Daily Archives: July 29, 2014

Questions about the Christian Life: What Does It Mean to Surrender to God?

 

This world is a battleground. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17–19), the world God created has been in conflict with Him (Romans 8:20–22). Satan is called the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and due to Adam’s sin, we are born on his team (Romans 5:12). John Bunyan pictured this conflict in his allegory The Holy War. Prince Emmanuel besieges the city of Mansoul to wrest it from the power of Diabolus. Unfortunately, the citizens of Mansoul are blindly committed to Diabolus and fight against Emmanuel, to their own detriment.

When we reach the age when we can make moral choices, we must choose whether to follow our own sinful inclinations or to seek God (see Joshua 24:15). God promises that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we find Him, we have a choice to make: do we continue following our own inclinations, or do we surrender to His will?

Surrender is a battle term. It implies giving up all rights to the conqueror. When an opposing army surrenders, they lay down their arms, and the winners take control from then on. Surrendering to God works the same way. God has a plan for our lives, and surrendering to Him means we set aside our own plans and eagerly seek His. The good news is that God’s plan for us is always in our best interest (Jeremiah 29:11), unlike our own plans that often lead to destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Our Lord is a wise and beneficent victor; He conquers us to bless us.

There are different levels of surrender, all of which affect our relationship with God. Initial surrender to the drawing of the Holy Spirit leads to salvation (John 6:44; Acts 2:21). When we let go of our own attempts to earn God’s favor and rely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we become a child of God (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But there are times of greater surrender during a Christian’s life that bring deeper intimacy with God and greater power in service. The more areas of our lives we surrender to Him, the more room there is for the filling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we exhibit traits of His character (Galatians 5:22). The more we surrender to God, the more our old self-worshiping nature is replaced with one that resembles Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Romans 6:13 says that God demands that we surrender the totality of our selves; He wants the whole, not a part: “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Jesus said that His followers must deny themselves (Mark 8:34)—another call to surrender.

The goal of the Christian life can be summed up by Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Such a life of surrender is pleasing to God, results in the greatest human fulfillment, and will reap ultimate rewards in heaven (Luke 6:22–23).[1]

 

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

Characters in the Bible: Who Were Priscilla and Aquila?

 

The story of these two friends of the apostle Paul is told in Acts 18. Aquila, a Jewish Christian, and his wife, Priscilla, first met Paul in Corinth, became good friends of his, and shared in his work. Eventually the Corinthian church met in their home. These two remarkable people belong in the pantheon of Christian heroes, and their ministry is both an encouragement and an example for us.

When we first meet Aquila and Priscilla, we are told that they had come to Corinth from Italy as victims of Roman persecution, not for their Christian faith but because Aquila was a Jew. The Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome, and no doubt Jews deemed it unsafe to remain in any part of Italy. Aquila and Priscilla found their way to Corinth and settled there, pursuing their trade as tentmakers. When Paul, a tentmaker himself, came to Corinth, he went to see them, no doubt having heard of their faith in Christ. Paul lived and worked with them while founding the Corinthian church.

After a year and a half, Paul left for Ephesus and took Aquila and Priscilla with him. The couple stayed in Ephesus when Paul left, again establishing a church in their home (1 Corinthians 16:9). Then an eloquent preacher named Apollos came through Ephesus. Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures, but he only knew the baptism of John. This means Apollos knew Christ had come and fulfilled John’s prophecies, but he didn’t know the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the mystery of the church containing both Jews and Gentiles. Priscilla and her husband took Apollos aside and explained these things to him (Acts 18:24–26). Both Aquila and Priscilla possessed an in-depth understanding of doctrine learned from Paul, and this husband and wife team was able to pass it on to another Christian and build him up in the faith.

These two remarkable people set an example for us of hospitality, seen in opening their home to Paul and using their house as a meeting place for churches wherever they went. We are also impressed by their passion for Christ and their hunger for knowledge of Him.

Another hallmark of the lives of Priscilla and Aquila is their desire to build others in the faith. Paul’s last reference to them is in his last letter. Paul was imprisoned in Rome and writing to Timothy one last time. Timothy was pastoring the church at Ephesus, and Aquila and Priscilla are there with him, still faithfully ministering (2 Timothy 4:19). To the end, Aquila and Priscilla were offering hospitality to other Christians, spreading the gospel they had learned from Paul, and rendering faithful service to the Master.[1]

 

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

Questions about Sin: Is Temptation a Sin? Is It a Sin to Be Tempted?

 

Temptation, by its very nature, feels wrong. God’s moral law is written in the heart of every human being (Romans 1:20), and when a sinful temptation is introduced, our consciences immediately sense danger. However, the temptation itself is not the sin. Jesus was tempted (Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1–13), but He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Sin occurs when we mishandle temptation.

There are two avenues by which we are tempted: Satan and our own sinful flesh. Acts 5 gives an example of someone tempted by Satan. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, wanting to appear more spiritual than they really were, lied to the apostles and pretended they were giving as an offering the full price of some property they had sold. Peter confronted them: “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?” (verse 3). In this instance, Peter knew that the temptation to lie had come from Satan. Ananias and his wife both gave in to that temptation (verses 7–10). The betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot is also attributed to Satan’s influence (Luke 22:3; John 13:2).

Ultimately, since Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the father of lies (John 8:44), all evil originates with him. However, our own selfish nature is an ally of Satan’s. We need no prompting from Satan to entertain sinful ideas. James 1:13–14 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”

Even though we may desire to do good, we are all tempted. No one is above it, even someone like the apostle Paul. He shared his own struggle of flesh against spirit when he wrote in Roman 7:22–23, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”

Temptation is not of itself sinful. It becomes sin when we allow the temptation to become action, even in our minds. Lust, for example, is sin even though it may never be acted upon (Matthew 5:28). Covetousness, pride, greed, and envy are all sins of the heart; even though they may not be apparent to anyone else, they are still sin (Romans 1:29; Mark 7:21–22). When we give in to the temptation to entertain such thoughts, they take root in our hearts and defile us (Matthew 17:19). When we yield to temptation, we replace the fruit of the Spirit with the fruit of the flesh (Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:19–23). And, many times, what was first entertained as a thought becomes action (see James 1:15).

The best defense against giving in to temptation is to flee at the first suggestion. Joseph is a great example of someone who did not allow temptation to become sin (Genesis 39:6–11). Although tempted to sin sexually, he did not give the temptation time to take root. He used the legs God gave him and physically fled. Rather than stay in a potentially dangerous situation and try to talk, reason, justify, explain, or otherwise weaken his resolve, Joseph took off. The temptation was not sin for him because he dealt with it in a God-honoring way. It could easily have become sin if Joseph had stayed around to try to match his wits and self-control against the power of the flesh.

Romans 13:13–14 (ESV) gives us a guideline for avoiding situations that can lead to temptation. “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” If we determine to “make no provision for the flesh,” we will keep ourselves out of situations that may prove too tempting. When we put ourselves in situations where we know we will be tempted, we are asking for trouble. God promises to provide a “way of escape” when we are tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13), but often that way is to avoid the situation altogether. “Flee the evil desires of youth” (2 Timothy 2:22). Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:4), but we have a responsibility to pay attention to the direction God is leading us and avoid temptation whenever we can.[1]

 

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

July 29: Daily Headline Alerts – Commentary – Opinion

Obama Gives Official Ramadan Message, Says ‘Muslims Built America’

Obama never talks this way about God, the bible or Christians that actually built America

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

Sunni Muslim Barack Hussein Obama has said some crazy, nonsensical things in the 5-plus years he has been putting his filthy feet on the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office, but his latest verbal spewage takes the cake. Now he would like us to believe that “Muslim Americans”, who appear in no US History books prior to 9/11/2001, are part of the “fabric that built this nation” in 1776, and whose godless, satanic Sharia Law ideology “strengthens the core” of our democracy? Guess your chef really does “put crack in your pies” at the White House.

Here now, we present to you the official statement from the White House:

“As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families.  This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate.

While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.  That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration.  Eid Mubarak.”

The post Obama Gives Official Ramadan Message, Says ‘Muslims Built America’ appeared first on Now The End Begins.


 

Presbyterian Church USA Criticizes Israel, Ignores Christian Persecution :: Ibrahim in CBN News

Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth of investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”

Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move. Netanyahu responded:

It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.

It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.

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Camp teaches kids how to defend evolution against creation ‘bullying’

by Marsha West

Christian News Network reports:

A Unitarian organization in Missouri hosted an evolution camp for kids earlier this month, during which the kids were taught how to defend evolutionary theory from critics, including Christians.

According to a report from the Springfield News-Leader, the First Unitarian Universalist “Church” of Springfield sponsored an evolution camp this month for about 30 children. The camp, which took place July 7–11, was designed for youth between the ages of 5 and 11.

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“How Do I Find a Good Bible-Believing Church?”

We have often been asked, “How do I find a good Bible-believing church?” There are many believers who are struggling to find one in their own communities. We usually recommend they make phone calls to potential churches and ask a few concise questions such as:

“Do you have a Spiritual Formation program at your church?” or “Has your church implemented aspects of the Purpose Driven Movement anytime in the past 10 years?.”

Since thousands of churches would answer yes to both or at least one of these questions, they are worthwhile to ask, and it would certainly narrow down the scope of one’s search. Here are a few other questions that could be asked:

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The Christian and essential oils: a few thoughts

by Christine Pack

For those Christians who haven’t heard, essential oils are big business. Big, big business. Make no mistake: essential oils are the hottest thing going since yoga invaded the church a decade ago. One of the largest and most well known of these essential oils companies is Young Living. Young Living sells its products through Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), a pyramid form of selling that works through networking. (Other MLM companies that might be familiar to some readers are Amway, Juice Plus, Pampered Chef, Herbalife and Mary Kay.)

If you happen to be one of the few that hasn’t yet heard about essential oils, just wait. One day soon your Facebook inbox will blow up with invitations to this or that essential oils home party. If you choose to attend one of these parties, you might learn some useful tips for making nice-smelling homemade cleaning products or cosmetics with essential oils, but you might also be exposed to some very unbiblical concepts about sin, sanctification and illness.

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Lighthouse Trails July 28, 2014 Newsletter Now Online

Tony Palmer, who captured Pope Francis’ bid for Christian unity with a cellphone, dies after motorcycle crash

Letter to the Editor: Our Church Is Using Renovare and VantagePoint3 – Is That Emergent?

AN EXPLOSION THAT SHOOK THE WORLD – IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE

A Word About Salvation Versus the Contemplative Way

Preparing for Persecution

Letter to the Editor: In Looking for a Good Church, “What’s a Sheep to do?”

Incest Next ‘Civil Right’? Judge Reprimanded for Suggesting Incest is Legal

California Church Disaffiliates With the Calvary Chapel Movement Over Heretical Connections

WorldNetDaily: “Is hit book ‘Jesus Calling’ pushing New Age?”

Precepts Ministries International – “Being Still and Knowing God” – Does a Picture Say a Thousand Words?

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Preparing for Perilous Times and Finding God’s Peace in the Midst of Them

Matthew 18 – And Heretics and Hypocrites


 

John Kerry’s Peace Plan ‘Would Have Given Hamas All of Its Demands’ – Krauthammer

Secretary of State John Kerry’s intervention in negotiations among Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority has caused more casualties, not preventing them, Charles Krauthammer said Monday on Special Report. His effort drew criticism from all, including criticism from a left-wing paper and the Israeli cabinet, which voted 19–0 against the plan Kerry had negotiated.

“Israeli cabinets have never voted 19–0 on whether the sun rises in the east. It was unbelievable,” Charles Krauthammer said.

View Short Video


 

Video Update: John Stossel TV Special – The Police State


 

This is Why You Feel Poorer: David Stockman’s 2000-2014 Chart (7/10/2014)

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Krauthammer deconstructs Obama’s ‘vacant presidency’


 

State Department:
Christian presence in Middle East
becoming ‘shadow of its former self’

The State Department issued a dire report Monday on the state of religious freedom around the world, with an alarming warning that the Christian presence in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East is becoming a “shadow of its former self.”

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Mass Incarceration: 21 Amazing Facts About America’s Obsession With Prison

Nobody in the world loves locking people behind bars as much as Americans do. We have more people in prison than any other nation on the planet. We also have a higher percentage of our population locked up than anyone else does by a very large margin. But has all of this imprisonment actually made us safer? Well, the last time I checked, crime was still wildly out of control in America and for the most recent year that we have numbers for violent crime was up 15 percent. The number of people that we have locked up has quadrupled since 1980, but this is not solving any of our problems. Clearly, what we are doing is not working. (Read More…)


 

85 Super Wealthy People Have More Money Than The Poorest 3.5 Billion Combined

The global economy is structured to systematically funnel wealth to the very top of the pyramid, and this centralization of global wealth is accelerating with each passing year. According to the United Nations, 85 super wealthy people have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet combined. And 1.2 billion of those poor people live on less than $1.25 a day. There is something deeply, deeply broken about a system that produces these kinds of results. Seven out of every ten people on the planet live in countries where the gap between the wealthy and the poor has increased in the last 30 years. Despite our technological advances, somewhere around a billion people go to bed hungry every single night. And when our fundamentally flawed financial system finally does collapse, it will be the poor that will suffer the worst. (Read More….)


 9 Things You Should Know About Male Body Image Issues

Body image is the mental representation we create of what we think we look like; it may or may not bear a close relation to how others actually see us.


Lies Young Women Believe: Sorry to Break It to You, But . . .

Sorry to Break It to You, But . . .

Have you ever seen the movie Aladdin? Here’s a short clip where Genie reveals to Aladdin that Aladdin is Genie’s master, and Genie’s job is to grant Aladdin any three wishes he wants.

Can you imagine?! Having a genie that would grant you any three wishes? How amazing would that be? I’ll take . . .

God’s Not Your Personal Genie

Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but unlike Aladdin, you’re not “the king, the boss, the shah.”

God doesn’t exist to grant your wishes . . . you exist to carry out His.

And God is not your maître d’ or your personal genie.

Actually, it’s quite the other way around.

God is “the king, the boss, the shah.”

And you’re His servant.

In Revelation 19:16, we’re told that Jesus is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” It doesn’t get any higher than that. Jesus is the greatest. The highest. The bestest. (Sorry, I know that’s not a word, but I just had to.) As the King of kings, He deserves our respect, our obedience, our honor, and our celebration.

Fact is, God doesn’t exist to grant your wishes . . . you exist to carry out His.

History = His story

Even your life story is His story of rescue and redemption.Your life is not about you but about God.

We exist for God; He doesn’t exist for us. It even says so in 1 Corinthians 8:6:

Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

God doesn’t need us; we need God.We forget this, though, all the time. And instead of remembering that He created us, that He’s our Master and we’re His servants, we shake our fists at God when He doesn’t fulfill our plans like Genie would.

Do you relate, or is it just me? Have you ever wished God was a little more like Genie? Now that you know the truth, though, will you begin to live for and serve this wise and loving King? Or will you continue to insist on living like you’re “the king, the boss, the shah”?

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Rom. 11:33–36, emphasis added).


SOUND TEACHING

Samuel at Gilgal

preachingBut as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1 ESV) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

A huge problem in the modern church is the “itching ears” disease. Many of our churches have accumulated pastors who believe that preaching is giving a talk on what you think the congregation wants to hear. These pastors know that the people in the pews want to feel good about themselves. This is why we hear of such sermon titles as “How to Command Angels,” “Secret Sources of Power,” “Dream and You Will Win the World,” and “You Can Have Your Best Life Now.” Most of these sermons contain more pop-psychology than…

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God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

30 This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. 31 And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:30-31 ESV)

I doubt if any professing Christian who is a genuine child of God has not come to that sobering and often devastating realization in which God has taken His hand away just enough so that decisions are made and actions are taken apart from His wise counsel. The consequences of our going it alone are humbling to say the…

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