I think it is time that all people who call themselves a Christian, sit back and look at what is going on in the church today, and think long and hard about it. The Presbyterian Church wants to change the liturgy concerning the Holy Trinity. The Episcopal church is in an uproar over having gay Bishops, and now likewise with the Presbyterian Church. The Catholic church is indecisive about how to translate the mass from Latin to English. We now have a liberal church and a conservative church. Go figure?
God left us His word to guide us. He gave us His Holy Spirit for the same thing. If all of these denominations and all of these leaders and people who call themselves Christians were really serving the same God, wouldn't they all agree. If they all were in unity with Jesus Christ first, they would not have to worry about being in unity with each other. If churches had wanted to have openly gay Bishops 200 years ago, it would have never happened. Why is it that man feels he has become so enlightened ? God is sitting in heaven, and He has not changed one iota. He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore!!
I know I sound like I am ranting, that is because I am. America needs to wake up! We need to stop trying to conform God into our image. God is a Holy God. He is a just God. He has standards that He set long ago. Though the world may have changed, He has not. Holiness is not something He casually asks us for. Repentance is part of the package. Jesus is not an insurance agent, that you go to for Hell insurance. Jesus is Holy and Mighty. He is coming back to judge the world. He may have been a cute baby in a manger, but that is not what He will be when He returns. EVERY KNEE WILL BOW!
The first church, in the book of Acts, they were moving in power and in one accord. How is it that 2 thousand years later, we have all this nonsense. I'll tell you what it is. It is man trying to mold God into his image. It is man trying to have "comfortable Christianity". We live in a convenient society, a "microwave world". We want God to be that way. Man is trying to make being a Christian "convenient". We don't want to have to change or be Holy. We don't want to have to give anything up. We want to "have our cake and eat it too."
You know, when I look at the disciples, they gave up everything to serve God. They even gave their lives. We have a hard time giving up a few hours on Sunday.
If you really think about it, how did we get to this point of so much confusion and indecisiveness? Everyone thinks they are right. Their opinion is right. Their interpretation is right. They all claim they "heard it from God". Man and his ways has caused this confusion. The Bible warns of false teachers and heretics. Everyone needs to read the whole scripture, the whole Bible. You can not take one verse and make it mean what you want it to mean. If God said it was wrong, I don't care how loving and accepting you think He is, IT IS WRONG! God is loving and accepting, but He set a standard and He does not change.
As for things like the rapture.. Pre-trib?, mid-trib?, post-trib? JUST BE READY! But I know one thing, He said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
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Thursday, June 29, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - "A Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) national assembly voted Tuesday to create some leeway for gay clergy and lay officers to serve local congregations, despite a denominational ban on partnered gay ministers."
"Thirteen evangelical caucuses issued a joint statement that the assembly's actions "throw our denomination into crisis." They said this "marks a profound deviation from biblical requirements, and we cannot accept, support, or tolerate it. We will take the steps necessary to be faithful to God," the groups said. But Jesus was cited from the other side, too. Oregon youth delegate Jamie Moon said she found the assembly debate disheartening. She said she became Presbyterian because "Jesus Christ was love. Jesus Christ was acceptance. He said come to me and be my disciple.
"He wants us to love everybody. Raise your hand if you're not a sinner," she told the assembly." ---- Quotes taken from an article by Richard N. Ostling, AP Religion Writer, June 20, 2006
Now the Presbyterian Church is going to allow leeway when it comes to homosexuals being ordained. One thing I find interesting, and I comment a lot on, is how man is attempting to mold God into his image rather than molding himself into God's image. Times have changed, but God has not. Yes, God is love. Yes, Jesus did say, "Come to Me." Jesus Christ did accept sinners. He hung around sinners. But He also told them, "Go and sin no more." (John 8:11)
Many like to quote John 8:7, "But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." The problem is they fail to read the rest of the story. You need to look at verse 11. "And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."
What is sin? James 4:17 says, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." REPENTANCE causes true salvation, and salvation gives a person the power to live free from sin. Today, America calls evil good and good evil; " she puts "darkness for light, and light for darkness." (Isaiah 5:20)
One can not come to Jesus, ask for His forgiveness to receive salvation, and continue to willfully sin. HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN! In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul wrote, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind." The Greek word from which the King James Bible gets the word "effeminate" is malakos, which literally means something soft to the touch, but is used as a negative metaphor to refer to a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man. The "abusers of themselves with mankind" are those men who engage in unnatural sexual relations with other men ,- homosexuals. That is also how the NASB, the NKJV, and the NIV translate that verse. Also in the New Testament is verse 7 from the book of Jude, defining exactly why Sodom and Gomorrah were punished - homosexuality.
In the Old Testament homosexuality was clearly a sin, punishable by death. Leviticus 18:22 reads, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." The seriousness of this sin to God is apparent from Leviticus 20:13. "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." I think that makes very clear God's opinion of homosexuality.
God loves all people, but He hates sin. He desires that everyone choose to come to know Him. The Bible is VERY CLEAR about the need for REPENTANCE, and turning away from our sins to receive salvation. Yes, we all make mistakes and we all sin, but there is a difference between making mistakes and willfully practicing sin.
Those who calpreacherslves prachers and teachers, who are telling others it is okay to be gay and practice homosexuality, will have to answer to God one day. The Bible is very clear in warning us against false teachers and preachers.
- Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
- Matthew 7: 21-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
- Romans 16: v 17-18 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
- II Corinthians 11:13-15 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
- Galations 1: 8-10 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
- 1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
- 2 Timothy 3:1-7 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
- 2 Timothy 4:2-5 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
- Ezekiel 33:6 "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand."
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Monday, June 26, 2006
"First-time visitors to a Pentecostal church in
Harvey this Sunday will receive a heartfelt welcome, hear contemporary worship hymns and an impassioned sermon and witness the testimony of people who have felt the power of God change their lives.
They will also walk away with $25 in their pockets.
United Pentecostal Church of Harvey plans to provide the cash to the first 75 people who visit the church for the first time at each of two services, one at 10 a.m. and another at 1 p.m. The only requirements are that the newcomers be 16 or older and that they stay for the entire 90-minute service ." From an article by AnneMarie Mannion, Chicago Tribune, June 23, 2006
Have churches sunk so low as to thinking the only way to get people to come to church is to offer them cash? Lord help us. I don't remember anyone doing that in the book of Acts. It was the power and presence of God that drew people to the church meetings. It was the way the Christians lived their lives, the out pouring of love to one another, that caused people to come. In fact it says that their numbers were added to daily. Hmmmmmm... Maybe the church in America needs to rethink its methods.
So you get them there, they get their cash...but... do they experience the life changing power and presence of God? Do they hear that all men are sinners and in need of a Savior? Do they hear how they can receive salvation? Does someone tell them that Jesus died for them? And oh, you know, that word that no one will mention today...Hell.. Does anyone tell them that is the alternative to going to heaven?
Churches today are using marketing strategies just like big businesses. Would there be a need for this if we just did what Jesus told us to do, if each of us lived our lives the way we should? What if we all lived like a Biblical Christian Monday through Saturday, instead of for 1 or 2 hours on Sunday? What if we really loved our neighbors as ourselves? What if we put God first? The Bible says they will know us by our love.
If we worshipped God in Spirit and in truth, instead of giving Him lip service, His presence would so fill our Churches that the people would come. No one would have to beg them or offer them cash. His presence would cause people to cry out in repentance. Unfortunately, many churches may as well have "Ichabod" (the glory has departed) over their doors.
What the world needs is to see the church operating the way it did in the book of Acts. They need to see true Christianity in action. They need to experience the power and presence of the Almighty God. They need to know us by our love and not our hypocrisy. The power and presence of God can and will change lives and hearts.
"First-time visitors to a Pentecostal church in
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. " - John 13:34-35
"praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." -Acts 2:47
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Sunday, June 25, 2006
" At some Presbyterian Churches the Holy Trinity --"Father, Son and Holy Spirit"-- will be out. "Mother, Child and Womb" is in. "
All quotes are from an article by Richard Ostling, Associated Press
June 20, 2006
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is considering changing the Holy Trinity. They voted to accept a poilicy paper on sex-inclusive language for the Trinity. This step is one step short of complete approval. This enables church officials to propose "experimental liturgies". Some of the other options they are looking at include :
- Rock, Redeemer, Friend
- Creator, Savior, Sanctifier
- King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love
- Lover, Beloved, Love
Presbyterians should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the churches vocabulary of praise and wonder."
Jesus Himself called God His "Father". When Jesus taught us how to pray He said, "Our Father who is in heaven,Hallowed be Your name." (Matthew 6:9) The Bible refers to the church as "the bride of Christ".
What the Presbyterian church is trying to do is yet another example of man trying to conform God to his image, rather than us conforming to the image of God. God has not changed. "For I, the LORD, do not change;" (Malachi 3:6)
The Bible is very clear that God is three, yet one. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For God to be "masculine", in no way demeans women. God's instructions to husbands.."Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church" (Eph. 5:25) God loves all equally.
Times are changing but God is not. I think America needs to WAKE UP. God will not change because we have. His Word is still the final authority. His Word, the Bible is truth. This same denomination is considering allowing homosexuals to be ordained. May God help us all!
God is a just God. He is pure and Holy. Truth is absolute and it does not change because we want it to change. God will not be mocked. I do not remember reading anywhere in my Bible where it said we could ask God for an ammendment or revision to His Word.
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Friday, June 23, 2006
* In Genesis, Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman.
* In Exodus, He is the passover lamb.
* In Leviticus, He is our high priest.
* In Numbers, He is the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
* In Deuteronomy, He is the prophet like unto Moses.
* In Joshua, He is the captain of our salvation.
* In Judges, He is our judge and lawgiver.
* In Ruth, He is our kinsman redeemer.
* In 1st and 2nd Samuel, He is our trusted prophet.
* In Kings and Chronicles, He is our reigning king.
* In Ezra, He is the rebuilder of the broken down walls of human life.
* In Esther, He is our Mordecai.
* In Job, He is our ever-living redeemer.
* In Psalms, He is our shepherd.
* In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, He is our wisdom.
* In the Song of Solomon, He is the loving bridegroom.
* In Isaiah, He is the prince of peace.
* In Jeremiah, He is the righteous branch.
* In Lamentations, He is our weeping prophet.
* In Ezekiel, He is the wonderful four-faced man.
* In Daniel, He is the forth man in life's "fiery furnace."
* In Hosea, He is the faithful husband, forever married to the backslider.
* In Joel, He is the baptizer with the Holy Ghost and fire.
* In Amos, He is our burden-bearer.
* In Obadiah, He is the mighty to save.
* In Jonah, He is our great foreign missionary.
* In Micah, He is the messenger of beautiful feet.
* In Nahum, He is the avenger of God's elect.
* In Habakkuk, he is God's evangelist, crying, "revive thy work in the midst of the years."
* In Zephaniah, He is our Saviour.
* In Haggai, He is the restorer of God's lost heritage.
* In Zechariah, He is the fountain opened up in the house of David for sin and uncleanness.
* In Malachi, He is the Sun of Righteousness, rising with healing in His wings.
* In Matthew, He is King of the Jews.
* In Mark, He is the Servant.
* In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.
* In John, He is the Son of God.
* In Acts, He is the Savior of the world.
* In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.
* In I Corinthians, He is the Rock that followed Israel.
* In II Corinthians, He is the Triumphant One, giving victory.
* In Galatians, He is your liberty; He sets you free.
* In Ephesians, He is Head of the Church.
* In Philippians, He is your joy.
* In Colossians, He is your completeness.
* In 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, He is your hope.
* In I Timothy, He is your faith.
* In II Timothy, He is your stability.
* In Philemon, He is your Benefactor.
* In Titus, He is truth.
* In Hebrews, He is your perfection.
* In James, he is the Power behind your faith.
* In I Peter, He is your example.
* In II Peter, He is your purity.
* In I John, He is your life.
* In II John, He is your pattern.
* In III John, He is your motivation.
* In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.
* In Revelation, He is your coming King.
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Thursday, June 22, 2006
This post contains excerpts from a sermon given by Jonathon Edwards. It is a very powerful message about how God will judge those who have proffessed to be Christians, but really never knew Him...(AKA hypocrites) The full sermon can be found
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites:
"Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
He who despises the gain of oppressions,
Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes,
Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed,
And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
He will dwell on high;
His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks;
Bread will be given him,
His water will be sure.
"Next follow these words: “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” The sense is, That the time will come, when fearfulness will surprise the sinners in Zion, because they will know, that they are about to be cast into a devouring fire, which they must suffer forever and ever, and which none can endure.
It may be inquired, who are the sinners in Zion? — I answer, that they are those who are in a natural condition among the visible people of God. Zion, or the city of David of old, was a type of the church. And the church of God in Scripture is perhaps more frequently called by the name of Zion than by any other name. And commonly by Zion is meant the true church of Christ, or the invisible church of true saints. But sometimes by this name is meant the visible church, consisting of those who are outwardly, by profession and external privileges, the people of God. This is intended by Zion in this text.
The greater part of the world are sinners. Christ’s flock is, and ever hath been, but a little flock. And the sinners of the world are of two sorts: those who are visibly of Satan’s kingdom, who are without the pale of the visible church; and those who do not profess the true religion, nor attend the external ordinances of it. Beside these there are the sinners in Zion. Both are the objects of the displeasure and wrath of God. But his wrath is more especially manifested in Scripture against the latter. Sinners in Zion will have by far the lowest place in hell. They are exalted nearest to heaven in this world, and they will be lowest in hell in another. The same is meant by hypocrites. Sinners in Zion are all hypocrites. For they make a profession of the true religion. They attend God’s ordinances, and make a show of being the worshippers of God. But all is hypocrisy."
The time will come when all hypocrites will be awakened to their state. They will be surprised by the return of the Lord. The wonderful and terrible day of the Lord.
"They will hereafter be afraid. Now many of them seem to have little or no fear. They are quiet and secure. Nothing will awaken them. The most awful threatenings and the loudest warnings do not much move them. They are not so much moved with them, but they can eat, and drink, and sleep, and go about their worldly concerns without much disturbance. But the time will come, when the hardest and most stupid wretches will be awakened. Though now preaching will not awaken them, and the death of others will not make them afraid, though seeing others awakened and converted will not much affect them, though they can stand all that is to be heard and seen in a time of general out-pouring of the Spirit of God, without being much moved; yet the time will come, when they will be awakened, and fear will take hold of them. They will be afraid of the wrath of God. However senseless they be now, they will hereafter be sensible of the awful greatness of God, and that it is a fearful thing to fall into his hands."
"Fearfulness will surprise them at the last judgment. When Christ shall appear in the clouds of heaven, and the last trumpet shall sound, then will the hearts of wicked men be surprised with fearfulness. The poor damned soul, in expectation of it, trembles every day and every hour from the time of its departure from the body. It knows not, indeed, when it is to be, but it knows it is to be. But when the alarm is given in hell that the day is come, it will be a dreadful alarm indeed. It will, as it were, fill the caverns of hell with shrieks. And when the souls of the damned shall enter into their bodies, it will be with amazing horror of what is coming. And when they shall lift up their heads out of their graves, and shall see the judge, it will be a most terrible sight."
Edwards describes what it will be like for those who are alive when Christ returns....
"There will not be a wicked man upon earth who will be able to bear it, let him be who he will. Let him be rich or poor, old or young, male or female, servant or master, king or subject, learned or unlearned. Let him be ever so proud, ever so courageous, and ever so sturdy. There is not one who will be able at all to support himself. When he shall see this sight, it will immediately sink his spirit. It will loose the joints of his loins. It will make his countenance more ghastly than death. The rich captains, and valiant generals and princes, who now scorn to show any fear at the face of an enemy, who scorn to tremble at the roaring of cannon, will tremble and shriek when they shall hear the last trumpet, and see the majesty of their judge. It will make their teeth to chatter, and make them fly to hide themselves in the caves and rocks of mountains, crying to the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and cover them from the wrath of the judge."
And his description of the judgement seat of Christ....
"Fearfulness will surprise them when they shall be dragged before the judgment-seat. The wicked hang back when they are about to meet death. But in no measure as they will hang back when they come to meet their great judge. And when they come to stand before the judge, and are put on his left hand, fearfulness and amazement will surprise them. The majesty of the judge will be intolerable to them. His pure and holy eye, which will behold and search them, and pierce them through, will be more terrible to their souls a thousand times than flashes of lightning piercing their hearts. They will they stand in a trembling, expectation, that by and by they shall hear the words of that dreadful sentence proceed out of the mouth of Christ. They will have a horrible expectation of that sentence. And what shall they do, whither shall they fly, so as to be out of its hearing? They cannot shut their ears, so as not to hear it." "Fearfulness will surprise them when the sentence shall come to be pronounced. At the close of the judgment, that dreadful doom will be uttered by the judge. And it will be the most terrible voice that ever was heard. The sound of the last trumpet, that shall call men to judgment, will be a more terrible sound to wicked men than ever they shall have heard till that time. But the sound of the last sentence will be much more terrible than that. There will not be one of all those millions at the left hand, whether high or low, king or subject, who will be able to support himself at all under the sound of that sentence. But they will all sink under it."
And now the wrath of God for the hypocrite.....
"The wrath of God is in his word manifested against the wicked heathens. But it is ten times as much manifested against those sinners who make the profession and enjoy the privileges of the people of God; and yet remain enemies of God. Both the Old Testament and the New are full of terrible denunciations against such. Read the books of Moses, read the prophets, and you will find them full of dreadful threatenings against such. Read over the history of Christ’s life and the speeches which he made when upon earth. There you will see what woes and curses he frequently denounced against such. How often did he say, that it should be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for the cities in which most of his mighty works were done! Read over the history of the Acts of the Apostles, and their epistles. There you will find the same. It is the sinners in Zion, or hypocrites, that are always in Scripture spoken of as the people of God’s wrath."
He goes on to give the reasons why the judment of the hypocrites and the wrath of God on the hypocrites will be much more severe....
"If men be blind, they have comparatively no sin. But then they see, when they have light to know their duty, and to know their obligation, then their sin is great, John 9:14. When the light that is in a man is darkness, how great is that darkness! And when men live in wickedness, in the midst of great light, that light is like to be the blackness of darkness indeed."
"The heathens never pretended to be the worshippers of the true God. They never pretended to be Christ’s disciples. They never came under any covenant-obligations to be such. But this is not the case with sinners in Zion. Now, God highly resents falsehood and treachery. Judas, who betrayed Christ with a kiss, was a greater sinner, and much more the object of God’s wrath, than Pilate, who condemned him to be crucified, and was his murderer."
"But there is no wrath like that which arises from mercy abused and rejected. When mercy is in this way turned into wrath, this is the fiercest wrath. — Sinners in Zion, beside their fall by the first Adam, have a fall also by the second. He is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, at which they stumble and fall. And there is no fall like this. The fall by the first Adam is light in comparison with it."
He goes on to say....
"It is an awful thing to think of, that there are now some persons in this very congregation, here and there, who will be the subjects of that very misery of which we have now heard, although it be eternal! There are probably some now reading or hearing this discourse, who shall be seen at the day of judgment, among the devils, at the left hand of the judge, with freighted, ghastly countenances, wringing their hands, gnashing their teeth, shrieking and crying out." "Now we know not their names, nor where to look for them. But God knoweth their names, and now seeth and knoweth what they think, and how much they regard the warnings which are given them this day."
"Therefore now let every one look to himself. It is for your own souls’ salvation. If you be foolish, and will not hearken to counsel, will not improve the opportunity when it is given you, and will not enter into such an open door, you alone must bear it. If you shall miss this opportunity, and quench your convictions now, and there shall come another time of the outpouring of the Spirit, you will be far less likely to have any profit by it."
Each time we reject God, our hearts become harder and it will make giving our lives to Him even harder. Do not wait! No man knows the time or the hour when Christ will return. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." (2 Cor 7:10)
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Posted by Becky at 9:35 PM
Monday, June 19, 2006
Pastors, teachers, preachers and lay people need to preach of repentance. To teach of God and His word and to tell of the Gospel, and the good news of Jesus Christ, without mentioning repentance goes against the very Word of God. Much too often today, from the pulpits of main stream churches, some being the largest in America, we hear all about how good God is and what He can do for us; but very little, if anything, about our requirements. They are failing to tell of the need for repentance. Repentance is mentioned many. many times in the Bible. We can not merely trust God for His salvation and all He can do for us, without asking what He expects from us. He expects us to turn from our old ways. To turn from sin and our fleshly way of living and to change, to pursue holiness, and become more like Him. Grace is not a license to continue in our sinful ways. Will we sin? Yes! We will make mistakes, but we should not willfully continue in our wicked ways. God has so much to offer us. People can not truly experience the wonderful, life changing power of God, unless they turn from their sinful ways. When you pursue holiness and turn from your old ways, you do not miss them, because the rewards of a close relationship and walk with Him are so much better and so much more satisfying to the soul! God can fill any emptiness in your heart. He gives true peace and true joy!
The words of Jesus:
ÂThe time has come,Â he said. ÂThe kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!Â (Mark 1:15)
From that time on Jesus began to preach, ÂRepent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.Â (Matt 4:17)
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31b-32).
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ÂDo you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.Â (Luke 13:1-5)
There . there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repentThere . there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7, 10).
This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things (Luke 24:46-48)
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned (John 16:7-11).
The words of Peter:
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:38-29).
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus (Acts 3:19-20).
God exalted [Jesus] to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him (Acts 5:31-32).
The words of Paul:
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus (Acts 20:21).
First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds (Acts 26:20).
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death (2 Cor 7:10).
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Sunday, June 18, 2006
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
Love, Your Dad.
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The printed version of Father's Love Letter can be copied and used for free distribution providing the following copyright information is displayed... 'Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2006 www.FathersLoveLetter.com'
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Saturday, June 17, 2006
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,
always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." ---2 Tim. 3:1-7
A form of godliness is very different from the power; This is a good way of describing hypocrites and those who have "religion" and no relationship. These kind of people have been found throughout time and in every place. There has always been these artful men, who, by pretences and flatteries, creep in and find the favour and confidence of those who are too easily infuenced and deceived. These people follow every new "fad" in the church, yet never seek the truth as it is in Jesus.
"'These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " Matthew 15:8-9
"For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart--
These, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:16-17
God desires to have a relationship with us. Just going through the motions and being "religious" is not what God is looking for. Going to church week after week and giving lip service to God means nothing if we are not living the way He wants us to. We must let our lights shine before men. It is disturbing that today there is very little distinction between the world and most people who call themselves Christian. God said obedience is better than sacrifice.
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 "and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" Deuteronomy 10:12-13
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Friday, June 16, 2006
I wanted to post on the Biblical roots of Islam. Many trace the beginnings of Islam back to Muhammad (born in A.D. 570 in Mecca, in what is now Saudi Arabia). The roots of Islam actually start with Abraham in Ur of Chaldea (present day Iraq) in about 2000 B.C.The rest of this I am copying and pasting from
This is very interesting because it opens your eyes to the spiritual battle that has gone on for many, many years between Christianity and Islam. I believe all the peace talks in the world will not stop this battle. It will be finished when Jesus returns riding on a white horse!
ABRAHAM, THE FATHER OF A MULTITUDE
The story begins with a man named Abram, son of Terah, a descendant of Shem, who lived in the city of Ur (near the Persian Gulf) but migrated to Haran (Gen. 11:10-32). Abram received a call from God to go to the land of Canaan (present-day Israel). God promised Abram the following (in what is sometimes called the Abrahamic Covenant):
· I will make you a great nation
· I will bless you, and make your name great
· You will be a blessing
· I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one who curses you
· In you all families of the earth shall be blessed (Gen. 12:2,3)
God told Abram (later his name would be changed to Abraham) that He would give his descendants the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:7; 13:16; 15:18-21; 17:), that Abraham’s descendants would be too numerous to count (Gen. 13:14,15,17;15:5; 22:17), that Abraham would be the father of many nations (Gen. 17:4,5), that in his seed all nations would be blessed (Gen. 22:18), and that the covenant would be an “everlasting covenant” (Gen. 17:7). The covenant was reaffirmed to Isaac (Gen. 26:1-5) and Jacob (Gen. 28:3,4, 13-14; 35:10-12). A thousand years later David affirmed God’s covenant with Abraham (Psa. 105:8-11). The promised blessing, of course, came through God’s Messiah, Jesus the Christ (Acts 3:25,26; Gal. 3:14,16).
ISAAC, THE PROMISED SON
God promised Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 22:18). The promise was repeated to Isaac (Gen. 26:4) and Jacob (Gen. 28:14). The apostle Paul makes it clear that the seed (singular) was Christ: “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).
But Abraham had several sons, eight to be exact: Ishmael through Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar; Isaac through Sarah; and six others (Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Isbak, & Shuah) through Keturah, whom he married after the death of Sarah (Gen. 15:1-2). Which of the eight was the “son of promise?”
Twice in Genesis 22 God tells Abraham that Isaac is “your son, your only son” (Gen. 22:2,16). God knew that Abraham had two sons at the time, but He reminded Abraham that Isaac, as far as The Promise was concerned, was his only son. Paul connects the dots from the son of promise to Isaac, and from Isaac to us – spiritual “children of promise” (Gal. 4:28).
ISHMAEL, THE SURROGATE SON
Although Abraham had been promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven (Gen. 15:5), Sarah was not able to bear him a child. Sarah felt that God had obstructed her from having children, so she came up with the idea of making her maid, an Egyptian named Hagar, a “sexual surrogate” for her husband. Abraham, inexcusably, heeded his wife’s advice and had sexual relations with Hagar (Gen. 16:1-2). The world has paid dearly for this detour from God’s plan. Herbert Lockyer observes, “Little did Sarah know, when she persuaded Abraham to take Hagar, that she was originating a rivalry which has seen the keenest strife through the ages, and which oceans of blood have not stopped. Moslem Arabs claim descent from Ishmael…Arabian tribes springing from Ishmael are scattered throughout the Arabian peninsula. The wild hearts beat on in the bosoms of those who form the Arab world.”
Once Hagar had conceived, she not only swelled with pregnancy but she also swelled with pride. Sarah, with Abraham’s approval, “dealt harshly” with Hagar, forcing her to flee into the wilderness. But God assured her that He would also multiply her descendants so that they could not be counted (Gen. 16:3-10). She was instructed to call her son Ishmael (“whom God hears”). Then came the prophecy that may have caused Hagar to shiver in spite of the heat in the desert:
“He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him,
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Gen. 16:12).
The NIV reads, “He will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” Thomas Cahill writes, “Her son Yishmael (of Ishmael) shall be another Enkindu, ‘a wild-ass of a man, his hand against all, hand of all against him’ – father of the Arabs” (The Gifts of the Jews Doubleday, 1998). James L. Garlow observes, “The offspring of Abraham is the focal point of the current conflict. The ongoing struggle in the Middle East is a direct result of the animosity between the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac. While there is no record of Ishmael and Isaac ever fighting each other, Genesis does record God’s prophecy regarding Ishmael; He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him (Gen. 16:12 TEV). Today’s struggle is between those who call themselves the descendants of Ishmael and those who call themselves descendants of Isaac. The intense struggle in Israel and the surrounding Arab nations can only be understood historically as a struggle between the descendants of two brothers who lived four thousand years ago: Ishmael (modern-day Arabs) and Isaac (the Jews)” (A Christian’s Response to Islam, RiverOak Publishing, 2002).
THE STAGE IS SET FOR THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
Abraham pleaded Ishmael’s case before God, but was told that the everlasting covenant would be with Isaac and his descendants (Gen. 17:19). However, He promised Abraham that He would bless Ishmael and make him fruitful. Ishmael would beget 12 princes and would be made into a great nation (Gen. 17:20) – the Arab nation. Today there are nearly 300 million Arabs constituting a great nation. The Arab League of Nations consists of 22 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. They literally surround the tiny nation of Israel (8,000 square miles). Three hundred million Arab Muslims surrounding 5 million Jews. They control 99.9 percent of the Middle East whereas Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. Arabs occupy 5.3 million square miles of oil rich land but are unable to get along with themselves, let alone others. Witness the conflict Iraq and Iran. The Iranians, though Muslim, are Persians. Note: Not every Muslim is an Arab. The most populous Muslim nation on earth is Indonesia. Indonesians are Malays, not Arabs.
When Ishmael was 16 years old, Sarah caught him mocking Isaac. Once again she made Abraham cast out Hagar and Ishmael, this time for good (Gen. 21:8-14). (Muslims believe they wound up in Mecca where Abraham visited them. He and Ishmael built a shrine, the Ka’bah.) Again God reaffirmed his promise to Hagar that He would make of Ishmael a great nation (Gen. 21:18). Ishmael became a skilled archer and eventually married an Egyptian woman (Gen. 21:20,21). Ishmael became the father of 12 sons (Gen. 25:13-16) and these tribes became known as the Ishmaelites (sometimes called Midianites, Gen. 37:25-28). Isaac had two sons: Jacob (later called Israel) and Esau. Although Esau (like Ishmael) was the first-born, God chose Jacob to receive The Promise (land, name, blessings). Esau, embittered and filled with hatred, linked up with Ishmael, and married Ishmael’s daughter (Gen. 28:9). Jim Gerrish notes, “Like Ishmael, Esau moved into the desert in the area of Mt. Seir, or Edom, to the east of the Dead Sea. There he became the progenitor of multitudes of other Arab peoples. These Arabs were joined by the children of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, in making up many of the inhabitants of today’s Jordan, as well as other parts of the Arab world (Gen. 19:37,38). The bitter rivalry between all these desert peoples and Israel is recorded throughout the Old Testament. Time and time again they came in fury and bitter hatred to destroy Israel. Bible history is replete with the attacks of the Edomites, Ammonites, Ishmaelites, Moabites and hordes of other Arabs against the seed of Isaac and Jacob” (“Islam, Religion of the Other Brother”). The descendants of the six sons of Abraham by Keturah became tribes of people living in what is now Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and other North African nations.
Psalm 83:4-8 spells out the “clear and present danger” to Israel from the Arab coalition: “They say, ‘Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!’ For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant – the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites…they are the strong arm of the children of Lot.” The Edomites participated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., earning themselves God’s eternal wrath (Obadiah 10-14). Arabs strongly resisted the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:19). They harbor a “perpetual hatred” for the people of Israel (Ezek. 35:5).The stated purpose of vengeful Arab nations has not changed to this day. They are still committed to driving the Jews into the Mediterrean Sea and obliterating the very name of Israel (indeed, one cannot find the name “Israel” on maps made by Arabs today). Yasser Arafat continues to call for jihad against Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorists train young Arab children to be “suicide bombers” and to die as “martyrs” for the cause.
Arabs, who claim Ishmael as their father, have laid claim to God’s promises to Isaac, saying Ishmael was the son of promise – the one Abraham sacrificed. (The Koran, which came 600 years after the Bible, says the sacrifice took place in Mecca whereas the Bible has Abraham sacrificing Isaac on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem). Why this deliberate and desperate twisting of the Scripture? Why this outright rebellion against God’s Word? Because Arabs are convinced that they are the true heirs of the land God promised to Abraham’s descendants. But the Bible, as we have seen, clearly indicates otherwise (Gen. 13:15; 15:18; 17:7; 26:3,4; 28:13,14; Jer. 31:35,36 et al). Bob Russell writes, “…the Christian faith and the Islamic faith contradict each other at key points. Remember that there is an axiom from logic called the law of non-contradiction. Two statements that contradict each other can’t both be true. Either one or both must be false” (Christian Standard, Sept. 1, 2002).
Twelve times in Scripture God refers to Himself as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” – never “the God of Ishmael.” Two hundred and three times God is called “the God of Israel” – never “the God of Ishmael.” The nation of Israel is mentioned 2,565 times in 2,293 verses. The Arabians are mentioned a mere ten times. Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., 2000 years before the rise of Islam. “Palestine,” a corruption of “Philistine,” the arch-enemies of Israel, is never mentioned in the Bible. (Herodotus in the 5th century B.C. called it “that part of Syria which is called Palaistine.” Hadrian made it official in the 2nd century B.C.)
But when Abraham died, Isaac and Ishmael – together – buried their father (Gen. 25:8,9). This little jewel – “Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him” – gives us a glimmer of hope for the future. Can the sons of Abraham be reunited again?
IS THERE HOPE FOR THE SONS OF
ISHMAEL AND ISAAC?
Faced with all this, some would throw up their hands and say, “What’s the use? There’s no hope!” But this is the language and posture of defeat. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all. It is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. Even though the Cross seems a stumbling block to the Muslim world (and the Jewish world too for that matter) it remains the only hope of the world. Jesus Christ, who is our peace (Eph. 2:14), is the only hope for peace in the Middle East.
God is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11). He wants all people to repent. He is not willing that any should perish. Even in the Old Testament, there are glimmers of hope for the sons of Ishmael. Egyptians and Syrians would be delivered by the Savior and would worship together along with Israeli believers (Isa. 19:18-25). People from Kedar and Nebaioth (Ishmaelites) would proclaim the praises of God (Isa. 60:7-9). Israel’s neighbors, who had caused them nothing but grief, would experience the compassion of the Lord (Jer. 12:14-17). In Jesus’ day the Idumeans (Edomites), hearing of Jesus’ fame, came to Him (Mark 3:8). And then there was Pentecost!
Pentecost, A.D. 30. “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). The apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, were speaking to each nation group in their own language. Among them were Egyptians, Libyans, and Arabs (vs. 10,11). They all heard “the wonderful works of God” in their own language. Peter and the apostles preached the message of Christ – crucified, buried and raised up. They were cut to the heart and cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Swift as an arrow shot from the bow came the reply: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 emphasis added). Then came another promise – a promise not just for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – a promise for all. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (v. 39). About 3,000 souls answered the call that day and were baptized. Now “one in Christ” they worshiped together and lived in love, peace and harmony (vs. 42-47).
Few people foresaw the fall of Communism, which once enslaved millions in the darkness and despair of godless atheism. Let us, by a “faith that works by love,” optimistically preach Christ to the Islamic world!
Case in point #1: Jeremiah Cummings, a former member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, founder and director of WICC-TV (The Worldwide International Campaign for Christ Television Network), Orlando, Florida. Cummings (formerly Jeremiah Fard Muhammad) was baptized into Christ in 1997 after a 13-month study of Christ. His study was precipitated by a historic 1996 debate he had in Dallas with Jack Evans, president of Southwestern Christian College (an a cappella Church of Christ institution), “Islam vs. Christianity” (available on CD for $55 or 4 Cassettes for $35 from www.wicctv.org). Cummings uses teachings from the Koran to establish the divinity of Christ. “Muslims deny the virgin birth of Christ, but in the Koran the virgin birth is seen in Sura 21:91, ‘And as for Mary, who protected her virginity, and we breathed into her of our spirit [Holy Ghost in Luke 1:35] and made her and her son a sign’ [Isaiah 7:14].” He says, “If I can show them thing in their own book – things that they’ve read all their live and didn’t know, Muslims are more likely to respond to Christian teaching.” He has baptized a number of Muslims into ChristHis 10-year plan for WICC-TV is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week Church of Christ teaching network that will be broadcast around the world.
Case in point #2: Lee Turner, founder and director of Key Communications in Portland, Oregon. In 1960 Brother Turner became the first missionary from the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ to go to the Muslim country of Pakistan. For more than a biblical generation he has been reaching out to the Muslim world with the gospel of Christ. Thousands of Muslims have eagerly responded to Key Communication’s radio and literature ministry. The May 2002 issue of Outreach to Muslims he wrote of “Loving Muslims to Christ.” “It is a challenging assignment but one which perceptively captures the greatest difference between Islam and Christianity, between Muhammad and Christ…the message of God’s love shown through Jesus Christ to all men and women really stands out like a great triumphant banner!…Myriads of Muslims can tell the difference between the love of power and the power of love!”
Turner expanded on this significant “difference” a major article entitled “The Difference” (Asian Evangelism, Nov. – Dec. 2001). After delineating the political, ethical, and social differences between Islam and Christianity, he pinpointed the theological differences. “Muslims who reach out to learn of Christ are often responding to one or more of the following three extremely important theological differences between Islam and the message of Christ.
· First of all when the gospel of Jesus is thoughtfully presented, a Muslim often senses the profound difference between God sending down versus God coming down… I certainly don’t have to tell you that the second alternative is the very heart of the gospel. God…personally breaking into human history…’God with us’…In sharp contrast, Islam presents God as one who only sends down. There is no personal encounter. There is no sharing in the human condition…no being tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.
· Another startling contrast a Muslim senses when he hears the gospel of Christ is the difference between God revealing his will rather than God revealing himself…The highest form of revelation is personal revelation. Jesus said, ‘…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father’…The first concept, that is that God only sends down, is a Mt. Sinai-like experience. In such an experience one gets law codes, statutes, enactments, prohibitions, restrictions, commands. But the second experience, that is that the Word became flesh, in other words he became a man, provides the opportunity to commune with God!
· Through listening attentively to the gospel a sincere Muslim soon gains a
third revolutionary understanding. He comes to understand that The Word was not made a book but rather the Word was made flesh…The Son is the eternal Word, which was in the beginning with God, and was then sent down to earth. Islam’s ‘act of salvation’ is not the descent of the Word in human form, but the sending down of the Book itself…As long as the Word remained on ‘equality with God’ (Phil. 2:6) he could not be our sacrifice because he was immortal! Only after the Word became flesh could he fulfill God’s purpose as expressed in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah….”
What do we have to offer the children of Ishmael? Jesus Christ, the Middle East’s most famous son! In “Christianity’s Greatest Challenge” (a tract published by Fellowship of Faith for Muslims), C. George Fry wrote, “There is a five-fold rationale for the Church’s mission to the Middle East: (1) First, we witness because of the command of Christ (Acts 1:8)…The Church must reenter the Middle East with an invitation to discipleship so that our Lord’s Semitic kinsmen after the flesh may become His brethren according to the Spirit. (2) Second, we witness because of the truth of Christ. Truth is universal, and, as Alec Vidler has written of Christianity, ‘either it is true for all men, whether they know it or not; or it is true for no one, not even for those people who are under the illusion that it is true’…(3) Third, we witness to the fullness of Christ. Our mission to the Middle East is our prayer in action that the day will come when the Muslim peoples will know Jesus not simply as Prophet-Teacher but also as Savior-King…(4) Fourth, we witness to the grace of Christ, that in Christ, ‘all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross’ (Col. 1:19,20). (5) Fifth, we witness to the fellowship of Christ, in which there is no east or west, no Jew or Arab, no male or female. This is the community of reconciliation that could mean a new day for the Middle East with a spiritual reunion of Europe and Asia, the end of the estrangement between Abraham’s sons, and an emancipation declaration for the Muslim women. Christ, up to now the barrier between Christian, Jew, and Muslim, can become, by the grace of God, the bridge to oneness in the Gospel.
Islam is Christianity’s greatest challenge – and Christianity’s greatest opportunity. Surely the Spirit, using sanctified reason, will show us a way to find new methods of penetrating the Muslim world with the message of Christ!”
I am haunted by Abraham’s poignant prayer to God:
“Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”
But I am made hopeful by Jesus’ fervent prayer to God:
“That they all may be one…that the world may believe”
Jesus Christ did not pray a prayer that cannot be answered! The saving message of Christ, shared in the spirit of Christ, has, can, and will bring the estranged sons of Abraham together again!
-------Compiled by Victor Knowles
Founder/Executive Director, POEM (Peace on Earth Ministries)
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006
"I Should Have Known"
(Hell Is Real!)
"To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin"
I went into my classroom
Ready for another year at school.
I didn't want the work,
Just wanted to hang and be cool.
I had on new clothes,
New sneakers on my feet.
I was there for class on time
Went to the back and took my seat.
Yeah, I'm moving up.
I'm already grown.
Soon I'll be graduating
And out on my own.
I talked to some of my friends.
We were all having fun.
Said some things I shouldn't have said,
Did stuff I shouldn't have done.
I knew I was different.
I felt God TOUCH my heart.
I knew I should set a standard,
But then I'd be set apart.
Walking to the bus,
I was not looking for strength.
I heard the car tires screeching,
But now-- it's too late.
I'm standing in this room
And I can see the heavenly gate.
Oh no! I never prayed.
I thought I had time to get it straight.
An angel walked to me.
He had a Book in his hand.
I knew it was the Book of Life.
When would this dream end?
I told him my name
And he began to look.
Then he looked at me sadly and said,
"Your name is not in this Book."
"Angel, this is a dream.
No, I can't be dead!"
He closed the Book and turned away.
He whispered - "You cannot proceed ahead."
"No, no, this can't be real!
Angel, you can't turn me away.
Let me talk to God.
Maybe He'll let me stay."
He led me to the gate.
Jesus came to me.
He did not let me in, but said,
"Beloved, what is your need?"
"Jesus," I cried, "please!
Don't cast me away from you."
Tears ran down His face as He said,
"You KNEW what you needed to do."
"Lord, please, I'm young.
I never thought I would die.
I thought I'd have plenty of time.
Death caught me by surprise."
"Lord, I went to church.
Please, Jesus, I believe!"
He said, "You would not accept Me.
My love you would not receive."
"Lord, there were too many hypocrites!
THEY weren't being true."
He took a step back and asked,
"What does that have to do with you?"
"Lord, my family claimed to be saved.
They weren't real-- You know."
He said, "I died for YOU.
Now, I have to go."
I fell to my knees, crying to Him.
"Lord, I planned to be real-- tomorrow."
I couldn't make Him understand.
I had never felt such sorrow.
Then it hit me hard. I said,
"Lord, where will I go?"
He looked into my eyes and said,
"My child, you ALREADY know."
"Please, Jesus," I begged,
"The place is so hot!"
It seemed to trouble and grieve Him.
He whispered, "DEPART FROM ME, I KNOW YOU NOT."
"Lord, You're supposed to be love.
How can You send me to damnation?"
He replied, "With your mouth you SAID you loved Me,
But each day you rejected My salvation."
With that, in an instant,
Day turned into night.
I never knew such torture could be.
Now, it's too late. I always knew the Bible was right.
If I can tell you anything,
Hell has no age.
It is a place of torture,
Separated from God and full of rage.
You know, I thought it was a funny joke.
But this one thing is true--
If you never accept Jesus Christ,
HELL IS WAITING FOR YOU!
"And that servant, which knew his LORD's Will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His Will, shall be beaten with many stripes"
"For it had been better for them not to have known the way of Righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the Holy Commandment delivered unto them"
(2 Peter 2:21).
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly Gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the Good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall FALL AWAY, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing
they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh,
and put Him to an open shame"
"For if we sin WILFULLY after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment and Fiery Indignation, which shall devour the adversaries"
So please ask Him INTO your heart. Ask Him to forgive you of yur sins and turn away from them. Jesus Loves You! He wants to have a relationship with you.
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Monday, June 12, 2006
There is no sin [unchastity] which will sooner bring about a nation’s fall. If histoy teaches anything, it teaches that sensual indulgence is the surest way to national ruin. Society, in not condemning this sin, condemns itself. ~ F. B. Meyer
You’ve got to have fire to set fire with. You’ve got to have life to propagate life with. ~ Dwight L. Moody
It is the heart that experiences God and not the reason. ~ Pascal
True peace is when the soul revolves around its center, Almighty God, craving for nothing but what God continually supplies. Since the soul is large enough to contain the infinite God, nothing less than Himself can satisfy or fill it. ~Edward B. Pusey
You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more difficult than these, that you need to be anxious about His management of it?
~ Hannah Whitall Smith
The soul which gives itself wholly and without reserve to God is filled with His own peace; and the closer we draw to our God, so much the stronger and more steadfast and tranquil shall we become. ~ Jean Nicolas Grou
Pray hardest when it is hardest to pray. ~Charles H. Brent
"He must increase, but I must decrease."
~ John the Baptist
"What are we here for, to have a good time with Christians or to save sinners?"
- Malla Moe
"How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves." - C.T. Studd
"All roads lead to the judgment seat of Christ."
- Keith Green
"Christians don't tell lies they just go to church and sing them"
- A.W. Tozer
"I have said that there is nothing in the world or the Church, except it's disobedience, to render the evangelization of the world in this generation an impossibility."
- Robert Speer
"Why do we insist on building the largest and most impressive structures in our city when people on the other side of town are hungry, jobless and worshipping in storefronts?"
"The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity."
- Mike Stachura
"'Not called!' did you say? 'Not heard the call,' I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world."
- William Booth
"God does not have to come and tell me what I must do for Him, He brings me into a relationship with Himself where I hear His call and understand what He wants me to do, and I do it out of sheer love to Him... When people say they have had a call to foreign service, or to any particular sphere of work, they mean that their relationship to God has enabled them to realize what they can do for God." - Oswald Chambers
Saturday, June 10, 2006
I recently heard a song from Casting Crowns that I had not heard before. It is called "Praise You In The Storm". WOW! The song really touched my heart. It is easy to praise God when everything is going great. It is a little difficult during those times when the storms of life are raging. It is during those times that it truly becomes a sacrifice of praise. We are created to worship God. The Bible says His praise should continually be on our lips.
"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1
"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!" Psalm 150:6
Here are the Lyrics to the song:
Praise You In The Storm by Casting Crowns
I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as You mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
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Friday, June 09, 2006
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Matthew 7:21-23
This scripture, spoken by Jesus, shows us that not all who call themselves Christians will not make it to heaven. Satan is the father of all lies and he has deceived many in to having a false sense of security. Also, there are many false gospels being preached today. Jesus warned of them in the same chapter of Matthew."Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:15
"Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." Matthew 24:11
The parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew, shows us how many profess to be Christians, but truly are not.
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom."Now five of them were wise, and five werefoolish. "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,"but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps."But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept."And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'"Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps."And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'"But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut."Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'"But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Matthew 25:1-13
Many carry a "lamp" of profession of Christianity, but have nothing in their hearts, no love for God or desire to serve Him. Our light should so shine before men with good works and an outward love for Christ and our fellow man. This light can not shine, without true faith in Christ and love for God.,
An outward profession may light a man along in this world, but the damps
of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. The coming of Christ will come quickly. Death can also come quickly. If we are prepared and ready we will be fine, we will spend eternity with God. For those who wait and do not prepare, it will be too late. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites may carry them far here on earth, but the unexpected summons of death or the sudden return of Christ will be a sad ending for them. It will be the beginning of eternal separation from the God they claimed to have known.
Jesus tells us that the way that leads to destruction is broad, and the narrow and difficult way, is the way that leads to life. He also says that few find it.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14
"There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death." Proverbs 16:25
Just believing in God is not enough. The Bible says in James that even the demons believe, and they shudder. (James 2:19) Jesus spoke often of bearing fruit. He said that those trees that do not bear fruit are cut down and thrown in to the fire. So it will be if we bear no fruit.
"A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
"So then, you will know them by their fruits." Maatthew 7 18-20
We need to have a relationship with God. We need to obey Him and listen to Him. He wants to be first in our lives. In Matthew 10, Jesus says that we are to love Him more than our mother, father, son or daughter.
"He who loves father or mother more than Me is
not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not
worthy of Me.
"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
"He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:37-39
God wants all of us. If we are going to "talk the talk", we need to "walk the walk". If we profess to be a Christian, we should have some fruit that we are bearing. There should be outward evidence. If the world can't tell you apart from the rest, you have to wonder, "Are you really what you profess to be?"
Are you really ready? Are you ready for the return of the Lord? Are you confident that you will be found "not guilty" when you stand before God, or will He say, "Depart from Me, I never knew you"?