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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bible Stories Through Children's Eyes

By: Aleena Denison

Sometimes I find it a challenge to teach kids biblical facts in a way that is easy for them to understand; a way that won't get confused or jumbled or mixed with all of the other things that they're trying to learn about the world in which they live. However, it's always fun to hear kids' responses to what you've taught them. Sometimes you want to laugh at their interpretations, especially when they're so very serious, and I've found that it's a good idea to keep a notebook of their innocently jumbled definitions:

"Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something."

"Samson slayed his enemies by pulling down the pillows of the temple."

"One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites."

"Moses died before he ever reached Canada."

"The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him."

"In the gospel of Luke, they named Jesus Enamel."

"Jesus gave the golden rule which says, 'do one to others before they do one to you.'"

"Jesus' followers were called the 12 decibels."

"Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans."

"The worst of the disciples was Judas Asparagus, and he was so bad they named a terrible vegetable after him."

"Jesus healed many leopards and preached to some Germans on a mount."

"David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar."

"Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients."

Anyone who works with kids could probably add many more definitions and opinions like these to the list, and although at times it's hard for children to understand the full meaning of some Bible stories, there is one thing that they should understand without confusion-- the way of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. When they truly understand what the Bible is all about, they'll be so excited to share with others! Imagine, a child's enthusiasm combined with an understanding of the truth of God's Word! Now that is hard to resist!

But the question is: How does one help children understand the message of the Bible? Is there anything specific that can be done? Since much of the curriculum for teaching children the Bible is presented in intriguing story form, why not try telling the Bible stories in order from beginning to end, with one overall theme? If children can be taught how that Jesus was promised from the time of Adam, and how He fulfilled (and will fulfill) everything that was promised to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., they will begin to understand the history and purpose of their world, and even their own lives.

One young girl shared a book about the Bible's message (from creation to Christ) with a friend who came to spend the night. By the following morning, the friend had believed in Jesus as her Savior. If this young girl didn't understand the Gospel or its importance, she would have had no interest in sharing it, or if she had, it would have been even more confusing to her friend. Take the challenge of making sure kids around you understand exactly what the Gospel is, and how to share it with others.

Aleena Denison has a heart for seeing the message of the Bible presented in a clear way,and is dedicated to sharing Jesus with the lost and helping believers see their responsibilities in evangelism, discipleship, and Bible study. For more information and free downloads, see http://www.goodseed.com

John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Signs of True Christian Conversion & the Power of God

By Steve Wickham

True salvation inevitably brings with it some level
of true repentance toward a transformed mind, goals, and manifest
behaviours. We not only think differently, we start to act differently
too, as we seek to live in a more morally-accountable way.

True
repentance is not always connected with true (or new) salvation. Anyone
can truly repent. All it seems is required (to draw on God's power and
grace) is sufficient humility in response to the exposed truth, which
engenders deep reflection at the heart level, toward a turning from
one's old ways to the new.

I said to someone only recently, I
have more problems at sin than most. This is because I see myself from
my own God-revealed state--though not condemning--a resultant
bliss-filled benefactor of his rich portions of grace. I currently have
two known areas of self-acknowledged sin (which to some might be that
minor they'd hardly warrant reflection--but to me, a child of a holy
God, these are to be worked on until completion i.e. eradication by
God's grace one moment at a time).

I read recently a beautifully
incisive description of what true repentance is, and this explains in
part why it's so hard. It describes repentance as being beyond simple
regret, and that for us is easy to explain. Regret is sorrow over an act whereas repentance is sorrow because of an act; two quite divergent responses on the moral plane.[1]

Repentance,
furthermore, is split into two forms. And this is the key to uncovering
why at times, when we're frustrated by ongoing sin, we don't become
delivered from it.

Repentance is engaged by sorrow rooted in us hurting relationships
by our acts and omissions, not the least of which our relationship with
God. It starts viscerally--from deep within. It's manifest sorrow for
the hurt caused to another, even to God directly.

The power of
true repentance toward a transformed mind, heart and hence, behaviour,
is the resurrection power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

When we
truly repent at the heart level (reaching the deep emotions because we
begin to comprehend the impact of our behaviour on relationships) and
not simply leave it at the intellectual level of the act itself, the
power of God's Spirit sweeps powerfully through us, giving us
confidence and poise to do the thing he wishes us to do, one day at a
time.

We hence become intrinsically motivated to make our
relationships right; to restore the virtuous balance. We're prepared to
pay whatever restitution is required.

And this is why the Lord's
discipline in the form of resonant life consequences is so critically
important; though we like it not! The consequences force us to decide.
Do we submit in humility or reject the rebuke in pride (our default is,
of course, the latter).

Consequences and restitution also
propound the lesson, helping us truly learn so we don't make the same
mistakes again or as much.

The sign of true conversion, the witness of the 'circumcised heart' then, is the willing and almost enthusiastic response to all
life rebukes, in an honourable and dignified way, and not from excess
guilt or shame. (God's got no interest in us feeling excessively guilty
or shame-ridden; that's the lot of the enemy.)

This is the
resonant echo of the risen Christ in us as we bear our respective
crosses over the whole lifespan. For repentance is as much a part of
the Christian's journey as any other part, and possibly more. It's
uniquely inherent in the Christian walk.

And this is the best
sign of true conversion; does resurrection life flow through the person
in these circumstances or not? That's got to be the test question.

Whether
the person's been Christian 80 minutes or 80 years, the same fact
remains. Can they call upon the power and grace of God to truly repent
unto life eternal?

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

[1] Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo, Let the Children Come, Along the Virtuous Way: Growing Kids God's Way (Happy Valley, South Australia: Growing Families Australia, 2002), p. 205, 210.

Steve
Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, MSIA, RSP) and a
qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min).


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prayer - Who Shall We Pray For?

By Jan Tincher

The abducted or the abductor?

The Spirit of God is in us all.

When we get nervous and upset, anxious and afraid, filled with hate and losing the feeling of love, who shall we pray for?

When
we know that something bad has happened and our stomach gets tight, our
feelings are close to the surface, and we are fast losing hope, who
shall we pray for?

When something is not going our way and we are raising our voices against injustice, who shall we pray for?

Who
should we pray for? We should pray for ourselves. How? May the words in
my mouth and the feelings in my heart be acceptable to You, Oh Lord.
Then act accordingly.

People react differently. If you are feeling the love of God in you, you act and react divinely.

If
someone who didn't know you saw what you were going through, even as a
bystander, who would they tend to pray for? You. Because in those
times, you've lost sight of God.

The Spirit of God is in us all.

ASSUME
that God is taking care of the world, because -- and get this straight
-- He is. None of our anxiety, hatred, or hopelessness is going to
change that. Change what you can -- change how YOU feel.

FEEL the love of God when you are facing difficulties. Let Him heal YOU.

Does
that sound selfish? If we have bitterness in our heart, how can we take
care of others? If we have hatred in our hearts, well, how can we help
with hatred? Is that God's way? I don't think so. If we have LOVE, we
are spreading what? LOVE! And doesn't that feel grand?

God is
taking care of the world -- why should we get nervous or upset, anxious
or afraid, filled with hatred or lose the feeling of love?

God is
taking care of the world -- why should our stomach get tight, our
feelings be close to the surface, and we be fast losing hope?

God
is taking care of the world -- why, when something is not going our
way, should we be raising our voices against injustice? It would be
like raising our voice against God. That isn't the path we have sought,
is it?

Do not we trust God to make everything all right? And when we feel that trust, don't things actually turn around?

Everyone
has their own path to walk. Let them walk it. Let them walk it with
your prayers as you take care of yourself. God and the Angels will take
care everyone else. Know that in place of sending your anxiety,
bitterness, or hatred to the situation, you have now decided to send
the Angels.

When the situation is over, ask the person you have
prayed for if they felt the flutter of little wings. Know that God is
everywhere. His messengers, the Angels, are with us always.

Do you want to meet your Angels? Jan Tincher, Angel Writer and award winning author, has a web site http://www.angelsarewithus.com and has been writing about Angels for over nine years. You can read some of her articles here: http://www.angelsarewithus.com/articles1.htm Jan helps you bridge the gap between you and your Angels. This will definitely change your life.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Words Are Powerful - But Only God Places the Power Behind Words

By Mia Stubbs

Shared Thoughts!

In God's word it states that there is life or death in the power of the tongue, but it is our Father that puts power behind the words! Just as He watches over His Children, He also watches over words that are spoken against us! He has given us a wonderful text for our mental comfort, a cushioned pillow text to sleep on "No Weapon Formed Against Us Shall Prosper, Every Tongue That Rise Against Us, We Shall Condemn"!

The true purpose of "No weapon formed shall prosper" is to protect the mind of the person being targeted by the enemy, whether it is the enemy gossiping, manipulating, using false insinuations to the mind, or the enemy using an individual while in casual conversation to tear down the spirit of another. The main tool as stated previously in this book is that the enemy uses gossip to destroy the mind of mankind. The enemy loves to try to bully God's beautiful children, and the main way is through gossip of the mind.

From the beginning of time, the enemy has tried to use gossip of the mind, manipulation and insinuations of the mind to removed God's children off the path designed by God. This fact is evident when he cunningly convinced one third of the angels to turn against God in Heaven. It was even more evident when he deceived and convinced Eve that disobedience to God would be more profitable to her, then obedience to God.

The powerful phrase, "No weapon formed against you, shall prosper," has been given as the answer key for mankind to walk in victory physically, spiritually and mentally. This powerful phrase is designed to be the cushioned pillow of peace, to sleep at night. It is the mental medicine of the mind, body and soul.

The enemy has unfortunately tried to convince mankind that there is no power in speaking with authority God's words for us, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper." The tactic he used, was to have mankind feel as though such powerful words stated in the Bible, given by God, Our Creator, were made simply for those in the Bible at that time, and that any passage stated in God's word, holds no weight of power now. This is another deception of the enemy, to try to handicap God's children, so that we will feel that there is no hope. This is his way of being a bully to the mind. This is the very reason why God created this verse, so that we would have a weapon to fight back against the enemy, to protect our mind.

How many times in conversation, have you been sharing with someone something great in life you would like to do? Some healing you would like to receive; and somewhere in the conversation, the enemy has used that person to tell you that your desired plans will not work, or your healing may not come, or will not come. Recognize that is the spirit of the enemy using that individual without them even knowing it. God has promised in His word, that He has already conquered the world, and all that we need to be victorious, through His blood. So all things are attainable in Him, wisdom, knowledge, healing, our desires, whatever we seek to allow us to progress forward, has already been conquered through Him.

So words only have power, when our Father puts the power behind it! This is great comfort for all!

God Is Love,
Mia Stubbs

Author Mia F. Stubbs shares her experience of gossip, and how it affected her life. She shares how gossip is a disease that most overlook. Her personal experience with gossip has given her the gift of sharing to many, her expressions of thoughts in writing. She points out how most people do not communicate what they feel verbally due to their inner silence. Through sharing her personal life experiences of gossip, it will result in being a warning or a comfort to another. She shares how a lot of the times, people do not share their pain with others, due to their feelings of being embarrassed, feelings that no one would understand, or the feelings of being judged. Not sharing your experiences can prevent the growth of another. In writing "Stop the Gossiping" book, it has been the bandages for her open wounds inflicted by others through gossip! Her openness in her book about gossip has opened a pathway of healing that has been long overdue and has given her the victory over her inner silence!!!

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

God is Waiting For You With Open Arms

By Jan Tincher

God is waiting for you with open arms. If He hasn't
appeared in your life as much as you would like, it could be because of
one of three reasons.

You might have a misunderstanding of the will of God.
You might have a tendency toward self-denial.
You might have a victim consciousness.

For
instance, many people practice blind acceptance of their circumstances
because they feel it is God's will. They may use the excuse that karmic
debts are being repaid and that there is no escape from the conditions.
How long do you think retribution continues? Any action producing
adverse circumstances can be neutralized by right action. If you
produce right action, then Karma, the Law of Cause and Effect, is
neutralized.

Knowing this, why let it continue? Why not make
amends and get on with your life the way you want it? God is waiting
for you with open arms.

Each individual controls his or her own
destiny, and to blame your difficulties on God's retribution is a
travesty. God IS love. Errors can be transformed into freedom from the
negative effect through the same law, and the transformation is
essentially immediate. Why not make amends, and get on with your life
the way you want it? Again, God is waiting for you with open arms.

Go
into life knowing what you want and capture all the happiness and joy
you can handle. Forget the past with its self-imposed limitations.
People do not have to 'bear' anything, and life is magnificent for
those who escape from the unwanted situations of their own
construction. Why not make amends, and get on with your life the way
you want it? Again, God is waiting for you with open arms.

Spirit
only works through like mind of one accord. God's mind is never of
helplessness, remorse, unhappiness, hatred or inadequacy. If you raise
your mind to God's you can conquer all your old feelings and start
feeling the power.

Thanks for reading.

Do you want to meet your Angels? Jan Tincher, Angel Writer and award winning author, has a web site http://www.angelsarewithus.com and has been writing about Angels for over nine years. You can read some of her articles here: http://www.angelsarewithus.com/articles1.htm Jan helps you bridge the gap between you and your Angels. This will definitely change your life.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Overcoming Selfishness

By Theo Stringer

How often have we judged people, conditions, or
events based upon what we know about them? On the other hand how much
do we really know about the people we meet, the things we see, the
events and circumstances of life? If we are really honest with
ourselves we would have to admit that we don't know nearly as much as
we want people to think we do.

 

If truth be told the more we live or interact with our closest
relatives and friends, the more we realize that we don't know them like
we thought we did. An even frightening reality is; "the longer we live the more we find out about ourselves."

 

Thus having judged people, and situations based upon what we
thought we knew about them and later found we were all wrong, can we
honestly evaluate anything based on what we know about them? How can we
judge fairly when we are so limited in our knowledge and understanding?
The answer is that we can't.

 

In order for us deal with people or circumstances objectively and
appropriately, we must have precise knowledge about them. Ah, but you
may say that is impossible for anyone, and I say that you are right.
However what things that are impossible with men are possible with God.
Only He is infinite in wisdom and knowledge.

 

The apostle Paul wrote; "To live is Christ," and thus we do all
things through Him. This means that our lives are lived in union with
Jesus in total dependency upon Him. Therefore as we abide Him and He
lives in us, we are able to rightly deal with life and all its
circumstances, as well as interact with people through Him.

 

If that is so; "why do so many believers struggle to live the Christian life even with Jesus living within them?"
The answer is clear. Jesus said; "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the
branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in Me" (John 15:4). We were created
to live in union with Christ just as the branch lives in union with the
vine. This means that Christ is the center of our lives. Thus all things are of Him, through Him, and to Him, and not us.

 

However when we are self-centered (walking after the flesh),
we will become unproductive and discontent in life. Consequently by
operating independently of Christ who is the source of our
fruitfulness, by default leaves us barren.

 

Jesus is our contentment, not people, conditions or things. Jesus
plus nothing is our all. As we abide in Him, He satisfies us
independently of people or circumstances. Jesus said in Matthew
11:28-30 from the Message Bible; "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out
on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life.
I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with
me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay
anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll
learn to live freely and lightly."

 

As simple as this may sound; "When we are not trusting in Jesus we are trusting in ourselves, and thus to trust in ourselves is to be selfish." So as long as we trust in ourselves we will never enjoy rest because it can only be experience when Jesus is our center.

 

Selfishness has been the dilemma of mankind since the fall. Yet few of us (saints or sinners) would dare to admit that we are selfish. Yet all the while we see ourselves as God in the center of our universe, i.e. (in control of our own lives),
and thus we view and deal with life from that standpoint. This is the
reason for much of our frustration with people, circumstances, or
events when they don't agree with our point of view.

 

It is from this limited standpoint that we worry when it seems like
there is not enough money. It is from this same center that we are
easily offended as well as despise those who don't see life the way we
do, when in reality God (who is love) is the core of our new life. What's more, from this center we perform all types of religious activities, i.e. praise, give, worship, fast and pray, and go to church etc. to get God to bless us.

 

Dear friend we are (already) blessed because Christ
is the center of our being; "for in Him we live, move and have our
being." In Ephesians 1:3 Paul writes; "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." This is what is, and not what will be after we have "did this or did that."
Jesus is our sufficiency right now! Thus as we abide in Him, the Holy
Spirit lead us in all the activities and circumstances of life - "to live is Christ."

Overcoming Selfishness
By: Theo Stringer

Theory
Stringer is the Pastor of the Community House of Prayer, and president
and founder of Cherubim Communications. He is the author of 4 books
that are designed to help ordinary people experience the abundant life.
Find out more about how you can get your Christian manuscript
published, as well as read the many articles available at: http://cherubimcommunications.com