Woman of Faith – Rahab

“The Lord your God, He is God in Heaven above, and in earth beneath. (Joshua 2:11).

This is the fourth post of “Woman of Faith” The last posts is based on the book of Esther, Sarah and The Canaanite Woman. This evening I chose Rahab. Many of my friends through email asked me to write about Rahab and also my lovely blog friend Julie encourage me to do this. I hope the readers will enjoy reading this post.

Rahab was known by her profession. She was not an ostracized moral leper, someone to be tolerated, but not honored. Even the men who might darken her doorstep at night would turn away from her during the day.

Rahab started as a prostitute, but learned about God. This changed her. She risked her known way of life to help the spies and start a new life with the Israelites. This is an example of how God can bless a changed heart. Rahab was in the lineage of Jesus.

Interestingly, Rahab was an Old Testament harlot who was mentioned in the New Testament for her faith. That’s right! She was mentioned right up there with Abraham, Noah, Joseph, even Moses. In Hebrews 11, often referred to as the Faith’s Hall of Fame, references are made to all of these famous Biblical figures and many more, including Rahab the harlot. “By faith,” Hebrews 11:31 reads, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient

One day Joshua sent two spies to observe the city of Jericho. Then they sought refuge in the Rahab’s home largely because strange men entering the home of a prostitute would not generate very much attention and suspiciously.

The king of Jericho, however, received reports that the two spies had arrived in Jericho under cover of darkness. “Behold,” he was told, “men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” (Joshua 2:3) He immediately dispatched his soldiers to search the Rahab’s home. But Rahab hid the two spies on her roof and told the king’s men that the two men had left the city before its gates were shut for the night.

What is the reason for Rahab saved the two spies? This is all about Rahab’s faith. Rahab dare to do it because he had heard how the magnitude of God’s power. Rahab believed even though he did not see the power of God when splitting the Red Sea and how God’s presence enabled the Israelites to keep on gaining victory after victory in war as written in the Joshua 2:8-11.

Rahab and her family were spared death because of her act of courage. More importantly, the reason she is so esteemed by in the New Testament comes from what she said to the two spies. “The Lord your God,” she told the two spies, “He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:11) In spite of the gods that Rahab and her fellow citizens worshipped, Rahab knew and professed that the Israelites’ God was the real and true. She proved her faith by her works. Rahab’s faith is not empty, much less dead. James says that faith without deeds is like a body without a spirit, which means dead (James 2:26).

 What can we learn from Rahab? Rahab did not know what happened next, but he believes, have faith in God because he had heard how the magnitude of God’s power even though she did not see directly but indirectly with her bravely she already shows her faith and accompanied with deeds.

The message here is that although faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and real faith must have works. In other words, our faith is not and cannot be viewed as some private treasure that only we can enjoy. It must be shown for others to realize that it, too, is the real and true.

My dear lovely readers allow our faith to show up in the lives of others through service to our church and community. The Gospel can only be advanced by the expressions of love we show in the ways we serve others. There is simply no better way to win the lost for Christ. Amen.

Karina

Photo art work by Ar Vhee http://metarvheenoia.wordpress.com

https://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/woman-of-faith-rahab/

8 Ways Women Can Help Resurrect A Healthy Dating Culture

Too many women waste years of their lives hoping they can talk a boyfriend into marriage. Women who master the eight dating rules don’t have to

8 Ways Women Can Help Resurrect A Healthy Dating Culture

Oct 10, 2019

In the 1950s, that oft-ridiculed era when women all over the country were purportedly miserable, marriage proposals were so common women had to turn down several potential husbands before deciding on the right one.

That was certainly the case for my mother, who was born in 1930. As a young girl, I found countless love letters from Charlie, George, Frank—and others whose names I can’t recall—that all contained marriage proposals. They were stored in my mother’s memory box, and I would sift through them and marvel at what it was like to have so many men pining for you.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, also born in 1930, is another example of the times. Prior to becoming engaged to her husband, O’Connor turned down several marriage proposals, including, ironically, one from fellow Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, her then-law school classmate. “Dating was pretty innocent in the ’50s,” O’Connor’s son Jay told NPR.

Innocent, yes—and for good reason: dating was serious business. Since marriage was the goal, dating was viewed as a precursor to the rest of people’s lives and thus given the weight it deserves. It was also understood that the more time men and women spent together, or the longer they dated, the more likely the relationship would become physical. That, combined with a lack of reliable birth control, forced couples to keep things light.

Wrong Message: Put Career Above Family

Of course much has changed in the last 50 years, the most significant being the combination of birth control and the sexual revolution. It was then that women were encouraged “have sex like a man” and to put marriage on the back burner while they focus on school and careers instead.

This message was so strong and so pervasive that now women (and by default, men) typically view love and family as secondary to academic and professional success. “Over and over,” writes Alexandra Solomon, a psychologist who teaches a course at Northwestern University called Marriage 101, “my undergraduates tell me they try hard not to fall in love during college, imagining that would mess up their plans.”

Besides birth control, women’s new priorities are the reason dating in America is dead, and why it was subsequently replaced with the “hookup,” a vague term that can mean anything from hanging out together to having sex. After all, what other option does a grown woman who’s been groomed to be career-focused rather than family-focused have than to be casual with her body and her heart? If her professional life is considered the most important thing in life, there’s no reason to date. The whole purpose of dating is to determine whether the other person is a match. Why go through all the rigmarole if marriage isn’t on your radar? Might as well hookup until you’re ready to settle down.

Indeed, what modern women seem to aim for is sex. They have more difficulty understanding the art of courtship, or how to build a meaningful relationship with a man that may or may not lead to marriage but at very least makes a person feel secure and loved. They just skip to the end and wonder why they’re dissatisfied.

It’s time for this madness to end—not because I say so but because young women and men say. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA), 63 percent of college-age men and 83 percent of college-age women say they would prefer a traditional relationship to an uncommitted sexual one. Yet that’s mostly not how they live.

In light of such huge percentages, the only logical answer is to bring back courtship, or dating with purpose. Why hide that you’re looking for love when you’re dating? Why pretend you enjoy cycling through relationship after relationship year after year that has no ultimate end goal? Times may have changed, but human nature has not. Almost every person has the desire to love and to be loved.

To that end, here are 8 dating rules for women that lead to a long-term relationship or marriage. I wrote them for women because women are the relationship navigators: they have the power to steer the ship in the direction they want it to go. The trick is to steer the ship well.

Rule 1: Let him chase you.

Ladies, stop chasing men and being so available to them. You’re killing your chances for a relationship that lasts. Men are hunters: they love to go after whatever it is they want, and they won’t value what they haven’t earned. If you reverse this dynamic and become the hunter, everything else will be thrown off-kilter.

A man may respond to your overtures, but you will never know if he’s “into” you because if he was “into” you, you wouldn’t have had to do the hunting. When a man is interested in you, you will know it. There will be zero confusion on your part. Zero. Nada. None. He will hunt you down. Your job is simply to say yes or no.

Rule 2: Don’t offer to pay.

There are three reasons a woman shouldn’t pay on a date. The first is, as per Rule 1, presumably the guy asked you out—not the other way around. And the person who asks should be the person who pays.

Second, when a man pays he’s demonstrating that you’re worth spending his hard-earned money on. Don’t refuse his overture! Instead, learn to receive with graciousness. Just smile and say thank you. Being able to receive, as opposed to undermining a man’s attempt at being chivalrous, is a crucial part of the dating process. Men will take their cues from you.

Third, accepting a man’s willingness to pay says a lot about you. It lets him know that you value yourself, that you believe you’re worth spending hard-earned money on. And that’s a great place to start any relationship.

Offering to pay your half of the date cheapens the experience and makes it feel no different from two friends grabbing a bite. A date is different from hanging out with a friend—or at least, it’s supposed to be. Just because you’re capable of paying your way doesn’t mean you should. Let him take care of it.

Rule 3: Never have more than two drinks.

What you do on your own time or with your girlfriends with respect to alcohol is  one thing. But getting drunk on a date is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. You might as well have not had the date at all if you’re going to be drunk while you’re on it.

How much to drink will mean something different for everyone, depending on your weight and tolerance. But a good rule of thumb is to never have more than two drinks. And if we’re talking stiff martinis, drink it slowly and stop at one. Sex and alcohol are a potent mix. Nothing good can come of it, and a great deal can be lost.

The purpose of a date is to get to know the other person, and you can’t do that if you’re drunk. I also want you to follow Rule 6, and Rule 6 will likely be broken if you have that third drink. So be smart and stop at drink two.

Rule 4: Don’t be the giddy girl in trashy clothes.

One of the things that’s changed considerably over the years is the way women dress and behave in the company of men. There’s an inherent respect that comes from dressing classy and from maintaining a certain decorum when you’re out with a guy. This has unfortunately been lost in an era of “anything goes.”

What we wear says a lot about what we think of ourselves and how we want others to think of us. We get back what we put out into the world. Ergo, if you dress provocatively, you’ll attract a man who just wants to “get some” because that’s the vibe he picks up from you. If you dress classy, you’ll attract a man who wants to get to know you.

I’m not suggesting you have to dress like a nun. It’s fine to accentuate what you’ve got; just do it in a classy, rather than in a trashy, fashion.

The way you behave matters, too. If you’re giggly and silly, that too is the caliber of man you’ll attract. If you talk in a more mature or serious manner, you’ll attract a man of substance. And I assume you want a man of substance.

In other words, don’t be the fun, drunk party girl. A man will date—he’ll certainly have sex with!—that girl, but he won’t marry her. Party girls are the women guys date until they find the one who’s marriage material. Be that girl.

Rule 5: Don’t tell the man you’re dating how smart and successful you are.

I have some news that may come as a shock: men don’t really care how smart and successful you are. It’s not that men aren’t interested in what you do for a living (or in what you’re studying in school), but they will notice if what you do or what you plan to do has taken over your life. That’s not a selling point for them. So don’t talk about how “busy” you are or about how you travel so much or about how your career is your life and your identity.

For one thing, your career shouldn’t be your life and your identity. Moreover, when you go on and on about your career with a man you’re dating, all it tells him is that you don’t have time for him. There’s something more important in your life, and he’ll get the leftovers.

Here’s something else no one tells you. While you may have a vested interest in a man’s career goals, he doesn’t feel the same way. Most men are indifferent to a woman’s professional endeavors because they’re not looking to rely on a wife financially.

While you may not be looking for a husband to depend on, you’re still the sex that gets pregnant—which means at some point you’ll become vulnerable in a way a man will not, and you will want and need the option to stay home with your babies. And that requires being married to a man who’s gainfully employed.

Rule 6: Don’t have sex with him on the first, second, or twentieth date.

I know it’s hard to imagine a time when women didn’t have sex before marriage, but the fact that women now have sex with men before a relationship has even been established speaks volumes. We swung the pendulum much too far.

Given this new attitude toward sex and relationships, it may sound old-fashioned to suggest you not have sex with a guy until a relationship has been firmly established (which takes months or longer, depending on how often you’re seeing one another), but just because something’s unpopular doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I can assure you if the goal is lasting love, having sex with a guy before he’s “all in” will not get you where you want to go.

What makes the message about casual sex, or hooking up, so insidious is that young women are prone to feeling insecure and are thus vulnerable to the idea that sleeping with a guy will make them more attractive. It doesn’t. It makes you a cheap lay.

Rule 7: Give him space (and live your own life in the meantime).

Never plan your time or organize your life around a man when you’re in the dating stage. Not only is this unhealthy for you, when you live your own life and do your own thing, the guy you like will be even more interested in you as a result.

Never begrudge a man his space. If he likes to go out with the guys, just say, “That’s great! Have fun!” Don’t ask yourself why he didn’t ask you to come along or what it means that he didn’t ask you to come along. Do not assume he doesn’t like or love you as much as you like or love him.

Don’t assume anything. Just give him space and find something else to do with your time.

Rule 8: Move on if he can’t commit.

A great rule of thumb for deciding when it’s time to jump ship is that if your guy hasn’t proposed by the middle of year two, he’s probably not going to. (If you’re dating in college, this rule won’t necessarily apply.) Too many women waste years of their lives hoping they can talk a boyfriend into marriage. Women who master the eight dating rules don’t have to talk a man into anything—he’ll be dying to marry you!

Smart women also pick up on whether a man is marriage material early on, just as men do with women, and they don’t stick around if he isn’t. That’s an exercise in futility.

Bottom line: If your guy hasn’t made any overtures, if you have to wonder what he thinks or, God forbid, have long discussions with him about the worthiness of marriage as an institution, run! He’s not the guy for you.

Don’t you want to marry a man who wants you so badly he can’t wait to say “I do”? Wait for that guy.

 

Suzanne Venker is an author, columnist, and relationship coach. She helps women let go of feminist beliefs that undermine their ability to create happy lives and find lasting love with men. Her newest book, “Women Who Win at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts,” published in October 2019.
Photo Pxhere.com / CC0

https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/09/8-ways-women-can-help-resurrect-a-healthy-dating-culture/

It Is Scientifically Proven that Media Affects You

Word Hid In psalm-119-11

I’ve been writing about the Christian approach to pop culture and entertainment for close to two years now.During that time, I have several times had people claim, either in comments on my writing or in personal discussions, that certain kinds of trash in media, whether it be nudity, profanity, or worldview issues “don’t affect” them.  I find it interesting that people claim that.  Because scientific studies – secular scientific studies, no less – prove that they do.  Allow me to explain.

Social scientists have been studying media affects for several years.  Studies like this became popular as early as the 1920s, when many people, especially parents, were worried about the effects that gangster movies might be having on their children.  There were some errors in the assumptions of some of these early studies, but they paved the way for some truly remarkable studies carried out by a social scientist by the name of Dr. Gerbner.  Dr. Gerbner was originally focused on finding out if violent depictions in television had any impact on people’s behavior (it does, by the way, although not to the radical degree that some claim).  Later, however, he developed a theory that shows unequivocally that entertainment shapes our worldview—media cultivation theory.

A lot of Dr. Gerbner’s research involved children.  These studies did not.  Instead, when studying media cultivation, he studied adults.  What he found was that heavy viewers of television described reality is being very close to the world that is depicted on television.  Light viewers, on the other hand, did not.  This is exactly why Dr. Gerbner said that media “bends, blurs, and blends” our perception of reality, especially because television is not real life.  People aren’t dying for sex three times a day.  Not everyone sleeps around with strangers.  Everyone doesn’t swear one hundred times in two hours.   But because this is what we’re seeing on television, and because it shapes our worldview, then all of a sudden those activities, and especially ones that we might say “aren’t so bad” seem completely acceptable and even good.  This is why Dr. Gerbner said that whoever controls the stories of a culture, controls that culture.

And this isn’t the only study done on media effects that reveals worldview-shaping properties.  Dr. Susan Sarapin, who was once a professor at Purdue University, did a study that revealed that people who watch violent cop dramas such as CSI and Cold Case believed in greater amounts of crime in the real world, especially when compared with people who did not watch those programs.

Even more troubling is the fact that media doesn’t only affect worldview; it affects behavior.  Think I’m wrong?  Then how do you explain the study done in 2008, when researchers found a correlation between time spent viewing sex on TV and pregnancy before age 20?  Or the fact found in NurtureShock (one of the most influential books about parenting ever written, was on the New York Times Bestseller List for six months) that more television watching among kids led to more insults and bullying?  What about Dr. Leonard Berkowitz, who found that violent media makes individuals more likely to respond to frustrating situations in an aggressive manner?

I’ve been saying this for a long time, and yet nobody seems to listen or pay attention.  You cannot keep on saying that media doesn’t affect you because, to be frank, it’s a lie.  The opposite claim, however, that media affects us so deeply that we ought to be very cautious with what we set before our eyes, is not only Biblically sound, but scientifically defensible.

 

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Original here

Grace for Villains: Learning From Nathan’s Parable

Bible Crown of Thorns

By Alex Aili -July 22, 2019

 

When David coerced Bathsheba into adultery, impregnated her, and then concealed it by murdering her husband (2 Sam. 11), it’s not a stretch to conclude that his heart was not in the right place.

But for God to convict him of this crime, he didn’t storm in with a proclamation of wrath. Instead, through the prophet Nathan, he used the covertness of Story.

Nathan’s parable is well-known, but it’s worth quoting at length:

“THERE WERE TWO MEN IN A CERTAIN CITY, THE ONE RICH AND THE OTHER POOR. THE RICH MAN HAD VERY MANY FLOCKS AND HERDS, BUT THE POOR MAN HAD NOTHING BUT ONE LITTLE EWE LAMB, WHICH HE HAD BOUGHT. AND HE BROUGHT IT UP, AND IT GREW UP WITH HIM AND WITH HIS CHILDREN. IT USED TO EAT OF HIS MORSEL AND DRINK FROM HIS CUP AND LIE IN HIS ARMS, AND IT WAS LIKE A DAUGHTER TO HIM. NOW THERE CAME A TRAVELER TO THE RICH MAN, AND HE WAS UNWILLING TO TAKE ONE OF HIS OWN FLOCK OR HERD TO PREPARE FOR THE GUEST WHO HAD COME TO HIM, BUT HE TOOK THE POOR MAN’S LAMB AND PREPARED IT FOR THE MAN WHO HAD COME TO HIM”

2 Sam. 12:1b-4

If Nathan were to confront the sin directly, it would have only added to the problem of David’s self-preservation, which had been his chief priority since the sin’s committal (11:6-24). In other words, the story couldn’t have been “on the nose,” with a plot involving murder or sexual sin, for that would have broken the spell. God simply used a different angle to get at the same type of sin: the abuse of power.

The fictional tale was catered specifically to David, who, being a king, was responsible for judicial verdicts. He would have understandably taken it as just another exercise of justice.

Still, despite its specificity, we can still glean the relevant technique Nathan used. The key is empathy, for when David identified with the victim of the story (David himself being a former shepherd; 2 Sam. 7:8), he felt the brunt of greed and lust–little did he know that it was his own greed and lust!

“THEN DAVID’S ANGER WAS GREATLY KINDLED AGAINST THE MAN, AND HE SAID TO NATHAN, “AS THE LORD LIVES, THE MAN WHO HAS DONE THIS DESERVES TO DIE.”

2 Samuel 12:5

David’s emotional response to injustice allowed Nathan to turn the tables (“You are the man!”) because David walked into a trap of his own making. David could not retreat to disinterested judgment once he placed his own moral cards on the table. To put it differently, when David felt the impact of greed and lust via empathizing with the poor man, he was then vulnerable enough to see his own villainy.

Becoming the Villain

The contemporary trend of antiheroes and villains, fictional or not, gives an opportunity for the negative side of the gospel (Rom. 3:23) to speak. For we are all the “villains” in God’s story (Rom. 5:8, 10; Eph. 2:1-3), and we must see our own sin in light of God’s goodness (note how David admitted that his sin was against God; 2 Sam. 12:13; Psa. 51:4) before we can move from ignorance to contrition. We cease to be passive spectators when we’re forced to confront the villainy within ourselves, and once we do, we see the “Good News” as it really is.

That’s why stories with negative character arcs are necessary; they compel us to see how easy it is to become the villain. Specifically, well-written stories invite us to follow an apparently good character pursuing an apparently good goal until he inevitably reaches villainy by overemphasizing one good over others. David, for example, overemphasized personal sexual fulfillment, perhaps by overindulging his God-given lordship, at the expense of God’s laws of fidelity.

While engaging with negative-arc stories, our mirror neurons allow us to affix ourselves to the villainous characters. We are affected without consciously knowing why. While we may identify with fallen characters, it will take intentionality to break through to the Truth lurking within.

Yes, it’s easy to scoff at the prospect of self-reflection. “Entertainment” analyzed ceases to be entertaining for many of us. But choosing ignorance doesn’t change the fact that stories affect us. If we deny this, we become no different than David, who allowed ignorance to blind him to his own villainy.

We may not have our own personal “Prophet Nathan” to tell us customized stories to convict us of sin, but we do have the Holy Spirit (John 16:8; Rom. 8:26), whose ministry reaches to the deepest ignorance. With that in mind, it’s wise to be intentional about the narratives we enjoy. As the Reel World Theology slogan aptly puts it: “Entertainment is not mindless.”

It all starts with some simple questions, such as the following:

“What would I do in this character’s situation?”

“What am I prone to value too much?”

Could I become the villain?”

“Am I already a villain?”

And especially, “What does Grace mean for the villain?”

Original here

Isn’t the Bible Regressive?

One of the objections modern Western people have to Christianity and the Bible, is that its teachings seem to be regressive. In the past 100 years we’ve made a lot of progress in freeing people from oppressive views on women, racism and sexuality, but Christianity and the Bible are often seen to be in the way of our march towards progress, especially if you read Stephen Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now.

The problem with this view is that it has to re-write history in order to sustain it. The Enlightenment and the scientific revolution came on the heels of the Protestant Reformation, one of the most significant revolutions of thought in European history. No qualified historian chalks that up to coincidence, but atheists like Stephen Pinker have to, in order to force a false dichotomy between Christianity and the progress of humanitarian values.

Far from standing in the way of the emancipation of women, Biblical Christianity was one of the major forces behind it. While some have claimed that the patriarchal narratives in Genesis are oppressive and condone polygamy, biblical scholar Robert Alter points out that the force of the narratives is actually to undermine oppressive views like polygamy: all of the characters in the narrative are having a terrible time precisely because they have more than one wife. (Robert Alter, Genesis: Translation and Commentary, xlvi)

Some have also claimed that Paul was a misogynist, but this doesn’t fit the evidence. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul begins an argument by stating the common view of the time: “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:4a). But then, Paul uses that view to suggest something radical and unheard of in that time and culture: “In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:4b). In all extant historical records, this was radically unique. (Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, 281)

On the issue of racism, biblical Christianity has been the single most powerful force for racial equality. The idea that all people are created equal was first introduced into human history on page one of the Bible (Genesis 1:27). The Bible’s vision for heaven is a picture of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language (Revelation 7:9). And the gospel itself, that we’re saved by the sheer grace of God, uniquely levels the playing field between racial groups more than any other worldview. As secular philosopher Luc Ferry points out:

By resting its case upon a definition of the human person and an unprecedented idea of love, Christianity was to have an incalculable effect upon the history of ideas. To give one example, it is quite clear that, in this Christian re-evaluation of the human person, of the individual as such, the philosophy of human rights to which we subscribe today would never have established itself. It is essential therefore that we have a more or less accurate idea of the chain of reasoning which led Christianity to break so radically with the Stoic past. (Luc Ferry, Learning to Live: A User’s Manual, 60)

The strongest argument for the view that the Bible is regressive, is on the issue of human sexuality. However, this requires that ‘progressive’ be defined as maximising all expressions of sexuality, while ‘regressive’ is defined as encouraging sexual restraint. On these definitions, Christianity and the Bible are certainly not ‘progressive’, but this ‘progressive’ view on sexuality is harmful for men, for women, and for children.

For men, a polyamorous (sexually progressive) culture leads to a small percentage of men having lots of sexual partners, and ironically, becoming depressed; and a large percentage of men staying single and becoming lonely. Unfortunately, this loneliness often leads to resentment and then to violence. By contrast, ‘enforced monogamy’, meaning socially encouraged monogamy, leads to more couples, more families, and more civilised men.

A polyamorous culture is also bad for women, because it encourages sex without love, commitment, romance or relationship. While men tend to be more interested in sex without any strings attached than women, women tend to be more interested in romance and relationships than men, and this is precisely what is eroded by a polyamorous culture.

Most obviously, polyamorous cultures harm children, because the sexual promiscuity that they encourage increases the numbers of children who are raised without both of their biological parents. Having both biological parents isn’t everything (having loving parents is more important), but by all agreed upon metrics, children who are raised by both of their biological parents have a better chance of good life outcomes.

The Bible encourages husbands to lay down their lives for their wives (Ephesians 5:25-28), to see all races and ethnicities as made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and to promote a view of sex that doesn’t lead to loneliness – viewing sex as self-donation, not merely for one’s gratification. For some, this is regressive, and its secular opposite is progressive. But by what standard do we measure what’s progressive and what’s regressive?

While a number of people in the West find what the Bible says about sexuality repulsive, they’re often attracted to what it says about grace and forgiveness. However, when you take the Bible to the Middle East, people there are attracted to what the Bible says about sexuality (if anything it’s not strong enough), but they’re repulsed by what it says about grace and forgiveness. If the Bible really was the word of God, then you would expect it to challenge all cultures (including ours), challenging different cultures at different points.

Moreover, if you have a Bible from which you can pick and choose which parts are progressive and which parts are regressive and safely ignored, then you forfeit all possibility of a real relationship with God. In The Stepford Wives the men of Stepford put computer chips in the wives’ heads so that they only ever agree with them, at which point they no longer have a wife with whom they have a relationship, but a robot that they can programme however they like.

Similarly, if you have a Bible from which you can decide that certain parts regressive and safely ignored, then you forfeit all possibility of relationship with God. You merely have a Stepford god (or a Mr. Potato Head god) who only ever affirms you and/or your culture. As Augustine said: “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

http://www.faithbasedonevidence.com/regressive.html

VIDEO Bring Your Bible to School Day

Bring Your Bible to School Day

 

Bring Your Bible to School Day – Students, mark your calendar for Bring your Bible to School Day. Tell your friends, family and everyone! Share this blog post so others will know about it too. Do you know that what you bring to school says a lot about you. You can bring a lot of things to school, Why not bring your Bible? #BringYourBible #BgBg2

OCTOBER 3, 2019 MARKS BRING YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL DAY. (BYB)

Bring Your Bible To School Day first started in October 2014. So this year, 2019, marks the fifth year. It is sponsored by Focus on the Family. So students can legally take their Bible to school! Bring your Bible comes just after See You at the Pole.  Don’t forget to order your Life Books for students to hand out to their peers

 

BRING IT. SHARE IT. LIVE IT.

Bringing your Bible can help show your support for a freedom that is being taken away from as a Christian. Bring your Bible can help show that you are a Christian and you are proud of being a Christian.

Students have a right to bring their Bibles to school. Yet some report feeling pressured to hide their faith by school teachers and administrators due in part to the cultural censorship of faith that exists in public education from kindergarten to college. Check out know your rights!

Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel!

“We’re thrilled to be able to help spread the news about this event to students and their families. Students’ freedom to express their faith at school is an issue that’s really close to our hearts. Our newest song, ‘Guilty,’ deals directly with the topic. That’s also why we’re supporting the thousands of students participating in ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day.’”

Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait

Focus on the Family reported In 2017, the initiative saw its widest reach ever—with close to 500,000 students participating in schools nationwide.

It’s time for Bring Your Bible To School Day! #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay #BringYourBibleCLICK TO TWEET

5 REASONS TO GET INVOLVED.

  1. Stand for Students’ Rights
  2. Share God’s Hope
  3. Be An Example
  4. Live Your Faith
  5. Pump Up Your Brain Power!

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

Hebrews 4:12 (above) shows us that the Word of God is powerful, why else would places want it removed. Bring Your Bible To School Day is a way to take a stand and shed light in a dark world.

Bring your Bible may be a good way to share the hope that is in you. But 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. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15

Don’t be Ashamed and take a stand. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” Romans 1:16

This may be a great day for your youth or children to hand out Life Book’s (Gospel of John).

2019 VIDEO (YOU WON’T STAND ALONE)

2018 VIDEO (SOMETHING BIGGER TO BELIEVE IN)

CHECK OUT THIS 2017 VIDEO (BE BOLD. BE STRONG. BRING YOUR BIBLE.)

CHECK OUT THIS 2016 VIDEO (BRING IT. SHARE IT. LIVE IT.)

This is a day when thousands of students will share God’s hope and celebrate religious freedom — #BringYourBible to School Day! Sign up at http://www.focusonthefamily.com/bring…. Learn more at http://www.bringyourbible.org

For more information visit: bringyourbible.org

In 2014 it was on October 16. This event is part of A Day of Dialogue & Focus on the Family.
First published September 24, 2014. Information from a press releases and website. Last published or updated on August 22, 2019. #BringYourBible

See you at the Pole 2019

https://www.courageouschristianfather.com/bring-bible-school-day/

Go and Make Disciples. But First, Stop.

The crucial first step of ministry begins with the Holy Spirit.

Go and Make Disciples. But First, Stop.
NOEMI VEGA QUIÑONES

 

Twelve years ago, I was an energetic campus minister leading outreach to college students at Fresno State. I longed to see their lives transformed by Jesus the way that he’d transformed mine. But in my eagerness, I pushed one particular student to explore her faith in connection with her ethnic identity as a Mexican American. When she said she wasn’t interested in growing in that area, I misinterpreted it as a lack of teachability rather than as a “not now” from the Holy Spirit. Eventually, trust was broken and she left the fellowship to join another ministry. I was heartbroken. Where had I gone wrong?

Years later, I became the Latino student outreach coordinator for central California and Las Vegas. In that season, wise Latino mentors coached me to grow in listening to the Lord. They encouraged me to take time to pray with students and listen to the Lord’s yearning for their lives. This time, I began to approach ministry differently. I listened and waited on the Holy Spirit for strategy and vision. By the end of three years, we had reached over 100 Latino students in our ministry.

How often do we minister out of our own insights or impulses rather than relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, however long it takes to discern? Waiting is countercultural; it’s antithetical to the pace of our daily lives. The technological age we live in values efficiency and urgency. As a culture, we abhor waiting. Our world is not designed to help us stop and reflect on the presence of God at any given moment. Listening and waiting, thus, are disciplines we must exercise regularly—especially when it comes to partnering with the Holy Spirit.

I’ve learned—and I’m still learning—that listening to the Holy Spirit is the first step in ministry. It is our first act of love.

Listening to Our Guide

The Holy Spirit is not an “it” or a distant force. The Holy Spirit is a person, the third member of the Holy Trinity. “Spirit” is the name of the divine person Jesus promised would come to believers after he ascended (John 14:15–17). “Spirit” is the name of the divine person who hovered over the waters during Creation (Gen. 1:2). The Holy Spirit was present from the very beginning and even to the very end of the age (Matt. 28:20). The Holy Spirit has many other names in Scripture, including advocate, counselor, breath, wind, life, and Spirit of Truth.

While various Christian traditions understand the embodied gifts of the Spirit in different ways, Paul is clear that in the different gifts and Spirit-led ministries of God’s people, “in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Cor. 12:6). The Holy Spirit gives every Christian believer the gift of partnership with God. Just as Jesus is described as a friend to believers, the Holy Spirit can be described as a helpful guide. We can rest assured that when we listen, this person of the Trinity is present with us—whispering, speaking, sharing, guiding, and loving.

Waiting with Hope

When I moved to minister in San Antonio, where I now serve, my new staff team and I spent our first seven months listening to the Lord and waiting on his vision for our area. At first, this waiting felt restless and heavy. Worry tried to creep in and internal pressure to come up with a captivating vision statement was mounting. But eventually my posture shifted toward waiting with hope instead of fear. In Spanish, the word for “wait” is espera and the word for “hope” is esperanza. Hope is embedded with waiting in faith. Waiting in hope cultivated a peace, trust, and dependence on the Lord that slowly emerged into a clear vision centered in love for God and his people.

When we seek to partner with the Holy Spirit in mission, waiting in hope for the Spirit’s leading is essential. Two biblical examples of people who waited with hope to receive instruction from the Holy Spirit stand out to me: Anna and Elijah.

Anna, in Luke 2:36–38, was an 84-year-old prophet of God waiting for the redemption of Israel. For many of those years she lived as a widow, worshiping and fasting day and night. When Anna saw Mary and Joseph in the Temple holding baby Jesus, she walked up to them and started praising God. She was able to recognize who Jesus was because she lived in the presence of God, her spirit connecting with his Spirit every single day as she prayed.

She waited for years in hope. She waited with a focused vision of the redemption of Israel, birthed out of years of prayer and worship. While others misunderstood, Anna knew that redemption would not come from the false messiahs who attempted to overthrow their oppressors. Anna’s years of waiting, listening, and partnering with the Holy Spirit prepared her to recognize the Savior! The longer we partner with the Holy Spirit in mission, the easier it becomes to distinguish his truth from false narratives.

Elijah pressed into hope amid hardship. Consider the desperation Elijah felt after all the other prophets of Israel were slaughtered (1 Kings 19). Jezebel promised to kill Elijah, too, so he ran to save his life only to later ask the Lord to take his life. Twice during this time an angel ministered to Elijah and provided him with food and drink. Instead of continuing to run, Elijah chose to go to Mount Horeb, the same place where Moses had heard from the Lord. Perhaps in his desperation, Elijah remembered that Mount Horeb was a place of hope, a place where the Lord speaks.

It took Elijah 40 days and 40 nights to get there. During the journey, I imagine he did a lot of thinking, arguing, listening, realizing, and speaking to God. By the time he arrived, Elijah had cultivated enough hope to hear the voice of Yahweh once again. The Lord asked Elijah what he was doing there, then led Elijah through a series of events designed to teach him to listen intently (vv. 10–13). First, the wind came, then an earthquake and a fire, but the Lord was not in them. Elijah then experienced the presence of God through a gentle whisper, a voice asking again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Notice that the Lord asked Elijah the same question twice (vv. 9 and 13), but it was only the second time, after the experience of listening, that the Lord gave further instruction to Elijah about his mission. Perhaps transformation happened in Elijah’s waiting on the presence of the Lord. Perhaps the Spirit of God was teaching Elijah discernment.

God can manifest himself in powerful ways, as Elijah had seen in his own ministry, but perhaps it was time for Elijah to hear the voice of the Lord as a gentle whisper. Like Elijah, we may experience ministry failure, doubt our calling, or feel tempted to give up. But the Holy Spirit will never let us run so far that we are no longer in his presence. The gentle whisper of the Spirit is there—we can learn to listen and wait for it in hope.

Leading with Love

Partnering with the Holy Spirit in ministry involves cultivating deep love for God and his people. Those of us who hope to present the gospel in our current cultural zeitgeist do well by noting the concerns that others have about missions and evangelism. While we have learned helpful ways of sharing our faith, some of our hearers may still be pained and even turned away from the gospel by the way Christianity has been presented in the past. The history of colonization is one to remember and learn from, lest we repeat some of the same mistakes. We must acknowledge and remember where evangelistic efforts begin to go wrong. Our Christian witness falls short when we abandon love as the center of our Great Commission.

Love does not conquer others and does not lord power over others. Love does not consider oneself better than the other but rather sees the other as beloved by the Creator. The Holy Spirit helps us cultivate deep, godly love. This divine love is the natural fruit of the Spirit’s life within us. But if we aren’t partnering with the Spirit, we may be inadvertently ministering out of other motivations, such as a desire to be spiritually “successful” or a guilt-driven compulsion to work. Frustration, impatience, blaming others, or a lack of teachability and humility can all be indicators that God’s love is not at the center of our mission.

Those who are on the receiving end of our ministry efforts immediately know when a person is authentically serving out of love or another type of motivation. People don’t want to be evangelism projects or the next target goal for outreach! People want to be known. People want to be loved. People want to be seen. People want to partner. Ministries that empower those they serve embody the ministry that Jesus modeled.

Consider how Christ empowered the woman at the well to go and tell her testimony to her village (John 4). In partnership with the power of God, she shared her story and many people came to believe as a result. Partnership centered in love for God and his beloved is the most powerful, life-transforming, and lasting ministry model we have to offer.

We are all called to the beautiful invitation of Matthew 28—to “go and make disciples of all nations”—and we are equipped with the powerful promise of Emmanuel, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I said yes to Jesus because I wanted to be with him—I literally want to walk with him every day. I didn’t say yes so that I could lead a ministry. That is a residual blessing after the greatest gift: to be in the presence of the One who fully knows me and seeks after me.

Jesus said to remain in his love (John 15:9). Out of this remaining—this abiding—we can follow his command to love one another because we have known and have experienced his love for us. Out of this love, people will know we are his followers (John 13:34–35). Spirit-fostered love is the key to our evangelism.

Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit. We do not have to fight for the Holy Spirit to see us; we do not have to compete for the Spirit’s love. Like Anna, we can cultivate daily prayer rhythms to step away from the culture of urgency and efficiency and to step into relating with God’s Spirit in the present. Like Elijah learned, partnership with the Holy Spirit is cultivating a posture ready to listen to the Creator’s gentle whispers. Partnering with the Holy Spirit is an act of love. It is the first step of ministry.

Noemi Vega Quiñones is the South Texas area ministry director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She is a coauthor of Hermanas: Deepening our Identity and Growing Our Influence (InterVarsity Press).

This article is part of CT’s special issue on how women are rethinking global gospel proclamation. Download a free pdf of the issue at moreCT.com/YourMissionField.

 

 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2019/september/go-and-make-disciples-but-first-stop-holy-spirit.html

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 Three-Letter Word That Undergirds Gospel Living

Loving across our differences requires the power of paradox.

The Three-Letter Word That Undergirds Gospel Living

JEN POLLOCK MICHEL

 

“You and Ryan seemed tired Friday,” my friend Janey said when she saw me at church. “Everything okay?” We had been to their house for a Christmas party two days earlier.

“Oh, we weren’t tired,” I said, laughing. “We were fighting.” The sky had been falling in thick flakes that Friday, the city roads a congested crawl under a whitened sky. A few more stolen moments in the car alone had afforded us just enough time for an argument.

“When are you taking your vacation days?” I had asked Ryan a few days earlier. It wasn’t exactly his answer that I had been brooding about for days and finally took up on the way to Janey’s. He did, in fact, plan to catch up while the office was quiet over the Christmas holidays. Instead, it was more that he hadn’t asked me the same question, carelessly presuming that I had no pressing deadlines.

In the middle years of our marriage, we have often encountered this recurrent place of tension—how to share domestic responsibility and how to support each others’ professional ambitions. It’s a lot of muddled, messy work, trying to figure out whose needs are being met and whose are not, especially when you try doing it on the way to a dinner party.

Marriage is often held up as a model of Christian sacrifice—and of course, there’s truth in that. In Christian marriage, we choose to love, serve, and submit to one another, even on the days that wring us out bone-tired. But Christian marriage isn’t built on mute self-sacrifice alone. Our wedding vows don’t simply bind us to politeness; they also bind us to courage. In the midst of this tension, we find deep virtue in one little word: and.

The early church offers us a model for how to love each other well in the midst of our differences—how to find those and spaces when we can imagine only either and or. When the contradictions of Jew and Gentile were joined together in the holy matrimony of Christ’s body, God was reconciling tremendous difference for the sake of unity in his new kingdom of priests. How were these people to eat dinner together, much less share a common faith? There were very practical questions to resolve when the Gentiles were grafted into the people of God: Did they need to be circumcised and keep kosher?

When Peter stood in the assembly of God’s people, he was clear to commend grace, not law-keeping, as the basis for salvation: “We believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus.”

But grace didn’t settle the matter entirely. The church kept insisting on and: Exercise your freedom and love your brother. Obey your own conscience and “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” There was liberty in Christ to eat freely and gratefully, and there was also the constraining obligation to love. “If your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love” (Rom. 14:15). This little three-letter word andhad the power to bind together a church that might easily have been polarized by their food preferences and their festal calendars.

As the apostle Paul outlines in Romans 14, and allows us to be attentive to both belonging and belief. In fact, Paul deliberately withholds arbitrating some of the debates of his day (Do we eat meat or merely vegetables? Do we observe the Sabbath or esteem every day alike?) and insists instead on this: that our brothers and sisters are worthy of honor, and that each of us will stand before the judgment seat of God. “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God,” he writes.

Of course, I am not dismissing that either and or are God’s words, too. As philosopher Isaiah Berlin has written, “I am not a relativist. I do not say, ‘I like my coffee with milk and you like it without. I am in favor of kindness and you prefer concentration camps.’” Scripture’s revelation is often less murky than we wish, especially for deciding many contemporary ethical issues at the center of fierce public debate. God is not afraid to pronounce, “Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not.”

Nonetheless, faith doesn’t always divide the world into two clean halves of right and wrong, and although God is Lord of either and or, the paradox of the incarnation reminds us that he’s also the author of both and and. “The thought of incarnation is stupendous,” writestheologian John Murray. “For it means the conjunction in one person of all that belongs to godhead and all that belongs to manhood.”

To clothe himself with flesh, God himself has practiced what seems to be an eternal contradiction called love. In Jesus, God did not set aside his godhood to assume the liabilities of human flesh. He did not, as it were, turn in his “God” badge at the door of the Milky Way. Instead, the Am assumed humanity as a second nature while remaining fully God: God and man, man and God.

For believers, this word and illuminates not only our abstract understanding of the incarnation but also what it means for us to live into its truth, day and day out. When I encounter places of seeming paralysis in my own life—when either and or seem to bind my hands—I have to rediscover that God, infinitely creative in his own nature, is suggesting infinitely more creative possibilities than I can considerI have to surrender my straitjacketed imagination and, in the midst of marital differences and other difficulties, look for the love of the great I AND.

Jen Pollock Michel is the award-winning author of Teach Us to Want and Keeping Place. Her third book, Surprised by Paradox, releases on May 14. She lives with her husband and their five children in Toronto. You can follow Jen on Twitter.

Adapted from Surprised by Paradox by Jen Pollock Michel. Copyright (c) 2019 by Jen Pollock Michel. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2019/may/discipleship-three-letter-word-undergirds-gospel-living.html