, she wasn't there just to make her case for the new bike, she was there to help pull weeds and talk about which flowers were the "coolest". When we went shopping, we got to see other things than just the bike aisle. It was so refreshing! I felt like I'd gone from being someone she just wanted something from to being someone she actually cared about talking to. We grew closer than ever.
Needless to say, she got her new bike. But more importantly, she got a new outlook for life. Her attitude changed and the transformation was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. When she first started asking, the answer was "No." She wasn't doing the things she should have been doing and she WAS doing things she shouldn't have been doing.
However, several months down the road, the answer became not just a "Yes" but an "Absolutely!"
This same illustration can serve us when we don't receive the answer to prayer that we're hoping for. Granted, sometimes the answer is NO followed promptly by a period. God sometimes tells us NO simply because He knows what's best for us. However, very often, just like my daughter with her bike, we aren't told "No," so much as we're told, "Not just yet." He wants us to get OUR acts together first and He knows that the chances of that happening are better if the reward doesn't come first.
If you have a certain prayer that hasn't been answered yet, I have a few things I want you to do.
First of all, write down any reasons you can think of that would cause God NOT to want to give you what you're asking for. Write down everything that comes to mind.
Second of all, go over what you've written down and determine to "fix" what needs to be taken care of. If there are "chores" you're slacking off on - start giving them your all. How are you treating others? Are you generous and compassionate? Don't just do what God would expect from you, go above and beyond. Then go further!
Third of all, have you allowed yourself to begin and end every prayer with "I need...," "I want...," or "Would you...?" Are your moments with God entirely about your needs and wants? If that's the case, I don't have to tell you how far you've gotten away from the real essence and beauty of prayer.
Lastly, concentrate more on becoming the person God would have you be more than you concentrate on what He can do for you. The Bible tells us that God loves us, even more than we love our own children. Amazing! I didn't even know a love like that existed. If we want to reward our children when we see them grow, imagine how God would want to reward His children.
And what rewards He has!!!
Of course, the greatest, sweetest, most genuinely beautiful reward of all is a closer relationship with God. I hope that's exactly the relationship you have, or will soon have. And I hope and pray that all of your prayers are just a day away.
As someone once said, "Self isn't something one finds, it's something one creates." Self Help Daily would love to help YOU create a masterpiece!
The text for today is Psalm 66:16-20..."Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. (17) I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. (18) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me : (19) But verily God hath heard me ; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. (20) Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me."
First off, we see David excited to share what God is doing in his life. Hmm, sounds like something we should all be doing, right? Anyway, he talks about how he cried to the Lord with his mouth (aloud, not silent) and He was extolled with his tongue. I don;t know about you, but I had to pull out the dictionary for that one, just to make sure I was grasping it correctly. Extol means to praise highly or glorify. So, simply stated, the Lord was glorified by David's prayer...When we pray do we glorify God with our cries? If others heard our petitions, would they see God glorified, or just see a Christian asking for more? I am not saying we can't and shouldn't ask God for things, but our prayer should bring Him praise!!!
Verse 18 gives us a bit of a wake-up call..."If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me". To me, this speaks of our secret or hidden sins...is there really such a thing? (NO) If we are holding on to sin in our lives, the Lord won't hear our prayers. This makes it that much more important to cry out to God when we sin, rather than waiting...
Obviously, David confessed regularly because the Lord heard him, listened to his prayers, and was merciful upon him.
Do you feel like your prayers are not getting above the ceiling? not getting answered? Does it feel like His mercy is turned from you? Glorify God in your prayers, confess and let go of sin in your life, and turn from them...God will attend to the voice of your prayers...and will not turn His mercy from you.
When you do these things, you will be sharing with others what God has done for you with excitement!!!
Please let me know if there is a prayer I can word on your behalf today...
scriptures quoted are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible
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Before seeing the word, "breathing," you probably weren't thinking about it; and you probably weren't thinking about your own breathing - even though you were doing it. Breathing is one of those things we do unconsciously - whether we are asleep, or not. And, though most people never consider it until they experience a problem or some difficulty, breathing and thinking are closely related. Thinking is just like breathing; you are always doing it to some degree - even while you sleep. And this is important because, though breathing gives us life, it is our thinking that creates and shapes our experience of life. And, just as you can control your own breathing to a certain extent, you can learn to control your own thinking to a certain extent, as well - giving you greater creative control over your life.
Think about your breathing for a minute. Before you were thinking about it, you were thinking about something else; but you were still breathing. You were breathing "unconsciously," just like you do in your sleep. Now, you are conscious of your breathing; you know you are breathing, but it is still happening automatically. You aren't really controlling your breathing now any more than when you were not conscious of it a moment ago. But you can take control of it - for a time, anyway. And, if you want to be a swimmer, a martial artist, or a singer, then you'll have to learn an even greater level of breathing control than the average person.
Take a minute and try this: Breathe in while you count to four; hold that breath for a count of four; breathe out for a count of four; and hold that for a count of four before repeating the whole process a couple times. If you did that, you were consciously controlling your breathing mechanism; which is quite different than simply breathing or even being aware of your breathing. There are many levels of awareness and involvement in the breathing process; and thinking is the same way. Just as if you wanted to become a singer, you would have to practice your breathing; if you want to consciously create your own life, you'll have to learn to gain a greater degree of control over your own thinking.
As with your breathing, your mental processes are continuous - you are either conscious or unconscious of them. Now, you are aware of your thinking; and you may even be thinking about thinking. But you aren't consciously focusing your thoughts on one specific outcome that you truly want to happen. To become consciously aware of your thoughts, and direct them with your own attention and focus, is to be in conscious control of your thought processes. Everyone thinks, just as everyone breathes; but not everyone practices breathing exercises - and not everyone practices clear, effective thought.
You may think this doesn't matter; but the fact is nothing could matter more to any of us. Our thoughts are creative - whether we choose to guide them or not. If we do not take responsibility for what we allow our thoughts to become, or guide us to do, then we are creating by default; or worse, we are following the desires and agendas of others - those who tell us what to think rather than teach us HOW to think. Think about it. Do you do what you do during the day because you want to, or because you have to? Whose ideas are you executing with your time and energy? Who taught you what was important to you?
All religions teach the importance of thought; and what is prayer if not thought? Jesus said, "As a man thinketh, so it is done to him," Buddha said, "Man is formed and molded by his thoughts," and Gandhi said, "Man often becomes what he thinks himself to be." The teaching attributed to Jesus also appears in the Old Testament and in practically every other religion on the planet. It's the thought that counts; and there's more than one way to think. What are you thinking about, and how are you thinking about it? The fruits of your life will give you some indication of what and how you're thinking.
Our thoughts guide us to our destiny and shape our experience; but we shape and guide our thoughts. Are you using the most effective modes of thought to communicate your fondest wishes? Are your thoughts producing happiness and guiding you toward fulfillment? If not, consider the odds that all the great religious teachers are liars and conspirators, and then weigh them against the odds that you were never really taught a lot about the mind and the various modes of thought and thinking. In other words, consider the chance that prayer is still taught - in one form or another - in all religions and spiritual traditions because it does work, and you just haven't attained "Christ-like" mastery of your thoughts yet. Practice paying more attention to both your breathing and your thinking; improving these two things is the secret to a long, happy life of your own choosing and design.
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Pete Koerner is a clinical hypnotherapist, and the author of The Belief Formula: The Secret to Unlocking the Power of Prayer. The Belief Formula is a look at how you can use ancient wisdom and modern scientific awareness to learn how to use your mind to reclaim your health and create the life of your dreams.
For a Free Report on Making The Belief Formula Work for You, visit: http://www.TheBeliefFormula.com
Is it selfish to ask God to do something for you? Doesn't He already know what you need? If so, then why do you have to ask? Does God really hear you? Why would He care? Is God really listening?
Many people struggle with these questions and maybe you do too.
When we have something on our heart, or if we are undecided about which direction to take, we talk the problem over with someone we trust and respect. We use them as a sounding board to help us sort out the issues. And in response, they may or may not give us immediate help. But it helps us to talk about it.
If we need think of God as our best Friend then we will feel that we can tell Him anything with the assurance that He has our best interests in mind and that He will not gossip about our conversation. He understands us better than we understand ourselves and He knows our real motives. It is impossible to hide anything from Him, so He is best able to help us. He has all the facts.
If we are asking God for "things" just because we "want" them, then we may say selfishness is a factor. But if we ask in the context of wanting only what God knows to be best for us, then we are not demanding that God give us our desires, but that He will provide what we need.
God does not have to say Yes and many times He does not. He may say No or Not Right Now. His timing and ours may not be the same at all and we need to understand that in the larger scheme of life, God really does know best. What we think cannot wait God may say that there is a better time later on.
So the key to getting answers to prayer is the assurance that God is concerned about us and that He wants to give us all good things. By understanding that we do not always know what is good for us. And that just because we do not get the answer that we are asking for, does not mean that God has not answered. He always hears and answers. We are the deaf ones in that we do not accept the answer that He has given.
He loves us and always does what is best for us in His eyes.
Join others who are seeking a closer relationship with God.
Annette Soper is a published author.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Usually I send my poems to friends so they can be my readers. One wrote back that I had not followed the form of "names" well enough, but they knew what I meant. I took that as enough license to allow this imperfect poem.
After three years of regular attendance, one could say they have heard all (most) of the Bible read aloud. In this cycle all the readings are complete. Well, as you know probably, the Lectionary is chosen by members of the Clergy, at least in the Episcopal Church. They have Gospel reasons for their selections. Some things are left out. Yet, I am inspired by the inspirational attention that is given to the reading of the Bible in Church, and by the selections that are made.
People read these selections earlier in the week to prepare for the coming Sunday. In the Church I attend there is a Bible study every week to look at the selections. A lot of attention is paid to these readings, and so I hope I have communicated that I read the names in the Bible. This includes the long lists of names of family members, who begat whom.
Huston Smith, a famous theologian, gave a talk at Star King Chapel at the Graduate Theological Union some years ago and talked about how he loved the begats and the begats. I heard him speak.
The Names, Word of God...
by Peter Menkin
I waited on the names,
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
I have read Isaiah,
and I must read him again.
So many chapters, he writes.
The names of the books
Have you read the names in the Bible?
The geneology, here
and there--such names!
Did you know that God
is alive in history?
Do you believe?
Is it faith that leads one?
Questions. So many
in this 21st Century;
even questions are familiar
entrance for the inspired words
Dare one say, divine inspiration?
In Church, people
say, "The Word of the Lord."
Audio reading of the poem by the poet is here:
Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA (north of San Francisco).
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
Joy in trials? James was kidding, right? He certainly wasn't talking about the trials faced by a 21st-century Christian. Does James expect us to rejoice in challenges like pornographic television, murder-filled video games, demonic movies, judgmental relatives, nasty neighbors, evolution teachings, and abortions preformed right down the street?
Did James have any idea how much today's mothers have to do and how little time there is to do it?
Did he know what it was like to oversleep only to awaken to brothers arguing savagely over a matchbox car while your sweet daughter is drawing on the wall with permanent marker and the toddler is roaming about unsupervised dragging a blanket though the mess the puppy made, and your anti-homeschool mother-in-law is ringing the doorbell? This is cause for rejoicing?
Yep, James was talking to us. We all want a life of justice and fairness void of trials but we are promised trouble, testing, tribulation and suffering. The mighty men of God came only through trouble and suffering. God says, "Tribulation worketh patience; patience, long-suffering and kindness, come by way of trials."
I have spent more than my fair share of time trying to avoid trouble or disappointment and praying against trials. But when I look back over my life I see how these trials have made me stronger, refined me as explained in 1 Peter 1:6-8. God uses trials to bring me to a place of deep surrender of spirit.
This does not mean trials automatically produce spiritual fruit. If we walk in the self-pity of our flesh, trials can make us bitter or resentful, hard, cruel and cynical.
God will transform those who look to Him for guidance. God asks that we have a tender heart, a teachable spirit, and a yielded will. If we surrender the trial to God, and praise Him, trusting He will work the trial for good-we will develop character and noble living produced only through the tribulation process.
Don't pray for exemption from trials, but pray that God will teach you and use troubles to mold you into the person He created you to be.
God's grace is sufficient for every situation (even when your mother-in-law pops over for an unplanned visit). His abundant goodness, kindness, and love are available to us for the asking. He promises to deliver us and give us deeper intimacy and greater faith through all trials.
Learn to recognize trials as treasures in disguise and REJOICE!
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Author Robin Sampson has homeschooling for twenty years. She has a "yours, mine, and ours" blended family of eleven children and thirteen grandchildren. Visit http://Heartofwisdom.com to read more.
Robin's writings include The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach, What Your Child Needs to Know When, Wisdom: An Internet-Linked Unit Study, A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays, and Ancient History: Adam to Messiah.
The old saying goes like this - don't talk about Religion or Politics at work. But thousands of people are Hungry For Some Spirituality In The Workplace.
What about you?
But what if you're in a company that clearly states that they do not tolerate religion in the workplace?
Many thousands of people face this very situation every day; they cannot practice their faith in the workplace. They cannot pray at lunch, they cannot share their faith with others and they cannot put up religious icons anywhere on company property.
So what can you do?
Simple, realize what you are able to do, start by flipping your perspective. And you can definitely do it with out offending anyone.
There may only be 3 rules in the entire company, posted in their handbook or in their other bulletin board postings forbidding religion in the workplace. While on the other hand there are literally thousands of little things you can do to share your faith with others in the workplace without offending others.
Here is a list of 15 things you can do;
1. Email to friends and fellow workers after work with a Christian signature.
2. Phone calls after work just to say hello and invite them to church.
3. Post cards to your employer on holidays especially religious ones.
4. Do something nice for someone else and say it's because you're blessed.
5. Get a gift for anyone and say that you want to share your blessings.
6. Forgive someone who has crossed you and let them know that you are sharing your grace with them.
7. Where a T-shirt that has a statement of your belief on it.
8. Encourage moments of silence for times of sollice.
9. Post the National Anthem - it references God!
10. Post stickers on your Vehicle referencing God!
11. Have before or After Work Prayer Meetings with fellow employees.
12. Share inspiring reviews of Movies you've seen like 'Fireproof' in you water cooler conversations.
13. Invite your fellow workers to your Churches non religious public events.
14. If allowed, sell candy to raise money for your kids Church Group.
15. Volunteer your time and money at every turn to help anyone in need, be their advocate.
16. Car pool and have a religious icon inside your vehicle.
There are literally hundreds of other ways you can share your faith with others without offending them in the workplace. If at anytime someone comments on your faith being brought into the workplace, never DEFEND yourself.
No one will knock the statement, because its not self serving, that you feel blessed and that you feel obligated to be the best person you can be.
Paul Godines from Adapt on a Dime Career Coaching asks, Career Goals - Got Some? Visit us at http://www.adaptonadime.com
Over the years I attended "church," the "preachers" or "pastors" would talk of the great love and grace of God. At the same time, they would preach of our responsibility in order to receive this love and grace, or our need to choose Jesus and then be holy, or without sin, if we truly wanted to be "saved from "hell" ("eternal damnation") and not be separated from God's Love forever. The preachers would quote from the scriptures pertaining to the Love and grace of God (sovereign love), and then turn right around, in the next breath, and deny God's Love and Grace by preaching a works doctrine (legalism), which denies Jesus' sacrifice and is contrary to what the bible teaches.
I always left these once-a-week functions confused about God's forgiveness, love and grace, as well as my own salvation, and why wouldn't I have? I was receiving a religiously inspired and confused version of the truth about God, His sovereignty and what my responsibility really was, when it came to my righteous-standing in God's eyes.
The first issue, in my estimation, is, do we truly believe that God is sovereign and in charge of all that happens (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent), or is God dependent on His creation to carry out His will? If we believe, as most church doctrine preaches, that God's will can only be accomplished through man's religious beliefs ("doctrine") and actions ("free-will"), then we are lacking in the truth of God! God, is sovereign, which literally means, "One who exercises supreme, permanent authority..." Supreme, permanent authority! Does this sound like someone (God) who is in need of help from those (humanity) who, for all intents and purposes, are at the mercy of almost everything that exits around them, including nature? God, is sovereign in all ways, or we have no basis for believing in Him! Jesus, never said to his disciples, "Now I need you, and all others, to believe in me and what I told you, or the Father will not be able to carry out His will!" Nor did Jesus say, "If you choose me, then my Father will set you and all of creation free from bondage, and-together-we can then defeat Satan!" Instead, Jesus, said,
"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain..." John 15: 16
"I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end..." God, thought and spoke us and the whole universe into existence, through His son. Can any believer, in a rational way, truly believe that the Creator of all things has any need, whatsoever, for His created beings to carry out His will? I know I may be overemphasizing here, but if we can't comprehend this, then I'm not sure we can comprehend anything else about God, including the Christ and his sacrifice for us!
God's will and sovereignty will always trump our "free will," or choice, which will be the next subject in this series. In other words, our choices, bad or good, right or wrong, can never adversely effect or change the sovereign will of God! As with everything else about God, we must seek to know and understand Him through His word and Spirit that indwells us: "As many as our led by the spirit of God these are the sons of God." Romans 8: 14. To understand our righteousness (justification), security (salvation) and life (calling) in Christ, as well as God's forgiveness, love and grace, we must come to understand and believe that God is sovereign, and that His will shall be accomplished with or without us and our religious beliefs about Him!
We're justified by faith (forgiven), righteous in the eyes of God (through Jesus) and can never lose our salvation. This is what the word of God tells us, and this is by the sovereign will of God, which can't be altered or negated by man's religious doctrines!
What are known as the Ten Commandments are remarkable for two reasons. The first reason is they appear to have been an advanced system of thought. The second is they are remarkably simple. Yet they are often dismissed because they are found in the Bible and are considered Old Testament.
These Ten Commandments are often distorted and wrongly applied, yet there is a simple balance within them in that the first five have a reference to God and the last five do not mention the word "God" at all.
There just may be more to this than meets the eye, because you have two hands with ten fingers and the Bible talks about the finger of God having written these commandments. Maybe this is to suggest that the finger of God would be pointing at you to give an account of yourself regarding the commandments that you keep breaking.
What surprises me more than anything is the fact people talk about the Ten Commandments and I have not met one person who can tell me what they are. I have actually surveyed hundreds of people and not one knew the all of the ten. Some got six or seven, but even then those people were struggling. Although just recently, I met a woman who claimed she knew the Ten Commandments. However, they were an abbreviated version which she had learnt by rote using a memory technique. But she really didn't understand them.
When you think so many people seem to know about the Ten Commandments but do not actually know them and their significance, it is a farce for many people to call themselves Christians. Really you would think every Christian would understand what the Ten Commandments meant. Many Christians will tell you that they are no longer relevant because the Old Testament laws have been done away with.
Does this now mean that God permits people to kill other people? How about stealing being acceptable to God? Adultery has to be acceptable to God, because it just so common these days. Since there are so many Christians committing it, maybe it is called loving one another.
Now this loving one another caper is supposed to be what Jesus said we are to do, so because the Old Testament has been done away, is it alright for Christians to bear false witness and take God's name in vain? Many seem to think a little bit of lust is alright because this is seen as a natural expression of humanity.
It appears Christians believe that you can have as many gods as you like, and covet whatever you desire. Hollywood has been able to dominate the thinking of the world by working this principle of idol-worship, and the advertisers make a fortune feeding people's desire to be looking young and beautiful and hot to trot.
Children are preyed upon as another means of exploiting the gullible. Products are marketed to them so they will annoy their parents into giving into the demands of their offspring. But just in case they are punished for being disrespectful and disobedient, the governments have passed sufficient laws so children can be protected from punishment for any crime and be able to stick it up their parents if they feel like it.
As for the idea of having a day off once a week to worship God, well that concept is no longer viable because there is more action going down at the sports stadium or the football field or ball park. And it is rather inconvenient when shops are shut one day a week, so it is better to have shopping 24/7.
But the one thing that does stand out about the Ten Commandments is all the social ideas that have been designed to replace them have proven inferior, because stealing, murder, bearing false witness, divorce and dishonoring of parents and authority is on the increase, yet, according to the Bible if anyone can keep the Ten Commandments without transgressing one, they will have the power over death.
Now I am waiting for a scientist to take up the challenge and raise a child who will never transgress any of the Ten Commandments and see if the child lives for ever, for that will be a scientific breakthrough, if ever there was one.
Since such a scientific breakthough is unlikely, I will have to accept that Jesus Christ never transgressed any of the commandments, because when he was killed, he rose from the dead.
Discover how the religious authorities deceive people by manipulating the Ten Commandments to suit their own ends. Get a much fuller understanding of the Ten Commandments and see where the world leaders are failing and how you can empower you own life at http://www.tencommandmentstoday.com