5 Important Truths we Forget


As a Christian in America, I can easily become distracted from the important things. I’ve been realizing how easily I can forget important principles and truths from Scripture. So, I’ve compiled a quick list of 5 things we Christians often lose sight of and forget: 

  1. “My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus name” ~ Cornerstone, Hillsong Worship
    1. All too often we put our hope in something other than Christ. I often put my hope in the political outlook or in a candidate. Many people put their hope in finances or in having a good job. Others put their hope in relationships. Let’s remember to put our hope in Christ first. “Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” ~ Psalm 130:7
  2. “The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” ~ 1Peter 5:8
    1. As human beings, we have a disadvantage of not being able to see the spiritual realm. Because of this, we often forget that there is a spiritual war being fought all around us. God’s angels are valiantly fighting the Devil’s minions in an epic war. Our disadvantage is that we are a part of the war. But, being unable to see it makes it very difficult to participate. We need to be aware that the Devil is trying to destroy us and is constantly out to oppress us with his demons, and to tempt us with sin. We need to take of the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and use it daily in our fight against evil (Ephesians 6).
  3. “This world is not my home, I’m here for a moment…I’m bound for glory.” ~ Bound for Glory, Vertical Church Band
    1. Those of us who live in the Western world, and in a first world country, probably struggle with this concept more than those who don’t. Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven (Matthew 19:27). It is very easy to let the comforts of our lives, and the good gifts God has given us, to become too comfortable for us and for us to trust them for our salvation. We need to remember that we are only here for a short time, and the comforts and joys in heaven will far outweigh what is good here! Let’s fix our eyes on things above (Colossians 3:2)!
  4. Persecution is a Privilege, Suffering is a Given
    1. We are guaranteed to suffer in this life (1Peter 4:12-19). God tells us throughout Scripture that difficult trials that we face are given to us in order to refine us and mold us to be more like Christ. We need to redefine how we think of “good”. Rather than it being what we deem as enjoyable and comfortable, we need to realize “good” means whatever draws us closer to God. We also need to realize that not all of us will be given a chance to experience hardcore persecution. Scripture teaches it is a privilege. Some of us will sigh in relief… But we need to remember that “a good follower of Yesu (Jesus) is like the ox – ready either for the plow or the alter, for service or for sacrifice.” ~ Safely Home, Randy Alcorn pp.347
  5. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~ Ephesians 6:12
    1. The political authorities in this world who are doing evil, the mean kid at school, the bad cop who is racist, all of these people are really just puppets for the Devil. They have souls, and Jesus died for them. Our fight is not with them; it is with the Devil. So let’s pick up our Sword, and our quiver of Prayer, and not spend our time fighting them, but fighting the enemy.

 

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Pastorship


“Every Christian needs to be a pastor. They need to be able to study and teach God’s Word just as well as a pastor does. Not every Christian should be a pastor. What I mean by this is that not every Christian should pursue a pastoral occupation.” – Hudson Farrell

Fathers and Mothers need to especially be able to teach God’s Word to their children. Every person needs to be able to help another believer study the Bible, and should also be able to clearly lay out the Gospel to a non-believer. Are you prepared?

Reading the Bible is our primary way of listening to God… he speaks to us through the Bible. Sometimes He clearly speaks to us while we are reading it, but often he speaks to us later as we are doing our thing. Often He will remind us of something we read. Like if I’m getting angry, He may remind me to dispel an argument with peace and not animosity.

So, you may be praying, but are you listening? Read your Bible. Remember its a relationship and not a religion. And if you aren’t in a relationship you may be more religious than you realize.

A Prophet Without Honor


Matthew 13:54-58
“54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”

So true isn’t it? How often do we let our ‘picture’ of Jesus get in the way of letting us experience Jesus for who he is. Jesus’ neighbors had a preconceived notion that Jesus was a carpenter’s boy. They let this image get in the way of his ‘new’ identity: the fact that he was (and is) the Christ. They couldn’t mold the deity picture to the carpenter boy picture. If only they had done it backwards it would have worked. If they had seen Christ as a deity first and not as a carpenter first they could have painted the picture together and may have been able to find everlasting life. I wonder how often we cannot accept something because of our lack of perspective and how often we let God be smaller than he really is. I heard someone say that if you do not believe that God could have created the universe (agnostic speaking) then your [idea of] God is too small.

Faith and Deeds


“You see that a person is justified (saved) by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24) At first glance, this sounds like a works-salvation verse. Further, it seems to indicate that the Bible is not in agreement over how salvation comes about. But this isn’t so.

Too often we individualize deeds and faith. We separate them into two separate camps. This is why the verses in James seem to be contradictory to the Bible. In context, the meaning of this verse become more clear. In earlier verses James makes the point that a man cannot claim to have faith and not have deeds. For if faith is “not accompanied by action” his faith “is dead” (vs. 17). We must realize that deeds confirm our saving faith in Jesus Christ. They do not complete it, but they confirm and prove that we have a relationship with Our LORD. James gives examples of this in the following verses. He says, “Was not…Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?” He then makes the point that works and faith go hand and hand, and that works complete our faith. “[Abraham’s] faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” This must be why God said, after Abraham showed a willing attitude, “Now I know that you fear God…”* By performing a faith-based action, Abraham, in a sense, completed his faith that was in his heart.

There is something necessary in us needing to transform what is spiritual into something more physical and tangible. I believe this is why actions are a necessary part of faith. As humans, we are both spiritual and physical beings. Faith is surely a spiritual thing that is possessed in the soul and the heart. What James tells us is that we need to transform this faith from being solely a spiritual thing and into a physical thing. He tells us that this is accomplished by our actions that are done in faith and that our physical actions confirm the faith that is spiritually within us. And so the gap between the physical and the spiritual is bridged and we see faith in more tangible ways on a day to day basis. This is crucial as our actions and not our spirit will be judged and observed by others. And if they see faith in our actions they will see Christ. But, without actions they will see nothing.

Another thing worthy of mentioning, is that James does not specify what kind of works are confirming works. Although we may desire a list of things to do, this is not the point of faith-based works. I think that he purposely does not tell us things to do because there really isn’t anything we can do that will complete our faith. Rather, it is necessary for faith to be in place already in order to do actions that confirm our faith. Thus, there is not list of things one can do to become saved and finish what Jesus started; but rather, it is a heart issue of whether or not we are doing these actions because we have faith. For although faith without deeds is dead, deeds too without faith are dead.

 

*- Fear does not mean fear in the sense of being afraid, but rather having a deep respect and a deep passion for having an intimate relationship. See Proverbs 2:1-8.

John 10:1-10


John 10:1-10

 

In verse one, Jesus warns his disciples of false theologies, salvations, and leaders. They are the ones who bypass the gate and climb in some other way. These men, women and ideas are thieves and robbers.

Then Jesus goes on (verse 3) to describe how his disciples will know him. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [of the sheep pen].” But, he goes on to say that the sheep follow him, “because they know his voice”. This is very important, because it reminds us that we need to passionately pursue Christ’s voice. We need to learn to listen and recognize his voice.

In verse five, Jesus says that his sheep “will never follow a stranger”. This is because they will “not recognize a stranger’s voice”. Rather than being confident that you will never follow a stranger, we should focus on following Jesus. For if we can recognize his voice, we will recognize the fallacy in the stranger’s voice. Therefore we should test every teaching and “hold on to what is good, [and] reject every kind of evil” (1 Thes. 5:21-22).

In verse seven, Jesus essentially states that He is the only way to heaven. There can be no multiple ways to get to heaven because everyone must “[enter] through me” and he who does this “will be saved”. This is a very important point and one that we all should strive to focus on, for “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:14). Though this path is difficult, Jesus promises us that we “may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10) if we follow him and enter through The Gate.

God’s Not Dead

Video


How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?

Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.

GOD’S NOT DEAD features a talented cast of actors including Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES, ANDROMEDA), Shane Harper (GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2), David A.R. White (BROTHER WHITE, REVELATION ROAD and JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN), and Dean Cain (LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN), with special appearances by Christian super-band Newsboys and “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson.
– taken from http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/

Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham

Video


Last night in classy performance, Bill Nye debated Ken Ham over the viability of the creation account. Both relied heavily upon their assumptions of the past in the debate, however Ken Ham admitted to this fact many times. Bill Nye provided some very good arguments against the creation account [most however, can be explained]; some arguments however, were ridiculous and beneath him. Ken Ham presented many arguments that could be problematic for the scientific community who accept evolution; however, many of these arguments will never be accepted by a scientist who assumes a human is no more than an animal.

I encourage you to watch the entire debate, however, you may not be willing to watch a 2 1/2 hr debate. If not, watch the first hour for a synopsis of the Christian view of interpreting science and the Secular Humanist view of interpreting science. The last hour and a half is true debate in which each debater is able to counter the other’s arguments.