What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Alem do Status Quo -- Beyond the Status Quo -- Au-dela du Statu Quo

http://teachervjcpjoani.blogspot.com/

BEYOND THE STATUS QUO
Dr. Jack Mezirow, professor emérito da Universidade de Columbia, EUA, acredita que um elemento essencial do aprendizado do adulto é desafiar nossas próprias percepções arraigadas e examinar criticamente os nossos discernimentos. Em renomado jornal americano, o dr. Mezirow afirma que os adultos aprendem melhor quando são confrontados com o que ele chama de “dilema desorientador” — algo que “o ajuda a refletir criticamente sobre as premissas adquiridas”. Isto é o oposto de dizer “Minha decisão está tomada — não me confunda com os fatos.”  Quando Jesus curou no sábado, Ele desafiou as crenças arraigadas de muitos líderes religiosos, que tentaram silenciá-lo (João 5:16-18). Jesus lhes disse: “Examinais as Escrituras, porque julgais ter nelas a vida eterna, e são elas mesmas que testificam de mim. Contudo, não quereis vir a mim para terdes vida” (vv.39-40).
Oswald Chambers observou: “Deus tem uma maneira de trazer fatos que perturbam as doutrinas de um homem, quando estas atrapalham o Seu acesso à sua alma.”
Experiências inquietantes que nos fazem questionar nossas premissas sobre o Senhor também podem levar-nos a compreensão e confiança mais profunda nele — se estivermos dispostos a repensar e aproximarmo-nos dele.
“A vida não questionada não merece ser vivida.” —Sócrates (RBC)

BEYOND THE STATUS QUO
Dr. Jack Mezirow, professor emeritus at Columbia Teachers College, believes that an essential element in adult learning is to challenge our own ingrained perceptions and examine our insights critically. Dr. Mezirow says that adults learn best when faced with what he calls a “disorienting dilemma”—something that “helps you critically reflect on the assumptions you’ve acquired” (Barbara Strauch, The New York Times). This is the opposite of saying, “My mind is made up—don’t confuse me with the facts.”

When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, He challenged the deeply held beliefs of many religious leaders, and they sought to silence Him (John 5:16-18). Jesus said to them: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (vv.39-40).
Oswald Chambers observed, “God has a way of bringing in facts which upset a man’s doctrines if these stand in the way of God getting at his soul.”
Unsettling experiences that cause us to question our assumptions about the Lord can also lead us to a deeper understanding and trust in Him—if we’re willing to think it through and come to Him.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates (RBC)
 
AU-DELA DU STATU QUO
Jack Mezirow, professeur émérite au Columbia Teachers College, croit qu’un élément essentiel de l’apprentissage des adultes consiste à éprouver nos perceptions enracinées et à poser un regard critique sur nos idées reçues. M. Mezirow dit que les adultes apprennent le mieux lorsqu’ils font face à ce qu’il appelle « un dilemme désorientant », à savoir quelque chose qui « nous aide à réfléchir de manière critique aux hypothèses que nous avons acquises » (Barbara Strauch, The New York Times). Cela revient à dire le contraire de : « Mon idée est arrêtée, ne jetez pas la confusion dans mon esprit en me communiquant les faits. »
En réalisant une guérison le jour du sabbat, Jésus a démenti les croyances chères à beaucoup de chefs religieux, qui ont cherché à le faire taire (Jn 5.16-18). Jésus leur a dit : « Vous sondez les Écritures, parce que vous pensez avoir en elles la vie éternelle : ce sont elles qui rendent témoignage de moi. Et vous ne voulez pas venir à moi pour avoir la vie » (v. 39,40).
Oswald Chambers a fait remarquer : « Dieu a le don de mettre en lumière des faits qui bouleversent les doctrines d’un homme si celles-ci barrent le chemin de Dieu vers son âme. »
Les expériences déstabilisantes nous amenant à douter de nos hypothèses au sujet du Seigneur peuvent aussi nous amener à une compréhension de sa personne et à une foi en lui plus profondes – si nous sommes prêts à y réfléchir et à venir à lui.
« Une vie sans examen ne vaut pas la peine d’être vécue. » – Socrate (RBC)

TIPPI AN AFRICAN ADVENTURE-UMA AVENTURA AFRICANA-UNE AVENTURE AFRICAINE



TIPPI.
From Mirian Mondon´s blog: http://cafe-pontocom.blogspot.com/

A pequena Tippi é filha de um casal de franceses que levaram sua filhinha para viver no Kenia nos 10 primeiros anos de sua vida. Aqui estão algumas das incríveis fotos das aventuras de Tippi que minha esposa Mirian colocou no seu blog.. Para olhá-las clique Aqui 


Tippi is the little daughter of a French couple who went to Kenya and brought her along for the first 10 years of her life. To view the amazing photos that my wife Mirian posted on her blog click Here 

Tippi est la fille d´un couple français qui a été élevée au Kenya pendant les 10 premières années de sa vie. Pour visualiser les photos incroyables que ma femme Mirian a affiché sur son blog, cliquer Ici 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

About Black and White and Grey Matter

Dr. Ben Carson revisited
Roe vs. Wade and Penumbra

To those who live in the shadowy grey areas.

Yesterday, Sunday, my family and I were watching a movie depicting the life of Dr. Ben Carson, the world-renowned brain surgeon. At the time when Dr. Carson was asked by his superior to push for the separation of Siamese twins joined at the head, he asked for more time. What really struck me are the wisdom and the courage with which he approach this very portentous decision. After all everybody knew that if he failed and one the twins survived he would have at least saved one life. But there was something else at work in the mind of this brilliant man. He knows because of his deep trust in God that if it was God’s will, the Lord would empower him to do the impossible. He was waiting patiently and prayerfully for the Lord to give him the green light regardless of what others might think. He was no people pleaser! And when the right time came, the operation was successful.

Another thought struck me. Never was the divide between good and evil so visibly manifest. Here was a man educated in the land of opportunities, where hard work and perseverance are rewarded. A land in which more people are blessed with access to the education and careers of their choice. The examples abound: poor, black people, Latinos, immigrants of all nationalities, reaching the highest positions as CEOs, Supreme Court justice such as Justice Clarence Thomas, doctors such as Dr.Carson and lawyers and now even a president -- the long list shows the blessings that this country bestowed on its population when the people were faithful to our God and creator the Lord Jesus Christ. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”

Do you ever wonder what kind of schizoid country this has become when you wake up in the morning? How is it possible to witness such a contrast between the miracle working of the love and power of our God through the gifted hands of a brain surgeon and the total disregard for life in its most vulnerable moments as manifested in the abortion murder of growing millions of unborn, partially or even out of the womb babies? What is even more revolting is that a group of men and women whose life is dedicated to equal justice could grant a legal "Carte Blanche' encouraging doctors and women’s organizations to make huge profits from their trade.

The Bible talks about such divide in the following terms in Malachi 3:16-18:“Then those who fear the Lord talked to each other, and the Lord listened and heard… A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. They will be mine, says the Lord Almighty, in the day when I make I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his own son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve the Lord and those who do not.”

At this point I would like to quote from an article I read this morning written by Joseph Farah in World Net Daily; Roe v. Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al. Posted: March 29, 2010.

"Have you ever noticed the way certain people selectively apply what they claim as "constitutional rights"? This question occurred to me as I thought about the actions of the Congress and president last week. But, before I get to that, a little background is in order.
Back in 1973, a Supreme Court at the height of its activist history wrestled with a constitutional justification for allowing the indiscriminate slaughter of unborn babies in the infamous Roe v Wade case. "We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision," Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in the majority decision.
Search the Constitution as you might for the word privacy or any synonym and you will come up empty. But seven justices were determined to overturn duly enacted abortion laws throughout the United States, so they located this right in the due process clause. Ironically, it is the due process clause that forbids the taking of life, liberty or property without an impartial hearing. Yet, this decision ensured tens of millions of lives would be snuffed out with no due process. But the court found support for this "privacy" argument in the "penumbra" of the Bill of Rights.
In case you are unfamiliar with the term "penumbra," perhaps a dictionary definition will help you:
1. "The partial or imperfect shadow outside the complete shadow of an opaque body, as a planet, where the light from the source of illumination is only partly cut off."
2. "The grayish marginal portion of a sunspot."
3. "A shadowy, indefinite, or marginal area."
Does that help?
In other words, the court understood it was dealing in the realm of shadowy, indefinite and marginal areas of the law – but it was still, on this admittedly shaky basis, willing to pronounce death sentences on millions.”

It is in fact so simple to see and show that this use of the gray area is a bogus argument that doesn’t hold water. And it really takes a spiritual blindness to not see the self-deceit from our elected representatives in the government and nominated officials who are supposed to protect the freedom and lives of all citizens, born or unborn with making just and right decisions and application of the laws.

If we find ourselves in a gray area, to know our destination, it is a matter of knowing in which direction we are walking.

This is the course of action Dr. Carson recommends. I posted this commentary http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59422 from WND, written by Star Parker in 2007 in which she quotes him as recommending the following:

"In his new book, Carson discusses his approach to dealing with risk, a core issue for exercising personal responsibility. He has a simple but effective approach that amounts to examining the best and worst outcomes that can result from a given course of action.

It is very clear. If you don’t know where to go, ask yourself if you are going towards the growing light or towards the growing darkness. Here is what God says in his Word:
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.
Who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
But deny justice to the innocent.” Isaiah 5:20, 23.
“When the Lord stretches out his hand,
He who helps will stumble, he who is helped will fall;
Both will perish together.” Isaiah 31:3.
The Lord Jesus said:
“The blind lead the blind and both fall in the ditch.”

I John 1:7 gives us the only solution when we have lost our way in the uneasy, undefinable, treacherous gray areas that relativists enjoy so much dwelling on: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all… But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his son, purifies us from all sin.”

Interestingly enough, the commentary on the life of Dr. Ben Carson is the most sought after article on my blog. It goes to show that people are still thirsty for truth and righteousness and searching for a few good examples to emulate. I hope that his words and deeds will not fall on deaf ears and will encourage our hearts to follow his leading example.

Jean-Louis

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Does God Create Every Person?

Does God Create Every Person?
Grace Thru Faith.
http://gracethrufaith.com/

Q. Re: Psalm 139: 13-14. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful.” If I take this verse literally, it would seem that God is directly involved in the creation of everyone. He forms each of us in the womb. Yet some babies are born deformed or very sick, so how can that be? I’ve read your comments that only Adam and Eve were created directly by God and in His image and that God delegated procreation to us and so all of us are now born in the image of Adam. This would suggest that God isn’t directly involved in the conception of each person. How do I understand this verse?
 A. God would never directly create a deformed or seriously ill child. Being a just and loving God it would be a violation of His character to do so. Birth defects can be caused by the genetic imperfections of our fallen creation, the things we ingest into our bodies, or the medications we take. Therefore David had to be referring to the fact that the process of procreation was designed and instituted by God.


Tags: Creation


Related Posts:
◦In The Image Of God
◦Is God Both Male And Female?
◦The Image Of God?
◦In The Image Of God?
◦Created In The Image Of God

This entry was posted on Monday, September 19th, 2011 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Ask a Bible Teacher.

Tom Horn and Pandemonium's Engine

Tom Horn and Pandemonium's Engine from Gary Stearman on Vimeo.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Joseph Farah's communist ties!

Joseph Farah's communist ties!

O Jeitinho Brasileiro. Système "D" brésilien

Um punto de vista encontrado num site de Internet. O termo tem outro sentido. (Autor deste blog). Un point de vue trouvé sur un site d´Internet. Le terme a aussi un autre sens. 

O termo jeitinho brasileiro é utilizado de forma pejorativamente, quando na verdade ele está ligado a Cultura de nosso pais, tem mais haver com criatividade do que enganação.
Estamos sempre alterando a realidade, vislumbrando novos paradigmas. Basta ver a criatividade por traz do carnaval. Não podemos negar que o brasileiro e visceral, pois coloca emoção em tudo o que faz.
O jeitinho se apóia na concepção de igualdade diante da vulnerabilidade da condição humana, ou seja, se a norma impede a realização de uma solução para uma necessidade esta norma deve ser violada. Assim a ética do jeitinho é sustentada pela emoção.
Le terme “Jeitinho Brasileiro” -l´équivalent le plus proche du "Système D” français – de connotation péjorative, relevant en fait de la culture de notre pays, tient plus de la créativité que de tromperie ou de fausseté. Nous sommes toujours em quêtede changement de la réalité, d´entrevoir de nouveaux paradigmes. Il suffit de voir la créativité derrière le rideau du Carnaval. On ne peut nier que le brésilien est viscéral, et agit avec émotion.








Le “Jeitinho” s´appuie sur le concepte d´égalité face à la vulnérabilité de la condition humaine, c´est-à-dire, si la norme empêche de trouver une solution pour une nécéssité, cette norme doit être ignorée. C´est ainsi que l´éthique du “Jeitinho” est soutenue par l´émotion.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

REST IN ME MY CHILD

 By Meleah Bishop Allard
http://www.truthministry.org/

http://facebook.com/meleah.bishopallard
 God says to those who have received His Son and are now His children:
Rest in me, My child. This time devoted to Me is meant to be peaceful, not stressful. You don’t have to perform in order to receive My Love. I have boundless, unconditional Love for you. How it grieves Me to see My children working for Love: trying harder and harder, yet never feeling good enough to be loved.


Be careful that your devotion to Me does not become another form of works. I want you to come into My Presence joyfully and confidently. You have nothing to fear, for you wear My own righteousness. Gaze into My eyes, and you will see no condemnation, only Love and delight in the one I see. Be blessed as My Face shines radiantly upon you, giving you Peace.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” —John 15:13
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
—Zephaniah 3:17
“The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
—Numbers 6:25–26 -

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

FAITH ALONE

Faith Alone
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Ask a Bible Teacher. http://gracethrufaith.com/

Q. In Luke 13:23-30 Jesus commands some followers who question Him about ‘Are there just a few who are being saved’ to “strive to enter through the narrow door”. Well, the word ‘strive’ sounds like ‘work’ to me and I thought we were saved by faith and not by works (Eph 2:8,9)? Could you explain this passage?
A. The issue here is faith. Faith is the narrow door because man has a compulsion to add to what the Lord has done. Every non christian religion is based in work, and even in the Church there are strong voices advocating a “grace plus work” theology, as if the Lord’s death alone is not enough to purchase our salvation or guarantee it.

There is work that God requires of us, and it’s to believe in the one He sent (John 6:28-29). Faith is the only thing we can do that’s not counted as work (Romans 4:4-5), but it’s hard for man to just believe. We have this need to contribute, not realizing that when we do we’re actually saying we don’t think the Lord’s death was sufficient to save or keep us.


Luke 13:23-30 contains snippets from other talks the Lord gave on the subject. The narrow door of Luke 13:24 is like the narrow gate in Matt. 7:13-14 where the broad road and the wide gate represents man’s religion. Luke 13:25 recalls the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt. 25:1-13 where 5 of them are rejected for lack of the Holy Spirit, represented by oil. Luke 13:26-27 is like Matt. 7:21-23 where the people claimed religious works as their qualification, and Luke 13:28-30 parallels Matt. 8:10-12 where it’s ancestry instead of faith. In each case people who try to replace faith alone with something else are rejected.

OBAMA, THE `67´ LINES AND JERUSALEM

Obama, the ‘67 lines and Jerusalem
By SHLOMO SLONIM
09/13/2011 21:36
Why Netanyahu had no choice but to refuse the US administration’s terms for a settlement with the Palestinians.
Talkbacks (22)

Zechariah 12

Jerusalem’s Enemies to Be Destroyed
1 A prophecy: The word of the LORD concerning Israel.

The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the LORD. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.’
6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
7 “The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is reported to have charged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with being an ingrate for failing to accept President Barack Obama’s terms for a settlement with the Palestinians. In this, Gates is echoing earlier presidential “spokesmen” such as former ambassador Martin Indyk and New York Times correspondent Thomas Friedman.Apparently, it is expected that a country benefiting from American largesse will agree to surrender territory, rights and history in return.


In order to understand what the president was asking of Israel, and therefore why Netanyahu had to refuse, it is necessary to analyze just what his pronouncement calling for talks to start on the basis of the June 1967 lines entails.


For one thing, no previous American president had premised the Israeli-Palestinian talks on such a basis. American pronouncements repeatedly emphasized that the negotiations, and indeed any forthcoming agreement, was a matter for the parties to agree upon. No outside party was entitled to intervene and dictate the terms of the discussions.
The closest that any administration came to making such suggestions was the ill-fated Rogers Plan of 1969 which, while calling for Jerusalem to remain united, also endorsed a settlement with only minor territorial changes. Israel vigorously rejected the Rogers Plan, with prime minister Golda Meir declaring that a government accepting that plan as a starting point would be guilty of undermining Israeli security. The Nixon administration beat a hasty retreat, and with the substitution of Henry Kissinger as secretary of state in place of William P. Rogers, nothing more was heard of the plan.
That episode also highlights another unusual feature of the Obama pronouncements.


Presidents generally float new ideas by means of a subordinate, a state department official or even a secretary of state. Such a procedure ensures that the president’s prestige is not directly involved. It allows the president to backtrack, if need be, or qualify the subordinate’s statement without loss of face and without the embarrassment of a major confrontation and crisis with an injured party. In relation to the Middle East, however, Obama is acting very much as his own secretary of state, issuing orders or statements directly from the White House. This leaves very little room for revision of policy. It becomes this or nothing.


On the subject of Jerusalem, such an approach is fraught with danger.
WHEN JORDAN unleashed its barrage on Jerusalem, against Israeli suburbs, during the Six Day War, the Israeli response was immediate and overwhelming.
Within two days Israel had expelled the Jordanians and united Jerusalem under Israeli control.


The international legal implications of this development were spelled out by Stephen Schwebel, subsequently America’s judge on the International Court of Justice, in an article entitled, “What Weight to Conquest,” that appeared in the American Journal of International Law in 1970. He wrote: “Having regard to the consideration that ... Israel ... [acted] defensively in 1948 and 1967 ... and her Arab neighbors ... [acted] aggressively in 1948 and 1967 ... Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan or Egypt.”


It should be remembered that neither President Johnson’s Five Points nor Security Council Resolution 242 mentioned Palestinians. When the legal status of Jerusalem was determined in 1967 in the wake of the Six Day War the Palestinians were not a legal factor. Israel contends that nothing has occurred in the interval to disturb Israel’s sovereign right in all of Jerusalem. This status was confirmed in 1980 by the Knesset when it adopted a law declaring: “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”


Nor did the 1993 Oslo Accords modify matters, even with Jerusalem being designated as the first item listed for the final status talks. Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin declared in 1995: “Undivided Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people and the capital of the state of Israel. Undivided Jerusalem is ours.” Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, in a 1994 interview, said: “We have told the Palestinians this – we are very adamant about our position. Jerusalem will not be redivided.


It will not be a Berlin... One cannot have two capitals in one city because that would mean a division of Jerusalem. It is the historical capital of Israel and Israel’s capital today.
... In summation, I would say that in the political sense, the issue of Jerusalem is closed and it will remain the united capital of Israel.”


For these two men, discussion of Jerusalem in the final status talks would relate only to matters of religious and social interests, not to the political status of the city. Thus, in legal terms, Israel’s position, as outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu in his recent Washington appearances, accurately reflected the longstanding bipartisan position of the Israeli consensus.


IT IS this status of Jerusalem that President Obama apparently seeks to modify. He cannot challenge Israel’s title directly. By confirming the ’67 line he seeks to posit that Israel lacks title in east Jerusalem. However, both the facts and the law regarding Israel’s claim are clear and decisive. Prime Minister Netanyahu was therefore fully justified, and even compelled, to adhere to the pattern of his predecessors in declaring categorically that the ’67 lines are not the starting point for any negotiations. Those lines were armistice lines, and no more.


Netanyahu was unable to allow the United States to conceive, even for a moment, that Israel could accept a dictat about the status of Jerusalem. It is Israel’s contention that anything proposing the redivision of Jerusalem is destructive of the search for peace.
Acceptance of Obama’s reference to the June ’67 lines means acceptance of a scheme to divest Israel of its title to Jerusalem “complete and united.”
This, in Israel’s view, is not compatible with the search for peace. Anyone suggesting that Israel accept Obama’s proposals for negotiations should first ponder the implications of those proposals for Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.


The writer is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the author of Jerusalem in America’s Foreign Policy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

“Not Everyone Who Says To Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Will Enter The Kingdom”

“Not Everyone Who Says To Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Will Enter The Kingdom”

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Several recent articles and answers to questions have created a flurry of responses, not all of them friendly. By far the biggest reaction came from my opinion about the Florida Healing Outpouring. While most of the respondents agreed with me, a few didn’t and let me know in no uncertain terms. They said, in effect, that if I don’t watch it God will squash me like a bug for criticizing a work of His.

I also got a lot of input from my article entitled “What Did God Do On The Eighth Day?” There I said that people who continue to work to earn or keep their salvation after accepting it as a gift are demonstrating that they haven’t entered their Sabbath Rest. It means that they don’t really believe that Jesus saved them completely, and that they have to finish the job that He said with His last breath was already finished. This means they believe that the ultimate responsibility for our salvation rests with us and not with the blood of Jesus, so we’re really saved by some combination of His Grace plus our works.
This troubled a number of people who grew up in churches where they were taught that we can lose our salvation by failing to live the right kind of life after being saved. While most of the ones who wrote in now believe in OSAS, they have friends who don’t and after reading my article wondered if I think their friends aren’t saved.
It turns out that support for my views on these two different issues can be found in one place in the Bible. It’s Matthew 7, so let’s go there and see what the Lord Himself had to say about it.

Ask, Seek, And Knock“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:7-14)
This is a great and unconditional promise concerning the free gift of salvation and a satisfying life on Earth. If you ask to be saved, you’ll be saved. If you seek salvation you’ll find it. When you knock on the door of the Kingdom, it will be opened. This promise comes at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. In it, the Lord had explained the futility of trying to earn a place in the Kingdom, saying that it’s not just our outward behavior that would condemn us, but the motives that energize it. Anger equals murder, lust equals adultery, and so on. (Matt. 5:21-28) He also said not to worry about making it through life here. If we would first seek His Kingdom and His righteousness everything else would be given us as well. (Matt. 6:33) Now we’re told that all we have to do is ask to receive these things.

To underscore this, He called His promise a gift from our Father. When our children ask for good things we don’t give them bad things instead. And when we give gifts to our children, we don’t place a burden on them in the process. Neither does our Father do this to us.
Do you see His point? Salvation is a gift, free for the asking. Would He give us this gift and then impose a set of behavioral standards that if not met would result in revocation? Of course not.

The interpretation of the narrow gate in Matt. 7:13-14 as referring to a sacrificial life filled with have-to’s and don’ts is man’s idea, not God’s. It helps to understand that everyone on the road is seeking salvation. The broad road with its wide gate is filled with those who follow false religions or try to earn their own way to salvation. The narrow road with the small gate represents asking the Lord to save you and then relying on His completed work on your behalf. If it was living the life of a modern day Pharisee then salvation would come through works, not grace. It would be like asking the Lord to free you from your burdens, only to discover that He’s laid a heavier burden upon you instead.

Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) He was talking about the labor of earning a place in His Kingdom and the burden imposed by the Law. The rest He offers is the life long Sabbath Rest that comes when by faith we accept His work on our behalf as sufficient to save us. (Hebr. 4:9) If you’re still working to earn or keep your salvation then you haven’t entered into His rest. You’re still trying to save yourself, and it can’t be done.

A Tree and Its Fruit
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matt. 7:15-20)
Throughout the history of the Church there have been false teachers and false prophets. Moses and Paul gave us the two standards by which to determine if a prophet or teacher is false. Concerning prophets the Lord had Moses say, “You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously.” (Deut. 18:21-22)

As for teaching, it’s even easier. Paul commended the Bereans because they compared his teaching with Scriptures to see if he was telling the truth. (Acts 17:11)
Many popular teachers say things that simply aren’t in the Bible. I’m not talking about a case of differing interpretation. I’m talking about stuff the Bible not only doesn’t confirm but actually says the opposite. For example, many of those who teach of a great revival in the last days also adhere to the false doctrine of Dominion Theology which holds that through revival the Church will become very powerful and eventually convert the whole world.
But the Bible says no such thing. It teaches that before the end comes there will be a great falling away from the truth (2 Thes. 2:3) and that the one true Church will become weak and have little strength. (Rev. 3:8) It says that in the Latter Days some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons, (1 Tim. 4:1) and that people will no longer put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires they will gather teachers around them who say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Tim. 4:3)

Regarding my article on the Florida revival, one person wrote saying that I should look beyond the teaching and focus on the miracles, but nowhere in Scripture are we told to judge by what we see. Instead we’re told that the day would come when counterfeit signs and miracles would look so real that even the elect would be deceived. (2 Thes. 2:9-10) I think that through so-called Christian TV the world is being prepared for that right now. But please remember this. It’s not preachers and evangelists who heal us. Supernatural healing happens every time the faith of the believer intersects the Promise of God. That can happen anywhere. Even in the midst of a circus that holds itself out to be a revival.

Some one else said that for every Scripture I could quote that showed some of these things to be wrong, he could quote 5 that prove they’re right. But the Bible is the Word of God and doesn’t say one thing in one place and something else in another. Either my interpretation is correct or else his is. We can’t both be right. I’m standing by mine.

Another said, “I know in my heart that these things are true.” But the Bible also says that the human heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. (Jeremiah 17:10) Some of the biggest cults in the world got that way by telling people to follow their hearts.

Still others have accused me of putting God in a box and of trying to limit His power. This is the least meritorious of all the arguments. First of all, people accused Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others of the same thing whenever they said things the people didn’t like. (I’m certainly not comparing myself to them, but I am in good company.)
But the truth is, Amos 3:7 says that God put Himself in a box. He promised that He would never do anything without first revealing it through His servants, the prophets. He wasn’t talking about the endless stream of people running around today with prophetic words for everyone. He was talking about those few that He had called to the office of Prophet. The last of these was the Lord Jesus. Since then everything has to conform to His teaching. If Jesus didn’t teach it, the the Gospel writers didn’t record it, and the Apostles didn’t practice it, then it’s not Biblical. Even the great Paul distinguished his opinion from the Lord’s word when he taught. (1 Cor. 7:12) You can’t excuse the shenanigans of these false teachers by saying that God is doing a new thing because God doesn’t do new things. If He did, we wouldn’t know who or what to believe.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matt. 7:21-23)
So here’s the bottom line. Regarding personal salvation, some people who think they’re saved will find out that they aren’t. Even those who’ve prophesied and performed miracles in the Lord’s name will discover that they failed to do the one thing the Lord requires of us and their work will be called evil, no matter how good it appears to us. Before it’s too late please make sure you’re safe. It’s an easy thing to do. You only have to ask yourself two questions. “What is the will of the father,” and “Am I doing it?” Turn to John 6 for the answer to both.
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)
God requires one thing of you, and that’s to believe in the one He has sent. Nothing more is necessary, and nothing less will do. Now here’s His will for you.
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40)
It’s the clearest statement anywhere in the Bible. God’s will is that if you believe that the death of His Son has paid the price in full for all of your sins, you’ll have eternal life. His will is that Jesus will never lose you no matter what. There’s nothing else you have to do, there’s nothing else you can do.

Anything you do to contribute to the advancement of the Kingdom after you’re saved has to be purely out of the gratitude of your heart for having been given the free gift of salvation. The minute you begin believing that you’re earning it or protecting it by doing good works you’re in grave danger because you’re revealing your true belief, that Jesus didn’t do it all and now it’s up to you to keep yourself saved.

And as for revival, one day soon the whole world will follow the anti-Christ because they’ll believe he’s God. (Rev. 13:3) They’ll be fooled because he’ll be a terrific guy, he’ll quote scripture, and he’ll perform the most amazing miraculous feats you could ever imagine.
At his side there’ll be another one like him. John said this second guy will have two horns like a lamb but will speak like a dragon. (Rev. 13:11) Horns are symbolic of power and the lamb symbolizes the Lord. This false prophet will appear to have the power of Jesus but his words will come straight from the devil. Together, these two will lead the greatest revival the world has ever seen and the whole world will be converted. (Now you know where Dominion Theology comes from.) The world will be fooled because God will have brought a famine of hearing the word of the Lord by removing His Church. (Amos 8:11) Truth will have been replaced by experience and feelings.
John wrote that the spirit of anti-Christ is already in the world. He was talking about false teachers who go out from the church but by their going out prove they they never belonged. He said it was one of the signs that we’re in the last hour. (1 John 2:18-19)

The Wise and Foolish Builders
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matt. 7:24-27)
So this is your choice. Believe God’s word or go with your feelings. People who won’t accept the fact that Jesus did it all will go on trying in vain to save themselves. And like all the other ones before it, this revival will wind down and if there’s any follow up at all we’ll discover that once again, almost all the seed will have fallen on rocky soil and very little will have taken root. (Matt. 13:20-21) More and more people will leave the evangelical movement for places that aren’t so dogmatic and that feel more energetic and exciting, and the true church will become smaller and weaker. Once the name-only Christians are mostly gone the Rapture will come and the world will be left to fend for itself while we in the Church begin the adventure of the ages. We’ll realize at last that the Church was never intended to be compatible with this world. It’s meant for the next one. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. Selah 06-14-08

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Organic Churches Offer Alternative to Traditional Service

Organic churches offer alternative to traditional service
http://baylorlariat.com/


As God builds his church, sometimes he does it in a home, a park or a pizzeria, said Lindsay Cofield, director of multi-housing/organic churches for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Cofield assists and mobilizes the birth, growth and development of organic churches across the state, he said.
He described an organic church as one detached from the conventional concept of a traditional church.
Organic churches typically exhibit a much more informal setting and meet in homes, apartments, recreation centers and other locations.


Cofield said just as Christians point to verses like John 3:16 to grasp the essence and meaning of salvation, organic churches do the same with the definition of a church.
“One of the things I encourage people to do is to read the Bible and decide what they think a church is from the Bible,” Cofield said. “There’s not a place where the Bible says, ‘Here’s what a church is.’ You just have to read the New Testament, particularly the book of Acts and the epistles.”
Cofield said people should ask themselves, “What did the original church look like?”


Dr. Rishi Sriram, assistant professor and program coordinator for Baylor’s higher education and student affairs, said he remembers doing just that.
After bonding with a small group of students during his own years at Baylor, he thought there was something more for them after graduation.
The group decided to form its own local body of Christ.
“We felt like maybe God was leading us to try and do what we saw in Acts together,” Sriram said.
Without a name, a building or a budget, the church took off, rotating meeting locations among members’ houses.
The community celebrated 10 years in July.
“It’s been a huge learning curve. It’s been a huge struggle at times,” Sriram said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”


Cofield referenced the biblical account of Priscilla and Aquila, who led a group of believers in their home, to support organic churches.
The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, greeted them and affirmed the work of the church that was taking place there, Cofield said.

In a similar way, members of organic churches generally do not have a paid staff.
In fact, they would rather give their resources for the work of Christ, he said.
Organic churches often provide a place for “overlooked people” – those who may not attend a larger institution but would be more open to participating in an organic church setting, Cofield said.


Jimmy Dorrell, who serves as pastor for Church Under the Bridge, echoed Cofield’s sentiment.
Church Under the Bridge, which attracts many of Waco’s poverty-stricken and homeless, gathers every Sunday under the I-35 and Fourth Street underpass.
Dorrell said many of the church’s members would not attend a traditional church.
Without the expense of a building, the organization is able to give away over half of their resources to those who need it.


Cofield, Sriram and Dorrell emphasized that relationships provide a foundational key.
Cofield said since an organic church is generally smaller, it is more relational and community-based.
“There is no back row,” Cofield said.


Amanda and Adam Horton led a group of college students for three years as an extension of University Baptist Church and witnessed the community that blossoms from a home church environment.
“Oftentimes, we go to larger churches just to fade into the background, and people can go to church, and not go to Church,” she said. “The Church — capital C — is meant to be about intertwining with people and being in community.”
This summer, the Hortons branched out to open their home to people who may not have found the larger institution church yet.
Amanda called it a “God thing,” because the response to their invitation was overwhelming.
She said many of the participants were in a phase of transition and the home group was their only church.


To represent a true church, Cofield said, people have to love God, love others and be passionate about making disciples.
He listed five functions every church should have: fellowship, ministry, worship, evangelism and discipleship.
Even in the larger institution churches, everything comes out of those five functions, he said.
“It’s about the people being the church,” Cofield said. “It’s not a place you go to. It’s being Christ’s hands and his heart and his voice and his compassion in the lives of people.”

Monday, September 5, 2011

LET´S PRETEND

Let´s Pretend
Translation from the original poem “Faz de Conta” by Ester Marques

Let´s pretend that the past happens today
That the voice and the smile from the heart
Remain an endless source of tenderness
That the poem has not abandoned the soul
At the junction of doubting
Or that it escapes in the ruins of uncertainty.

Let´s pretend that the map is not torn
That the pleasure of sharing is hung
To moldings of dreams
And does not lie in tombs void of echoes
That pain finds expression in the forgotten tune
And that time elapsed is a vanished mist
That there remains a constancy in the heart beat
And that childhood still persists
Even if buried under a shroud of responsibilities.

Let´s pretend that laughter and tears have not yet met
That transparency is not a mirror
With reflections of psycho babble
That feelings are a one way journey
That logic does not consist in punctuated letters.

Let´s pretend that the tickets are still intact
And that the forgotten music still chimes out
That this ingenuous and non-conformist thought
Feeds at the table of bliss
That silence becomes a metaphor
and a password weaving a new frame.

Let´s pretend and not feign
That we will be happy with provided needs
And not with unaffordable superfluity
That we will not abandon hunting for answers
That our feet will mark again
Forgotten places of earth and fine sand
That we will not welcome an indifference for harbingers
And that we will refuse to accept defeat.

Let´s pretend that I will not tremble
When the door opens
And I see a hand named Hope
Make a welcoming gesture inviting me to come in.

Let´s pretend… it is an endless journey.

HOW SHALL WE LIVE?

How Shall We Live?
Table of contents for Forgiven
1.Are All Our Sins Forgiven?
2.How Shall We Live?
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley


If you like, you can think of this as a follow up to our study on Are All Our Sins Forgiven. Having shown the Lord’s clear promise that once we became a believer all the sins of our life were forgiven at the cross, we now turn to the logical follow up question. How should a believer respond to such an incredible gift?
Paul devoted much time to describing the appropriate response to the free gift of eternal life and it’s summed up in his admonition “Only let us live up to what we’ve already attained” (Phil 3:16). By the wording he used we know this is not something we do to achieve or maintain our salvation. He said we’ve already attained that. We do this as an expression of our heart felt gratitude for having been given a free “get out of hell” pass. Because there’s no doubt about it, hell is where we were surely bound.




In 1 Cor. 6:9-10 Paul said, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”
Then he differentiated the past from the present, acknowledging the fact that since we’ve become new creations we no longer fit any of those descriptions.
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11)
I think the phrase “some of you” was giving us a big benefit of the doubt. Spiritually speaking, the sinful thought is as bad as the sinful deed and who among us has not had such a thought at one time or another? But Paul takes pains to say that’s the way God saw us before we were washed, sanctified (set apart) and justified (regarded as though innocent). Now, because of the cross, we’re a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), having attained the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) by faith in His completed work (Romans 3:21-22).

The Practice Of Christian Living
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2).
Someone once said, “Life is what you make it. It’s not what happens but how you take it.” Everything about the practice of Christian living is within our control. We don’t have to behave like everyone else. We can be transformed and it begins with choosing to behave differently.
Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephes 4:25-32).


I believe Paul was in effect, the first behavioral psychologist. He taught that while we can’t always control the circumstances of our life we can control our response to them. We have such a glorious future awaiting us that we don’t have to worry about gaining the approval of others by acting the way they do. Our primary goal is pleasing the Lord.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:37-38)
Choosing to become more tolerant, forgiving and generous will have such a remarkable effect on our life that others will want to know what has happened to transform us. Instead of stuttering and stammering through an embarrassing attempt to “witness” to friends and neighbors we’ll find that our very life has become a witness to what God can do, and people will be drawn to us.
This is because the practice of Christian living is not all don’t do this or don’t do that, at least not in the negative sense. Remember Jesus said that He came so we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

To that end the Bible says we shouldn’t worry about how we’re going to get by, letting the Lord take care of that for us (Matt. 6:25-34). We shouldn’t let what Paul called the light and momentary troubles of this world get us down. We should no longer fix our eyes on the temporary things we can see, but focus on the eternal things we can’t see instead (2 Cor. 4:17-18). This is even more true for us than it was for the people of Corinth 2000 years ago because very soon we’re going to step out of this world and into the next one where the eternal things we’ve only been able to dream about will suddenly become our new reality.
In the mean time, do you hate your job because of a boss who’s hard to please? Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)


Are your neighbors or associates hard to put up with? Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:17-18)


We who’ve been given everything don’t have to worry about anything.


The Privilege Of Christian Living
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:4-7).
Because we’ve become children of the Creator of the Universe we can rejoice in everything that happens to us because we know that God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We can always be at peace, even when our world seems to be crumbling around us. We fear nothing, we pray about everything, and we’re thankful for anything.
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
This world is a dark and evil place, and though we are children of God the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Nowhere does the Bible promise us a trouble free life. What it does promise is victory over any enemy we choose to engage (Joshua 10:25). The Lord is our over comer and because of that we are privileged to be at peace. No matter what.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
(Colossians 4:2,6)
Think about it. We can engage the Creator in conversation any time it suits us. He’s always in, we never need an appointment, and he’s never too busy for us. Whether it’s asking for a parking place on a crowded street or guidance on whether to pursue a career opportunity, He’s always available to listen and help.


Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Cor. 9:6-11)
God has given us the privilege of distributing His endless resources to those in need. He so loves a cheerful giver that every time He finds one He makes them rich in every way so they will always have more than enough for themselves with sufficient excess so they can be generous to others on every occasion. Next to the gift of eternal life there’s no more remarkable promise anywhere in Scripture.


The Power Of Christian Living
Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you. (James 4:7)
Although Paul called him the God of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), Christians needn’t fear the devil because of the power we’ve been given.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Jesus showed us how to do this in the wilderness temptations (Matt. 4:1-11). Using nothing but Scripture He demolished every one of the devil’s arguments and sent him packing. This same power is available to us. We just have to know the Bible well enough to activate it.


Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven (James 5:14-15).
As is the case with everything James wrote, this is a clear promise without exception or equivocation. The Bible doesn’t promise we won’t get sick, but it does promise we can be healed. It’s a power the Lord died to give us.


“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:23-24)
And it’s not just healing. With sufficient faith we could literally move mountains. But faith is like our physical muscles. The more we exercise it the stronger it becomes. This is a case where the American lifestyle has become our enemy. It’s been too easy to get the things we want without the Lord’s help. It’s been hard to remember that opportunity does not equal mandate. But just because the banks will loan us more than we can repay doesn’t mean that we should buy things we don’t need and can’t afford. Maybe the Lord is stripping those things away now to help us practice living by faith.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines (1 Cor. 12:7-11).
Many charismatics misuse their gifts in immature excesses of self glorification while fundamentalists avoid theirs like the plague refusing to acknowledge they even exist. But if the gifts of the Holy Spirit were ever used in the manner Paul described, the world would not be able to stand against their power.
Each of us has been gifted and could use the power our gifts contain to have significant effect on the little corner of the world we inhabit. Romans 12:1-8 tells us how to discover and use our gifts.


The Protection Of Christian Living
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22).
So we come full circle. Never let it be said that although God has the power to save us, He lacks the power to keep us.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
A US insurance company says we’re in good hands with them, but believers enjoy the ultimate example of being in good hands. Our policy is paid in full and our coverage can never expire. Not even we ourselves can snatch us out of their hands.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephes. 6:10-12).
A soldier’s armor can only protect him when he wears it, and he would never think of going into battle without being fully protected. We’re aliens behind enemy lines and as such are combatants in an ongoing battle. We’ve been given impenetrable armor, but in order for it to protect us we have to put it on and keep it on.


The Point Of Christian Living
All this leads to achieving the goal we all want most in life. Earlier I said that after becoming saved, our primary goal becomes pleasing the Lord. But when we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4). By combining the practice, the privilege, the power, and the protection of the Christian life we can finally achieve complete personal freedom. Although we are still in the world we will no longer be of the world. Following the instructions for Christian living frees us of all the negative emotions that have afflicted us in the past. No more worry, no more stress, no more feeling out of control. We no longer have to be concerned with having enough money, or getting ahead, or keeping up.
The uncertainties of life that so preoccupy the thoughts of others won’t bother us any more. It doesn’t matter who gets elected to what office, or how bad the economy is getting, or whether the government will continue to break its promises. We’ll finally understand the full meaning of the Lord’s words, “When the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36) Praise the Lord. Selah. 09-03-11
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