A Second Opinion

May 17, 2019 by Discerning Dad

 

Mark 2:17– Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Several years ago I went in to see the doctor. I had received a diagnosis that was troubling, but I wanted a second opinion. I pursued various tests and doctors to confirm what was previously said and also in hope that the first doctor was wrong, everything turned out to be ok but caused me to think. I find it interesting that when I go see the doctor for physicals or other reasons, if the doctor says that everything is ok, I’m thinking “awesome, see you next time!” Why don’t I get a second opinion when I receive good news? It’s probably because I might be afraid the second doctor would find something that was missed so it’s just best to stay away.

The correlation can be made with the church today. People love to hear a “good diagnosis.” People don’t feel the need to seek out someone else when preachers tell us things like: “we are awesome” “God loves us no matter what we do” “The sin called out in Bible doesn’t apply to today” “God wants you to be prosperous and wealthy!” We walk away feeling good about ourselves from these types of messages as a type of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. There’s nothing wrong with feeling positive, but the problem arises when the tables turn and we start to hear messages about sin or something that is trying to motivate us to change a behavior. What is our response to that?

Many times with a tough message from either a preacher or the Bible directly, we get what I call dissociative listening. We “hear” but we do not apply the truth to ourselves or we think of who ELSE it might apply to. We might nudge our spouse or think of a friend who gossiped about us and wish they were there to hear it.

Jesus said in Mark 2:17 that He has not come to call the righteous but sinners. I almost feel like Jesus is referring to the righteous here as “righteous” with finger quotes. The Pharisees at the time could not understand why Jesus was with the tax collectors and other sinners. These “sinners” were actually willing to listen to Jesus. The Pharisees were too busy in their self-righteousness to realize that they needed a Savior too! Jesus did not come to call the righteous, because NO ONE is righteous without Jesus. .. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

How do we respond when we are faced with a truth about ourselves or our sin? A part of having discernment is being able to see if the message aligns with the Bible and how it applies to our life. If a message being preached or advice a friend has for us, does in fact align with the Bible, we have an obligation to take it to heart and ACT upon it.

The problem with getting a “second opinion” when it comes to God, is there will ALWAYS be someone else out there that will tell you what you want to hear. There will be a friend that doesn’t want conflict and tells you that your sin is “ok” or “everyone does it.” There will be a pastor somewhere that will tell you that repentance isn’t necessary and that God wants you to be happy. If you seek truth you will find it. Unfortunately if you seek what your ears want to hear, you will find it as well.

The Bible warns of this in 2 Timothy 4:2-3: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

I would encourage you that the next time you hear a word or read a Bible verse that “stings” a little… or a lot… don’t ignore it. If you need to change something, change it. If you need to repent about something, repent. Don’t seek out a second opinion to tell you what you want to hear. Seek out God for yourself and find out and make your prayer the prayer of David in Psalm 139:24, “Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” God is our ultimate source of everything; He will lovingly call out sin in our life in order for us to grow in Him. He wants to cut out the sin from our flesh so we can be holy before Him. Jesus will see us through this process; after all He is the GREAT PHYSICIAN!

Also if you know of a friend, teacher, or Pastor that is preaching or living out the whole word of God without compromise make sure you thank them, listen to them, and pray for them!

Discerning Reflection- How can I do a better job of applying what I hear to my life? Am I currently listening to sound doctrine and have I sought out the Bible for myself to verify?

Prayer- Lord, thank you for your desire to help me grow in my walk with you. Help me be aware of my sin and how I can best change. Help me not be defensive as I pray for those that are preaching your Word, that you would encourage and sustain them so they can continue to do your work.

Tim Ferrara
Discerning Dad http://www.discerning-dad.com

Be sure to check out the Discerning Dad store at https://shop.spreadshirt.com/discerning-dad

 

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Are You One Of The America’s Christians…. Ashamed and Afraid?

May 19, 2019 by David Jolly

The state of the Christian church in America today is nothing like it was when I was young and the change is not a good one.

When I was young, many Christians boldly stood up for Jesus Christ and their faith in Him. They weren’t embarrassed to pray over the meal when eating in a restaurant or in front of other people. They weren’t afraid to stand up against the social recognition of sins and perverse lifestyles.

Sadly, over the past 50 years, millions of American Christians began to compromise with the decaying secular world. Rather than continue to stand up for their faith, they didn’t want offended anyone and they wanted to be inclusive.

Believing they were witnessing to perverse sinners, they opened their doors to them and then began catering to them. Afraid that hearing the truth that they were sinners living a life that God calls abominable, many churches watered down their teaching of God’s Word.

In my late 20’s, I was sick one Sunday morning and stayed home from church. I turned the television on and found the church service of a well-known pastor of a huge church in California. As I sat and listened to him, I was absolutely shocked when I heard him tell his auditorium of several thousand that he was intentionally compromising the Word of God so that they (his parishioners) would feel better about themselves. He repeated telling them how he compromised the Word of God for their sake and the audience applauded him. I later found out that he refused to preach about sin because he didn’t want people to have a poor self-image. He also stated that when Adam fell, he lost his self-esteem and that when we are saved by Jesus Christ that we regain our self-esteem.

I was appalled to learn that this preacher was leading thousands of gullible people to eternity in Hell by teaching them a false Gospel, and sadly, he wasn’t nor has he been the only preacher to teach a false Gospel. Jesus warned us about such false teachers in the following verses:

Matthew 7:15-16: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

Matthew 24:10-12: “And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

Matthew 24:23-25: “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”

There are other warnings about false teachers and false prophets, but what I want to know is why so many people who claim to be Christians are embarrassed and/or afraid to stand up for what the Bible really teaches?

We’ve all seen far too many examples where a Christian will remain silent or refuse to confront false teaching or preaching. When a Christian stands up and defends homosexuality, they are sharing a false Gospel. When someone stand up and says that everyone who leads a good life will go to heaven is teaching a false Gospel and the list goes on and on.

There is far too much emphasis in our culture today about not offending others and being all inclusive, but that is NOT what the Bible teaches and it’s not what Jesus taught. Far too many Christians are afraid to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, especially when He warned us:

Matthew 10:17-22:

“Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Are you willing to endure the hatred and treatment of the secular world for Christ’s sake or are you one of those who is afraid of offending someone or losing everything you own? Be honest!

If Christians lived their faith the way Muslims live theirs, America would still be a Christian nation and many of the problems we see in our nation today would not exist. America is the way it is today because too many Christians are afraid or embarrassed to stand up for and live their faith.

 

Original here


 

LGBT Ignores, Denies and Attacks Biblical Truth While Claiming They are Being Assaulted

By Michael Bresciani – May 19, 2019

The idea that women are free to abort the unborn while the LGBT are allowed to pervert those that make it to birth is heralded as our brand new world. If anyone takes a Biblical stand against all of this, they’re labeled as haters and accused of attacking women and assaulting the LGBT.

One example comes to us from recent events that took place on the campus of Trinity University where the supposedly Christian students voted to remove Chick-fil-A from campus. They were denied their request by the school.

In an article titled “Christian University Responds To Students Who Voted To Ban Chick-fil-A. They Aren’t Going To Like It.” author Michael Cantrell writes;

“The school’s student government previously voted unanimously to remove the restaurant from school property because students felt that the restaurant’s traditional Christian values was a “drastic assault on [LGBTQ] students.”

“Drastic Assault on LGBTQ students”

What?

We should not be surprised that the defense of something so perverted must rely upon a philosophical argument that is itself – totally perverted

The idea that long standing acceptance of God given immutable truths can and should be changed for nascent, trendy or pop-culture standards of behavior is certainly an assault, but it is the truth that is under assault not the LGBTQ.

The gay crowd simply turns the argument over on its head and marches blithely forward with their rainbow flag and their company of well indoctrinated sycophants – none which happen to notice their obviously twisted and perverted argument.

The fact that Christ clearly stated that it was God’s intention for marriage to be a relationship between one man and one woman, there are a plethora of biblical passages that span the message of the bible brought forth over a period of over 4,000 years that all condemn the practice of homosexual perversions. What is under attack is the truth – not the LGBTQ.

Standing on bible truths may make the person resisting the overtures of the LGBTQ philosophy, but it is the stand that gives them a lion’s share of courage and boldness. That can be mis-construed as an attack, but it is not.

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

What always follows the accusation that they are being assaulted is the labeling of those who are standing their ground as “homophobes” – although it is a term that long ago ran out of gas.

The only thing biblically based believers fear is that our nation may be entering its last days and that the rise in homosexuality, transgenderism and wholesale perversions is a signal of our imminent fall into perdition.

Grounded believers understand that many of the bible’s admonitions cover both the individual and collective groups up to and including entire nations. When we see warnings like the following we know it covers us altogether.

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”(Mt 7: 26-27)

The old time pastors and teachers were used to saying this:

“You can’t break the Word of God – you can only break yourself against it.”

Any way you take it, the truth is that there is no fear involved here; it is the immovable law of reciprocation at work. We as a nation, or as an individual, will most assuredly reap what we sow.

 

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Old Covenant vs. New Covenant, 32 Differences

How Jesus Christ Fulfilled the Old Testament Law

A christian bible

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant. What do they mean? And why was a New Covenant needed at all?

Most people know the Bible is divided into the Old Testament and New Testament, but the word “testament” also means “covenant,” a contract between two parties.

The Old Testament was a foreshadowing of the New, a foundation for what was to come. From the book of Genesis on, the Old Testament pointed forward to a Messiah or Savior. The New Testament describes the fulfillment of God’s promise by Jesus Christ.

Old Covenant: Between God and Israel

The Old Covenant was established between God and the people of Israel after God freed them from slavery in EgyptMoses, who led the people out, served as the mediator of this contract, which was made at Mount Sinai.

Moses with the New Tablets (Exodus 34, 29-33)
ZU_09 / Getty Images

God promised that the people of Israel would be his chosen people, and he would be their God(Exodus 6:7).God issued the Ten Commandments and the laws in Leviticus to be obeyed by the Hebrews. If they complied, he pledged prosperity and protection in the Promised Land.

Altogether, there were 613 laws, covering every aspect of human behavior. Males had to be circumcised, sabbaths had to be observed, and people had to obey hundreds of dietary, social, and hygiene rules. All these regulations were intended to protect the Israelites from their neighbors’ pagan influences, but no one could keep so many laws. To address the people’s sins, God set up a system of animal sacrifices, in which the people provided cattle, sheep, and doves to be killed. Sin required blood sacrifices.

Under the Old Covenant, those sacrifices were carried out at the desert tabernacle. God installed Moses’ brother Aaron and Aaron’s sons as priests, who slaughtered the animals. Only Aaron, the high priest, could enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, to intercede for the people directly with God.

After the Israelites conquered Canaan, King Solomon built the first permanent temple in Jerusalem, where the animal sacrifices continued. Invaders eventually destroyed the temples, but when they were rebuilt, the sacrifices resumed.

New Covenant: Between God and Christians

That system of animal sacrifice lasted hundreds of years, but even so, it was only temporary. Out of love, God the Father sent his only Son, Jesus, into the world. This New Covenant would resolve the problem of sin once and for all.

Jesus blessing little children -
Culture Club / Getty Images

For three years, Jesus taught throughout Israel about the kingdom of God and his role as Messiah. To support his claim as Son of God, he performed many miracles, even raising three people from the dead. By dying on the cross, Christ became the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice whose blood has the power to wash away sin forever.

Some churches say the New Covenant began with Jesus’ crucifixion. Others believe it started at Pentecost, with the coming of the Holy Spirit and founding of the Christian Church. The New Covenant was established between God and the individual Christian(John 3:16), with Jesus Christ serving as mediator.

Besides serving as the sacrifice, Jesus also became the new high priest(Hebrews 4:14-16). Instead of physical prosperity, the New Covenant promises salvation from sin and eternal life with God. As high priest, Jesus constantly intercedes for his followers before his Father in heaven. Individuals may now approach God themselves; they no longer need a human high priest to speak for them.

Why the New Covenant Is Better

The Old Testament is a record of the nation of Israel struggling–and failing–to keep its covenant with God. The New Testament shows Jesus Christ keeping the covenant for his people, doing what they cannot do.

Theologian Martin Luther called the contrast between the two covenants law vs. gospel. A more familiar name is works vs. grace. While God’s grace frequently broke through in the Old Testament, its presence overwhelms the New Testament. Grace, that free gift of salvation through Christ, is available to anyperson, not just Jews, and asks only that a person repent of their sins and believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The New Testament book of Hebrews gives several reasons why Jesus is superior to the Old Covenant, among them:

  • Jesus is superior to Moses as a mediator;
  • Jesus is a high priest forever, seated next to God in heaven;
  • Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all, perfecting believers for eternal life.

Both the Old and New Testaments are the story of the same God, a God of love and mercy who gave his people the freedom to choose and who gives his people the opportunity to come back to him by choosing Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant was for a specific people in a specific place and time. The New Covenant extends to the entire world:

By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

Sources

gotquestions.org, gci.org, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, General Editor; The New Compact Bible Dictionary, Alton Bryant, Editor; The Mind of Jesus, William Barclay.

 

Original here


32 Differences Between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant

Here are 32 differences between the Old covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant is the Old Testament while the New Covenant is the New Testament.

We can truly say that the Old covenant or Old Testament is the lawwhile the New Covenant is Grace.

The 32 differences  are;

  1. The old covenant came by Moses while the new covenant came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17)
  2. The old covenant leads to death (kills) while the new covenant gives life (2 Cor 3:6)
  3. The old covenant was ended by Jesus Christ (Roman 10:4) while the new covenant was established by Jesus Christ (Heb 8:6)
  4. The old covenant enslaves (Gal 5:1)while the new covenant makes man free (gives freedom) (John 8:32. 36)
  5. The old covenant leaves man imperfect while the new covenant leaves man perfect (Heb 7:19)
  6. The old covenant exposes sin (Gal 3:19) while the new covenant covers sin (Rom. 4:1-8)
  7. The old covenant cannot give life (2 cor 3.7) while the new covenant gives life (Gal. 3:11, 6:8)
  8. The old covenant was abolished while the new covenant  is in force (Eph:2:15)
  9. The old covenant brings a curse (Gal. 3:10) while the new covenant redeems from curse (Gal. 3:13)
  10. In the old covenant, living is by works while in the new covenant living is by faith (Gal. 3:10-11)
  11. The old covenant is a shadow (Col. 2:14-17) while the new covenant is the reality (Heb. 10:1-18)
  12. The old covenant is a covered glory while the new covenant is glory uncovered (2 Cor. 3:13)
  13. The old covenant had many high priests (Heb. 7:23) while the new covenant has only one high priest (Jesus Christ) (Heb. 7:24-28)
  14. The old covenant had earthly priest (Heb. 5:1-4) while the new covenant has heavenly priest (Heb. 9:24, 10:12)
  15. The old covenant makes priest by law while the new covenant makes priests by oath (Heb 7:12,28)
  16. The old covenant had earthly tabernacle (Heb. 9:2) while the new covenant has heavenly tabernacle (Heb. 8:2)
  17. In The old covenant priesthood was in the lineage of Aaron (Aaron priest hood) while the new covenant priesthood is in the melchisedec lineage (melchisedec priesthood) (Heb 7:11,21)
  18. In the old covenant priests (high priest) were sinners (Heb. 5:1-4) while in the new covenant the priest has no sin (Jesus Christ) (Heb. 7:26)
  19. The old covenant was fulfilled (Mat. 5:17-18) while the new covenant is now in force (Heb. 8:6, 10:9)
  20. In the old, the law was written in stone tablets while in the new covenant, the law is written in people hearts (Jeremiah 31:33)
  21. In the old, the Ark of covenant was present as a sign of salvation while in the new covenant salvation is by grace through faith
  22. The old covenant demanded works (doing) while the new covenant only demands  obedience
  23. In the old, Moses and prophets were mediators while in the new covenant, Jesus Christ is the mediator
  24. The old covenant is a covenant of letter while the new covenant is a covenant of spirit
  25. The old covenant needed offering for sin while in the new covenant, Jesus is the perfect sin offering
  26. The old covenant needed statues and ordinances while the new covenant only needs ones heart
  27. In the old covenant, the tabernacle was made with hands while in the new covenant the tabernacle is made without hands
  28. In the old covenant, remembrance of sin was done yearly while in the new covenant, forgiveness and washing away of sin was done once and for all
  29. The old covenant remembers sin (Heb. 10:3) while the new covenant does not remember sin(Heb. 8:12, 10:17)
  30. The old covenant is a ministry of death  while the new covenant is a ministry of life (2 Cor 3:6-7)
  31. The old covenant was written with ink while the new covenant is written with the spirit of God (2 Cor 3:3)
  32. The old covenant is for Israelites only (Det 4: 7-8) while the new covenant is for all men (Luke 22:20)

All glory to the author of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ.

God bless

 

Original here

Mom Obeyed God

By Linda Wall – May 12, 2019

Hardly a day goes by that I am not reminded of my Mom in some way. So often lately, I have had the opportunity to share about her with people I meet in my day to day journey. She wasn’t perfect but she taught me so many “golden nuggets” for life that I use constantly.

Just a few days ago I found myself sharing the ‘Golden Rule’ with the cashier at the Dollar Tree store:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

I told her Mom was always reciting it. She listened attentively and as I walked away, I hoped I had dropped one of my Mom’s “nuggets” into her life.

It wasn’t always love and sweetness between Mom and me. I attended college out of town so I could get away from her ‘old fashioned’ rules and having to attend church meetings. I wanted to go and do “my own thing”.

That rebellious attitude of mine eventually led me down a path of drugs, homosexuality and away from my Christian upbringing. For almost ten years I was so lost and on my way to hell. I even contemplated taking my life…but, I had a praying Mom!

In time, the Lord answered her prayers and healed her aching heart. He called me unto Himself. I surrendered, confessed my sins, asked for forgiveness, and turned from my wicked ways to begin following Him.

Many thanks to my Mom, for obeying God’s instruction:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)

She did train me according to the Bible and I knew it was the Lord I needed when I reached the end of my rope. Instead of suicide, I chose Jesus Christ and life eternal because Mom obeyed God.

 

Original here

Why I Always Pray at the End of the Day

We didn’t accomplish everything we should have. God reminds us we didn’t need to.

JUSTIN WHITMEL EARLEY| APRIL 22, 2019

Why I Always Pray at the End of the Day

One of my pastor friends told me he gets genuinely sad every evening because there’s always so much more he wants to do with the day. I suspect we’re all something like this. The evening brings me face to face with the reality of my limited life. There’s so much we wanted to do or at least that we felt we should do.

We’re frustrated because we had no time for free time. Or we’re embarrassed because we squandered it all on free time.

The evening, then, can be a time of severe self-judgment. I often find myself lying in bed and facing the reality that I spent the whole day trying to justify my existence on earth. The scary reality hangs from the ceiling like a bulb that won’t turn off. Does any of it matter?

That’s a worrisome thought, and because of it, I want to tune everything out. And many of us do. A drink sounds nice; two sound better. Sex sounds good; porn is easier. A conversation would help, but binging on TV will let me tune out. Catching up on reading would be restful; Twitter has some notifications that are probably more urgent. Lauren and I should spend some time talking; talking is hard, and there’s a podcast of a sermon that everyone said we should listen to.

The exhaustion of the day places us into a twilight where it isn’t easy to make the right decisions. Because our bodies and our minds and our souls are all bound up together, we have trouble making choices. The business world calls it “decision fatigue.” The evening is a time of vulnerability. We haven’t spent the day so much as the day has spent us. When our exhaustion gives way to our addictions, we’re exposed for who we really are.

This is where an evening prayer can make one last and important turn in the day. Perhaps it’s once the work is done, the dishes are clean, or the kids are asleep that we pause to pray, to purposefully frame the evening in rest instead of letting it slip into something else. Shall we lie awake in bed, letting all the replay tapes run? Shall we browse our phones for some recent celebrity scandal to bounce meaninglessly around our brain? Or shall we walk intentionally toward the rest we know we need?

No one can sleep while believing she needs to keep the world spinning. But real rest comes when we thank God that we don’t need to, because he does. Thus we kneel by the bed and place the period of God’s mercy and care for us at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter whether you feel spiritual or not. It doesn’t matter whether you know what to say or not. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve said the same thing every night for a month. It’s just habit. You say your prayers until your prayers say you. That’s the goal.

 

Original here

Four Keys To Being A Woman Of Faith

May 12, 2019

In the times that we are living in, God is looking for some women who will seek after Him, and be willing to set that good example of what virtue looks like before their peers. From God’s Word, I have identified four key characteristics, which each Woman of Faith should strive to possess:

NOTE: Even though I’m using women for the subject matter, as always with God’s Word, everything said applies for myself and my fellow brothers, also.

1. Yield to God’s Will
Mary

Luke 1:26-38, gives us the account of God sending the angel Gabriel to deliver the message that she’d been chosen to give birth to the Savior of the World. After hearing Gabriel’s explanation of what would occur, Mary does not hesitate in yielding to God’s plan.

While sometimes it may take a while, whenever people attempt to do things their own way and by how they feel within their personal emotions, eventually issues will arise. We don’t know what the future holds, and therefore don’t always realize the severity of the consequences of our actions. God is all knowing, and always has our best interests in mind.

Ladies, regardless of whatever you have endured or maybe currently enduring, God does have a plan for your life. God knows all of your strengths, because He has given them to you. He also knows the areas where you struggle and are limited.

The Lord is not looking to put you in a demeaning position, but instead He desires to empower you by filling you with His Holy Spirit, so that you can discover your life purpose and bring glory to Him.

Your starting point for success will always begin with seeking God’s guidance, listening to His instructions, and being willing to follow His plan.

2. Dare to Be Different
Rahab

In Joshua 2, we learn of Rahab. Rahab had two things going against her. She lives in a city where sinful acts abounded, and she herself was a harlot.(what we would today call a prostitute)

Now, in spite of what was going on around her, and the bad reputation she had, when presented with the opportunity to aid the two Israelite spies, Rahab chose to place her faith in God, and as a result she and her family were spared during the invasion of Jericho. In fact, Rahab is even listed in Hebrews 11’s Hall of Faith(Hebrews 11:31).

Are you a person who has struggled with resisting negative peer pressure? Have you garnered a bad reputation as a result of yielding to negative influences?

I want you to know that, just as Rahab decided to make a life change by placing her faith in God, you can do the same.

God forgives, and He is ready to give you a fresh new start. You don’t have to let negative people dictate your life, and drag you down. I challenge you to “Dare to Be Different.” I invite you to place your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

With Jesus operating in your life, He will change your desires and give you the courage to resist negative peer pressure. He will assure you that your significance isn’t based upon your physical appearance, bedroom performance, education, or bank account, but your true significance is based upon the truth that Jesus loves you: And He is teaching you how to encourage other people to trust and bring glory to God.

3. Believe the Promise
Shunammite woman

As we look at II Kings 4:8-37, we learn of a woman, who along with her husband, offered lodging and food to the prophet Elisha whenever he was in the area. Because of her kindness, Elisha prophesied and it came to pass that she conceived a son. After some years, a day came when the young man became ill and passed away. Now, many people would have lost faith and given up after such an occurrence, however the Shunammite woman refused to accept that God would bless her with a son, and then just take him away. She sought out the prophet, and insisted by faith that Elisha could restore her son, by God’s power. Because of her persistence and faith, her son was indeed restored to life.

There are many of you out there, whom God has promised certain things. Maybe it’s a spouse, a child, healing from an infirmity, a new job, etc… Perhaps it seems like everyone else’s prayers are being answered, but I want to encourage you to hold on to the promise. Continue to be faithful to the Lord, as you wait. God is not like man, the Lord will never lie to you. If you remain faithful to Him, everything God has promised you will come to pass; And you will rejoice when it does.

4. When you make God a promise…Keep it.
Hannah

I Samuel 1, gives us the account of Hannah. Hannah was one of two wives of a man named, Elkanah. Hannah had been unable to bare children, and to her dismay was often mocked by Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah(who had birthed several children). While visiting the temple, Hannah prays a silent prayer to God, vowing that if God will bless her with a son; that she would allow her son to serve at the temple for the duration of his life. God does indeed bless Hannah with a son, Samuel; And Hannah keeps her promise to allow Samuel to serve at the temple.

How many times have people found themselves in a dilemma, and in desperation, prayed to God saying something like, “Lord, I’ll never do this again if you get me out of this mess.” Or “I’ll do this or that with the money, if you’ll allow me to have this financial blessing.”; And once God grants their request, folks wind up breaking their promise.

It is better not to make a vow, than to make one and then intentionally break it. Let’s all be mindful of the promises that we make to others, and especially to God. God knows the desires of our heart, and how we will react once certain things are granted to us. Whenever He says “No” to our requests, it is because He knows that what we are asking for will either hurt us or that we aren’t spiritually mature enough to handle what we are asking for. There are times that He will allow us to have certain things, so that it will serve as a learning experience that we really didn’t need it in the first place.

I believe that a few key things, which will help us not to break our vows to God, is that we remain mindful that everything in this world is only temporary. And that the only thing of real true importance is that each of us will have to stand before Jesus Christ to give an account for all of the things we’ve done. If we will remember that this journey is all about God’s love for us, and us reciprocating His love by desiring to do the things that will please Him and bring glory to His name, then we will be Ok.

I would like to wish all of the Mothers, Grandmothers, Stepmothers, and those who serve in a Motherly way, a very Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Original here

The Sovereignty of God as Seen in Seeds and Flesh

JUNE 11, 2018 by STEVE SPURLIN, PHD

 

I enjoy finding little things in Scripture and nature that, if we are not careful, get overlooked in our observations.  I think this may be one of them.

pumpkin seedsIn First Corinthians 15:35-41 Paul explains the differences in the physical makeup of different sectors of God’s creation.  First, Paul rebukes those who were denying the doctrine of the physical resurrection. The hypothetical questioner is addressed as “foolish” and Paul directs their attention to the seeds that farmers sow as a means of demonstrating how even nature demonstrates the logic of the physical resurrection (vv. 36-37).  A bare grain, “perhaps of wheat or something else,” is sown, but what it produces is much different from what went into the ground.

Here is the little tidbit that we may miss if we don’t pay close attention.  Paul says that “God gives it [whatever the it is] a body just as He wished” (v. 38).  He gives the seeds their own bodies “as He wished” (v. 38).

Furthermore, there are various types of flesh, one for men, another for beasts, another of birds, another of fish (v. 39).  Behind all of these is again that statement Paul wrote in verse 38, all of these were the product of God’s thelo, His will.

Then there are celestial bodies and earthly bodies each having their own glory that matches the body with which God endowed them (vv. 40-41). Paul even goes as far as to point out the fact that of the billions and billions of stars in our galaxy as well as those in the many other galaxies each of them is the result of His design, which reflects His desire.  In turn, His desire carried out is further evidence of His sovereignty in creation.

From my perspective it is just very interesting to see how God demonstrated so much attention to detail in His Creation and that even in the smallest things, such as the design of a seed, God’s sovereignty is there to be seen.

And we must stand in awe of His glory.

 

 

Original here

School pays massive fine for attacking Christians

Believers ‘should be free to choose without the government meddling’

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

A lawsuit that charged officials at the University of Colorado branch in Colorado Springs illegally discriminated against the members of a Christian club has been settled with a formal change to the school’s policies and a payment of more than $20,000 to the students.

Officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom revealed on Tuesday that UCCS settled a lawsuit that was triggered when they refused to grant registered status ot a student group.

“As part of the settlement, the university agreed to grant Ratio Christi registered status, pay over $20,500 in damages and attorneys’ fees, and update its policies to ensure that a student club may require its leadership to promote the purposes of the club and hold beliefs consistent with the group’s mission,” the ADF reported.

“We commend the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs for quickly implementing this common sense policy reform,” said ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham. “It would be absurd for the university to require the vegan student group to appoint a meat-lover as its president.

“Thankfully, the university has acknowledged its error and announced a policy that respects students’ rights to free association, no longer forcing Christian students to let atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies in order to become a registered club.”

Ratio Christi is a Christian apologetics organization and seeks to defend the Christian faith and explain how the Bible applies to life.

It always has had the policy that all students can attend and join. But it “requires that those who lead the Christian organization share its religious beliefs.”

Because of that, the school had refused to allow it to participate on campus like any other student group.

“Like any other student group at a public university, religious student organizations should be free to choose their leaders without the government meddling,” said Tyson Langhofer, the chief of the ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom.

“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, university presidents, and voters, and we’re grateful the University of Colorado, has chosen to correct course, encourage diversity of thought, and protect students’ constitutional freedoms.”

The case developed late last year when the school made known its demand that the Christian group would have to be accepting of an atheist or other non-Christian should they want to lead.

The lawsuit challenged the school’s assumption that it can deny registered status to groups if they select leaders that share the group’s religious perspectives.

It also pointed out other discriminatory actions by the school against the Christian group, including that “non-religious groups are allowed to select members who support their purposes. And the university allows fraternities that admit only men and sororities that admit only women to continue as registered student organizations, in contradiction to the university’s policy against ‘discriminating based on sex.’”

The school policy now concedes, “All student clubs are permitted to require their leadership to promote the purposes of the club, to ascribe to sincerely held beliefs of the club, and/or to act in accordance with club standards.”

https://www.wnd.com/2019/05/school-pays-massive-fine-for-attacking-christian-club/


Related

https://www.wnd.com/2019/05/u-s-school-fails-student-for-refusing-to-recite-islamic-prayer/

The Clock is Ticking

May 15, 2019 By Rob Pue

The clock.  Is ticking.  None of us are getting any younger, whether we are 9 or 90, time speeds on.  In fact, the older I get, the faster time seems to fly.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps it is God’s way of reminding us that life is short, and we are to make the most of it.  Ephesians 5:16 tells us to:

“Redeem the time, for the days are evil.”

It is my hope that this message serves to make us all think more deeply about the things that really matter, the things of eternity.  Because this world will pass away, and WE will pass away, and all of us will live SOMEWHERE for eternity, whether in heaven or in hell.  Scripture tells us that it is:

“appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the judgment.”

In other words, there are NO second chances.   Using your God-given freewill, which will you choose?  Peace with God, a place in His Kingdom?  Or eternal separation from Him, with unending sorrow, torment, misery and regret?

TODAY is the day of salvation.  You don’t even know if you will be here tomorrow.  None of us does.  Our lives can be snuffed out instantly, like a vapor at any time.  Today you are sitting here listening to this message.  Have you considered that TODAY something unexpected could happen?  And that within three or four DAYS from now, you could be gone?  Six feet underground, the door of opportunity to “get right with God” gone forever as well.

Today I am 53 years old.  When I was 18, a schoolmate was killed in a hunting accident.  When I was 21, my girlfriend fell asleep while driving and was killed instantly — just before Christmas.  When I was 30, another friend my same age found himself in financial trouble with his business and committed suicide.  Five years later another friend’s 14-year-old daughter was killed while getting the mail when she was struck by a van.

Why am I telling you this?  What do all these premature deaths have in common?  I was a Christian.  And I never witnessed to any of them.  I remember my Mom’s haunting question after my girlfriend was killed… “Was (she) ready to meet Jesus?”  The truth is, I didn’t know.  I did not know!  Today, many years later, I still don’t know.  I am convicted in my heart by my lack of Christian witness, my non-existent testimony to these friends and loved ones.  I HAD the opportunities — GOD GAVE them to me…but I never spoke up.

How many of you are the same way?  Why don’t we speak up and share the Good News of God’s grace with our friends, family, loved ones, co-workers?  We, as Christians, have the information.  At least we SHOULD.  We should all, as we read in Timothy:

“study to show thyself approved, a workman, who needeth not to be ashamed.”

And 1 Peter 3:15:

“…in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you, to give the reason for the hope that you have…”

HAD studied.  In my self-righteousness and pride, I believed I had shown myself to “be approved, a workman that need not be ashamed.”  But by not being PREPARED (or courageous enough) to give that answer, to share the Word of God with the lost and perishing, I AM also ashamed.  I should have said something.  I should have spoken up.  Yet I remained silent.  Until it was too late.  As a follower of Christ, even as a teenager, I had my marching orders.  I was called out by GOD to be Salt and Light.  Yet, my cowardly, treasonous heart kept my mouth silent.  Yes, I am ashamed.  And so I should be.

No more.  As Christians, we cannot afford to remain silent.  Occultism, Wicca, Buddhism, New Age Spirituality, Transcendental Meditation, Islam, “Chris-lam” — all these things are out there.  All THEIR disciples are preaching, unashamedly, their false doctrines, while those of us who name the name of Christ are too ashamed of our King to say a word.  Yeah.  My heart is convicted by that truth.  How about yours?

So, let’s get to the heart of the matter.  Friends, loved ones… If you are currently NOT a Christian, or if you currently have ANY DOUBT as to where you will spend eternity, I plead with you now to listen.  I AM going to tell you God’s honest truth.  You don’t know what tomorrow holds, or even what the rest of today holds for you.  You do not know the number of your days.  TODAY could be the end for you.  Are you ready for that?  Have you even considered that?

Today, many follow the lies of false gods and false religions  — and even apostate so-called “Christianity” —  trying to live “spiritual” lives, but they will have nothing to do with the only ONE by whom they can be saved.  They choose to worship “comfort” and fleshly, worldly desires.  Money, entertainment, sex, drinking, drugs, recreation, relaxation, etc.  But Satan doesn’t care what you worship, as long as you don’t worship Jesus.

But WHY do they treat Jesus (even His NAME) with such disdain?  Simple:  because He is the ONE and ONLY TRUE Savior, the only One through Whom we can return to God.  And Satan, the enemy of our souls, has blinded them to that truth.  It’s fine to embrace ANYTHING else, but say the name of “JESUS” and it makes peoples’ skin crawl.    I guarantee you will never get that reaction from the name “Buddha.”  Why?  Because Buddha is a lie.  They also have that reaction because Jesus REQUIRES something of them: repentance and a heart-change.  And Jesus convicts hearts of their own sin — because instinctively, we all KNOW, deep within, that JESUS IS the ONLY, way, truth and life.  Still, many will trust in their own good works to get them to heaven, and say things like, “I do the best I can, I live a good life and try to be honest and fair with everyone.  I’m a good person and I am sure if there is a God, He will understand.”  That’s just plain delusion.  Willful ignorance.

Others are so enamored with the things of this world, they’d rather remain comfortable.   Some will cite the hypocrisy of nominal Christians they have met, and quite frankly, I can’t blame them.  And sadly, some will flat out deny the existence of their Maker, their Creator and decide that once you die, you’re just dead.  There is no eternity, only the here and now.  And still others just don’t care at all.

I’m not going to argue the point that the Bible is God’s Word, or that any part of it is not true.  As 2nd Timothy 3:16 tells us:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

The Bible IS God’s Word.  The fact that the majority of people HATE it — even though it contains the history of the universe, even though it is filled with precious ancient wisdom, even though it contains the very KEYS to the Kingdom of God — ought to be proof enough that it is the ONLY Book of truth that Satan attacks and men violently rebel against.

But whether you like it or not, truth is truth.  Truth doesn’t change just because it makes you uncomfortable.  It’s still the truth.  And here it is: there is ONE God, in three Persons:  God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God, the Holy Spirit.  He is the Creator of all things.  He is your Maker.

Secondly, God is not fair.  If He were fair, He’d give us all the punishment we deserve.  No, God isn’t fair, God is gracious, patient and kind.

“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”(2nd Peter 3:9).

Some will argue that a “loving” God would never send anyone to hell.  The truth is, He DOESN’T.  If you end up in hell, YOU GO THERE by your own choice.  Not God’s.  If you end up eternally separated from God, DO NOT BLAME GOD.  You see, God has put stumbling blocks and warning signs in your path over and over and over again to KEEP YOU from going to hell.  In order to end up there, you have to ignore EVERY  Christian billboard you’ve ever driven past; every Christian radio broadcast you’ve ever stumbled across; every Christian meme on Facebook.  You have to despise every prayer of a Godly mother, father, grandmother or grandfather on YOUR behalf.  You have to ignore every Christmas carol you’ve ever heard.  You have to ignore the magnificence of God’s amazing Creation — ALL of Creation — including your own body and soul.  You have to scoff every time one of God’s children spoke TRUTH to you, out of their love and concern for you.   You have to snub your own nose at ALL of that.  You see…The choice is heaven or hell — life or death — is YOURS.

People today are more self-indulgent, more narcissistic than ever.  Most everyone BELIEVES they are a “good person.”    But the truth is, we have all sinned grievously against our Creator.  We have all broken His commandments.  As descendants of Adam, we are born sinful.  We come this way.  “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).  And what happens to sinners?  “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).  Death is ETERNAL separation from God, and ETERNAL punishment.  OR it CAN BE the gateway to ETERNAL LIFE!  Again, the choice is YOURS to make.

Many will claim to be a “good person,” and therefore DESERVING of Heaven.  But Scripture says otherwise

“There is none that doeth good.  No NOT ONE.”

Sorry, not even you.  Not even me. (Psalm 53:3).  “All our righteousness is as filthy rags,” before God. (Isaiah 64:6).  Even the apostle Paul had to admit, in light of God’s holiness, he was the “chief of sinners.”

“But nobody can live up to the expectations of the Ten Commandments,” you say.  “So why did God give us His law?  He knows we can never live sinless lives!”  Correct.  God is not surprised when we sin.  But He gave us His laws, His Ten Commandments, to show us His requirements.  To show us His standard of holiness.  To give us a righteous “moral compass.”

Then, because He knew that none of us could ever merit heaven on our own, He Himself – the Creator, YOUR Maker – left His throne in heaven, assumed human form in the life of Jesus Christ, and gave Himself up to be horrifically murdered as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of those who repent.  There is no greater love.

Before the “fall” of mankind, before sin entered the world, the Bible tells us that all Creation was “good.”  AFTER sin entered in, Scripture tells us the ground was cursed, and bore thorns and thistles, which Adam (and all of us) now have to contend with as a result of that sin.  I find it interesting that after beating Jesus to a bloody pulp, His murderers went one step further:  they placed upon His holy head a crown of THORNS.  You see, when sin entered the world, the world was “cursed.”  But when Christ bore our sins on that cross, he WORE those thorns — and by doing so, He REVERSED the curse.  Through His sacrifice, we are ABLE now, to come BACK into right relationship with God;  we are ABLE now, to have all our filthy rags washed white as snow — IF we choose life in Jesus Christ.  But the choice is ours, and the clock is ticking….

You cannot earn your way to heaven – you’ll never be good enough.  You cannot buy your way into heaven – God doesn’t want your money;  He owns it all already.  Things won’t just all “come out in the wash.”  This is not a matter that will resolve itself on its own.  This is a matter that demands your immediate attention.

Living the Christian life is HARD.  Only a few — the Bible tells us — will choose that narrow, rocky road that leads to life.  You have to truly understand, you’re a lost sinner, a law breaker, someone who has not simply broken a law of man, but you’ve broken ALL the laws of God Almighty!  But the Bible says in 1 John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

In essence, He wipes the slate clean.  NOW, we can enter His gates.

It has nothing to do with being baptized as an infant, or being declared a Christian by a church or a minister because you recited a prayer or walked an aisle, or coming from a “Christian” home.  It has EVERYTHING to do with your heart.  In order to enter heaven, you must turn your heart back to God and make Him LORD of your life.   When you humbly repent, He will graciously welcome you into His arms as His child.  Until you do so, the TRUTH IS, you remain a child of your father, the devil.  No matter how “good” you think you are.

Noah preached for 100 years and never made one convert.  For 100 years the people had a chance to repent.  God made a way of salvation in Noah’s building of the Ark.  But then one day, that opportunity was lost forever.  He was gracious, kind, patient and longsuffering, even though the world was infinitely sinful.  The offer was there for salvation.  Until it wasn’t.  There came a day when the rain began to fall, and GOD HIMSELF shut the door to the ark and those outside were forever lost.  There were no second chances.

Friends, please take this seriously.  Forsake the things of this world and embrace this incredible gift of eternal life with your Creator.  Jesus said:

“I am the way, the truth and the life.  NO ONE comes to the Father, but by Me.”

Accept no substitutes.  No false “gods” that you create in your minds that are more to your liking, more accommodating to the sinful, selfish lifestyle you prefer to remain in.  The time of YOUR salvation is NOW, today.

“So as the Holy Spirit says, ‘today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’” (Hebrews 3:7).

Turn to Him, accept His offer and live.  Will you use your God-given freewill to make that choice now?  The clock…  is ticking.

Audio versions and transcripts of this message are available when you call me at Wisconsin Christian News, (715) 486-8066.  Or email Rob@WisconsinChristianNews.com.  Ask for message number 257.

As seen here at Wisconsin Christian News. Posted here with permission.

By Rob Pue, Publisher

WISCONSIN CHRISTIAN NEWS

PO Box 756

Marshfield, WI  54449

(715) 486-8066

http://www.WisconsinChristianNews.com

Original here