Daily Archives: June 18, 2014

Godlife: 5 Facts About Hell

Scripture: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ . . . and these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:41, 46

The subject of hell is not as enjoyable as last week’s topic, Heaven. But Jesus didn’t ignore it, and we can’t either.

Here are five things you need to know

Just for You

Are you wondering how to tell your family and friends about Jesus so they can go to Heaven, not hell? Learn how to share the Gospel in the Prayer, Care and Share Jesus series.

Personal Help

Do you need to talk to someone about your eternal destiny? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
● That God will help you understand hell is a real place
● For God’s help to warn your family and friends about hell
● That God will help you to think about eternal life when you’re making daily choices
● For help understanding God’s justice
● That your family and friends won’t wait any longer to accept Jesus Christ

GodLife Family

Where can you go online to get daily encouragement and inspiration, and find out more about Heaven and hell? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!

Connect with Us

Do you have questions? Need prayer? Connect with someone who cares for you!

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When It’s Time to Leave a Church

I detest church hopping. Yet I accept the fact that there are times when Christians transfer church membership. But there is a proper time and way to leave a church.

What are the legitimate reasons for leaving a church? When is the right time to leave a church? How should one leave a church to join another?

Red Lights: Wrong Reasons for Leaving a Church

Here are seven wrongs reasons for leaving a church.

Read more

Topical Bible Questions: What Does the Bible Say about Motivation?

 

Motivation is defined as “that which moves one toward an action; that which changes, provokes, or impels our very being.” The Bible has a great deal to say about motivation. The motivation of Christians is supposed to be exactly the opposite of what motivates unbelievers. For one thing, our sense of motivation or inspiration comes from God, not from the things of the world. David spoke of his motivation in his psalms: “I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Later he wrote, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25).

The world is motivated by self and the aggrandizement of self, the all-about-me syndrome, which is identified by self-determination, self-obsession and self-worship. The Bible does not teach us to be centered on ourselves. In fact, it teaches just the opposite. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11–12; Luke 9:48). As followers of Christ, we are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). The cross was an instrument of death, and Jesus’ message to us is that only those who die to self will truly follow Him. We do that by doing nothing out of vanity and conceit, but instead considering others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

Jesus set the example for our motivation in this life: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Jesus was concerned with pleasing His Father, and so should we be motivated by that same concern. He always did the Father’s will, motivated by pleasing Him through obedience (John 8:29). His obedience extended all the way to the cross where He humbled Himself and “became obedient unto death” (Philippians 2:8). Our motivation should be the same as His—the obedience by which we prove we are truly His. “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

The apostle Paul spoke of what motivated him to endure the suffering he experienced: “For me, to live is Christ …” (Philippians 1:21; compare 2 Corinthians 11:23–28). It wasn’t money, it wasn’t fame, nor was it being the best apostle that motivated Paul. It was living for Christ that superseded everything (Philippians 4:12–13). Our motivation as believers stems from a yearning to have peace with God (Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7), to have His grace as well as hope (Romans 5:2; 1 John 5:13). The Christian views life through the lens of the future—being in the presence and glory of God (John 17:24), and this is our true motivation.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Bible Summary / Survey: Book of Esther

 

Author: The Book of Esther does not specifically name its author. The most popular traditions are Mordecai (a major character in the Book of Esther), Ezra and Nehemiah (who would have been familiar with Persian customs).

Date of Writing: The Book of Esther was likely written between 460 and 350 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The purpose of the Book of Esther is to display the providence of God, especially in regard to His chosen people, Israel. The Book of Esther records the institution of the Feast of Purim and the obligation of its perpetual observation. The Book of Esther was read at the Feast of Purim to commemorate the great deliverance of the Jewish nation brought about by God through Esther. Jews today still read Esther during Purim.

Key Verses: Esther 2:15—Now when the time came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested.

Esther 4:14—For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the royal position for such a time as this.

Esther 6:12—Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!

Esther 7:3—If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition, and the life of my people—this is my request.

Brief Summary: The Book of Esther can be divided into three main sections. Chapters 1:1–2:18 “Esther replaces Vashti; 2:19–7:10 “Mordecai overcomes Haman; 8:1–10:3 “Israel survives Haman’s attempt to destroy them. The noble Esther risked her own death as she realized what was at stake. She willingly did what could have been a deadly maneuver and took on the second-in-command of her husband’s kingdom, Haman. She proved a wise and most worthy opponent, all the while remaining humble and respectful of the position of her husband-king.

Esther’s story is much like the story of Joseph in Genesis 41. Both stories involve foreign monarchs who control the destiny of the Jews. Both accounts show the heroism of Israelite individuals who provide the means for the salvation of their people and nation. The hand of God is evident, in that what appears to be a bad situation is indeed very much under the control of the Almighty God, who ultimately has the good of the people at heart. At the center of this story is the ongoing division between the Jews and the Amalakites, which was recorded to have begun in the Book of Exodus. Haman’s goal is the final effort recorded in the Old Testament period of the complete eradication of the Jews. His plans eventually end up with his own demise, and the elevation of his enemy Mordecai to his own position, as well as the salvation of the Jews.

Feasting is a major theme of this book: there are ten recorded banquets, and many of the events were planned, plotted, or exposed at these banquets. Although the name of God is never mentioned in this book, it is apparent that the Jews of Susa sought His intervention when they fasted and prayed for three days (Esther 4:16). In spite of the fact that the law allowing their destruction was written according to the laws of the Medes and Persians, rendering it unchangeable, the way was cleared for their prayers to be answered. Esther risked her life by going not once uninvited before the king but twice, (Esther 4:1–2; 8:3). She was not content with the destruction of Haman; she was intent on saving her people. The institution of the Feast of Purim is written and preserved for all to see and is still observed today. God’s chosen people, without any direct mention of His name, were granted a stay of execution through the wisdom and humility of Esther.

Foreshadowings: In Esther, we are given a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing struggle of Satan against the purposes of God and especially against His promised Messiah. The entrance of Christ into the human race was predicated upon the existence of the Jewish race. Just as Haman plotted against the Jews in order to destroy them, so has Satan set himself against Christ and God’s people. Just as Haman is defeated on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so does Christ use the very weapon that his enemy devised to destroy Him and His spiritual seed. For the cross, by which Satan planned to destroy the Messiah, was the very means through which Christ “having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:14–15). Just as Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so the devil was crushed by the cross he erected to destroy Christ.

Practical Application: The Book of Esther shows the choice we make between seeing the hand of God in our circumstances in life and seeing things as merely coincidence. God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and we can be assured that His plans will not be moved by the actions of mere evil men. Although His name is not mentioned in the book, His providential care for his people, both individuals and the nation, is evident throughout. For instance, we cannot fail to see the Almighty exerting influence over King Xerxes’s timely insomnia. Through the example of Mordecai and Esther, the silent love language our Father often uses to communicate directly to our spirits is shown in this book.

Esther proved to have a godly and teachable spirit that also showed great strength and willing obedience. Esther’s humility was markedly different from those around her, and this caused her to be elevated into the position of queen. She shows us that remaining respectful and humble, even in difficult if not humanly impossible circumstances, often sets us up to be the vessel of untold blessing for both ourselves and others. We would do well to emulate her godly attitudes in all areas of life, but especially in trials. Not once is there a complaint or bad attitude exposed in the writing. Many times we read she won the “favor” of those around her. Such favor is what ultimately saved her people. We can be granted such favor as we accept even unfair persecution and follow Esther’s example of maintaining a positive attitude, coupled with humility and the determination to lean on God. Who knows but that God put us in such a position, for just such a time as this?[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is an Avatar in Hinduism? Was Jesus an Avatar?

 

In Hinduism, an avatar is the bodily incarnation of a deity on earth. The god can become incarnate in one place at a time as a full avatar or in many places simultaneously through partial avatars called amshas, such that the main form of the god can still communicate with the partial materializations. One could view avatars as embodying the concepts of pantheism (god is all) and polytheism (many gods).

The belief in Hindu avatars is similar to the Christian heresy of Docetism, which is the belief that Jesus Christ only appeared to be human. Docetism teaches that Jesus’ body was spiritual, rather than physical; thus, He was unable to suffer physical pain. In Hinduism, the avatar appears to the devotee in whatever form the worshipper envisions, which, according to Hindu belief could be Mohammed, Krishna, Jesus, Buddha or any other personal god. An “unqualified” person would take the avatar to be an ordinary human.

The purpose of the avatar’s manifestation is to restore dharma, or righteousness, to the cosmic and social order. Dharma encompasses behaviors such as duty, ritual, law, morality, ethics, good deeds, etc.—anything considered critical to maintaining natural order. That which is unnatural or immoral is called adharma.

Avatars are most often associated with the god Vishnu, one of the members of the Hindu “Great Trinity” or Trimurti (although any Hindu god may manifest as an avatar). Vishnu is considered the maintainer or preserver, as opposed to the other members, Brahma the creator and Shiva the destroyer. According to the Bhagavata Purana, a book of Vedic Sanskrit traditions, Vishnu has incarnated as innumerable avatars in unlimited universes, though there are ten major incarnations, known collectively as Dashavatara.

Some Hindus consider Jesus as an avatar and, more specifically, as the reincarnation of Krishna. However, Jesus was not reincarnated; He was resurrected. Jesus was not an avatar; He is fully human and fully God. Please read our article on the Trinity to better understand the relationship between the members of the Christian Godhead. After His crucifixion, Jesus was resurrected bodily.

In some ways Jesus may seem to fit into Hindu avatar theism; for example, by bringing the restoration of righteousness, Jesus is, in fact, the only path to eternal salvation. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This coming to the Father is accomplished via belief (John 3:18) and repentance (Luke 13:3). The consequences of unbelief are harsh and eternal (Revelation 21:8). First Thessalonians 1:9–10 tells us to turn “from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

To find out how you can escape God’s wrath and live eternally, please read our article “How can I be saved?” For an interesting discussion regarding the specific differences between Christianity and Hinduism, please click here.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 18, 2014

End Times Prophecy Report

End Times Prophecy Report Headlines: Bible prophecy in Today's headlines. Bible prophecy in Today’s headlines.

End Times Prophecy Report
HEADLINES
June 18, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

===INTERNATIONAL

CANADA: Canada approves new pipeline that will ship oil to Asia – That’s got to be one long pipeline!

IRAN: 5000+ Iranians sign up to defend Iraq holy sites

IRAN: Iran is America’s best new partner in the Middle East – Now appearing for one show only: the great Muslim Menace and the Great Satan?

IRAQ:The Woman Who Invented Iraq

CHINA: Chinese church fights cross removal and loses – Gee, that happens in the USA fairly often…

===NATIONAL

USA captures Benghazi suspect in secret raid – Might be time to shoot Osama bin Laden again.<

Hillary Clinton LAUGHS in 30-year-old interview as she recalls how she helped a suspected child rapist walk free

US Military’s top 10 weird gizmos and gadgets

US Military announces laser to shoot down enemy drone – Wonder if it’s…

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Oh, if only we could recognize how poor and filthy we are in God’s sight!

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” (Zechariah 3:1-4 ESV)

The neo-evangelists in our day push their evangelical emphasis to the forefront where it has become the golden calf in their churches. Instead of obeying our Lord to make disciples they seek to multiply their numbers through…

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