Everything here is designed to make you feel good.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Rapture is Near

By Jason M Powers

A mysterious day that millions are waiting for; when Jesus Christ will call His people to be with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18); a day that will be so glorious and wonderful that the mind can't comprehend. This event is so misunderstood in the body of Christ that the church is split over the topic, "RAPTURED". Some believe in it and others don't; some say the word rapture isn't even in the Bible and that's their proof that a rapture of the church doesn't exist. But I want to make it very clear that a rapture of God's people isn't something new; it has happened many times in the Bible already. The Bible explains seven raptures; five of them have already taken place two of them will happen in the near future.

The first rapture was that of Enoch - Genesis 5:22-24, Hebrews 11:5

The second rapture was that of Elijah - 2 Kings 2:11

Moses and Elijah after appearing to the disciples were raptured - Matthew 17: 1-8

Jesus Himself was raptured - Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9

Paul was caught up to the third heaven - 2 Corinthians 12:2

Then in the near future the church will be raptured - 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

The last rapture will be of the two Prophets in Revelations 11:3-12

So we see that raptures have happened many times in the past and will happen two more time in the future; the second coming of the Lord is expected by millions and first we will see the rapture of the church.

What's the reason for the rapture?

God's desire is to hide us from the judgment that is coming upon the earth (Isaiah 26:20, 21). I don't understand why so many think that God wants to harm His people and not remove them from this coming wickedness that is fast approaching the earth. The Lord tells us that we can escape this time of great judgment and wickedness (Luke 21:36), (Revelations 3:10). Remember we as God's people are not appointed to wrath but to peace and glory (1 Thessalonians 5:11), (1 Thessalonians 1:10). The reason for the message of the rapture is to comfort and let others know there is a way out, a way to escape the coming judgment on the earth (1 Thessalonians 5:11), (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Remember to keep this comfort that the rapture is coming; when you hear of all the darkness in the world and how worst it is getting every day just know there is a time when God will say enough is enough and call His people home. There are a lot of opinions on this subject but stick with the Bible opinions mean nothing when it comes to the word of God. Have this comfort and assurance that one day Jesus Christ will appear in the clouds and the dead in Christ will be raised from the dead then we who are alive will meet Him in the air while He deals with this world (those who hate Him and His people).

God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked (Genesis 18:23-32). Israel was spared from God's wrath upon Egypt under the law, how much greater will we be spared under grace.

Jason Powers Author, Bible Teacher, Jason's heart is to reach out to souls and to encourage others not to give up believing for their miracle. Jason Powers Ministries

Jesus the Teacher Master Teacher of All with Pure Love

By: Francis Hirak

The whole career of Jesus the teacher, as King-priest, was to educate people in God’s law and will. As the royal Messiah, the foretold “twig out of the stump of Jesse (David’s father),” Jesus, master teacher of all mankind, must manifest the ‘spirit of God in wisdom, counsel, mightiness, knowledge, along with the fear of God.’ Thereby, God-fearing people would find “enjoyment by Him.” (Isaiah 11:1-3) says: “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears;”

Therefore, the career of Jesus, teacher of all, was bearing witness to the truth,’ to the things to which God had sworn. Jesus was thus no shadow Messiah or Christ. He was the real one promised. Jesus was no shadow king-priest. He was, in substance and fact, the true one that had been prefigured. (Rom 15:8) says: “Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers.” Compare (Psalm 18:49) “Therefore I will give thanks to You O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.”

Jesus, as a teacher, was to accomplish His ministry in bearing witness to the truth. This was a job that required more of Jesus than merely talking, preaching and teaching. Besides shedding His heavenly glory to be born as a human, He had to fulfill all the things prophesied about Him, including the shadows or patterns contained in the Law covenant. (Col 2:16-17) says: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”

To uphold the truth of His Father’s prophetic word and promises, Jesus our teacher had to live in such a way as make that truth become reality, fulfilling it by what He said and did, how He lived and how He died. Thus, Jesus the master teacher had to be the truth, in effect, the embodiment of the truth, as Jesus our teacher Himself said he was. (John 14:6) says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus the teacher of God’s ways aimed his message not merely at men’s minds but primarily at their hearts, proving Himself to be Jesus, the master teacher, using penetrating questions to cause them to think, arrive at their own conclusions, search their hearts, make decisions. (Matt 17:25) says: “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from “strangers?” (Mark 3:4) says: “He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” (Luke 10:26) says: He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (John 8:46) says: “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?”

Jesus was a teacher that did not strive to win over the masses but to awaken the hearts of those sincerely hungering for truth and righteousness. (Matt 5:6) says: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Jesus, the master teacher, was considerate of the limited understanding of his spectators and even of his disciples and used discernment in His teachings as to how much information to give them. (John 16:12) says: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Jesus, teacher of God’s word. never watered down God’s massage in a effort to gain popularity or curry favor. His speech was straightforward, even blunt at times. (Matt 5:37) says: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Compare (Luke 11:37-52).

The unparalleled wisdom found in the teachings of Jesus, who was more than Solomon, is one of the most powerful evidences that he was indeed the master teacher, Son of God. The gospel accounts could never be the mere product of imperfect men’s minds or imagination.(Matt 12:42) says: “The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.”

Jesus, the teacher’s manner of teaching was remarkably effective for it says in (John 7:45-46) “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why have you not brought Him?‘ The officers answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this Man!’” Jesus presented matters of great weight and depth with simplicity, brevity and clarity. He illustrated His points in His teachings with things well known to His listeners (Matt 13:34-35) - to fishermen (Matt 13:47-48), shepherds (Matt 13:3-9) builders (John 10:1-17), farmers (Luke 14:28-30), merchants and so forth. Simple things like old garments, bread, wineskins, salt and water were used as symbols of things of great importance, even as they were so used in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Jesus, our teacher proved himself to be the promised “wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:12) says: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” By His knowledge of God’s Word and will, by His understanding of human nature, his ability to get at the heart of questions and issues and to show the solution to problems of daily living, Jesus the teacher indeed proved Himself to be the master teacher of all. The well-known “Sermon on the Mount” is a prime example of this. (Matt. Chaps. 5 through 7)

Through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, the teacher, who is our master teacher, gives us good counsel on the way to true happiness, the settling of quarrels, how to avoid immorality, how to deal with those showing enmity, the true practice of righteousness free from hypocrisy, the right attitude toward the material things of life, confidence in God’s generosity, the golden rule for right relationships with others, the means for detecting religious frauds, how to build for a secure future. The crowds were “astounded at His way of teaching; for He was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matt 7:28-29).

To find high-quality Christian home based business opportunities and ideas AND to spread God’s Word while working from home, check out our free educational tutorials at http://www.christianideas.net for Legitimate Christian Business Opportunities.

I have been working on the internet since 2000. When I first started out looking for a way to start a home based business. I put countless hours going through all the trash just to find legitimate business ideas. So I took the time to put together Free educational tutorials on how to start your own legitimate Christian home business the right way. If you want to save a lot of time and be successful with your business give us a visit: http://www.christianideas.net for Legitimate home based business.

God Keeps His Promises

By Pamela Maddox

Broken Promises

My niece called me late one evening, she was crying on the other end of phone. I asked her what was wrong, and she said weeping; so and so did not keep her promise to pick me up. She said, I have been waiting all day and she has not come or returned my calls. I felt for her, as I imagined her waiting in anticipation all day long and becoming anxious as the time went by. My heart went out to her and I tried to assure her that sometimes things happen that make it impossible to fulfill a promise, but to be patient and that it would be alright. After hanging up from my conversation with my niece, I thought how many times have we made a promise we could not keep, or to be honest, how often have we made a promise and simply did not keep it? Then I thought of our heavenly Father who has made us promises that he would never brake. 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 9 says, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;

It is amazing how God orchestrates things to affirm or to teach us a spiritual lesson through ordinary situations.

It has been over 2,000 years since Jesus ascended up to sit on the right hand of the Father. But before he left, he gave us a promise, and the promise is still good. It is found in the book of St John chapter 14 and it says,

Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto; myself that where I am, there ye may be also.

What an awesome promise! And no matter how long the wait, it will be worth every second.

By Pamela Maddox

Author Bio

God is a keeper! is her testimony as she travels throughout the country speaking the word of God. After speaking at one of countless women's conferences, it was said,"I never heard a woman preach, like that in all my life!" Evangelist Maddox is an energetic speaker, who pours out of her heart, what God has spoken while in her secret closet, to edify, and encourage the body of Christ, that it may be rapture ready.

Evangelist Pamela Maddox, is the proud wife to Elder Marcus E. Maddox, Pastor of Exodus Ministries, Inc. in the "Beautiful City" of Englewood, Ohio, where she serves as Co Pastor and CEO. Evangelist Maddox is the Founder of the Kept Women of God Conferences, and The Diamonds Program, a ministry for young ladies age 10-18.

Evangelist Maddox, received her Bachelors degree in Christian Education, from Grace International Bible College, where she graduated Cum laude. She has ministered in word and song throughout the United States in women's conferences, revivals, youth conventions, and special events. Under her directorship, Faith Temple Pentecostal Church of God Adult Choir, recorded it's first CD entitled "Over in Zion," which has ministered to countless souls across the country.

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

The Hiding Place

By Dr Bob Wilkerson

Psalm 46: 1-3 (NIV)
God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

The Hiding Place

The mountains are quaking, and moving. The sea is roaring and river of mankind's heart is flowing with fear. What in the world is going on and where do we hide from all that is happening on planet earth? Have you read today's headlines?

Copied from Foxnews.com

• Violence Surrounds Production of Mini-Car in West Bengal
• Zimbabwe Opposition Wins Vote for Parliament Speaker
• Ex-Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif to Quit Ruling Coalition
• Report: Nazi Doctor's Son Wants Father Declared Dead
• Iraqi Woman With Bomb Vest Surrenders
• Small Plane Crashes in Guatemala, Killing 10
• Alleged Al Qaeda Figure Arrested in Journalist's Abduction
• Marine Channels Near-Death Experience to Help Peru's Poor
• U.S. Official: Iran-Bound Jet Crashes in Kyrgyzstan
• Spanair Flight Makes Unscheduled Landing in Malaga
• Filipino Government Continues Attacks on Guerillas
• Survivor: Wing Dipped Sharply Before Madrid Crash
• Afghan Group: 88 Dead in Fighting, U.S. Investigates
• Abandoned Baby Kept Alive by Mother Dog, Her Puppies

The above list is just a tiny drop in the bucket. This list does include the weather and other catastrophic events occurring right now in the USA and the world. What do we do and how do we survive?

In times like these, we have a refuge, a hiding place. Our refuge is faith in God. Come on, that sound so simplistic and it is simple. When your world is falling apart around you trust God. When divorce, addiction and other events strike run towards the only power, which has the ability to keep you safe through the storm. He is waiting for you and wants you to place all your faith and hope in Him through Jesus Christ. Faith is a tried and proven method of survival and tested many times over the years by millions of people.

No matter what is going on in the world God is still large and in charge. If the mountains fall, God is still in charge. When waters roar God is still in charge. The bible tells us to seek him and we will find Him. Let me encourage you to place your hope in God. Run to your hiding place, God. He works if you let Him do His job.

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

An Incorruptible Crown

By David L Henderson

According to an old joke, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.

Jesus used many metaphors in His teaching, usually agricultural, such as sowing and reaping, or sheep-herding. The Apostle Paul likened the Christian walk to more vigorous pursuits like soldiering or athletics. He was familiar with the ancient Olympic games; they had been going for over seven hundred years when Paul came along. And we are, in a sense, running a race. But we know there's no such thing as a perfect analogy, so let's look at some of the ways our race resembles or differs from a marathon.

First of all, our race is not measured in distance, but in endurance. Jesus Himself said that all who endure to the end will be saved. It's true that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. We're not in competition with one another; our wrestling match is not against flesh and blood. In the marathon, many runners begin the race, but only one can win the prize. All but one of those who cross the finish line receive the same prize as those who drop out along the way. So why finish at all? Why keep going, knowing you've already lost the prize?

Every athlete worth his (or her, of course) salt knows that the real prize is not a medal to hang around your neck, or on the wall of your trophy room when you get home. Indeed, most marathon runners enter the race not expecting to finish first. But there is great personal value in training, in disciplining the body and the mind, learning what to eat and what to avoid; great personal gain from committing to something more challenging than anything you've ever tried before, and seeing the commitment all the way to the end.

In the ancient Olympics, there were no gold, silver, and bronze medals to be won, there was only one prize: a handful of olive leaves woven into a crown. Paul called it a corruptible crown. Corruptible? I guess! The thing so highly sought after, so greatly cheered by the throngs of onlookers as it is placed on the head of one runner who, almost by chance, happened to cross the line first, that crown will wither and crumble to dust in a matter of days. Is that what we're competing for? Certainly not.

Ultimately, in my race, my only competition is myself. If I commit to this, will I see it through? Only I can decide that. Can it be done? Others have done it, some with greater obstacles to overcome than I have. Is it worth it? Yes, child of God, it is worth it. Because we do not pursue a crown that is already decaying before the race is over. Ours is an incorruptible crown of life. We work and train, we run long distances, we fall down and get up again, and sometimes we lose heart and want above all else just to go home and be left alone. But in the process we find that the real prize is in the process; it's not that I can run farther or faster than another, but that today I'm a step ahead of where I was yesterday. Every day, every mile, every drop of sweat, brings me closer to the true goal, to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Will I achieve that goal? Not in this life. How far will I get? God knows. But I have this promise: the race truly is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but there is an incorruptible crown of life for all who are facing the right direction when they hit the tape.

Copyright © August, 2008
by David L Henderson

David L Henderson is a career Respiratory Therapist, with some Christian preaching, teaching, and writing thrown in. To find out more about him, check out his personal web pages at http://www.intergate.com/~cyrano and while you're there, you can download his e-booklet. It's called The Serpent's Tale, and it's about the fall of Lucifer and the origin of sin.

Mary Chose What Was Better

By Steve Wickham

Left to do all the work herself whilst her sister, Mary, sat at her Lord's feet, Martha complained bitterly, "Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "You are worried and upset by many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

Choices. Life is littered with choices, especially in this rich Western life we have in our day. We get a clue regarding the best choice. Mary chose what is better. She chose to devote her time to worship and experience her Lord; it wasn't slackness, but devotion. Not the easy option; actually the difficult one. How easy is to stop and be, in the moment? It's too difficult for nearly all in both secular and spiritual spheres collectively. We think busyness is a new thing. It is only a new word. Busyness has always been the great temptation of the conscientious.

Jesus doesn't criticise Martha for working and preparing the house and providing hospitality. He tells her off because her heart for the work she chooses is not right. If her heart was right there'd be no complaint -- just pleasure that her sister was edified and illuminated spending time with Christ. It's a lesson in approach to work -- the choice to work. There are only two 'musts' in life; we must take up physical space while we exist, and we must eventually die. Work, therefore, like everything else, is always a choice.

Mary chose a 'better portion' in the same way we would if we went to a banquet and chose the correctly balanced meal that was good for us; a small amount of high quality protein like fish, a little complex carbohydrate like rice, and about two thirds of the plate of vegetables or green salad. It's our choice at the end of the day. How many choose heavily-calorie laden foods and go back for second and third helpings? It might feel good at the time, but that's not the better choice. And we know it.

We all tend to worry about too many things. Jesus says, "Few things are needful, or only one," and this means there are few necessities in life and the simple things in life, and ways of living, are best.[1]

There is much labour that is "good" and has merit. We often have so much choice in what we have to do in life that it's a matter of setting and constantly reviewing priorities -- it's a tricky business![2] When we try to achieve too much we become a harried mess. This is especially an issue for industrious people.[3] We need to deliberately make choices to reject unimportant things that might even be good. Clearly at the top of the list of the most important things to do is experiencing the spirituality and mystery of God through worship. This is central to what is "better," and not just good, in life.

And it extends to this: what if this were your last day -- and it could be -- what is truly important? Does your idea of priorities change? Another indication we've made the right choice: the feeling of 'rest' and contentment when looking back afterward.

Copyright © 2008, S.J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Leon Morris, Luke - Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Revised Edition (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1974, 1988), p. 209-10.
[2] Darrell L. Bock, Luke - The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, (Downers Grove, Illinois & Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1994), p. 199-200.
[3] Ibid, p. 200.

Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us.

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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Does Our Faith Get Tested By God?

Author: Ryan Pearson

Many people ask the question 'Does God test our faith?'. Does our faith get tested, I would have to say yes. Is it God giving us a test, I would have to say no.

I believe the way you look at the answer to this commonly asked question, really depends on your views of what or who God is. Many people believe that God is a powerful white bearded man that lives up in the sky sitting on a throne in the sky. In this belief system, God watches over every person's life and rewards the people who are 'good' and punishes the people that are 'bad'. In this way of believing, I can see how these people would think that the white bearded God would test people's faith, just to make sure they are not lying about their faith.

If we look at this from a metaphysical point of view then God is an all loving universal creative energy that is one with all people, animals, plants, planets, stars, objects and space. In this belief system we are all a part of that creative source, therefore we are creating our own reality all of the time.

Moving forward I will use the name God to represent the creative source energy that is 'all that is'. We were created in the image and likeness of God, which means that we have the creative power of God.

Our tool we use for creation is our subconscious mind, you can even call it your 'God Mind'. Our subconscious mind is filled with thoughts, beliefs and ways of viewing the world that have been fed into it throughout our entire life. It is the thoughts and beliefs in our subconscious mind that reach out and create our external reality.

It is our beliefs that create our thoughts, our thoughts create our external reality. Faith, then is an absolute belief. 100% faith means no doubt.

In order for us to create on the most powerful levels, we must have absolute faith. In order for us to step into living our Divine Purpose, we must have absolute faith. For us to break the chains of lack and mediocrity, we must have absolute faith in our God given right to prosperity, abundance and greatness.

Sometimes, due to our subconscious programming throughout our entire life, we are unable to just all of a sudden have absolute faith in something over night. There is sometimes a process that we need to practice, that will get us closer to the creative source within us to strengthen our conscious connection to God. It is only through our connection to God, that we can truly have complete faith.

For many of us, we live our lives caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, that keeps us more connected to our minds, which is ego, rather than to our hearts, which is God. To truly strengthen our conscious connection to God, we must practice quieting our minds, slowing down in our lives and taking time to know the God within us and within every space and particle of the infinite Universe. To do this, we must take time for daily meditation, exercise, yoga, being in nature and anything else that allows us to quiet our minds and focus in on our oneness with the creative source, God.

As I said in the first paragraph, I do believe that our faith does get tested. Our faith gets tested when we do not have 100% faith, because without 100% faith, there is still some doubt. It is that little bit of doubt that keeps us from fully manifesting, what we think we have faith in. Therefore, I don't believe that it is God that test our faith. We test our own faith. We create situations in our lives that will test our faith, so that we can prove to ourselves that we do have complete faith.

When we have mostly faith, but there still remains that little bit of doubt, we must create situations in our lives that will help us release all of that remaining doubt. We will create situations that will put our faith to the test, that will take us to that pressure point, where we have to make a decision. We have to decide whether we will get caught up in our minds and try to figure out a way to make the situation better, or stay calm and peaceful and have absolute faith that the all loving God will take care of us and everything will work out for our highest good. When you choose faith in these moments, all doubt is erased forever. If you choose to get caught up in your mind and let your ego take over, you may find an immediate solution to the problem at hand, however the solution is temporary, and you have shown yourself that you really do not have faith, and that doubt will remain, until the next test. Faith comes first, then comes the opportunity to prove it to yourself, not to God, but to yourself.

God is all loving and non judging. It is us that needs proof of our faith, not God.God is absolute faith. It is through our connection to God that we become absolute faith.

Ryan Pearson is an Inspirational Speaker, Author and Master Life Coach. He is co-host of the very popular internet radio show, 'Empower Hour Radio'. Listen, now, to a replay of one of Ryan's life transforming radio shows. Go to http://www.empowerhourradio.com

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who Has Authority Over Me?

By Steve Wickham

"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"

Jesus answered, "You would have no [authority against me whatsoever] if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

-John 19:10-11 (NIV modified).

Pilate was in the wrong place at the wrong time from his own viewpoint. There were various opposing, confounding forces that he couldn't possibly reconcile. He didn't want to put Jesus to death; neither he nor King Herod found anything of substance against him. If anything, there's a hint that Jesus was able to establish a remarkable rapport with Pilate. Certainly Pilate had showed respectful awe toward Jesus and fear that he was dealing with deity. Their rapport is notable in each interaction through the gospels. For instance, when Pilate first spoke to Jesus he used Jesus' native Aramaic, and could have been surprised to hear Jesus retort in Pilate's native Latin tongue; an intellectual joust.

If Pilate could not find cause to crucify the 'King of the Jews' what was the opposing force that forced his hand? Jesus' very own people of course. The High Priest that year, Caiaphas, played a remarkably salvation-honouring role which is a tremendous irony given the Pharisees hated Jesus. It is written in John: "It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was expedient and for their welfare that one man should die for (instead of, in behalf of) the people." -John 18:14 (Amplified)

The chief priests, scribes, teachers of the law and Pharisees made Pilate's choice very simple in the end -- there was no other outcome acceptable to them but crucifixion.

Of course, from the Christian viewpoint, it all turned out perfectly to plan. God the Father's master plan from the beginning worked out for all creation, for not only was Jesus to be raised to be the Saviour of the world; his death was to become the key symbol of truth in life. Whoever loses his or her own life (for God's purposes) will save it.

Who has authority over me? Only One. Nobody else. Who should I fear? No one but God. People can do anything to us or for us; God is the one that allows it. He gives and he takes away. True faithfulness is the response of praise at the time of both ecstasy and distress. If we thank him for the good times, why would we not thank him for times other than good?

John 19:11 is such an encouragement to all true Christians. It's a statement of reliance in only one power; monotheistic worship of the Godhead three-in-one. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing -- worthy is he to receive our fullest devotion.

Copyright © 2008, S.J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us.

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

Stick to the Plan?

By Omo Ilakan Kunle


Today God is saying to you, 'While in process, stick to the plan!' Nothing takes God by surprise. He's a master planner. Joseph discovered that when your family turns against you, your friends let you down and you finish up in trouble, God still has a plan. Looking back Joseph could say, 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good' (Genesis 50:20 NIV). When your situation seems too hard to handle and downright impossible to explain, remind yourself that God said, 'I know the plans I have for you.' Some of us are not sure God has made up His mind about us, so we keep trying to earn His favour. Give it up! Receive the truth that God, for Christ's sake, has decided to bless you. And when God decides, temporary situations or the actions of others don't change His decision.

There's nothing the enemy devises against you that God hasn't already made 'a way of escape' for. Paul writes, 'God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it' (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Observe that: a) in times of testing you discover how faithful God is
b) He knows what you can handle
c) He will 'make a way' so you can exit this season stronger, and ready for what He has next. So stick to the plan. The fact that you have a problem is a sign that you have a promise. It's only a matter of time before God reveals the solution.

Go grab more daily on:


Walking In The Spirit Towards True Spirituality - Follow In Jesus' Footsteps

By Oscar Chestnut

One step as God's children we can take to walk in the Spirit towards true spirituality is by following in Jesus' footsteps.

As Christians, we are called to walk in Jesus' footsteps and be reflections of His light to those lost in spiritual darkness. In 1 Peter 2:21, Peter writes: "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps".

This verse also pertains to us, as it is the attitude we are led by the Spirit to project. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are guided into being more like Jesus. The light of Jesus shines through us to draw others to follow Him. In becoming more like Jesus, we reflect His servant's heart and servant's spirit. This "Christ likeness" is essential for true spirituality to be shown in our lives.

In following Jesus' footsteps, we should be examples of "Christ like" forgiveness. Notice what Jesus did as he suffered in pain on the cross. He did not threaten those hurting Him or promise to get revenge. He forgave them (Luke 23:34). When we are insulted or offended, instead of seeking revenge we should follow in Jesus' footsteps and forgive.

We should also be examples of "Christ like" service to others. Although Jesus had many reasons to lord His authority over people, He did not. He was the "Good Shepherd" to the flock of God. Jesus was the ultimate example of a servant leader. Jesus' servant heart should be reflected in our service to others. A heart that shows we have a sincere desire to serve rather than be served. Since that was Jesus' way of service, it should be ours as we follow in His footsteps.

A "Christ like" hunger to show the love and mercy of God to those who are desperately in need is also what we should exhibit. How willing was Jesus to offer God's gift of salvation to a lost and dying world? Willing enough to suffer and die on Calvary's cross for us. There should be the same type of concern in us for the souls of the unsaved and unchurched. We should have an undying willingness to share the good news of the Gospel. We should be willing to humble ourselves in order to elevate others spiritually to God's calling for them. Jesus did, and if we are following in His footsteps so should we.

The world is watching us. What kind of examples are our actions setting? We must be careful of what we do and say. Our witness for Jesus can be tainted due to bad examples we set. How can we point others to Jesus when our actions and behavior indicate we are not following in His footsteps? Our bad examples are detrimental to those who are in need of spiritual directions.

But if we continue to walk in the Spirit and allow it to lead us each day, we will continue in Jesus' footsteps and we will continue to lead others to follow Him.

Dr. Oscar L. Chestnut is the co- founder and senior pastor of New You Ministries, Hollywood, Florida (http://www.newyouministries.org). He is a community leader and an active member in area ministerial alliances. Dr. Chestnut is also an instructor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. Visit his web site at http://www.oscarchestnut.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Days of Repentance and Self-Examination in the 21st Century

By Dr. Elizabeth Menon

Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday have been celebrated way back in AD 900, as days of penitence, a time for repentance and self-examination. One gets to see Valentine Day cards displayed in the shops even before the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over! But before the Valentine's Day there are two very important days, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Most people readily recognize Shrove Tuesday as Pancake Day when one can feast on heaps of pancakes laced with caster sugar and lemon juice! But do we know the history of these two days? And now in the 21st century, it is time for saving our environment by giving up the use of plastic bags, recycling materials and composting the kitchen and garden waste.

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent starts: shrove is derived from the word, 'shrive': the ritual of shriving during which the Christians confessed their sins and received absolution. It is also a time for celebration as it was the day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent started. They were forbidden to eat meat, fish, egg, milk and butter during the forty days of Lent and therefore, the ideal thing to do were to use up all these items and have a big feast. They made a batter adding some flour to the mix of egg and milk and out came the delicious pancakes, with a bit of help from the butter that was in the house. Stuffed pancakes would have been made, to finish the rest of the 'forbidden' food items. Shrove Tuesday is celebrated in different parts of the world, but with a style of their own. In the UK, we call it the Pancake Day and make pancakes laced with lemon juice and caster sugar.

Pancake races were held in various counties in the UK and these races are still organized in some towns; 'Pancake race' in Buckinghamshire was quite famous! It is Mardi Gras in France, Canada, and parts of the US and it is also called 'Tuesday of carnival' that signifies giving up the meat during Lent; coins, rings and other objects are baked into the pancakes and the lucky ones are the recipients of these items! Different versions of the pancakes are made in different countries: doughnuts called Malasadas in Hawaii, Bibinga made with rice flour in Philippines, sweet bun called Semla in Sweden and I am sure there are multitude of other versions all over the world.

Ash Wednesday is the day Lent starts in the Western world; it is forty days before Good Friday (excluding Sundays) and is a day of repentance and self-examination; in India, Lent lasts for fifty days, starting from the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday and finishing on Easter Sunday. Christians believe that it is the day that they have to repent their sins and realize that Jesus went to the cross for their sins. Sign of a cross is made on the forehead with the ashes made by burning the blessed palm leaves from the previous year's Palm Sunday; olive oil or holy water is used to mix the ashes. Ashes represent remorse, repentance and mourning. The forty days of Lent reminds the Christians of the forty days Jesus retreated into the wilderness and fasted for forty days. The faithful followers believe that when they follow the Lent for forty or fifty days, they are joining Him on His retreat. Some believe that the forty days represent the number of days the Israelites spent in the desert and they also consider the ashes as a symbol of mourning, remorse and repentance.

It does not matter which theory we wish to believe, as long as we take some time for self examination and correct the things we can amidst all the days of celebrations, be it Christmas, Easter, Id or Diwali. Let's reflect on that thought for a better future. It could even do us all some good, giving up all those cream buns, pizzas, cake, ice cream, big latte or mochas! Perhaps this is the best time to help the environment, by stop using plastic bags to carry one's shopping and use the Fairtrade certified cotton bags. These bags are available at all co-op shops in the UK and this is UK's first supermarket Fairtrade cotton carrier bag. I am quite happy that I took my first step and bought a few of these bags! Similar bags are made by the women from the Tsunami affected villages in Pondicherry, India.

Let's also start thinking about the poor chickens spending their miserable lives in those cages with hardly any space to move and still giving us the eggs everyday, ending up in the 'spent pile' or the intensely farmed chickens, reaching our table as the Sunday roast! It only takes one look at any of those poor specimens, to demand free-range eggs and chicken for the rest of our lives. So, battery eggs and meat from the intensely farmed chicken and plastic shopping bags must be on our list of things to give up.

I am Dr Elizabeth Menon, working in the UK. I love writing and my articles have been published in the UK and abroad. My hobbies include reading, writing, gardening, cooking, watching films, listening to music, helping environmental causes, etc. Visitors to my homepage get the unique opportunity to read my monthly write up,'Corner' and articles written by me on various topics in two languages, English and Malayalam (the language spoken in Kerala, otherwise known as 'God's own Country'!).

Please visit my homepage at: http://omana.net/

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Which Master Do You Serve?

By Kim Burch

Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money)."

We spend all our time trying to find ways to make more money. Billions of advertising dollars are spent trying to get us to spend our hard earned money. We work hard for it; we spend sleepless nights worrying about it. We play the lottery trying to win it.

Just imagine if an alien landed on our planet with no concept of money. Judging only by our actions, which master would it think we serve? It would see us:

- Working 40+ hours a week for a paycheck
- Spending billions of dollars on ways to get more money
- Stressing over money or the lack thereof
- Praying to God to give us more money

The fact of the matter is, where we spend our time and energy is the master that we serve.

The Word of God says "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL these things (i.e. money, healing, peace etc) will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

We spend our time seeking money, but when we "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God..." the money will come. Don't expect it to fall from heaven. But when we plant a seed of "Seek ye first"; God will plant a seed in us of a great idea. And when we water our seed with praise; God will water His seed with opportunity. When we nurture our seed with faith; God will nurture His seed with the Faith to take action.

Great Idea + Opportunity + Action = WEALTH

Instead of working for money, money should work for us. So we can spend our time and energy working for God's Kingdom.

God Wants Us to Invest Our Money

God knows that we need money to feed and clothe ourselves as well as pay our debts. But we must be good stewards over our money. I must admit that I can do a lot better at being a good steward over my money.

In Luke 19:12-25, Jesus told a story about a nobleman that gave 10 of his servants ten minas (coins) and said to them "Do business till I come." When he returned he called for the 10 servants so that he could find out how much they had gained from trading.

The 1st servant told him that his one mina had earned ten. The 2nd servant said that his one mina had earned five. The noblemen said to them "Well done good & faithful servant." and rewarded them ruler ship over 10 & 5 cities.

The 3rd servant told the noblemen that he feared him, so he kept the mina in a handkerchief. The noblemens response was "..you wicked servant! Why didn't you put my money in the bank so it can collect interest?" Then the noblemen took the money from him and gave it to the man who made ten minas.

The Word of God doesn't talk about the other seven servants. (I can only assume that they spent the mina.) I don't even want to know what happened to them. Especially when he called the servant who kept his money in a handkerchief "Wicked Servant!".

GOD Will Let Us Rule Over Much If We Become
Good Stewards with a Little.

Kim Burch is a 3 year stroke survivor, up-and-coming Network Marketer and a budding author. She is also the founder of http://www.kineticnetworkmarketing.com and can be contacted at kburch0614@gmail.com

Monday, August 25, 2008

Creating Miracles - The Process

By Alicia Isaacs

It's your turn to learn from the Master... and create miracles in your life.

Jesus wanted to feed the people because they were hungry. The disciples were concerned.

How can anyone fill and satisfy these people with loaves of bread here in this desolate and uninhabited region?

The disciples looked around them - the situation seemed impossible. They looked at the crowd, calculated the cost, and gave a final analysis. In a logical natural sense, it was an impossible situation.

Jesus, however, did not focus on the surrounding circumstance. He could have said, "You're right, there's way too many people here to feed, and we can't do that. Sorry folks, that's all for now, hope you make it back home safely. God go with you and keep you on the way." No, Jesus asked, "How many loaves have you?" He knew it was food they needed. So He looked at what the disciples had to match the need. "Seven," they replied.

Jesus told the people (the multitude) to sit down on the ground. He took the bread, the 7 loaves, and gave thanks. He broke them and kept on giving them to His disciples to put before the people, which they did. Notice here, the words were kept on giving -showing ongoing, continuing.

Jesus did the same with the few small fish - He praised God and gave thanks, and asked Him to bless them (to their use). Again, these were ordered to be set before the people. They ate and were satisfied. The Bible says they took up seven (large provision) baskets full of the broken pieces left over. He dismissed the 4,000 of them. Mark 8:1-10.

Let's closely examine the process Jesus used; 4000 people to be fed in a 'desolate and uninhabited region'.

Jesus saw an opportunity to display the glory of God; only 7 loaves and a few small fish - enough to create a miracle.

Spiritual laws when activated, dominate the natural laws, and shifts and bends, changes and multiplies them to meet the spiritual/inner desired results; faith that rises above every situation.

Jesus said that the works He did, we shall do also and even greater works shall we do because He is going onto the Father.

We need to harness the power God has given us within, and discipline our minds, and our tongues to control and move mountains in our lives.

The physical evidence shows: large crowd, 7 loaves, and few fish. Logically/naturally that does not make sense. But Jesus knew who He was and the power that lies within Him. He changed and transformed, shifted the natural laws by applying the spiritual and supernatural laws.

1) He set 1st His intentions - to feed the people.

2) He looked for what they already had that he could use.

3) He took the bread - 7 loaves.

4) Gave thanks - gave is the key word. He first gave to the spiritual realm/to God - giving thanks, showing gratitude.

5) He then broke the bread and kept on giving.

He satisfied the requirements of both laws - the heavenly and the earthly.

The heavenly law - praise, gratitude, thanksgiving. The earthly law - giving to others, taking care of the needy (their physical, emotional, mental needs.

1) The few fish.

2) He praised God and gave thanks.

3) He asked God to bless them (fish) to their use - for the purpose He intended- to feed the people.

4) He gave to the people.

Again, He satisfied both laws - the spiritual, then the natural.

The crowds were fed, and satisfied, and the leftovers were gathered up.

There are situations in our lives that we know we need to change by stepping out and putting our faith into action, instead of walking by sight - waiting for external conditions to be favourable.

To step out by faith, however, takes a risk on our part; sometimes, not knowing the final outcome, or even, the next step until we get to that point. Following your heart and dreams is to walk by faith and not by sight. Every step you take would be by faith. You may not be able to see the whole plan, but as you step out, putting one foot at a time, the way becomes clearer, your total trust and confidence is in God, your inner senses become stronger, more keen/sharper.

Staying safe will yield its usual fruit, but leaving the safe region and stepping out in faith will yield a greater abundance, a greater harvest, producing a greater miracle. God has given you the power to create wealth. You have the creative power working in and through you. You can create exactly what you desire. You create your reality, by your belief, (your heart), your mind (your thoughts), your words (what you speak/say). Your mind/thoughts work in sync with your outer world.

In achieving what we want, we need to follow the necessary steps in its attainment - the final outcome.

1) Thought - financial, spiritual, emotional.

2) Next step - pull out/collect, all the necessary ingredients - action plans/steps. These will come as you move along.

3) Put the plan into action - even if you only have one part, the other parts will come.

4) Reap the benefit.

God uses the small things in our lives to create big things. It took a small seed to grow into a huge tall tree. It also took a tiny fertilized egg to form a baby that grows into a great man or woman.

Allow the small seeds in your life to be developed to create change and produce miracles.

Alicia Isaacs is a virtual assistant and freelance writer. She shares insider steps and tips learned from her daily personal experiences and used over many years to achieve personal goals.

Discover the secret steps and powerful strategies to extract the hidden untapped God-given treasure, the diamond in the rough, that lies dormant in you, and quickly change your life inside out.

Sign up for Alicia Isaac's Changing inside out now... Newsletter. Visit her website at http://www.changinginsideoutnow.com

Tools of the Lord?

By Mark Mueller

Today, Christine, my wife, called and asked a pastor of a church for help on the behalf of one of his church members that was in a dire situation. Unfortunately, the lady was located half way across the country from us and we were unable to directly intercede on her behalf. Instead of being grateful that the pain and distress of one of his congregation members was being brought to his attention, he went off on a tangent about counselors that think they are qualified to counsel people because they take a "quickie counseling course", knowing nothing of her qualifications. Mind you also, she was only trying to get the lady help and was not criticizing the way he ministered to his flock. Christine was taken by surprise at his response, but like the pro that she is, did not launch into a tirade of her own about his qualifications to be a preacher and not being able to take care of his own flock. God stopped her mouth from the fierce rebuttal grabbing at her tongue. Anyone who knows Christine knows that this had to be the work of the Lord, because only he can stop her from a fierce defense when she is offended. Afterwards she offered that the preacher was one of God's ministers and they are not above the petty feelings of man such as arrogance, jealousy, and pride.

Starting her own Christian Counseling Center has been an eye opening experience. First off, it is not exactly easy, or cheap, to start a nonprofit organization. Second, trying to keep operating funds is also a large challenge. Even though we can charge a fee for our service, most of the people who really need help cannot pay the fees no matter how reasonable they are. The first thing a most business owners would say is "no pay, no play". That is not what Christian's do; we are supposed to help our fellow man, even if he cannot pay. We are doing this to help people, not get rich.

What makes a Christian Counselor qualified to counsel others? Is it how long you have been in school? Is it how you lived an unblemished life? What makes a counselor qualified to counsel and guide others is their ability to listen to their client and then gently help them to make the right decisions to live their life. Counselors do not tell clients what they should be doing, but help them discover what they should be doing. In the case of Christian Counselors, we use the structure and principles that God has shown us in the Bible. Counselors do not judge others, that is for God to do. If we are successful in our guidance, our clients will find themselves closer to God, find forgiveness, peace and happiness in the Lord, and learn to start dealing with any and all emotional scares that many people find they have. Counselors who have lived and dealt with these issues and have come out on the other side, know and understand what their clients are dealing with. It is not always as easy to be as compassionate if you don't truly understand their pain. Also you have a better insight with more of the issues a client may be faced with. "Don't judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes". It would be hard for a rich man to know what it feels like to be without money and food to feed your family. A good counselor understands that you personally may not be able to help every client, but as a good Christian, will help them find the help they do need. Christine spends a lot time trying to locate help for others around the country.

What makes a pastor qualified to preach to others? Is it how long you have been in school? Is it how you lived an unblemished life? Being a pastor can be one of the hardest and loneliest jobs in the world. People constantly want their leadership, to lean on them during a crisis, and always are looking for advice. When a pastor needs help, who do they turn to? I know the pastor answer is "the Lord", yet I've seen the human side of a pastor who lost their spouse and could not get past it, possibly even shook their faith to some degree. Sometimes knowing that the Lord has a plan and that their spouse is with the Lord is not enough. Sometimes the human side of a pastor flows out like a flood. Pastors also find the same failings as other people such as loneliness, selfishness, arrogance, jealousy, and pride. The pastor mentioned at the front of the article said that he was not qualified to counsel the members of his congregation. Then is he qualified to lead his congregation? The answer still could be yes, but it depends on how he addresses the issues of the individuals in the congregation. I believe a major function of a pastor is to guide his congregation, but not all men can be all things. When I was younger, my pastor was debating, with my class, miracle healing versus going to a doctor to be cured of an illness. My pastor explained to us that he believed that doctors and medicine were "Tools of the Lord". This made perfect sense considering, "all good things are of the Lord". If a pastor chooses not to counsel the members of his congregation, then what does he do when they seek out his help? Hopefully, he doesn't just ignore their problems; I would like to believe that he would refer them to a Christian Counselor. I said Christian Counselor specifically, not just because my wife is one, but because you do not know the principles a non Christian counselor may employ. After all he may use Zen, scientology, Buddha, or even something more devastating to ones soul. A Christian Counselor is a "tool" that can be very valuable to a church or even an individual. Still, a word of caution, not every "Christian Counselor is qualified". I've seen a few that probably needed counseling themselves, luckily none so far that were actually certified, though I am sure they exist. Make sure the counselor does use the bible in context. Many innocent people have been placed in danger because of so called Christian Counselors that have misled people. Most important, get to know the heart of the Counselor. Make sure they are in it for the client, not themselves. Most of all pray to the Lord.

Christian Counseling Center is a Christian Counseling group that helps others find peace in their lives through the Lord. We are equipped to deal with just about every emotional issue or everyday life issues.
We care about you. Our website is at: http://www.cjcounseling.com

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Edward Hawkins - My Fathers House

Revenge, Sweet Revenge

By Max Weiman

Even though the Bible is the biggest "bestseller" of all time, and continues to affect believers and non-believers more than any other book ever written, many people are wholly unfamiliar with the original language. This causes some confusion and misunderstanding especially if you get your religious philosophy from Time magazine. Some misunderstandings regarding the spiritual messages from the Torah can easily be cleared up without spending years studying the language. There are some key mistakes that are the cause of major glitches that should be corrected.

Here is one of the Top Ten Mistranslations:

Ùß ê×ê âÙßâ - "Ayin tachas ayin" - An eye for an eye.
(Ex.-21:24, Lev.-24:20, Deut.-19:21)

Ask your average layman if they are familiar with this phrase and what it means and you'll hear that - of course that is the famous Biblical verse advocating taking revenge on your enemies. Although other peoples all over the world have sanctioned revenge in various forms, even officially in the Code of Hammurabi and Babylonian Law, the Torah is quite clear that revenge is forbidden; it is a transgression stated in Leviticus 19:18 "Thou shalt not take revenge." People think the Torah advocates revenge when in reality it forbids it.
This misunderstanding is so pervasive, being misquoted in books and magazines, even by spiritual and knowledgeable people like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. that it is almost useless trying to convince people otherwise. But if you want to know the real Torah; the one that has guided spiritual people for 3300 years, you should know the truth.
It is truly unfortunate that not only do people misunderstand the true message of the Torah, but they use this mistranslation to malign the Jewish people, who historically are shown to be extremely non-vengeful compared with other nations.

Two types of revenge

To be clear, there are two types of "revenge" that need to be separated. One is a private type of revenge where a person takes it upon himself to exact retribution when someone did him wrong. This, the Torah says, is clearly immoral. When we do that we are playing God. It's the Almighty's job to right wrongs, carry out punitive justice and correct the imbalances in the world. When we are slighted we naturally want to retaliate. We want to make things "even". But that feeling is disconnected from God and spirituality. We need to channel those feelings inward and ask why the event happened in the first place. Is there a lesson I need to learn? Am I leaving myself unprotected? Is there a message from the Almighty concerning my spiritual growth?
We need to remind ourselves that God still runs the world. If someone stole $100. from me, the Almighty has many ways of returning me the money, and many ways of taking the profit away from the thief. God doesn't need my help in carrying out His justice. Kabbalistic "karma" has many ways to right a wrong. Which leads us to the second type of "revenge".

The second type is a formal revenge that a court of law carries out. The courts, being human, are incapable of carrying out true divine justice. But they do have a duty to provide society with a system of justice that is fair, promotes harmony in society, and presents criminals with punishments or consequences that help prevent crimes against other citizens so we can live in harmony. Every society tries to develop a justice system that is objective and wise. Non-Torah systems sometimes included the possibility for the criminal who maims to be himself maimed. This, even when carried out by an objective court, the Torah also says is not right, and provides an alternative through monetary compensation. We are instructed NOT to carry out either of these two types of revenge.

Courts of Law

So what does this phrase an eye for an eye mean in the Torah? It is a poetic phrase in the context of court cases and instructions for judges. If a person injures another to the point of causing that person to lose an eye, there is a monetary fine paid. An eye is priceless and can't be replaced, but the court is mandated to issue a fine nonetheless. Some say it also means that the aggressor should feel as if they deserves to have his/her eye taken out, but of course the courts are not going to do that.
(On a side note, an interesting commentary by Rabbi Eliahu of Vilna explains that since the word "tachas" literally means "under", you can look at the Hebrew letters that spell "ayin" which are ayin, yud, nun, and pick out the letters underneath which are pey, chaf, samech, - the letters that spell "kesef", the Hebrew word for money.)

One eye is taken for an eye

If your neighbor leaves a severed pig's head on your porch, you will naturally feel like retaliating. As is often the case, human beings seem to be projecting their feelings onto the Torah and finding a phrase that supports their feelings. We would like to carry out revenge or have the court carry out revenge, so we justify it by attaching our feelings to this phrase. In fact, this phrase is so catchy and poetic that books, movies, and popular songs like "Bad Moon Rising" have used it many times.
But our feelings are holy and come from a good place, even our negative feelings. We want revenge because we crave justice and expect the world to work in a fair and honest way. Justice is part of Godliness and something our soul clings to strongly. But when this feeling gets confused with personal hurt, we channel it into the wrong direction. Whenever we feel personal hurt, the spiritual challenge is to try to channel it back to God. Seek His advice how to channel those feelings in the right direction through prayer, introspection, and understanding. Of course if we are legally allowed to seek payment for damages we should do so through an objective third party legal system. But ultimately the Almighty runs the world.

In short, the Torah advocates an official system of justice with courts and judgments that preclude personal vengeance, while clearly stating that personal revenge is a transgression. There is no room for doubt in this matter. Please spread the word.

Rabbi Max Weiman teaches spirituality and kabbalah on the web at http://www.kabbalahmadeeasy.com and his latest book A Simple Guide to Happiness: From a mystical perspective, is available on amazon.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Solving the Problem of Evil

By Brandon Songer

"If God exists, why is there evil? If God is all powerful, why doesn't he stop bad things from happening?"

This question arises based on a problem of perception and another based on lack of expansive knowledge.

-The Problem of Perception

Man, it's attempts to quantify and qualify what God is, has inadvertently projected human thinking and human ideas on it's concept of God. God is not man or a woman. God does not think like we do. It doesn't care about computers or fashion or nudity or the kinds of words you use. These are human concepts that try to box god into a specific limitation of religion. God is so much more than we can possibly imagine.

How aware of you of your kidney? How about the cells in your kidney? How about kidney cell number 143,254,239? Are you even aware of any of them? Of course not, yet you still care for them and wish them the best health and prosperity you can. You could even say you love them. You would not wish death on them and you would protect them if you knew they were threatened. However, you do not have a one on one relationship with any of them. In fact, there is such a vast size difference, such a vast intelligence difference between the two of you that it is impossible for you to relate to each other except on the most simple level, that of the desire to live.

The same holds true for our relationship with God.

God is an energy being that consists of the entire universe as its body. Entire Galaxies, containing billions of suns, each with their own planets and solar systems, are merely microscopic specks when compared to the universe as a whole. How much more insignificant are the individual planets themselves, of which you are like a single bacteria cell on the face of it, when compared to the Universe as a whole? Are we really so arrogant and selfish to believe that God is personally involved in our daily life? Who are we to decide how God will view us or treat us? It is because of ego that we feel that God should individually acknowledge us in a personal and special way. We are totally insignificant when compared to the whole. Yet we are all vital in the roles we fulfill as a whole.

Nature works on the concept of numbers. It knows that out of a litter of 10 puppies in the wild, 6 will probably be killed and maybe one or two will survive to fulfill its role of perpetuating the species. Rather than counting on those two, nature uses numbers to ensure the job gets done.

Those who serve the Universe are similar. The Force knows that most spiritual beings will fail to awaken or fail to fulfill their purpose. This is why it calls out to so many. Few even acknowledge this call, and fewer still follow the path through to it's conclusion. God loves us all enough to give us existence. But God will not come to you without effort on your part. If you wish to have a greater role, a greater connection to the Force, you must move closer, you must Awaken!

-Limited Knowledge.

The Ancient masters of the past have tried to tell us in their own ways what God was. They used the best knowledge they had at the time based on the level of development that man had attained. As time moves forward, mankind becomes more sophisticated in it's understanding. The philosophy of old has nearly become the common thinking of the intellectuals of today. Instead of a handful of Socrates' or Plato's now we have a small percentage of the population who has the same level of understanding. What was once extremely rare has become much more common while the rare has moved further into the unknown.

Because the intelligence and knowledge level of the average person in ancient times was limited, they concepts they had available to translate knowledge from the higher consciousness was very limited. They didn't have analogies like computer processing or airplanes or holographic technology. Even explaining something as a simple to us as a CD or a watch would have been nearly impossible.

When you read these ancient accounts and descriptions of what God is in books, you must take this limitation of language and concept into mind. It is simply an error of logic to assume they had it right the first time and that we should not attempt to refine our understanding by using modern terms with which we can better identify with.

The masters of the past were still learning about the way the universe worked as they went and did the best that they could. In the same way that we have a much better understanding of the human body because of years of research, many modern day masters and mystics have been able to distill the teachings of the old ones into a much purer form of knowledge. Knowledge that is much closer to the ultimate truth. Sadly, not every teacher out there is doing this, the majority of them are simply following the old cookie cutter patterns and dead ends of history, but that is a discussion for another time.

-Why does evil exist?

In the beginning, there was nothing. There is a law in this dimension, this frequency of existence, that says "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." When the Force slowed it's vibration to enter into this dimension it caused a reaction. God is about life, experience and growth. When it entered this dimension it brought those and many other attributes with it.

But now the question must be asked, "Where is the opposite reaction to the Force entering this dimension? Where is the opposing force to God's presence?"

That opposing force is the darkside. The darkside is anti-life. It does not want growth or experience. Its goal is to make all existence cease and return to absolute nothingness. Evil exits because of this opposing force of energy. Now, understand that I am not talking about petty human ideas of evil like shoplifting or cheating on your wife, I am talking about things that suppress life and experience. There is very little that you can actually label "evil". The majority of what is considered evil is actually based on man made systems of morality. These systems change based on time, culture, country, etc. If anything, these rules could be considered to be of the darkside because they inhibit free expression and experience by using guilt or fear of punishment for breaking these rules and customs.

Contrary to popular belief, God is not all knowing. If it was, there would be no reason for any of this to exist. God is here, in this dimension, to learn. It learns through the living beings that inhabit the Universe. It learns indirectly through our experiences. The darkside wishes to suppress and end this experience, to stop life, to stop expansion and novelty. God cannot simply snap its "fingers" and make the darkside go away. This dimension has laws that govern its workings and everything that exists in it must abide by these rules. Miracles are certainly possible but if you bend the rules too often or too greatly there is always a backlash that attempts to "right the program" and restore balance to the system. If there was no evil, no darkside, the Force would have no opponent. God would have nothing to struggle against in order to develop its consciousness.

-There is a Choice

Whose efforts will you ultimately serve?

The darkside and the Force are opposing forces with opposite agendas. As a spiritual being you must choose to actively support one or the other, otherwise you will support the darkside by default.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing"

Spiritual beings exist to enhance the growth of the Force and resist the influence of the darkside. We are the spiritual immune system for the planet and for the Universe. Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of assuming that only God exists in this dimension as some non dual traditions have incorrectly related. If there is nothing to struggle against there would be no growth and without growth there is no reason to exist. There must be an opposing force, an opposing intelligence to God in this dimension and that is the darkside.

Higher Balance Institute is the world leader in advanced programs for spiritual growth and development of the psychic sense. It is the most comprehensive and unique program of its kind, designed to produce direct, real personal paranormal experiences to learn from. Our mission is simple - to awaken the world one mind at a time. For more information, free eBooks, classes and videos visit us at The Higher Balance Institute.

God Has Two Personalities in the Bible - Here's Why

By Carol Van Krieken

This writing is only intended to provoke serious contemplation of what I will share with you about my own understanding of the "truths" the scriptures impart to us. I can tell you from my own experience that these concepts have remained misunderstood by most and maybe even by all who have read them. To understand why this is so, read in the Bible Matthew 11: 25-26, Luke 11:13, John 15:26, John 16:7-15, I John 2:27. It is not necessary, but it would help tremendously if you also read the book 'Propaganda: The Formation of Man's Attitudes' by Jacques Ellul, translated by K. Kellen and J. Lerner and published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1964. I have never come across another book like it for exposing, in depth, the power propaganda has on society at large. It permeates every aspect of life including our "religious" beliefs!

The large majority of people who profess to be Christian have always relied on 'supposedly' informed religious men, such as their ministers or priests to help them understand the Bible. I found myself in a position of utter frustration with the clergy. What I got from them and anyone else I turned to was either more confusion or evasion. If this sounds like your own personal experience, then perhaps what follows will be the beginning of your enlightenment.

Haven't you read the Bible and wondered that God seems to have two personalities? In Hebrews 13:8 Paul says that "Christ is the same yesterday, today and always". How else can a good and perfect God be? He couldn't be contrary to Himself. If Christ is the same yesterday, today and always, wouldn't the same hold true for His father? Why then does God command one thing and then later make an opposing command? For instance, He commands us not to eat certain foods in the Old Testament because He considers them unclean (Deuteronomy 14:3-21) and then later God in Christ tells us (in Mark 7:14-20) that it is NOT food that makes us unclean. "....Nothing that goes into a person from the outside can really make him unclean, ... It is what comes out of a person that makes him unclean". This has confused me as have so many other contradictions in the scriptures. I do not find contradiction on the subject of unclean foods between what Christ says about it and what the apostles and Paul says about it, only between the Old Testament scriptures and the teachings of Christ. However, there are other issues where I do find contradiction between Christ's teachings and the writings of the apostles and Paul, so not all the contradictions are between the Old and New Testament only. It is not necessary for this writing to expound on all these issues. It is only important to point out that these contradictions exist. I can only conclude that this is because, at the time of their writings, they did not yet understand all that Christ taught. John 7:38-40 says that "the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus has not yet been raised to glory". If Jesus had not yet been raised to glory, then He could not yet send the Comforter, the Helper, who is the Spirit of Truth. Refer again to John 16: 7-15, particularly verse 13, "When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth". We see there that the apostles could not possibly understand what Christ taught yet because He had not yet sent the "Spirit of Truth", the Comforter. This could only be done after Christ was "raised to glory".

Concerning Paul's epistles, we must keep in mind that they were written during the time when he was trying to establish the Church for new Christians and had to give them the "milk" to get it started. The tragedy is that only Paul's early letters are preserved and included into the, supposedly, divinely established Holy Bible. I believe that Paul did not, at the time of these writings, understand Christ's teachings either. Most all the epistles in the New Testament give us the mere milk of basic Christian doctrines. This is what we find in most of Paul's epistles, especially when he writes about worldly matters.

Following are just a few examples of the contradictions I refer to between the Old and New Testament:

There is the story of Job that gives one pause to consider why God would speak to Job in such a fashion as to make Job ashamed for questioning God's wisdom while suffering so much misery? A good and perfect God who IS Love (I John 4:8) cannot expect His creation to bare all suffering without wondering why he is being allowed to suffer so, especially when he was such a good and faithful servant. God also blesses Job with much wealth and a beautiful wife before and after his suffering, but Christ tells us that "it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than a rich man to go to Heaven". Why then does He give Job riches? There are many occasions when Christ tells us to not store up treasures here on earth. He says we cannot serve God and Mammon. Thus we can see that God in the Old Testament speaks of blessings as earthly blessings, but Christ speaks mostly about the Kingdom of Heaven and spiritual blessings. Christ did not have wealth when he walked the earth. If material blessings were important as a means for God to show His love for Christ, then he would have given them to Christ. What does come across in everything Christ says and does is that material blessings are not the same as spiritual blessings and that material blessings are not from His Father! They fool one into thinking that they are important and hence that this world is important.

In Deuteronomy 19: 21 God says that punishment for those who commit crimes and those who falsely accuse one of such crimes is to be "a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot." However, Christ says (Matthew 5:38),"You have heard that itwas said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth'. But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also." [Bold is for emphasis]. This is such a clear contradiction of revenge versus forgiveness.

This leads naturally to what I see as the most confusing aspect of the entire Christian faith -- the Law. First, though, we must be in agreement with the idea that a good and perfect God Who IS Love can not by His very nature, insist on being loved, obeyed or worshiped by us as a requirement for receiving His love or the reward of eternal life. That is not love. When He creates He gives free will to the one He created because that is the only way love can be expressed between the Creator and the one created. Also, as our Creator, He would know that we are not capable of obeying His Law, so then, why give us the Law in the first place? Why would a good and perfect and loving God set up such a system for His created ones knowing that they will fail? We are told in Galatians 3: 24 and other scriptures in the New Testament that "the purpose of the Law is to lead us to Christ because the Law is powerless to save us." So, Law is thus a pointer. It points to Christ as our only way to be saved from sin. Once we understand that we need Christ in order to be redeemed then we must consider what Christ says about the Law. The first personality of God is one that demands obedience or suffer His wrath. It's either obey and receive His (worldly) blessings or disobey and receive His punishment (curses). In the New Testament when we are introduced to Jesus Christ we see an entirely different personality. This one offers forgiveness for sin and the reward of eternal life. How can this be when God is the same yesterday, today and always? So now let's look at some of the things that Jesus said that pertain to the Law. The first time Jesus mentions the Law is in Matthew 5:17-20. He says "Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true. Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with. So then, whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be least in the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys the Law and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. I tell you, then, that you will be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires." (Good News Bible) Now this is quite different from what God says about obeying the law in the Old Testament where He only promises punishment (curses) for disobedience and blessings for obedience. There is no mention of entering the Kingdom of Heaven. However, even though this instruction from Jesus is different from what God says in the Old Testament, He still is telling us that we are to be concerned with obeying the Law. In John 6:28-29 (and other scriptures) however, Jesus says "What God wants you to do is to believe in the one He sent". So now Christ tells us that it is not one's obedience to the Law that God wants, but one's belief in Jesus, who God sent to us. Since we know that Christ came to set us free from our sin, why then does He say earlier on that one must obey the law to enter the Kingdom. (It is interesting to note, and it gives us a clue, that when Jesus refers to the Law He calls it the "Law of Moses" and does not say the Law of my Father. [The KJV does not say Law of Moses in Matthew 5:17-20, but there are many other places where Jesus does refer to the Law as the Law of Moses]). So now we are still left with the dilemma of why God changes His plan for us, from obeying the Law to believing in who Jesus is in order to be set free, if He is the same yesterday, today and always. We know a God who is good and perfect and IS Love cannot be any other way, right?

This seemingly dual personality was so disturbing to me that I was going into despair over it. I wanted so much to make sense of it. It was when I began to wonder about and contemplate the things I observed about my own life experiences and life in general and how it all relates to what the scriptures say that a revelation began to unfold. Here is where I will be so bold as to propose to you a question for your consideration. Could it be that the God in the Old Testament is not the same God that Jesus speaks about as being His Father? Could it be that Jesus' mission was to introduce us to the 'true' God, in contradistinction to the prevailing 'false' god, Jehovah (the Evil One)? (Read John 12:31, John 14, particularly verses 6 -7 and 17. Read also, John 15: 26-27, John 16: 7-16, John 17: 3 and John 18: 37). It is necessary to read these scriptures before continuing with this writing.When Jesus speaks of the ruler of this world (John 16:11) He is obviously not speaking about His Father. When Jesus says to His Father, "eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and know Jesus Christ, whom you sent", this certainly implies there is a false god. This is further verified in John 8: 31-47. In verse 44 Jesus says to the Jewish authorities, "You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father's desires ..." These are very revealing statements, and open up another subject for future discussion, but let us just focus on the identity of this Devil character. Jesus calls him the "father of lies" further on in verse 44. His character is that of one who deceives (by lies). Couldn't it be that the father of lies is Jehovah and that he is an imposter, so to speak, and has deceived man from the beginning of time into believing that he is the true God? Read and contemplate Genesis 1, 2 &3. It is very confusing indeed, because the message is very deep. Adam and Woman/Eve were deceived in the Garden of Eden, which is not of this earth (more on this later) and believed a lie about God (the true God) and that is how they fell from being in an environment of Truth with the true God, into an environment of Untruth with the false God. The true God gave His creation free will but warned them that if they ate of a certain tree (the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) they "will surely die". He was stating a fact about what happens when one eats of this certain tree. Doesn't it make sense then that this specific tree is this universe created by Jehovah, where he reigns? The true God gave Jehovah free will and He gave Adam and Woman/Eve free will. When He tells Adam and Woman they will die, it means they will no longer be living in Truth where life is eternal, but will then be separated from Him and will be in an environment of Untruth, in other words, based on lies. He is telling them they will be dead to Him because He lives only in an environment of Truth. They will take on an embodiment that perishes. If this is what happened to Adam and Eve, couldn't it also be true for all mankind? A good and perfect God who IS love would not force all His created ones out of His environment into an environment of Untruth just because Adam and Eve chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Each of His created ones would have been given free will also. Therefore, we all must have made the same choice as Adam and Eve and, by doing so, entered this "universe". Genesis is the story of Adam and Eve who believed Jehovah (the serpent who told them a lie about what god said), and I say it also represents the fall of all souls who believed Jehovah and thus partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It will take another writing indeed to expound on why it is referred to as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It will eventually become apparent to all who embrace what is being revealed in this writing.

In light of all this, wouldn't it make sense that Jehovah is the god who gave us the Law, and for those who do NOT seek the Way to the true God, the Law stands? Now let's return to Matthew 5:17-20. We should see that Jesus was speaking then about the way things stand for those who do not understand that He is the son of the true god, and instead believe he was sent by Jehovah. Knowing this and taking this scripture into consideration in the context of everything else Jesus says, we still can only conclude that we are set free of the Law through Christ. "You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free" (John 8:32). He again says in John 14:6 "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Here again He says that He is the Truth, and He is the only Way to His Father, not obedience to the Law. (If Jesus keeps hammering so much about TRUTH, then he must be telling us that, presently, we are following Untruth). We can see that Jesus' mission, which was to introduce us to the true God by setting the stage for the Comforter to make His entrance, could only be accomplished by playing a dual role!

It makes sense then that for those who do not know the true God, they would still be under the Law which Jehovah established! I can see that the only way Jesus could be permitted by Jehovah, the father of lies, and the god of this universe, to say those things that would inform us that there is another God, the God of Truth, is that he had to speak primarily in a manner that pleased Jehovah. They had made a deal, so to speak. Jesus was limited by all the restraints and conditions Jehovah placed on Him. Jesus spoke as the Messiah sent by Jehovah and said very little about His true Father. That is why Jesus had to send the Comforter for His message to be understood by anyone at all. It was also important for Him to inform us that He will be sending the Comforter to lead us into all Truth so that we would know not to trust anyone else to the job. Jesus said "knock and the door shall be opened", "seek and you will find". This is the only way one can find Truth. You must seek it with all your heart, which means being willing to let go of traditional Christian doctrines, and be lead by the Comforter. It will not be found sitting in a church pew or attending Bible Study classes. That is for certain!

I found it very disturbing whenever I read Matthew 7:13, 14. Christ said "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it." Now I can clearly see how that can happen, as organized religion will not get you there! The clergy only know about the false god, who deceived us into eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They are "the blind leading the blind".

You may ask, "who then is Satan?" It should become clear once you understand who Jehovah really is that Satan is another entity altogether, who tries to tempt us away from Jehovah. Jesus had to contend with Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11) who tried to tempt Him away from Jehovah. It is a spiral of deceit, you see, but that is a subject for another writing also.

The idea of the existence of two gods, one Good, and the other Evil disguised as light (Good), most certainly explains the dual personalities of God. The Old and New Testaments cannot be harmonized any other way. Only a world created from lies could be corruptible as we can all agree it is, and since we know that a Good and perfect God could never lie, it must be another god who created this universe. The false god can create things that are seemingly good like the beauty of nature, love (what we perceive as love, but is a poor imitation of the love the true Father has for His Son), reproduction, science, et al, but they are not good. They are all part of a deception. They deceive us into seeking our treasures here on earth and clinging to our physical life. They fool us into believing in the false god as the true god, and so we worship him, give thanks to him and have no other god before him. Jesus said "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone". I always thought that was a very strange thing for Jesus to say since He was the Son of God, so of course He is good. He is actually telling us that nothing that exists in this physical environment is good.

Since we were given free will by the true God in the Garden of Eden, after we fell from the Garden we then had another option to either follow Jehovah (supposed Good) or Satan (Evil) in this physical environment, just like we were given the freedom to choose between the true God and the Serpent, (Jehovah) in the Garden of Eden. Before Christ came we had only the choice to follow Jehovah or Satan. After Jesus Christ came we were then given the added option of following Him or Jehovah or Satan. Just as Jehovah tempted us away from the true God, it is Satan's purpose to tempt us away from Jehovah (and the true God)-"as above, so below". Read the beginning of the story of Job when Satan speaks to god about Job. The true God cannot exist in the same environment as Satan. Christ did meet with Satan during His fast in the desert, but that was in the flesh. Therefore, the God who speaks to Job cannot be the true God. (We already discussed other evidence of why the God who blesses and curses Job cannot be the true God). The way I see it, if Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) so can Jehovah. As I said previously, there is a downward spiral of deceit and at every level there is a war between (assumed Good) and Evil to win our devotion. Christ came to offer us a chance to return to the true God (Good). It is up to us to make that choice or stay with the false God (supposed Good). In this writing I will not get involved with the issue of what happens if we make the choice, knowingly or unknowingly, to stay with the false god, because it would take volumes to do so and would be digressing too much from the main point of this writing.

It is significant to point out, that in Genesis Chapter 1 there is a different creation taking place than the one in Chapter 2, which explains the confusion one may have as to why the order of creation in Chapter 1 is different from the order in Chapter 2. In Chapter 1 all living creatures are created first, and human beings are created last. In Chapter 2 man is created first, then "God planted a garden in Eden", then all animals and birds were created and then Woman is created. Here is the crux of the matter. If there are two creations, then it makes perfect sense that there are two gods who created them-- one is the "father of lies" and the other is the father of Truth. There can be no other explanation for the two personalities of God that we encounter and struggle with in the Bible.

This writing is meant to be a turning point for those who are seeking, as I was, for the meaning of this life, and our purpose in it. The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, is the only way to get understanding and that is really the message I am trying to convey with this writing. The Comforter will do the rest for you. He will guide you, but you must first arrive at the point where you can see there is no other way; and that is what I hope I have accomplished. Once you see that this is so, then you too will be contacted by the Comforter, who will guide you out of the darkness. And when your physical body perishes, you--the real you-- will be with the True Father!

Carol van Krieken owned her own business and worked many years in banking and in real estate. She and her husband have been avid readers of the Bible for many years while studying the history of early Christendom and its progression to what it is today. Shocking discoveries were made along the way and are now available to the public in a new book. For more information see http://thetruthabout-reality.com

The Formation Of Methodist Churches

The Methodist denomination from United States adopted the name Methodist Church by the reunion of northern and southern factions of the Evangelical United Brethren church with the Methodist protestant church in the year 1939. The Methodist church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren church in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church. It is the largest Methodist denomination. In United States it ranks as the largest main line church tracing its main roots to the Methodist movement “The Holy Club”. It grew rapidly in the young country as it employed circuit riders, many of whom were laymen, to travel the mostly rural nation by horseback to preach the Gospel and to establish churches until there was scarcely any village in the United States without a Methodist presence. It became the largest Protestant denomination in the country, with approximately 4000 circuit riders by 1844.

The two general conferences, or the northern section and the South remained separated until the 1939 merger of these two denominations plus a third, The Methodist Protestant Church, the resulting church being known as The Methodist church. On April 23, 1968, The United Methodist Church was created which joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. With the words,

“Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church,”

The new denomination had influential ministries in various parts of the world. The church is decentralized with the General Conference being the official governing body. The General Conference being the legislative branch of the church that would make all the decisions. Council of Bishops being the executive branch consisting of all active and retired bishops that would meet twice a year to speak to the church and from the church to the world, and to give leadership in the quest for Christian unity and interreligious relationships. The present would serve a two year term and would have no official authority beyond presiding. The Judicial Council or the judicial branch consisting of nine persons to rule on questions of constitutionality in church law and practice.

The United Methodist Church is a Protestant denomination which seeks to create disciples for Christ through outreach, evangelism, and through seeking holiness through the process of sanctification. With the focus on triune worship, the Church seeks to bring honor to God by following model of Jesus Christ, which is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. The flame in the church logo represents the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, which is seen in believers through the spiritual gifts. The two parts of the flame represent the predecessor denominations, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, and are united at the base symbolizing the 1968 merger.

By: sharma

Visit wedding venues atlanta in inman park at www.inmanparkumc.org/