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Showing posts from January, 2007

Creating a Perfect People

One of the questions skeptics ask of Christians is: “If God is all-powerful and all-knowing why didn’t He create people who couldn’t sin?” Christians usually respond by talking about free will and how love requires a choice. For true love to exist we need to choose to love.

While I believe that is true I think we should examine another answer: He is. God is creating a people who will posses the ability to love Him and free from the temptation to sin. Life is about God creating us to be the people He desires us to be.

If we go with the premise that love needs to be chosen, then if God desired creatures who, not only could He love, but also would love Him in return, then He needed to create creatures who also had the ability reject Him.

The first creatures it seems God created were the angels. These are beings who are able to live in the very presence of God (Luke 1:19), and even with their close contact with God one angel, Satan, leads a third of the angels in rebellion with God.…

Our Need to Believe

"You get to choose in what and you get to choose how much you will believe or how little. You are already a universe of belief. Whether you believe in science or Buddha or Jesus or Oprah or yourself, you believe in something. While you may have thought yourself above the need to believe, you're just like the rest of us.

"You get to pick what you believe in, but you have no say over your need to believe. You shouldn't really need to make sense of life to enjoy it, but there it is every day nagging at you.

"Believing as an intellectual exercise is dificult enough, but our need to believe goes much deeper than that. The Enlightenment changed what it means to believe. To believe can mean nothing more than to agree with data. When Jesus spoke of believing, he meant something very different. To believe is to wrap your soul around something. To believe in God has to do with trusting. What you believe in is what you trust in and, more important, who you trust.&q…

Evidence for an Unbelieving World

For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. ~ 1 Peter 2:15; NASB

It is more important to God that we live righteously than having the right answers to people's questions. One thing that I have been continually frustrated about is the arrogance of people who portray Christians as a bunch of simple-minded morons. It is as if these people truly believe they have a monopoly on intelligence and if you don't see things their way then you are a moron.

In reality the list is full of men and women who are highly intelligent and still hold to a deep Christian faith. You do not have to stop thinking to be a Christian, and if we are truly are serious about our faith we will be compelled to use our minds to ponder things that are truly unthinkable. Ravi Zacharias in Jesus Among Other Gods put it this way; "Loudly or quietly, these critics express their doubts. You might or might not to be able to help them past their misgivings about the…

Submitting to Jesus' Authority

"But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence" (Luke 19:27, NASB).

In Luke 19 the historian Luke records a parable Jesus used to illustrate the kingdom of God.
11 The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.12 He said, "A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return.13 Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver,* saying, `Invest this for me while I am gone.'14 But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, `We do not want him to be our king.'
15 "After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were.16 The first servant reported, `Master, I invested your money …

Identity Deceived

Dark times had fallen on the realm of Kindron. The treachery of one of King Solon’s sons meant that the Verilent Empire now held sway throughout the land. The treacherous son Amnon now sat on the throne as regent king for the empire while his parents and siblings lay in their graves (there was one still alive, but that is another story for another day).

In the third year of Amnon’s reign there was a revolt by the freedom loving people of Kindron led by Duke Basil, governor of the Vale (which is the fertile region in southern Kindron). The Battle of Migron was the final battle of that horribly bloody civil war with the forces loyal to Amnon emerging victorious. Since that day Duke Basil has not been heard from and many assuming he was killed along with so many others.

The Duke had two sons, Andrew and Benjamin. Two days after the battle the youngest Benjamin disappeared. This is his story...

A cool breeze flowed in through the open window. It was early fall and perfect weather for …

Burmese Christians cry for aid

Penny Hollings in an opinion piece for SperoNews focuses attention on the persecution of the Christian minority in Burma. Here are some excerpts from the article.

This week Christian Solidarity Worldwide released a report on the persecution of Christians in Burma. The report cites a document, allegedly from the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Burma, which carries the title “Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma”. It begins: “There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised.”
and:
Burma is a country where citizens who do not conform to the regime’s version of Burman Buddist nationalism - which, as argued in the report, is a “perverted and distorted form of Buddhism” – face “potentially serious consequences”. The regime’s tactics range “from churches in Rangoon finding it difficult to obtain permission to renovate their buildings, to pastors in Chin State being killed,” the report claims.
still more:
The report also cites some horrific stories of violence. On…

Oliver North: Who Cares About the Military?

I thought some of you might be interested in what Lt. Col. Oliver North wrote in his blog at FOX News. Here is an excerpt:
In the aftermath of the president’s State of the Union address, Democrats claimed that, "the majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought — nor does the majority of our military." Regrettably, no one in the so-called mainstream has bothered to challenge this unsubstantiated allegation about the members of our armed forces. There certainly isn’t a shred of evidence to validate that sentiment here — or with any of the scores of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen or Marines with whom I stay in contact from my eight trips to the war. To the extent, that there is discontent in our military it is aimed at the way the war has been misreported by my "colleagues" in the media and how it is being depicted by politicians in Washington.
So much of the time we let things said by politicians and members of the media go by witho…

Choosing Our Moments

We all have dreams. I have dreams of writing books, preaching great sermons, traveling to far away places, and having a family. There are so many things that I would like to accomplish or to have as part of my life, but when I take time to examine my so called life I realize that time constantly moving forward and my dreams are gradually falling away. Life, quiet literally, is passing me by.

May I assume for a moment that the same is true with you? Sure you dreams maybe different, but the life you have is not the life you want. You want your life to count for something and to be part of something special but it seems like time is running out on all that you would like to accomplish. Just like me you look at life and realize that another day has passed without any of these things coming true.

Why does life seem to gradually slip away? I believe it is because of the choices that we make. I am not talking about choices between good and evil, but between using time and wasting time. Erw…

Living the Light of Truth

It is not always easy to understand what Jesus taught. One reason for this is because we live, not only in a different time, but also a different culture than when Jesus walked the earth and taught people. This is something we have to keep in mind as we approach Scripture: the true lesson may not be obvious. In other words we might have to work a little bit in order to understand what Jesus was saying.

I recently came across a difficult teaching of Jesus which left me wondering what He was trying to say. It is found in Luke 11:33-36:

33 "No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket.* Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
34 "Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, w…

Striving to be Different

I don’t know about you but I find it extremely difficult to live differently from the world. It is just so easy to go with the flow and to allow ourselves to be influenced by all the same things that the people of this world are influenced by. And perhaps it is harder because the enemy, Satan, wants to make sure that the light of our lives doesn’t shine by our different way of living.

Yet it is essential for people claiming to follow Jesus to live differently from the world. The Apostle Paul tells us:

Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true (Ephesians 5:7-9; NLT).

Christ-Followers need to live differently from the people of this world. So how do we do this? How do we prevent ourselves from being influenced by this culture in which we live? I believe the writer of Hebrews have …

The Seriousness of Sin

"Dear people of God, please listen. God wants to see His people acknowledging that their sin is as serious as He says it is. He wants to heart that we are determined that sin will not reign in us. God wants to see us on our knees crying out to Him." ~ Henry Blackaby, Holiness, page 56

Trust God to Forgive

It is never easy to admit that we have made a mistake. The bigger the mistake the more we want to hide it, deny it, or ignore it. So it is no wonder when it comes to sin, our sin, we have such a hard time confessing it, even to God. Many of us are carrying around the baggage of guilt for past sins and the chains of habit for present sins while are lives become more and more complicated.

I find it hard to confess my sins to God and seek forgiveness because I am so embarrassed about my weakness. After all I should know better! If I truly had faith I wouldn’t behave is such a manner. So I keep my distant from God because I don’t want to appear like a fool before Him.

Perhaps you struggle with seeking forgiveness because you are afraid of God. There is a voice inside of you telling you that if you confess your sins to God then He will punish you. After all isn’t God out to get all the lawbreakers?

In his book Created to Be God’s Friend Henry Blackaby wrote:

“When a child of God sins, …

The Tale Of Princess Laughing Dove

by Tish Farrell

Once there was a man, neither young nor old, and his name was Wainaina. He lived alone on his farm at the forest edge, in the house he had built himself. The house was small but that did not matter, for whenever Wainaina opened his door, or drew back his curtain he could see the blue peaks of Mount Kenya. Up they rose like church spires and whenever Wainaina saw them, his spirits soared too - high in the blue.

"I'm lucky to be alive," he'd say. But then he would sigh, "If only I had a wife to share this with."

A wife indeed! So why couldn't Wainaina find himself a good woman when the countryside was alive with good women? And why, when a village girl caught his eye, did she walk straight on by, before he'd said hello? This was what he asked himself, day in day out, as he sowed and hoed and tended his crops.

"Perhaps," said Wainaina. "I haven't the heart for it."

Read the whole story

What Happened the Year You Were Born?

In 1973 (the year you were born)
Richard Nixon is president of the US

Supreme Court rules in Roe vs. Wade that states may not prevent a woman from having an abortion during the first trimester

US announces the end of the military draft

Spiro T. Agnew resigns after pleading no contest to charges of tax evasion while governor of Maryland

Gerald R. Ford becomes the first appointed vice president under the 25th Amendment

A total ban on oil exports to the US for six months is imposed by Arab nations after the outbreak of an Arab-Israeli war

President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam

Drea de Matteo, Tori Spelling, Carson Daly, Monica Lewinsky, and Kate Beckinsale are born

Oakland Athletics win the World Series

Miami Dolphins win Superbowl VII

Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup

The Exorcist and American Graffiti are top grossing films

Elvis Presley's Aloha From Hawaii television special is seen around the world by more than 1 billion viewers

KISS performs the…

Spiritual Maturity and Sin

One of the evidences of spiritual maturity in our lives is our attitude toward sin. We begin to understand that sin is more than just a mistake and that it has costly consequences. William Pile wrote:
“It [sin] has in its very nature not only habituation, but degradation. We seldom curtail sin, or taper off. Once it has severed our relationship with God, God’s image, in which we created (Gen. 1:26), seems to dim, and we become more like animals than people, driven more by instinct than intellect” (What The Bible Says About Grace; pg. 21).
The more we understand sin the more we begin to hate it. We hate sin because of the way it enslaves us and keeps us from becoming the people God created us to be. Sin holds us back and steals our lives away. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy...” (John 10:10a; NASB). As we mature in Christ Jesus we hate sin because in destroys who God created us to be.

Not only do we hate the sin that is in our lives, but we hate the sin that ens…

Obedience to God's Word

"'Godly counsel is never a substitute for a word from God! God may use our friends to speak His word to us, but mere counsel from godly family or friends is never a safe substitute for a word from God and obedience to Him." ~ Henry Blackaby, Created to be God's Friend, pg. 108

Key To Spiritual Maturity

“Adjustments prepare you for obedience. You cannot continue life as usual or stay where you are, and go with God at the same time. That is true throughout Scripture.” ~ Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God (workbook, pg. 127) One of the turning points in my relationship with God was when I did the Experiencing God workbook. Going through that study really increased my understanding about what a relationship with God is like. It showed me that I was pursuing the wrong goal and going it about it the wrong way when it came to a relationship with God.One of the key points Henry Blackaby makes is the need for us to adjust our lives to God’s will. It is not enough to know correct doctrine or simply go to Church each Sunday. What is required is for us to obey God and follow Jesus wherever He leads us.The road to Spiritual Maturity is not hard to find, but it is difficult to follow. The adjustments God expects us to make are not always easy, and many times will not make sense to us. The way we wo…

Sunday Link: North Point Sermons

One of my favorite activities to do is to listen to sermons. Last night I listened to a great one by Andy Stanely lead minister at North Point Community Church in Atlanta. The sermon is titled It's Only Physical sermon 4 of the Twisted sermon series. You can find this sermon and a bunch of others at North Point Community Church's sermon page. Go and check it out and listen to a a sermon or two. Who knows it might do your heart some good.

A Testimony

This week as I write about the persecuted Church I want to turn your attention to a guest Steve Deace had on his program (1040 WHO Des Moines) this past week. The man, identified only as Umar is a man who went from a Muslim Persecutor to a persecuted Christian Minister (click here for Umar's testimony). A fascinating story and one that should remind us what many of our brothers and sisters in Christ face in their daily lives.

For more information about the persecuted Church make sure you visit the Voice of the Martyrs blog.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:26, ESV

News Media and Contemporary Culture

Here is an opinion piece from FOX News that I think is worth a read. Do You Want to Change the News Media? is a good reminder of our responsibility to monitor what we watch. Here is a quote from the article:

I am convinced there’s something tragic happening in the news media. It goes beyond legitimate differences of taste and form. At an unprecedented rate, hard news, good news, and non-sexualized news are disappearing. In their place has arrived a tantalizing concoction of celebrity gossip, fear-mongering, partisan drama, and lowbrow feature stories. Scandal and intrigue are the glue which holds together this eclectic mix of entertainment, while a sprinkling of Associated Press wire reports serves the all important purpose of keeping up a fa├žade of news reporting.

Let me know what you think.

A Journey into the Unknown

Jehucal knew it was time to leave. The tribes had been camped at the edge of Murrian for two months, and food was becoming scarce. He looked off to the north. Jehucal had heard of a green land there, filled with wild game and fertile soil. He did not know if it was fact or legend. If all he had to think about was himself, Jehucal would leave, but that was not the case. He was the Chieftain of the Seven Tribes. There were five hundred other people to think about.

The truth is that Jehucal had no other options. The famine that had devastated many of the southern lands continued to push north. Not only was the famine a problem but the Verilent Raiders, the vicious Nomads of the Palos Desert, were conquering more and more territory with each passing month.

Jehucal knew in his heart that it was worth the risk to take the tribes north through the Badlands of Murrian. But there were moments when Jehucal became very apprehensive about taking his people through that God-forsaken bit red rock and…

Keys to My Heart

The Keys to Your Heart
You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.

You'd like to your lover to think you are loyal and faithful... that you'll never change.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was insecure and in constant need of reassurance.

Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.

In this moment, you think of love as something you thirst for. You'll do anything for love, but you won't fall for it easily.What Are The Keys To Your Heart?

What Motivates You?

What motivates you to live a Christian life? Is it guilt? Guilt comes into our lives and tells us that we are bad people. Having guilt makes us believe that we are not good enough to receive God’s gift, and so we begin to live out a plan that will make us good enough to achieve the gift. The problem is that we are not strong enough to keep going, and we fall, and guilt again condemns us for being failures and not loving God like we should. We are trapped in a vicious cycle of sin and work, and we never make any progress in our relationship with God. Perhaps you aren’t motivated because of guilt, but your motivation is one of fear. You are fear the consequences of sin, and so you are constantly worried if you are doing the right things or even enough of the right things. “Am I going to church enough?” or “Am I praying long enough?” Not only are we worried about what we are doing we begin to see every bad thing in our lives as God’s judgment on us for our sins. The unexpected bill, the…

Christian Living

"And here is the essence of Christian Living to Paul: living in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. When a person lives in the Spirit (i.e., under the total guidance of God's Spirit), that person does everything God wants, and so the law cannot condemn that person. When a person lives according to the leading of the Spirit, that person will always do the fullness of God's will, of which the law of Moses was but a preliminary glimpse." ~ Scot McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary: Galatians; pg. 35

Persecution Remains for Christians

Persecution has been a constant for the Universal Church. Though we in America and other western countries may escape its darker side, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world still suffer for the name of Jesus.

In an article published by Christian Today an estimated 250 million Christians will face some persecution in 2007. Here is a quote from the article:

New research found that governments in even moderate Muslim countries often fail to safeguard the rights of their Christian minorities, which results in Christians suffering from kidnapping, forced conversion, imprisonment, church destruction, torture, rape and execution.

As this new year continues on let us remember our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering because of the commitment they have made to follow Jesus. Let them be on our hearts and minds. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:26; "If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored…

Resist the Devil

Have you ever done something that went against what you believed? Perhaps you had a frustrating day and you yelled at your children, even though they did nothing wrong. Maybe you were a little strapped for money and you figured out a way to get a few extra dollars from work. Or perhaps you are on a business trip and the loneliness creeps in and you decide to get a X-rated movie for you room to take you mind off the situation.

Here is one that happened to me recently. My birthday is December 30th and the next day my sister called to wish me a happy birthday. The problem was that she called while the Denver Broncos were fighting for a spot in the playoffs. So instead of trying to engage her in a conversation I was short with her to make it clear that her call was an inconvenience to me. The rest of the evening I was miserable because of the way I treated her. In moments of clarity I know that it is more important to have a conversation with my sister than it is to watch the Denv…

The Dragon Rock

By Ellena Ashley
This story begins with Once Upon A Time, because the best stories do, of course.

So, Once Upon A Time, and imagine if you can, a steep sided valley cluttered with giant, spiky green pine trees and thick, green grass that reaches to the top of your socks so that when you run, you have to bring your knees up high, like running through water. Wildflowers spread their sweet heady perfume along the gentle breezes and bees hum musically to themselves as they cheerily collect flower pollen.

People are very happy here and they work hard, keeping their houses spick and span and their children's faces clean.

This particular summer had been very hot and dry, making the lean farm dogs sleepy and still. Farmers whistled lazily to themselves and would stand and stare into the distance, trying to remember what it was that they were supposed to be doing. By two o'clock in the afternoon, the town would be in a haze of slumber, with grandmas nodding off over their knitting and farm…

New Year's Resolutions

You Will Keep Your New Year's Resolution
You planning on making a resolution that's smart, attainable, and perfect for where your life is.Will You Keep Your New Year's Resolution?

Life Significance

So many of us have settled for a life of mere exsistence. Part of the reason is because we believe, as Christ Followers, that the point of Christianity is to make us moral. We live our lives trying to be “moral” in whatever situation we might find ourselves in. Life is about adding morality to the cycle of bill paying, work (school), church, and chores that we find ourselves doing every week, if not every day. Yet something seems to be missing.The life God created for us to live is a life filled with meaning. The lack of meaning in our lives is the first indication that we have wandered away from God’s plan for our lives. Being a Christ Follower isn’t just about becoming better moral people, in fact that is not even the main concern, it is about trusting Jesus more than we trust ourselves. It is stepping to the edge of the unkown and trusting Jesus to do the right thing. Morality doesn’t add meaning to our lives; following Jesus does.Jeremiah 29:11 reads; “For I know the plans that I …