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Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Life of Hope

By Dr Bob Wilkerson

Hebrews 11: 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.

A life of hope is a life filled with faith. Faith believes in something you can't see, touch, or taste. Faith pushed past emotions and the natural realm. Faith is a supernatural venture towards obtaining something you can only imagine. Yet the bible tells us it is impossible to please God with out faith.

Do you live a life of faith? Do you expect God to do for you what you can't do for yourself. The life of faith is an adventure, which requires the ability to let go and let God. Nothing in life will satisfy your thirst until you place your faith in a living loving God. When you step into the world of faith, you will experience a thrill unlike any thrill you have experienced so far in life.

When you have a problem with faith stop and remember all God has already done for you. The food on your table, the car you drive, the water you drink and other things we take for granted are all gifts from a loving God. Stop for a moment and think about how God sent His Son to die for you. Think about all the good things God has put into your life. After reviewing all He has done, it is easier to live by faith. If He supplied your needs in the past, He will certainly supply all your needs today and in the future. God has never failed you. Regardless of what has happened in your life God's hand and love was with you. It might not feel like He is present but exercise your faith and believe He is walking right beside you bring about good things.

Faith is not hard it just take effort. I challenge you to live the life of faith and watch God reach out in ways He has never done before.

Prayer Focus: Lord God I admit my life has not been lived by faith. Today I turn my life over to you and I will live by faith.

Dr Bob Wilkerson is author of the book, "I Will Not Be Defeated Anymore". He is dedicated to helping others recover from life altering circumstances. Dr. Bob is a motivational speaker/singer with a true life story of God's power to change any individuals life. If you would like more information go to http://www.freewebs.com/bobwilkerson

The History And Scenery Of Aruba's Churches

By: Justin Burch

During the colonial period, Aruba and many of her Caribbean neighbors experienced an influx of immigrants from throughout the world. As Aruba was once a colony of The Netherlands, the Dutch influence on Aruban culture is still strong and many current residents are descendents of Dutch colonizers. However, because of the diversity of peoples that have called this island home, daily life in Aruba continues to be influenced by African, South American and native Caribbean cultures. Nowhere is this exciting diversity more apparent than in houses of worship found throughout Aruba. Though the island remains predominantly Catholic, nearly all of the world’s major religions are represented by the local population. Most importantly for tourists, Aruba features a wealth of special religious sites where visitors of all faiths can experience peaceful scenery and explore historic architecture.

One of the most photographed sights in Aruba is the beautiful Chapel of Alto Vista. Resting above the Caribbean Sea on an incredible bluff, this bright yellow chapel has long been a special destination for locals and tourists alike. Before you even arrive at the site, the white crosses lining the road to the chapel – signifying the Catholic Stations of the Cross – will let you know you’ve found a uniquely peaceful place. As the chapel was built during colonial times by both Spaniards and native Indians, the chapel is also referred to as the Pilgrim’s Church. No matter what you call it, the chapel provides one of Aruba’s most serene and captivating experiences.

The Santa Ana Catholic Church, also known as the Church of Noord, features one of the finest examples of Neo-gothic sculpture in the Caribbean. The incredible altarpiece was crafted in 1870 by Dutch artisan Hendrik van der Geld and was met with great accolades at the first Vatican Council, held that same year in Rome. After spending some time in residence at the Antonius Church in The Netherlands, the altarpiece was given to the Santa Ana Church in Aruba. The Santa Ana Catholic Church was first constructed in 1776 and was rebuilt twice in the 19th century. The church was last renovated in 1916 and today remains one of the island’s most important buildings. Located just outside of Aruba’s capital of Oranjestad, the Santa Ana Catholic Church is a fascinating piece of the island’s history that can be enjoyed by visitors of all faiths.

While the Santa Ana Catholic Church and the Chapel of Alto Vista were first constructed in the 18th century, Aruba’s Protestant Church represents the island’s oldest original house of worship. Erected in 1846 to support Aruba’s growing Protestant population, the elegant church is known for its terracotta roof, large tower and traditional wooden shutters. As the exterior is also adorned with simplistic folk-art decorations including hearts and stars, the church is often compared to the finest structures of Pennsylvania Dutch country. Though the Protestant Church is usually locked, visitors can explore the grounds – including the quaint Bible museum – each weekday from 10am to 12pm.

Jewish families visiting Aruba often visit the Beth Israel Synagogue, a pleasant house of worship dating to the early 20th century. While the Jewish population in Aruba numbers only 35 families today, the synagogue was once an important cultural center for Caribbean and European immigrants. However, over the years, the Beth Israel Synagogue has become an important destination for travelers. Today, most of the families visiting the synagogue for Friday night services are tourists enjoying a spiritual home away from home. The Beth Israel Synagogue also features a small gift shop that sells a variety of uniquely Aruban Judaica.

While many of the churches of Aruba are certainly worth a visit, one of the most interesting religious sights on the island is the Lourdes Grotto. Located just off the picturesque leading from San Nicolas to the northeastern coast, the Lourdes Grotto is located in one of Aruba’s most peaceful locales. In 1958, a priest and his parishioners carefully tucked a statue of the Virgin Mary weighing several hundred pounds into the blackened hillside known as Seroe Preto. Much like the famous Catholic landmark in France from which the grotto borrows its name, this hillside shrine has become an important destination for locals and tourists alike. Each year on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11), a large procession of local Catholic and curious visitors embark on a procession from the St. Theresita Church in San Nicolas to hold mass at Lourdes Grotto.

As the island of Aruba has recently passed a marriage law allowing travelers to wed on the island, these unique religious landmarks have also become the sites for many beautiful ceremonies. While the best of resorts in Aruba are able to provide accommodations and lavish receptions, many of these houses of worship can offer visiting couples an opportunity to celebrate their union in a peaceful and spiritual environment. While it may not be possible to wed in some of Aruba’s churches, couples hoping to tie the knot on the island can contact their resort and work with a wedding specialist to secure the best location for their ceremony.

Whether you want to attend services or simply see some unique historical sites, the churches of Aruba welcome all visitors with open arms. As many of the island’s houses of worship sit in remarkably peaceful locales, tourists can also take time to relax and witness incredible scenery. Regardless of your faith, the churches of Aruba provide some of the most captivating sights on the island.

Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Aruba for the Marriott Resorts.

Are You a People Pleaser or a God Pleaser?

By Kimberly Chastain

Recently I heard a very good sermon on this topic and wanted to share some thoughts with you. Do you aim to please people or God? I think as women we often are people pleasers, we try to keep everyone happy. Often we keep everyone happy at the expense of ourselves. What does the Bible say about whom we are to please? In 2 Corinthians 5:9 it says, "So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." Colossians 1:10 says, "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."

So, I would like you to ask yourself some questions and I hope they change your perspective like they did mine:

1. Do I seek the praise of others more than God?

2. Do I truly believe that I am God's child and He loves me no matter what? There is nothing I can do to lose His love.

3. Do I seek to please God?

4. When people see my life do they see I'm more concerned about myself or others?

5. Do people see Jesus in me? Do people see Jesus' love expressed through me to them?

As children of God we reflect God's characteristics. Jesus is living in us so we reflect His love to others. In our work place, home life, and church life we need to be sure we don't stamp the name of Jesus on anything we would be ashamed of or He would be ashamed of. Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Jesus lives in us and we are His ambassadors to a hurting world. Listen to this statement from the sermon, "All of me belongs to all of Christ, all of Christ belongs to all of me." Spend some time pondering that statement. There is nothing we can separate from Christ. We are Christ followers and people do see Jesus in us. What characteristics of Jesus are they seeing?

In conclusion, I'm afraid most of us spend more time trying to please others than pleasing God. How different would our lives be and look like if our focus was on pleasing our heavenly Father and not others. When we please our heavenly Father we will give and love others sacrificially. We need to long to hear from God, "Well done my good and faithful servant." instead of the praise of men or women. Remember who is living in you and through you. You love others not through your own strength and power, but through the power of Jesus Christ.

Kimberly Chastain, MS, LMFT is the Christian Working Mom Coach and is the author of 2 ebooks. You can find her books as well as have coaching tips delivered to your inbox by visiting her at http://www.kimberlychastain.com

Introducing the Good News - The Letter of Paul to The Romans - The First Seven Verses

By PB Townsend

The book of Romans is provides what is perhaps one of the clearest and most simple outlines of Christianity to be be found anywhere in the Bible.

This article offers a simple introduction to this great letter to the Romans, and explores some of the basic themes connected with it.

As with any letter the first questions that we need to ask are very simple.

Who wrote the letter?

To whom was the letter written?

When was it written?

Why was it written?

Who Wrote the Letter?

The very first verse of this letter tells us that its author was the apostle Paul.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God (Romans 1:1)

We know from chapter 15 of the book of Romans that Paul had never visited Rome but that he hoped to visit them soon. He did however know several of the Christians in that city.

When was the letter written?

Most Biblical scholars agree that this letter was written from Corinth in around AD 56-57.

To whom was the letter written?

The question of who the letter was written is also simple to answer, verse 7 of the same chapter says " to all those who are in Rome, beloved of God, called-out saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 1:7)

Why was the letter written?

It is this question which will occupy most of our remaining time in this article.

The main theme of the book of the Romans is that man's justification before God does not depend on any work that they can do but wholly on the mercy of Christ and His atoning death on Calvary. Let us look at some of the introductory remarks with which Paul begins his letter and see how he starts to lay the groundwork for this theme.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God (which He had promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures), about His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was marked out the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; by whom we have received grace and apostleship, to obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name; among whom you also are the called-out ones of Jesus Christ: to all those who are in Rome, beloved of God, called-out saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)

In this introductory paragraph we find Paul describing himself as a servant, or more literally as a slave of Jesus Christ, he also states that he was called to be an apostle and therefore did not speak just on his own authority but as one sent by God.

When Paul says that he is separated to the Gospel of God, there is really a play on words in the original language as before his conversion to Christ Paul had been a Pharisee, one of a group of people who earned their name from their being separated to the study of the old testament law given to the people of Israel in the days of Moses. Now Paul says that instead of his being separated to the law he is now separated to the Gospel of God. This is a life changing statement. Instead of trying to work, and earn his own salvation Paul is now relying on perfect the work of Christ.

What is the Gospel?

It is this gospel which Paul now goes on to give a description of, He speaks about the history of the gospel in verse 2 when he says it was promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scripture.

It is beyond the scope of this article to give a list of all the places in the old testament where the coming of Christ was spoken about. There are references to and types of Christ in every book of the old testament.

The Two natures of Christ

In verses 3&4 we have a description of the two natures of Christ. Paul says that Christ was "made of the seed of David according to the flesh," and yet he was also "marked out the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness,". The proof of His divine nature was His "resurrection from the dead" This was intended to be the final statement that should convince those who still did not believe.

The Results of the Gospel

In verse 5 we have the results of the gospel "we have received grace and apostleship, to obedience to the faith among all nations"

The apostles did not have easy lives, they were beaten, put in prisons, and most of them eventually died for their faith, yet here we find Paul delighting in his apostleship, this should be a great example for us who for the most part live in far easier days than Paul did, We should delight in the ridicule of this world and count it all joy for the sake of Christ. If only we can do some service for Him. According to verse 5 the purpose of their grace and apostleship was "for obedience to the faith among all nations" or as it could be translated to bring all nations into obedience of the faith, In other words they had received the gospel so they could give it out again, the gospel is not something that should be kept to ourselves, but it is to be shared among all nations.

Representatives of Christ

Verse 6 speaks about The Roman Christians being "called out ones of Jesus Christ", and of course this is equally true today. Christians are the representatives of Jesus in this world today. Our friends and neighbours cannot see Jesus but they can see Christians. It is our responsibility if we are Christians to live lives that honour God and do not bring rebuke on His Holy name.

Grace and Peace

In verse 7 Paul ends his introduction with a blessing of grace and peace on his readers, these two elements of grace and peace are essential for any true gospel blessing. Grace is the favour of God towards us and this is vital before we can have true peace which can only come from God. Peace with God, and peace with ourselves.

PB Townsend has been writing and publishing Christian literature for more than ten years. He is a resident of south east London where with his wife Mona he runs Bexley Christian Publications (http://www.bexleypublications.co.uk).

Many of his Christian publications are available online at http://www.freegracetoday.org

He is also actively involved with his local Baptist Church.

Moses and His Magic Wand

By Reginald Johnson

Moses grew up Egyptian and the practice of magic was passed down to him as it was to all Egyptian children from generation to generation. "Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds." - Acts 7:22) [NASB]

There was no room for doubt, just room for practice and faith. God not only works through man, God works through nature as well. Moses, this "man" of God parted the Red Sea. What words did he use? There are no recorded words for this miracle. Moses had learned that the wooden rod he carried with him had power to do miracles in front of Pharaoh and his magicians. He had come to depend upon the rod (magic wand, walking stick), so when he got to a crisis situation, he used the rod and his intention to part the waters of the Red Sea. Noting the tools he used, and his background in Egypt, Moses was probably considered a wizard or man of magic.

After leading a group of ornery people in the desert for many days, I'm sure Moses was weary of the griping congregation and wondered why God signed him up for the task. The people were thirsty and demanded the "Man of God with the Magic Rod" to do something to remedy the situation. You will remember in an earlier account when God first spoke to Moses and told him that he would lead the people out of bondage, that Moses had a bit of reservation about his speaking abilities. God granted that Moses' brother, Aaron, would go with him on the mission and be the spokesman to Pharaoh. In the situation of providing water for the Israelites, Moses was told by God to speak to the rock. Moses spoke to a rock and it brought forth water for the people to drink. The next time the people (still griping and fussing) needed water, he was again to speak to the rock to perform the miracle and manifest water where there was none. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses smote or struck the rock, probably with his rod. What kind of faith did he have at that point? His faith was in his magic wand or walking stick.

The Bible mentions that God was upset about this. Why? Moses had become accustomed to using tools of divination to work miracles, but at this point, God wanted to teach Moses and demonstrate to the whining complaining people that our WORDS have power to create. They were creating more misery for themselves by complaining rather than being grateful that they were no longer under the control of Pharaoh! So, they manifested for themselves several more wilderness "do-overs" rather than moving into the land that had been promised them. Can you believe they actually blamed God for what they were manifesting? God wants us all to know that regardless of what kinds of tools we have at our disposal, our most powerful tool is the spoken word. Wow! Something to ponder. Attitude plus the spoken word manifests results. There's more to come on this subject in chapter eight.

I have had the experience of speaking things into existence. I never doubt God. In California, we had a tree in our backyard that we heard was supposed to have beautiful pink flowers shadowed with a white lining, but we never saw them in the first seven years we lived there. After teaching a class in white magic one night at my home, I went outside on a full moon and stood in the position of a star with 5 points (earth, air, fire, water & spirit - arms, legs and head). I called on or verbally "invoked" the goddess energy to enter me to let this poor tree bloom and do its part in nature. Two days later, it bloomed. My heart filled with gratitude. We have such awesome, Divine parents.

Dr. Reggie Johnson is an Intuitive Counselor, Healer, Minister and Spiritual Teacher whose ability to sense and understand energy is a gift to many. Those who desire a greater understanding of who they are and why they're here find Dr. Reggie Johnson's sessions extremely empowering. Visit Dr. Reggie's site at http://www.mystery-school-melchezidek.com, or email: reggie.mysteryschool@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When Warned To Watch Out For Hypocrites We Had Better Know What Precisely A Hypocrite Is

By Sandy Shaw

Can you imagine going out driving and not knowing the significance of the road signs along the way? Such an attitude would not only be highly irresponsible but rather stupid. There are signs and warnings and cautionary indicators in the spiritual field too and it would be wise to pay heed and give serious attention to those matters God draws our attention to in Luke Chapter 12.

It is most interesting to see how the pace can suddenly change when reading a New Testament Gospel. We certainly note that in Luke Chapter 12. The momentum appears to be increasing. The crowds are increasing - the pace is becoming faster - the conflict is becoming sharper. Why? What is happening? What is going on? And, what is the relevance for us today?

There is this growing open conflict between Jesus Christ and the religious leaders of the day. That very often happens.

There is a conflict between Jesus Christ, The Lord, the King - and those who thought they were important people. Many are gathering around Jesus for various reasons - but Jesus priority is to teach disciples. Jesus wants to give His Chosen Men words of advice and encouragement.

It is good to take time - to look at these scenes in the life of Jesus - the ministry of Jesus - the methods of Jesus - the priorities of Jesus - the conflict which confronted Jesus.

His resolute determined decision is to go to Jerusalem - to face Jerusalem - the Cross with all the accompanying painful agony and shame. Jesus is going to carry out His Father's Will. He is not giving in - not taking an easier route - not compromising - but facing it - confronting it - showing these disciples and us what it is really like - and all this is being done to save us - to show us mercy - to offer man forgiveness - to wash us from our sin - to rescue us from hell.

In the middle of doing all this - Jesus wants to give His Chosen Men words of advice and encouragement.

Over the years - many have said - "If only the Church would keep to the teaching of Jesus - forget about all the doctrine - all this teaching what you should believe - about sin and obedience - if only people would hear the words of Jesus and try to live as Jesus lived."

There are those who think that doctrine clutters up the Church - NO. False doctrine does. If there is no doctrine - no teaching - if we do not know what we believe and why - soon there will be no church - not that will ever happen - because Jesus will just give the kingdom to others.

"If only we kept to what Jesus did and taught - without things like having to be born again." Now, I have heard that.

But that is part of what Jesus taught - and part of what He did and does is pour out the Holy Spirit.

We need to be able to answer people when they confront is with very real questions. Many are sincere. They would like to live the way Jesus lived - but man cannot until he is born again - and even then it is hard.

Jesus never offered disciples a soft cushioned road to walk.

When you hear people saying - "If only the Church would stick to what Jesus did and said and taught - without having to go to services and meetings and that clutter." Think of that in the light of the Luke Chapter 12 passage.

"Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy." What does Jesus mean?

Watch out for those who come along - their hypocrisy could affect you - negatively - in a bad way - and give you a bad experience - like yeast in bread - influencing you in a wrong way.

There are times when I have wanted to say to people - "Eh, which words of Jesus do you want us to keep to - and which words of Jesus would you wish us to ignore and overlook and forget?"

Beware of the Pharisees - Jesus pointed them out to be hypocrites - those legalistic puritans - and they could influence you negatively and adversely.

The Christian Life is like a journey - and what Jesus is doing here is pointing out some of the hazards along the way. There are hazards - pitfalls - dangers - and Jesus wants us to avoid them. That is why He points them out.

As we travel through life we need signposts, and Jesus Christ gives us the signposts we need. Jesus warns us of what could hinder us, or even bring us to a halt, but He also shows us the way to go.

Jesus says to disciples, "Beware of hypocrites".

What is a hypocrite? It is important that we know. It is good to know what the sign means if you are out driving.

'Hypocrite' is a word from the theatre of the day. If you had gone to the theatre in the first century, and if you enjoyed the play, you would have come away saying, "These are good hypocrites. That production had some fine hypocrites in it." A hypocrite was an actor, and what you did was put a mask over your face to portray the part - a sad mask or a smiling mask - a serious mask or a comedy mask.

Jesus is saying to His men - "Beware of those who put on a front - watch out for those who are just playing a role in religion." No wonder they had this man arrested and crucified.

Religious sham and acting is futile in the eyes of Jesus Christ - and Jesus speaks about hypocrisy as being like yeast - it acts like yeast.

1. You need only a little to affect the lot.

2. Yeast spreads very quickly.

3. Yeast works invisibly and silently and secretly - it works in a hidden way - unseen - sometimes you do not know what is going on.

Nothing is covered up that shall not one day be uncovered. If we try to hide something, one day it will be revealed. Many discover that these words of Jesus just happen to be true, and very often they discover it too late!

Jesus goes on to refer specifically to our words - to our conversation - things we have said secretly and hypocritically - hoping that only some people would hear us - and hoping that some people would not hear us. One day - all will be revealed.

This is important teaching. Don't pretend. We are not in the theatre. What you are on the inside will show up sooner or later - the GOOD as well as the bad.

Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.

His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.

Sandy Shawsandyshaw63@yahoo.com

The Abomination Of Desolation

By: Britt Gillette

In the near future, an event of enormous significance will transpire in Jerusalem, the effects of which will resound throughout the world and throughout eternity. A man will ascend the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, go into the Holy of Holies within the rebuilt Jewish Temple, and proclaim himself to be God Almighty. In His Olivet Discourse, a response to His disciple’s questions concerning the end of the age, Jesus Christ warned His followers that this event, known as “the abomination of desolation,” will be the key event which will trigger the Great Tribulation:

“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about – the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” Matthew 24:15 (NLT)

When this event occurs, it will dominate contemporary news headlines. Christ tells us it will also be a sign to the world that His Glorious Appearing is close at hand.

The abomination of desolation will mark the beginning of a time of unspeakable satanic violence and human anguish. In fact, Jesus told His disciples it will be a time of great tribulation such as the world has never seen, nor ever will see again. A cursory glance at Jewish historical events of the past century, which include the Holocaust, Stalin’s pogroms, and Muslim attempts to wipe out the Jewish state of Israel, vividly illustrate the depths of human depravity. Yet, our Lord informs us that these horrors will pale in comparison to those which are to come.

What is the Abomination of Desolation?

In order for people to recognize the abomination of desolation when it takes place, they must first know what it is. Some translations of the bible render this phrase the “abomination which causes desolation,” a more accurate depiction of the event. For this act of abomination, once committed, will literally cause the desolation of Israel.

Let’s examine the definitions of the key components in this satanic act of arrogance.

“Abomination” Defined

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “abomination” as a “loathsome or disgusting act.” This serves as an adequate biblical definition as well, for when the bible mentions something as an “abomination” it means “an act which is loathsome or disgusting in the eyes of God.” In most instances in which the word “abomination” is used in the bible, it is used to describe the sin of idolatry. Therefore, it’s reasonable to conclude that the abomination which is the abomination of desolation will be an idolatrous act which will defile the Holy Place.

If this is true, then what is “the Holy Place”?

“The Holy Place” Defined

The “Holy Place” of which Jesus spoke is the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Although some people have interpreted the “holy place” as any number of things – Israel, Jerusalem, the Jews, or the church – the full context of the scriptures makes it fully clear that Jesus is referring to the Jewish Temple.

In the Book of Acts, the Jewish Temple is referred to as the “Holy Place” (emphasis added):

“The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, yelling, ‘Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple – and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.’ (For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)” Acts 21:27-29 (NLT)

In addition, the prophet Daniel refers to the abomination of desolation in reference to the Jewish Temple:

“He will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. Then as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the end that has been decreed is poured out on this defiler.” Daniel 9:27 (NLT)

The fact that the abomination of desolation occurs along with putting “an end to the sacrifices and offerings” is further evidence that the Jewish Temple plays a pivotal role in this infamous event.

So why is the abomination one of “desolation”?

“Desolation” Defined

Webster’s dictionary defines “desolation” as “a barren, neglected state or area.” This is the perfect definition for understanding the meaning of our topic. For Jesus tells us that this act will cause the desolation of Israel:

“Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” Matthew 24:16-22 (NLT)

Once the abomination of desolation takes place, it will soon be followed by unprecedented persecution of the Jewish people. This is difficult to believe, given our knowledge of the Holocaust. But according to Jesus, these will be the darkest days in Jewish history.

The Jews will face persecution at the hands of the Antichrist, an arrogant world dictator who will commit the abomination of desolation by proclaiming himself to be God.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Believe it or not, a similar abomination took place in history once before.

In 167 B.C., the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies and desecrated the sanctuary and its holy vessels. Several centuries prior to this, the prophet Daniel (in Daniel 11:21-35) prophesied the life and times of this sinister figure. Yet those same verses, in many ways, also apply to the Antichrist, whose life is detailed in Daniel 11:36-45.

Some people claim that Antiochus IV Epiphanes committed the abomination of desolation, thus fulfilling the prophecies of Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 24:15. But this is simply not true. Although the Book of Daniel was written prior to 167 B.C., the Olivet Discourse took place almost two centuries later. Jesus was well aware of the abominable acts committed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. After all, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is a celebration of the Temple’s liberation from the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Clearly, Jesus spoke of a future abomination:

“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about – the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” Matthew 24:15 (NLT)

Although Antiochus IV Epiphanes came in the spirit and power of the Antichrist, the Antichrist himself will be the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecies in Daniel 11, Daniel 9:27, and Matthew 24:15. This is why Jesus referred to the desecration of the Temple as a still future event.

If we examine the signs of the times, we’ll find God is warning us that this future event will take place soon – in our generation.

The Antichrist and the Abomination of Desolation

The Book of Revelation provides us with further knowledge regarding the Antichrist and his monumental act of desecration:

“He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.” Revelation 13:14-15 (NLT)

The Antichrist will fulfill this prophesy by standing in the Jewish Temple and proclaiming himself to be God. He will set up an image in the Holy Place and demand the world worship it.

Such a scenario is in full agreement with the apostle Paul’s description of the Antichrist and his character:

“He will exalt himself and defy every god there is and tear down every object of adoration and worship. He will position himself in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (NLT)

The Antichrist will not just be an enemy of God Almighty, but of anything which distracts the human race from the worship of himself as the one true God. Needless to say, the Antichrist will be quite arrogant.

Unfortunately, much of the world will answer the call to worship him:

“And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made – the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.” Revelation 13:8 (NLT)

When Will the Abomination of Desolation Occur?

The bible is clear that the abomination of desolation will occur at the mid-point of the Tribulation, a seven year period in Israel’s history set into motion by a covenant between Israel and the Antichrist:

“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.” Daniel 9:27 (NLT)

The Antichrist will sign a treaty with the state of Israel for a period of seven years. The details and nature of this treaty are yet unknown, but many have speculated that in a bid to secure peace with its neighbors, Israel will agree to rely on the Antichrist for its national security. God refers to this agreement as a “covenant with Sheol” (or hell), and God’s assessment will prove true when the Antichrist breaks this covenant after three and a half years. The abomination of desolation will serve as a public acknowledgment that he is breaking his treaty with Israel, and it will signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation, a time of unprecedented persecution of God’s people:

“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.” Revelation 12:6 (NLT)

The woman referenced in this passage is the nation of Israel, which gave birth to the Messiah. Because of the Antichrist’s persecution, the nation of Israel will be forced to flee into the wilderness, where God will supernaturally protect her. The Antichrist’s campaign of persecution against the Jews will last 1,260 days, which is 3.5 biblical years.


The implications of the abomination of desolation can not be overstated. Our generation has already witnessed the fulfillment and initial fulfillment of most of the bible’s end times prophecies. The Jews have been gathered from distant lands to resurrect the nation of Israel. The Jews are in possession of Jerusalem. The Gog and Magog alliance is forming. The European Union (the revived Roman Empire) is quickly becoming the world’s most powerful super state. All of these are signs of the times. Yet, in order for the abomination of desolation to occur, still another event must take place – the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.

As of this writing, the secular world views the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple as a highly improbable event. Yet, God Himself has told us the Jewish Temple will exist in the last days. Therefore, when the Temple is rebuilt, it will serve as a sign to the entire world that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is God Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega.

Nearly the entire world – a billion Muslims, countless Anti-Semites, world leaders and diplomats, and even Israeli politicians frightened of war – speak with one voice when it comes to the idea of rebuilding the Jewish Temple. “It will never happen!” they say. But God has other plans. The Temple will be rebuilt, and soon thereafter, the world will tremble when a man of unprecedented power and frightening arrogance visits its inner sanctuary.

Knowing that everything the Lord has revealed to His prophets is destined for fulfillment, we should pray for the people of this world, while living our lives for the next and remaining alert to the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36 (NLT)

Britt Gillette is author of http://BrittGillette.Com, a website studying the links between bible prophecy and advanced technology. To learn more about bible prophecy and the abomination of desolation, visit his site: http://brittgillette.com/WordPress/?p=65

Review Of Sacraments

By: E Guide

As a Catholic you will often hear that the Church is a sacramental church. And as a cradle Catholic I had each sacraments bestowed on me as I grew. Now being taught by nuns, I am not sure if it got truncated view or what but I have had to do alot of learning about each sacrament. One thing I did learn is this, all seven sacraments call be traced to Jesus himself. I found that to be an awesome piece of information.

Each of these sacraments have special rites and rituals associated with them and we will be giving a brief overview of each of the sacraments.

A Christian and in turn a Catholic Baptism must be Trinitarian in form. So what does that mean. What it means is the first sacrament, Baptism must be done In the name of the Father, In the name of the Son and in the name of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the sacrament of water and starts with God and the first person of the Trinity. er. Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist and was submerged into the Jordan River. Jesus had a Trinitarian Baptism. The symbolism of the water is used to wash away original sin, sin that was committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This sacrament is the basic tenant of all Christian religious with the exclusion of a few. The baptisms that are not recognized are not Trinitarian in form. Among unrecognized baptism are Mormon, Unitarian, and Jehovah’s Witness.

The second Sacrament is Reconciliation. You may also hear it referred to as penance. It is probably the most over looked sacrament. And maybe the most ridiculed. I often here from converts that it was one of he hardest concepts for them to 'get'. In recent years this sacraments has made a huge come back thanks the urging of Pope John Paul II. The Pope relegated in recent years from when Vatican II it advocated the use of the sacrament for mortal sin. The Church does ask you go once a year.

The Third Sacrament is Eucharist or Communion. This sacrament was handed to us by Jesus during the last supper. There is much that is and can be written on this particular sacrament but the root is the real present of Christ in the Eucharist. It is the one doctoral teaching of the Catholic Church that sets it apart all other churches. Jesus is present at each and every mass. Its a profound thought

The Fourth Sacrament is that of the Holy Spirit, or Confirmation. Baptism by fire. This gives each Candidate the opportunity to reconfirm his Baptismal vows and speak for himself. Where many view this as a finalization, the reality is it is actually the start of the persons life in the church.

The Fifth Sacrament is Matrimony or Marriage and of course this one is pretty self explanatory.

The Sixth Sacrament is Holy Orders. This is the sacrament that people entering religious life participate in.

The Seventh and final Sacrament is Anointing of the Sick. This sacrament has evolved some again with the help of Pope John Paul II. He opened this sacrament up and redefined it a bit so that sick could participate in this and not one that was dying, which is what the previous understanding of it was. If you are having surgery, or are ill, suffering with cancer and alike you are very welcome to be anointed

Ms. Guide is the webmaster for http://www.rosary-religious-inspirational-gifts.com

How I Started Reading The Bible Every Day!

By Edwin J. Hill

Although I was saved at age 16, I didn't start reading the Bible regularly until I was about 40. Only then did I finally, for the first time in my life, read a complete book of the Bible.

My point in telling you that is, if that describes you, I want you to know it's not just you. According to the latest statistics, only about 37% of Americans read their Bible at least once a week.

It isn't because there's a shortage of Bibles. About 92 percent of American households own at least one. The average is three Bibles in each of those households. I have more than one and you probably do, too.

So, what's the problem? I think it's because most people simply don't know how to read their Bible. I know I didn't. I had no idea where to start. I had no idea how to understand some of the things I found in that book. Does that sound familiar?

What I needed was a breakthrough. I needed a way to change what I had always done. The Lord gave it to me.

One Sunday, when I went to church, I noticed a stack of small booklets on a table with a sign that said, "Take One!" It was a devotional from Radio Bible Class in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a two-page spread for every day of that month. The title on the cover was, Our Daily Bread.

Each day, there was a verse or set of verses to read. There was an explanation of what the scripture verses meant. But, the best part was the mini-sermon that told me how to use that lesson in my daily life.

Suddenly, the Bible came to life right before my eyes. Suddenly, it had meaning. It became relevant even though it was written many centuries ago. The Holy Spirit was doing His work by showing me what God wanted me to know.

I got used to opening that devotional every morning and getting my daily dose of God's word. It became a wonderful habit. By the way, Our Daily Bread is still being printed every month by Radio Bible Class.

Then, our church tried something new. They took out a bulk subscription for a devotional, called Timeless Insights, that would lead the reader through the New Testament in one year. The daily readings also included going through the book of Psalms every three months and the Proverbs every month.

Wow! I had never read a complete book of the Bible before and that was a lot of reading for each day but, I had gotten into the habit of daily Bible reading. I decided I would go for it.

Every month, starting in January of that year, I made sure I got my copy from the church. On the 31st of December, I had successfully completed the program. It was wonderful!

But, there was more! During that year, I noticed in the monthly devotionals, an advertisement about another devotional, called Daily Walk, that led the way through the entire Bible, Genesis through Revelation, in one year! Again, it meant a lot of reading but I was learning the Bible like I had never done before. I was hooked.

That following January, in 1988, I started with Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God...." On December 31st of that year, I finished the final words of the Revelation. Wow!

That subscription is still running! I am still getting up early enough to pray and, then, do my daily Bible reading. If you do the math, that means I have read through the Bible, front to back, every year for 20 years.

Why do I keep reading what I've already read? God's word is dynamic. No matter where you or I are in our lives, God's word speaks to our common problems and God's solutions. Every year, it's like I'm seeing it all new again.

If you'll look back over this article, there was no great moment where some angel sprinkled some spiritual magic dust on me and turned me into an instant Bible reader. It started small and grew from there, with God leading me from one step to the next. Today, I cannot imagine facing life without my daily dose of God's word.

I pray the day will never come that I am no longer able to read His word.

Ed Hill grew up in a home that was Christian in name only. His family did not go to church, themselves, but had no bad feelings against those who did. As a teenager, Ed was led to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but didn't actually become active in the church until a few years later. His Christian life has been and is still a gradual process of growing in his faith. Ed is sharing what he has learned over many years at http://www.GodChristAndYou.com

Do You Truly Know God's Plan for You? Our Christian Gift of Prosperity

By Steven Coffman

What are you doing to bring your life's dreams to pass? Do you truly have a clear direction? Do you wake up every morning expecting favor and blessings on everything you do? Do you only plan for what is good? Are you taking the necessary steps to build a strong belief of faith for your success? Maybe you want to start a business, or ministry, or even go back to school. Whatever is in your heart, ask the Lord to confirm it to you. God leads us by desires, but we have to first submit our desires to God for Him to be able to act on them.

Proverbs 16:9 (NRSV) says, "The human mind of plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps."

What do you expect as you go throughout your day? When you only plan for what is good, you will find God in the midst of your plans. Remember that God's plan for you is the best plan for your life. If you will do your part to seek Him and begin to make plans to succeed, God will guide you. He will direct your steps. You do not have to vaguely go through life anymore. God truly wants to show you His plan.

Sometimes we let our past victories keep us from rising higher as much as past failures. If we never let go of the old, we will never be able to embrace the new. It truly does not matter what has happened in your history, now time to forget what lies behind you.

Do not ever let yourself get stuck into negative thinking, "I will never change that's just the way I am." Our Christian Bible tells us that when we align with the Spirit of God, He aids us in our weakness and gives us strength by telling us many times in the Christian Bible "Doubt not" and "Fear not." Knowing this, you need to make the firm choice to truly believe and not fear, then press forward. Trust that God has a better future in store for you. Trust that He is truly working behind the scenes on your behalf.

God wants to truly pour out His blessings on you and allow you to live a life of victory! This is our Christian gift of prosperity that He offers you. Decide today to make your plans and truly believe that they will come to pass to succeed. Make time to evaluate where you are in life. Evaluate your finances, your career, and your relationships, and also evaluate how you're spending your time.

Do not go another week without having a plan for your future and truly believing in it. Write down all your goals and submit them to God for His blessings. If you will go beyond just dreaming, and start making these plans to truly succeed, God promises He is going to direct your steps. He will lead you down the path of His favor. He will lead you into increase; He will lead you into promotion. You will not only see your dreams come true, but you also will walk in success in every area of your life!

"Jesus looked at them and said," "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." Mark 10:27 (NKJV).

God created you in His image to reflect His glory. He created you to reflect His character, and His righteousness. If you start truly believing in your plan, you will also truly begin to align with God's plan for you, then you will start move forward into the life of victory the Lord has in store for you!

Remember, Proverbs 14:22 (NLT) tells us; "if you plan good, you will be granted unfailing love and faithfulness."

Why not start your plans today, so that you can receive all of God's favor and Our Christian gift of prosperity!

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 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.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Letting The Miracle Happen

By Sharon Subs

Once we get to the place where we can just leave all of the circumstances in our life and our affairs in the hands of God and his Infinite Wisdom, we can rest assured that everything is going to be okay. Sure, we all understand this and we are sure that we can totally depend on Infinite Wisdom in our lives and we come to depend on this. Our hearts and souls tell us it is so and we have proven it to be true in the past. It is a promise that has been given to us to claim in our lives when we finally decide to totally leave everything in our lives up to God.

When we truly surrender to God, there is no way that we can make a mistake or err in any way. We are protected and nothing can come our way to harm us. The best things will happen in our lives and everything will be worked out for our good and the glory of our God. We must focus on God, on the good, on the Divine Order which is omnipresent, that way our life situations are well taken off and we are able to accomplish the goals in the distance. All of our needs are met and of and we will be given more than we could have dreamed of or hoped for. There is truth in this Biblical verse, 'but my God shall supply all my needs according to his riches..' But to experience such a life of miracles we must surrender, submit, and believe that there is a power beyond what we can see, a power so majestic and so capable. The power which orchestrates the orbiting of the galaxies, this same power is available to you, right now, only if you let it take care of your life situations.

After we place our lives totally under the direction of God, our life will change for the better. The problems in our life will vanish away and the obstacles we deal with will be totally removed. Adversity that is suffered in our life will be transformed into something good and beautiful and those who were at one time against us will be turned towards us. When we leave things up to God, we can expect all this and more, once we finally allow everything in our lives to be under His guidance and care. The key to experiencing a life of miracles is in surrender, in aligning our lives with the Supreme Order and most importantly in BELIEVING and FAITH.

Sharon is a freelance writer who concentrates on the topics of spiritual growth, positive thinking, motivation and overall self-improvement. Visit http://www.ecanhappen.com for more inspirational reading.

Why Are Unhappy People Unhappy?

By Angie Lewis

Unhappy people are usually unhappy because they have not mastered the ability to be happy within themselves. Therefore, they may try and gain happiness/pleasure through others no matter what that entails. Don't get confused with my usage of unhappiness and then compare it to depression because they are two different things. This article is about unhappy people - not depressed people.

An unhappy person often uses others to get what they need out of life. At first this may work, but after a while the relationship begins to experience problems because their partner cannot tolerate the life getting literally sucked out of them. This kind of needy and spongy behavior is what the medical and psychiatric establishments like to call, "codependency".

There is nothing really wrong with these kinds of people, except for the fact they need to come out of their selfishness, grow up, be accountable and take responsibility for their own happiness. Unfortunately when certain establishments coin codependency as some life long emotional problem, people don't take responsibility for their behavior. For them it's always someone else's fault why they drink, why they look at porn, why they do drugs, why they have an anger management problem, why they feel like the whole world owes them a favor, and why they continue to live a bitter filled existence.

"Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself." -- Og Mandino

The problem begins when the unhappy person does not get all of their needs and desires met through someone else and believe they are unhappy because of the person they married. But in actuality nothing is further from the truth. Unhappy and bitter people have made an addiction for themselves - they have a compulsion to wallow in their misery. They are stuck inside of their discontent and bitter heart and can't get out, no matter how much they continue to use and abuse others for happiness.

The miserable person may even seem jovial to others on the outside - they go to work every day, take care of their families, and seem to have a normal life, but on the inside something is amiss with these unhappy, bitter folks. They often complain about others, and try and control any one they can to get their needs and desires met. But marriage, and any relationship for that matter, cannot stand up under such abuse and the marriage usually ends in divorce.

So, what can an unhappy person do to help themselves out of their misery? First off the unhappy person should realize that happiness does not grow on trees - you cannot get happiness through others. You are hurting so many people in the process of creating happiness for yourself and that is very wrong.

Happiness is found within the person you are - you master happiness for yourself, once you master the art of connecting with your Creator. If your connection is faulty so will be the person you can be - the whole and complete person you were created to become. Happiness is made through building up your spiritual connection with God. God gives us everything we need to sustain ourselves with. If you have made room in your heart for His wisdom, knowledge and love, then you will find happiness within.

Jesus said, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you shall receive, and your JOY will be complete." (John 16:24 NIV)

Angie Lewis is the author of four marriage books offering marriage tips and wisdom filled answers tackling such issues as addiction, adultery, pornography, emotions, beliefs, forgiveness, communication and much, much more.

Adultery Pandemic is Angie's latest book. Turn Your Marriage Into A Success! If you want to restore your marriage from the demoralizing effects of adultery, then look no further - this is the book for you!

Your Marriage Can Be Restored!

A treasure book filled with effective guidance for your marriage from forgiveness and trust to recommitting your lives to each other again. Practical and easy-to-read, this book combines the solutions and remedies your marriage needs towards recovery. This book will give you the guidance you need to discover the true secrets to a happy, lifelong marriage.

To preview these books go here: http://www.lulu.com/AngieLewis/

Marriage Resources-http://www.heavenministries.com/

Self Control - The 9th Fruit Of The Holy Spirit

By: Michael Bradley

Last, but not certainly least, is the quality of self-control. This one is huge, and I mean huge! Once you start to enter into a true sanctification process with the Lord - expect the Holy Spirit to move in on you very early with this specific quality.

The reason for this is that we all have a certain amount of character flaws operating in our personalities. There are some bad and negative qualities that will have to go.

The Bible tells us that our spirits and our flesh will war against each other in this life. Our flesh wants immediate self-gratification at all costs and will stop at nothing to try and get it. Our spirits know that some of our fleshly desires are not right for us and as a result, there will be a tug of war between the two - and sometimes it will be a major tug of war. And the only thing that will be able to curb and control some of the desires of our flesh is the quality of self-control.

Since we all live in a very self-centered and materialistic type world today, many people have very poor impulse control. If they see something they immediately want, they will do anything they can to try and get it. They will not be denied until they get what they are going after.

These people are obviously very weak in the quality of self-control. They are ruled by their own flesh rather than by the Holy Spirit. That is why the Bible tells us that if we learn how to really walk in the Holy Spirit, then we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh.

Due to our fallen and sinful natures, all of us are weak to some degree in the quality of self-control. This is why God the Father made sure to have this fruit listed as one of the 9 fruits of His Holy Spirit. We all need God's self-control operating in our lives and in our personalities if we are going to have any hope in getting cleaned up and properly sanctified to the degree that He would like to get us to in this life.

If you don't have God's self-control operating through you - you will have very little victory over such things as bad tempers, judgmental and critical spirits, an unforgiving spirit, and vices such as smoking and the abuse of alcohol.

Once the Holy Spirit starts this sanctification process with you - be prepared for some major battles and tug of wars with Him once He starts coming after some of the negative qualities operating in your personality.

But if you are willing to yield to Him and allow Him to start to work all 9 of these fruits into your personality - then you will find yourself starting to grow in ways and in areas that you never thought were possible in this life. His supernatural power in this area will blow you away once you see how far He can really take you to become the person that God would like you to become in Him in this lifetime.

Here are some of the definitions of what the quality of self-control is all about:

Temperance, rational restraint of natural impulses

Sober, temperate, calm and dispassionate approach to life, having mastered personal desires and passions

Calls for a self-disciplined life following Christ's example of being in the world but not of the world

Restraint or discipline exercised over one's behavior

The above definitions perfectly describe what God is looking for once He starts to work and transmit this quality up into our personalities. This specific quality is one of the major keys in being able to get any kind of victory over some of the lusts and desires of our flesh.

Article written by Michael Bradley, you can get the complete article on the fruit of the Spirit at http://www.bible-knowledge.com - and get 20% off retail on all Christian books at his online bookstore at http://www.bibleknowledgebookstore.com

Is Faith More Than A Religious Idea?

By Happy Riches

Because the word of God did not meet with faith, God refused to allow entry for the Israelites to the Promised Land (Book of Hebrews).

Many people think of faith as something that has to do with religious belief. Religious belief is like wishful thinking in many instances or superstition in other instances and, often, it is just plain deception.

So let us separate faith from religious belief and see it for what it is. Faith is something that comes to us as a result of knowledge. If we have no knowledge, we have nothing to base our faith on. Faith is knowledge put into action.

The reason the Israelites did not enter the Promised Land is because they had insufficient knowledge to base their faith on. The reason they had insufficient knowledge was because they had no other purpose in their lives but to worry about what they were going to eat, what they were going to drink, where they were going to sleep, and who they could sleep with. Whatever desire they had was bound up in the false beliefs of their own perceptions. The temporal appeared real to them, rather than merely a passing phase of time.

From this we can learn the lesson. Faith is about a continual reality. It is about conviction. It is about evidence. It is about having confidence. It is about hope. It is about having a purpose. Faith is accepting the facts at hand and knowing that reality is more than the food we eat, the liquid we drink and sexual expression. Faith is the ability to perceive the changes in the world we live and grasp the significance of them. Faith watches the course of the sun and considers the patterns of the night sky. Faith looks at the moon and observes it coming and going throughout its days, before coming again to do the same. Faith notes the seasons. Faith sees the circle of the earth and the dome of the sky and believes the earth has to be round. Knowledge produces faith and faith produces a scientific system of thought.

Your faith depends of what you have come to accept to be true. Is what you accept to be true about yourself real or is it a lie? Do you have a perception of yourself that is based on false evidence appearing real and find that you cannot do what others can do, for no other reason other than you do not think you can? Do you see yourself as lacking the courage, the confidence to believe that all things are possible, even though they may not seem so right now? If this is you, then you are not looking at reality, you are looking at virtuality.

Virtuality (meaning that which only appears real, but isn't) is often the result of the upbringing we have had as children. Your virtuality is the universe that you have constructed within your mind as the result of the beliefs you have developed from the interactions that you have had with your parents and other people who have had significant roles in your life. These people could have been your older brothers or sisters or relatives or family friends or teachers or coaches or professionals or any other person who could have had influence over you as a child.

To illustrate my point, one woman I know grew up as an only child in a emotionally abusive and hostile family, so she blocked them out and lived in her own virtual world. When she was 28yrs old, she had to face reality when her boyfriend of 8yrs dumped her for another woman. The result was a nervous breakdown, because she did not believe she had the faith to jump from her virtuality into reality and survive. They were two different worlds. Her virtual world, she controlled, whereas in reality, she was deceived and out of control.

Faith is about reality; observing its principles and then learning to conform to them in the hope that what is true will become yours as well. And this is the truth: the earth is filled with an abundance for those who are willing to make use of all that is available. But it takes faith to put knowledge into action and expect to see results that are real.

Happy Riches knows how to show you how. Happy Riches also runs an educational membership club which has a focus on people becoming healthy, wealthy and wise. Happy Riches can be found at http://www.happyriches.name

Why Does God Not Answer Me?

By Nigel Lane

Probably all Christians go through times when it seems like their prayers are not answered. However, if you pray with the right motives yet receive no answer, it does not mean that God is ignoring you. He might be answering in a way you never expected.

One of the biggest reasons why Christians give up on prayer is because they feel that their prayers are not getting answered or that God does not care about them. This feeling of helplessness is even more pronounced when the Christian is going through a life crisis and has nowhere to turn and cannot seem to find answers. God cares about you. But many Christians view God as someone where if you push the right buttons you will get your reward-kind of like a microwave. Yet the truth is that we don't know what lies ahead like God knows what lies ahead. What seems to be an unanswered prayer can actually be God's perfect plan for us.

Take Job in the Old Testament for instance. If anyone had what seemed to be an unanswered prayer, it was Job. Yet little did Job know that Satan was accusing him of only serving God because God had placed a protective hedge around him. Job was put to the test and he passed it and in the end pleased God-so much so that he was rewarded greatly for it. In fact, in Job 42:12 (NIV) it says that, "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."

Then there was Elijah. God was faithful to bring down fire from heaven in response to his prayer. Yet a short time later his prayer to God was to take his life as Jezebel was after him (1 Kings 19). God knew what Elijah needed and it was rest. So God sent an angel to minister to Elijah, feed him, and make sure he got some rest. Elijah prayed for God's deliverance and it came but not in the way Elijah was asking for it.

It's actually a matter of childlike trust in God. We should pray and leave it in God's hands at that point. It is not something we did or failed to do that influences God and His answers to our prayer. If we pray for a million dollars, this is a lustful prayer and God probably will not grant it. But if we pray for God's will to be done and just leave it at that point then that is all we can do. We have to lean on His promises and remember that God cares for us. In Matthew 6:33 (NIV) we are told, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Submit your prayer to God and worry about it no further.

Nigel is constantly helping people achieve their God given dream. Get your free 5 part email course by visiting http://www.thedreampackage.com/

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Free to Worship

By Tim Russ

(John 15:18-19 KJV) If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. {19} If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

In a world that boasts tolerance there is still one acceptable prejudice; religious bigotry. The goal of this global policy seems to be to eliminate any religious view that espouses any form of rejection or exclusion by calling it a hateful act.

Controlling religious expression has been popular since man learned how to express his views of God. When God created humanity he did so to the exclusion of other beings. Satan and his rebellious crew looked on while God created lesser beings and elevated them above angels. God made obedient angels servants of these lesser beings and even God became their servant!

This was God's way of teaching the universe. It watched as God displayed his wrath against those who rebelled. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living angry God! The entire universe must have been cringing. Just as siblings tend to be fearful when their brother or sister is punished everyone must have wondered who would get it next.

God created man then man fell and became a sinful creature just like Satan. Everyone knew that punishment would follow. Instead, God became man's servant, died for his sins, rose from the grave and joined His Spirit to man's spirit. Everyone sat up and took notice. It was new. It was different. It was unusual. Most of all it was impossible. They knew that something was being taught and they wanted to know all about it.

Satan raged. Not only had he lost the highest position of any created being in the universe, now he felt he was being mocked. The least significant being capable of intelligent thought was being elevated to a position higher than what he had ever possessed.

What God was teaching, of course, was that his primary nature was love. He gave us the freedom to worship. God freely offered love to everyone but he also offered punishment to those who would reject his offer of love. Modern churches teach us that God offers unconditional love. You won't find the word unconditional anywhere in the bible. God loves us but he also warns us against sinning. God clearly foretells of severe eternal punishment for those who reject his love. If we live a lifestyle that rejects his love does he still love us? No. We are free to worship or to not worship.

(Psalms 5:5-7 KJV) The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. {6} Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. {7} But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

Tim Russ is the Publisher & Editor of Believers Bay Magazine. Believers Bay is published monthly but has an active forum which creates a close community of believers from around the world.

To read more quality articles of this type visit us. http://www.believersbay.com

Where's Armageddon

By: Christine Bettridge

Most of the world views this end time battle as some catastrophic event that will take place at the end of time. Christ is going to come back to the earth and defeat the Antichrist in this battle. Vernard Eller a retired college professor suggests selling tickets to this battle; it would bring in millions.

In Hebrew the term is Harmageddon and is known as Armageddon in several versions of the Bible. Harmageddon means mountain (or hill) of Megiddo or Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible reads Mount Megiddo. It is a battleground situated at the south rim of Esdraelon. Megiddo is a plain situated between two mountains. It was a place for many bloody battles throughout history. Not just biblical history but secular battles as well. Let's take a look at some of the Old Testament accounts on the battlefield.

The bible first mentions Megiddo where a king was defeated by Joshua. (Joshua 12:21).

Another war that took place near the waters of Megiddo that Deborah and Barak defeated the Canaanites. (Judges 5:19).

Gideon won over the Midianites on the plains of Megiddo. Judges 7.

Ahaziah died on Megiddo after being stabbed by Jehu's arrow. II Kings 9:27.

Megiddo is where the Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt killed King Josiah. II Kings 23:29-30.

Another battle during in the last few decades and in some of our readers' lifetime was fought there. In 1918 the allied forces under General Allenby entered northern Palestine, through the Megiddo pass to take it from the Turkish forces, after which the British commander was named Viscount Allenby of Megiddo. So it can be concluded that it is a battlefield used during bible times as well as during some of our life times. This is the verse below that most take this doctrine from.

And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the almighty. Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Harmageddon. Revelation 16:13-16.

Can we conclude there is going to be a great battle on the last day just from these few verses? Is there some doubt here to what this means? Does this actually make any sense at all? What are these frogs coming out of a beast and then out of a false prophet? Sounds like some movie in Hollywood. We may not know the answer to all the questions but if you consider who this was actually written for the truth will become clear.

This verse about Harmageddon is found in the highly symbolic book of Revelation. To try and make this verse something that will happen in our life time goes against the real message of the book of Revelation.

The Christians of Asia Minor were being severely persecuted by the Roman Empire and the whole book is based on the hope that they will have victory over their enemy and that their relief from persecution would come swiftly. Do you think these first century Christians were thinking of a war in Iraq while trying to persevere through the most trying of times?

I don't want to cover too much into about the book of Revelation as we will cover some on that later. But I must tell you of the when, the audience and why. The book of Revelation was written by the apostle John sometime in the latter part of the first century. John was exiled to the isle of Patmos because of his belief in Christ. Rev 1:9. Being exiled was the lesser of the punishments that Rome would inflict on Christians. He was made to work in the rock quarries and they were basically starved to death with little food, water and rest. However this book was meant to fall in the hands of the early Christians and more specifically the seven churches of Asia. They were the audience. They too were being persecuted for what they believed. Some were tortured and put to death in an inhumane manner. Nero an emperor in the middle to latter part of the century use to put animal skins on the privates of Christians so that the animals would attack them. Church historians say that even for some who were involved it was too much for them. This is the under what conditions. The book was written kind of like a code. The book of Revelation is very deep in the Old Testament roots and Hebrew. The purpose was to conceal and reveal to the intended audience. The Romans if they came across it would not understand because of the Hebrew roots. This is no different then other codes used in secular history.

The African slaves use to sing while working. Their masters must have thought they were very religious people. The songs they use to sing meant something to the others. Wade in the Water was one of them and there were many more. They sung about escaping slavery and traveling north to freedom. Unless I was the recipient of the message then I wouldn't understand. Since we weren't the actual recipients of the book of Revelation, it too would be and is hard to understand. Take a first century Christian and sing to him, Wade in the Water and see if they would understand. Show them a road sign on one of our major highways or tell them that someone has "road rage" and see if they would be quite perplexed. This is how Christians today are concerning the battle of Armageddon.

If there is no battle of Armageddon and it is totally symbolic then does it have any meaning at all? How do we go about figuring it out? One correct interpretation that no one can deny is, Whatever it meant to them (i.e. First Century Christians) is what the battle of Armageddon was or is or shall be, (W.B. West, Revelation Through First Century Glasses, [TN: Gospel Advocate], 109).

What was the message to first century Christians? Just like a battleground in Palestine it is a battleground in the heart. It is the war of and in the heart. It is not a physical war with guns and tankers. It is a spiritual emotional war. God shows us in the book of Revelation who is victorious. The church is victorious and is so prophesized by the prophet Daniel as well as Jesus saying the same thing about the kingdom. See Daniel 2:44 and also Matt 16:18. Jesus on trial says that his kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36. If Jesus kingdom is not of this world then why would anyone believe that the battle is of a physical nature? Additionally it isn't a question of who wins the war but rather how many Christian's God will take with him.

Christ foretold that some would fall away from the faith because of the persecutions. Their love would grow cold. Just read about the seven churches and their struggles in the first chapter of Revelation. The ones who stayed fought this battle of Armageddon everyday. Christians today fight the battle of Armageddon everyday, the battle between right and wrong. God's battle didn't have anything to do with a physical battle, but a spiritual one. II Cor 10:3-6. "Perhaps it suggests the place of decision," (James Burton Coffman, Revelation [TX: ACU Press], 367). This battle is much more stressful then a physical battle in which it's an emotional type of battle within the hearts and minds of Christians.

This an excerpt from the book titled End Time Secrets written by Christine Bettridge and she also is the editor of the article directory, aboveallcontent.com, Above All Content. Visit her blog at: biblesound.blogspot.com, The Bible Sound Blog.

Only Jesus Claims to be God

By: Windmill Ministries

Jesus was not confused about His own identity; He unabashedly claimed to be God. But He also supported it by facts. Jesus performed many miracles; 35 are recorded in the gospels, including various nature miracles. These miracles show His divine powers beyond any laws of nature. Their results are immediate and lasting. One of the most impressive, the feeding of the five thousand, is attested to in all four gospels. And Jesus fulfilled each of the hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah from the Old Testament with remarkable accuracy, all but a few outside his own control, and well beyond any statistical probability of chance. These prophecies were written hundreds of years before He was born and predicted His family line, His birth and birthplace, His ministry and in much detail His suffering and crucifixion.

When it seemed that Jesus was defeated, that evil had won by crucifying and killing the Messiah, God revealed His greatest miracle of all: The resurrection of Christ. The greatest moment of victory for the Evil One turned out to be the moment of his complete defeat. By the crucifixion, with His blood, Jesus purchased salvation for man. By His resurrection He proclaimed in a most glorious way possible that He was the Son of God beyond the grip of death. The resurrection is one of the best proved in event in man’s history: the Bible testifies to it including a creed of as early as a few years after the resurrection and there are multiple confirmations from dramatically changed lives from the disciples, Paul and James (His brother). The explosive growth of the early Christian movement can only be explained by a conviction based on personal observation (not hearsay) that Jesus died on the cross and was alive again thee day later on the first Easter.

Hinduism had no founder, so there are no claims of deity. Gandhi was a humble man of integrity and had great care for other people. Yet he never claimed to be God. Siddhartha Gautama (Lord Buddha) did not claim to be God, nor are there serious claims that he performed miracles during his lifetime or that there was a resurrection. “The original accounts of Buddha never ascribe to him any such thing as a resurrection; in fact, in the earliest accounts of his death, namely, the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, we read that when Buddha died it was ‘with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.’”

The prophet Mohammed expressly claimed merely to be the prophet of Allah. Mohammed, also, fulfilled no prophecies nor is there even a single credible account of a miracle he performed. Many Muslims protest that the writing of the Qur’an is the greatest miracle of all. Others argue for some miraculous accounts about Mohammed deeply rooted in tradition, but these are not supported by history or reliable scriptures. But even if this was evidence for Mohammed’s divine inspiration these claims look pale next to the miracles and prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Mohammed died June 8, 632 AD at the age of 61 in Medina, where his tomb is annually visited by thousands of devout Muslims. Later legends claim that he did not die but ascended to heaven in Jerusalem (at the location of the modern day Dome of the Rock). However, no credible evidence for this claim has been presented. Whatever Mohammed’s destiny, nobody has ever claimed he rose from the dead.

Christ alone claimed to be God. Christ alone provided evidence to support His claims! .

Rob VandeWeghe is a skeptic turned Christian by studying the evidence for Christianity. More articles like this by Rob are available at www.WindmillMinistries.org You can also view and order Rob's new book on the evidences called Prepared to Answer . Enjoy and research hundreds of pages of figures, facts, finds and features.

The Sun Is In My Eyes

By Jerry Bryant

Driving in my truck the other week, something not so unusual happened. I have a two year old boy, and if two year olds can have a pet peeve than for Connor it is the sun being in his eyes. So as we go down the road I hear him cry out "THE SUN....!" I turn my head to see his angry finger pointed at the sky as he says "NO SUN!!! GO AWAY!!!" As we turned the corner the sun left his eyes and all was well. Then I thought about it a minute. Connor has no idea the importance of the sun, he just knows it was in his eyes and he wanted it to stop. See we all know that we depend on the sun for its light and warmth. If I remember my earth science class I believe it only takes 7 minutes for the light and heat of the sun to reach earth. So if it were gone then in 7 minutes instant ice age. Not to mention that the sun keeps this solar system all together by its gravitational pull. And even our distance from the sun determines our seasons. Yep if God would choose to grant this two year old's request we would all be dead, no doubt about it. But Connor doesn't know that, he just knows that he doesn't like it in his eyes.

Sounds pretty simple huh? Well lets make it a little deeper by applying it to you and I. I have many issues in my life that are annoying, and are even severely painful. I cry out "GOD! MAKE IT STOP! I JUST WANT IT TO STOP!" Ever been there? Although I may know many "mysteries" about the sun. I don't know all that is going on beyond my pain in these situations. Because if it was just about my pain my God would make it stop. But maybe that same situation is somehow allowing God to speak to someone else, or maybe you need to go through it so God can speak to you later. Or maybe God wants to use the situation to heal other things, or maybe you need this experience to be able to share with someone else down the road. The point is just because the sun in your eyes doesn't suddenly burn out on your request, doesn't mean God isn't there, it just means there is a greater plan that we just can't see right now. And just as when Connor is ready, I will explain to him why the sun sits in the sky. Our heavenly Father will one day when we are ready, explain to us why we had to go through that horrible point in our lives. Trust Him!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jerry_Bryant

Getting Started With Serious Bible Study

By Hwang Keum-ok

Many people of faith are interested in becoming a serious student of the Bible -- but they are unsure where to begin. Becoming a serious Bible student requires a real commitment and a systematic approach, but it is not as complex and confusing as some might have you believe. In this article I would like to outline a view general recommendations that will help you to get started.

A Definite Plan Needed

One of the most important points to be stressed is that in order to be successful in Bible study you must have an organized plan. Many people feel this is beyond them because they are too busy -- but in reality, the busier you are the more you need a plan! With a plan in place, even if your time is limited, you will be able to know exactly where you left off in your studies -- busy people don't have time to fool around using a disorganized, hit-and-miss approach. There are, of course, a multitude of different types of Bible study schedules and plans that are available -- you can find many of them from Christian book publishers and from online sources on the Internet.

The important thing is to have an organized approach -- if you were a student in school studying economics, for example, your instructor would map out a complete program that would take you through the entire textbook -- and this is the way you must approach your study of the Bible.

The Importance of Context

Ultimately, in your study of the Scriptures, your ultimate goal is to make sense of it all -- to understand it, to interpret it -- properly. And one of the fundamental rules of proper Bible interpretation is to consider the context of a Bible passage. "Context" has several different levels: the immediate context, which are the verses and passages that surround the one that you are studying, the book context (how a particular Bible passage fits in with the theme or message of a particular book of the Bible), the literary context (how one prophetical writing, for example, fits in with the other prophetical writings), and finally the overall context of the entire Bible.

Understand the Historical and Cultural Background

It is also important to understand something of the cultural and historical setting in which the writings of the Bible were given. The Biblical documents were written thousands of years ago -- during times far removed from our own, when different nations ruled the earth, and when different customs and ways of living prevailed. None of us is born with a built in knowledge of those ancient times -- we must take the time to learn about them.

Fortunately, there are a great number of resources available that can assist us in understanding the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Bible -- Bible study tools such as Bible Encyclopedias and Bible dictionaries can place the vast resources of biblical scholarship at our fingertips.

Get a Larger Perspective

As you study the Scriptures, try to relate the message and meaning of a particular passage of the Bible to the overall message of that entire biblical book. For example, suppose you are studying Exodus Chapter 20, the account of the giving of the 10 Commandments. You need to ask yourself questions such as -- who wrote the book of Exodus? Who was the book of Exodus written to? What is the purpose of the book of Exodus? Getting answers to these questions is critical to gaining a proper understanding of what the Bible is all about.

Use Good Tools

Again, none of us is born with this information already packed inside of our head -- we will at some point need to look up and research this background using different types of biblical reference tools -- which means that part of your task as a serious Bible student is to build up, over time, a small personal or family biblical reference library. It is not that you were trying to become a "bookworm" -- you should view these materials as tools, just as any painter or plumber or a electrician has their set of tools which they need to get the job done.

Fundamentally a Spiritual Pursuit

Finally, I would like to stress one last point: becoming a serious student of the Bible is just not a matter of using the proper techniques and resources -- fundamentally, this is a spiritual pursuit. For those of us in the Judeo-Christian tradition, our ultimate objective is to be brought closer to the creator. This is why it is necessary to combine our study of the Bible with other spiritual disciplines, such as prayer.

It is also important to keep in mind that we will need to have a great deal of humility if we are to properly benefit from a study of the Bible. Many people make the mistake of believing that every idea that pops into their head -- every meaning that they believe that they see in the Bible -- has been given to them by God! Humility is necessary here -- the willingness to subject our interpretations and ideas to close and careful scrutiny. We need also to make sure that we do not become unbalanced in our interpretations, and put forth an idea which contradicts something taught elsewhere in the Scriptures. Remember: the Bible is its own best commentary.

To summarize: have an organized plan for day-to-day study -- do the necessary research -- use reliable tools -- look to God to guide you -- be willing to test your ideas and interpretations. If you follow this plan you'll get your Bible study off to a great start.

Hi! I'm Hwang Keum-Ok, and I have a website devoted exclusively to Bible Study Tools. It's called Bible-Study-Tools.org (http://www.Bible-Study-Tools.org), and it contains useful reviews of some of the most important Bible study tools that you should own. It is not an e-commerce site; we do not sell products, we just give information. If you need some guidance in building your personal or family Bible study library, feel free to stop by. We hope to see you there soon!

The Anangelic Announcement-hearing Honor And Glory

When you receive the Seal you will hear the anangelic announcements from God. You will not be like Adam and Eve who heard shame within themselves. You will hear honor within and glory from without.

Adam and Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden. The devil tempted Eve and she ate and shared it with her husband Adam. They ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

So their eyes were opened and they had knowledge like the gods have. But since they had disobeyed God they found shame within themselves. And they felt their shame was coming from the outside too.

And it was. They realized they were naked and made skirts with fig leaves to cover themselves. Their shame came not only from within but they feared others would perceive them as shameful.

That is why they covered themselves so others would not see them naked. And when God sought Adam and Eve they hid from Him. They were afraid He would see them naked and that would cause them further shame.

They perceived their shame came from within and from without. They felt it in their feelings and thought about it too. And they knew anyone else with the knowledge of the gods would know their shame.

The knowledge of good and evil had exposed Adam and Eve. And as exposed they knew they were guilty. The knowledge had not saved them or redeemed them. Instead it had revealed their guilt.

God asked Adam who told them they were naked in an anangelic announcement. And then He asked him if he ate of the Forbidden Fruit. Adam had to confess to God he had disobeyed Him.

When you are sealed you will hear the anangelic announcement of God speaking to you. But it will not speak to your shame. It will speak to your honor from within and to your glory from without.

God will speak to you from within and people will speak from without. God will speak in your thoughts and in your feelings. Often God will give you feelings of pleasure to show His Approval and feelings of dread to show His Disapproval.

But God will also speak in your thoughts. Sometimes you will get comfortable with feeling a certain way and God will need to change your thoughts. You may have been persistently doing what God and you have agreed upon doing.

And you were comfortable in continuing to do it. But when God wanted you to make a change you knew you should continue in persistence. You feel like you should continue in your belly. And that feels right.

That is when God will persistently change the way you think. And your thoughts will convince you to change what you are doing even though you are comfortable in your feelings doing it.

You will also hear of your glory from people. But your glory is not always established by people who believe you. Often people will oppose you because you are from God, and that is to your glory.

When you are sealed you will hear the anangelic announcement of your honor from within. That will be God speaking. And you will hear of your glory from people when you receive the Seal.

By: Jason Witt

And now Jason would like to invite you to get your FREE report Are You Making These Mistakes as a Christian? and "Get God's 'Seal of Approval' and Get the Victory Over Evil" Jason Witt