We can only be hurt (wounded, offended, hold resentment) when our expectations in a relationship are more than can be expected of the character found in the one we are involved with. We may find many great attributes in someone that we admire or like, but it does not mean that that individual is at the same place we are – either in maturity, intensity of commitment, or character.
When we learn to operate in Wisdom, using the knowledge and understanding of Truth as a foundation for decision making in relationships, we are less often affected by others and less likely to suffer disappointment in life. It is a good thing when you open your eyes to what is in and around your life concern a relationship. When you do, you are able to assess what is important to you and make determinations not to settle for less than God’s best for you.
When it comes to us being happy or being sad, certainly we can be happy for something as well as be sad for a situation. But realize that both happiness and sadness are based on happenstance and an ever changing world around us. Our goal and destination in temperment and personality is that we live joyously at all times. Joy is not subject to happenings in our life, but rather our position before and our communion with Jesus by the power of Holy Spirit. “The JOY of the Lord is our strength.”
When our priorities are in place concerning relationships – our relationship with God through Christ and being directed by Holy Spirit – our lives do not have to be tossed back and forth emotionally, because of what others do to or say towards us. When we walk close with the One who holds our heart the closest (Holy Spirit), we can never find our heart’s broken except for the sake of souls. Instead of feeling hurt in situations where a relationship goes south and falls apart, we find our hearts filled with humility and with the compassion of our Savior for those who wrong us, fall short of our expectations, or who persecute us.
In a mother, there are two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”
The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”
Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”
To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”
Author BIO: Útmutató a Léleknek is a Hungarian writer whose writings inspire and challenge readers to see the unseen, imagine the unimaginable, and to think beyond what seems obvious in the world around us.
I have a friend who is an atheist. We grew up together. He is a great guy. Solid. Responsible. Straightforward. Honest. I respect him. I trust him. We get along great. Even after my conversion from an agnostic to Christianity, we remained friends while most of those I knew from my old life scurried into obscurity from my life.
Over the years we have had many conversations about the merits of each of our faiths – his being that there is no God and that we are just the result of random selection through a long evolutionary process, and mine being that there is a God who created everything, that He loves us, and He has a plan for our lives.
It’s been an evolutionary process for my friend in his thinking to even begin to believe that there may be something like that of intelligent design when it comes to the ‘evolution’ of the universe. And, it has been an even longer evolutionary process in his thinking to be willing to concede that my life changed so dramatically upon my conversion and that it would be hard to fake something so conversely different from my old lifestyle as he has watched for some thirty years now. In one of our recent conversations, as I often do, I invited him to attend a church service with me. He lives in another city, so for me to offer such a thing, he knew that I would be driving a few hours or more in order for this to happen. Here is what he said in response to my invitation. It went something like this.
“David, I appreciate your friendship and admire your zeal for what you believe. I really believe that you believe what you are talking about. And, from what I have seen of your life, with few exceptions over the years, you have lived what you have been preaching to me for years. But, I need to tell you that from what I have seen of the vast majority of people who say they are Christians, their lives do not demonstrate anything that reflects what they say they believe and follow. As you say, you have experienced a ‘supernatural change in your life,’ I don’t see any evidence of any supernatural change or a miracle working god or a god that supernaturally changes people in such a way that they don’t do the very same things that the world is doing. From the looks of what I have seen, there is no evidence of the god you say you serve in the lives of people who tell me they are Christian.”
“Many Christians practice practical atheism; they believe in the existence of God, but they turn to the ways of man to solve their problems.” – Bill Johnson
Pastor Bill Johnson said, “Many Christians practice practical atheism; they believe in the existence of God, but they turn to the ways of man to solve their problems.” He is exactly right too. It’s all around us in our daily decisions. We relegate to man what God desired for us to look to Him and Trust Him for – whether it is healing, finances, our emotional struggles, broken relationships, or our children.
And equally, it’s not that we – the church at large – just turn to man for solving our problems, but we live (whether publicly or in our private lives) as natural/un-regenerated man. It is so in many instances the same in the eyes of the world by our day to day lifestyle and decisions, where we socialize, who we socialize with, and what we do that by every outward appearance looks like we are just another human being living in the world with nothing that outwardly differentiates our lives from that of a lost man.
We lie, gossip, back bite, meddle in other people’s lives, pass judgment on those we either don’t understand or don’t agree with. We go to bars, drink in public, cuss, run towards sin at times, live in unrepentant sin, lack compassion towards those in need, and act unethically in our business dealings. Indeed, the Church at large lives as if there were no God – as practical atheists. There is nothing different between how we act and how the world acts, at least to an onlooking world who is looking for the hope of something better than what the world offers.
As practical atheists, we justify our ungodliness with mindsets like “we’re only human,” “well, no one is perfect,” “everyone else is doing it,” or “I don’t make a habit of it,” and thus, we allow sin to eat away at our spiritual hearts until our conscience is seared and we have no more within us in the world’s eyes than a lost man, ergo we have become the apostate church.
My GOD, please forgive me for being no different in action and deed than the average atheist, and free me from my complacency to let my life shine with the love and power of the Risen Savior.
Have you ever looked at others in and around your life and sort of, well, secretly coveted where they were in their lives and wished that you were where they were or had what they had? Come on, let’s be honest. Haven’t you wondered what it would be like to be further along in your life where you could be living from the fruit of your labors NOW, instead of in the future?
For all of us who are living in the real world, the answer is a huge – and quite possibly a little resentfully – YES! I mean, who would not want to be further along in accomplishing their goals, having their dream soulmate, or experiencing an abundance of worldly success? I know I have.
Here is what God has spoken to me concerning my life journey. I hope that it will speak to your heart as well. Never negate the value of your life and how it can positively affect the world around you. He can use you exactly where you are in life, doing exactly what you are doing, and and all of it is a part of His continual preparation and refining of your life for the great things He has called you to.
No matter how painful, how revealing, how embarrassing or humbling your life has been in recent times; no matter how sad, how tragic, how great, or even how average it may seem to be. Your life matters and your story matters.
You were created for things that are exceedingly abundantly above and beyond anything that you can ask or even think. Live every day with focused intent on discovering what you were put on earth to do. Resist the temptation of coveting another person’s story, and keep writing your own story.
Your story is a masterpiece and best seller that God will use to change the world around you, and bring glory to Him. Keep writing your own story by living your life for God and doing those things you know you have been called to do. The chapters of your life will fill up your book, and it will be a great read!
I saw a bumper sticker recently that said, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will carry guns.” It made me think of recent tragedies in public schools where a student has brought a gun to school and taken the lives of others. I can’t imagine being a parent or loved one of a student or staff member who was a victim to this sort of thing.
I wondered how something like this could be deterred, if not stopped if guns were outlawed. In my opinion, the person who went into their school intent on killing others was an outlaw. If guns were outlawed, they would still find a way to get their hands on a gun or some sort of explosive device if they were intent on taking the life of someone.
I came across this little illustration and it made total sense. I am not for violence of any kind. Life is too short for such things. But, this might have been the deterrent that was needed to stop the killing of so many innocent men, women, and children in shootings that took place in public schools.
Now that I think about it, it might also work very well in banks like it did in Texas in a town where it was legal for all citizens to carry side arms. Two bank robbers who were passing through town thought they would rob the good people of that town of their money. They walked in, pulled their guns, and a few dozen bank customers pulled theirs. It did not turn out well for those bank robbers. I imagine that it would not turn out well for the deranged student who brings a gun to school intent on bringing harm to others.
If YOU were the devil – the father of lies – and wanted to take as many people to hell with you as possible, would you be telling people the truth about God and His love for them? If you were Satan – the prince of darkness and of hell – would you want to tell people what awaits those who reject God’s love? Of course not! You would be stupid, right?
So, if you were the devil – I mean Satan himself – would you want people to know just how wonderful heaven is and how terrible hell is? This is why the enemy of our souls seeks tirelessly to deceive every human on earth into believing that life is whatever you make it, that there is no consequence to your choices, no lasting effect on your life, and that there isn’t any life but this one to be lived. If the devil has his way in your life, you will willingly settle for mediocrity in your life and allow sin to rule and reign in your mortal body.
This video will open your eyes a bit if you are wondering just what Satan is up to on earth, and why he loves it that you do not take your relationship with God seriously or the Truth about salvation and repentance from sin.
One of the benefits of having a mischievous streak in me as a little boy was that I spent a lot of time in ‘time out’ in my mom’s walk-in closet. It would have been much better for me as I grew up if she had believed in spanking. As a result, I was one wild child in the years prior to me being rescued by God from the mouth of the grave.
Back to my mom’s closet…. I found all sorts of interesting things in there, and many things that I don’t think that I was supposed to find, but then, that is for another story and another time. One of the things that I found was a poem on the wall. It was in fact the first poem that I ever memorized. The second one was something about a chestnut tree and a village blacksmith. The poem in my mom’s closet that I first memorized went like this.
A smile is something nice to see, it doesn’t cost a cent.
A smile is something all your own, it never can be lent.
A smile is welcome everywhere, it does away with frowns.
And a smile is good for everyone, to help them when they’re down.
Looking back, I think that if not for that poem I would have gotten in a lot less trouble. I think that maybe I was not supposed to smile at my mom when she was yelling at me. It didn’t seem to help the situation much anyway. The good news is that I learned three very important lessons while in my mom’s closet over the years.
1) I found that smiling like the cat that ate the canary gave me a more positive outlook on life,
2) Smiling caused me to look forward and not backwards, which really helped me in getting beyond all the ‘bad’ things in my life that were going on as I was growing up, and
3) The greatest lesson that came from my learning to smile in life was that it really did make others feel better. It opened up opportunities for me to meet people and to do things that people who frown and go about their lives with a grumpy self-consumed mentality could not and will not ever be able to do.
Sincere smiles are one of the most powerful public relations tools you will ever have at your disposal. Try it.
As for me and the closet, I eventually got smart and started stashing cookies in there, so really, as a little boy in trouble with his mom, it was not all that bad. I even figured out how to climb up into the attic and come out into the garage to get milk in our spare refrigerator, and make it back to the closet without ever getting caught.
A lesson to be learned for any young kid that happens to be reading this – with your parents’ permission of course – is this. The moral of this story is that smiling can be a double edged sword. Learn when to use it, especially around your parents when you are getting yelled at or disciplined. They may take your extra-rosy disposition and big smile to mean something entirely different. Aside from that, I encourage you to smile often and at those who deserve it least, because it can have a positive effect on those around you.
As a mom, one of my growing concerns is this false message of grace that my teenagers see lived out openly in the church world. The message of grace has been hijacked and turned into something far from the authentic grace of God. Understanding authentic grace and how to teach it is something every Christian parent must be able to do if they desire to see their children grow to become steadfast in their faith and walk in obedience to the Truth of God’s Word.
There is open confusion in the hearts and minds of this generation, producing some of the greatest cynics in the church. Honestly, I have seen first hand the effects of raising a standard against such false teaching. The moment we speak up and say “Hey! This ought not be!” we are automatically slammed with a label of being legalistic. I laugh at the notion, really. The smokey cries of legalism are just another tool of the enemy to cause a distraction against a far more serious revelation.
There are 2 extremes:
Legalists – The false extreme of believing that people have to keep certain rules in order to gain spiritual salvation.
Libertines – The opposite extreme in believing that Christians are free to do as they please as long as they rely on God’s grace. Both of these extremes are spiritually fatal. These 2 groups go back to the bible times, they were dealt with frequently throughout the New Testament. It’s not new, however the libertine message is gaining ground rapidly in the church. Paul called them false teachers and false doctrines, today there is a lack of discernment. No one is crying out and calling it what it is!
Discernment is not knowing right from wrong. Discernment is knowing right from almost right.
I made this statement to my husband the other day: “The fact that so many are falling into the deception of a false grace is setting the stage for the anti-christ. If people will fall so easily for a false grace, then they will fall easily for a false peace. Jesus warned against such when He said “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”.
Paul speaks to the Church in Titus 1:16. He says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” What is Paul trying to say? He is saying exactly the things our teens see laid before their eyes everyday in this age of media. Social media offers the most shocking glance into this verse. We have a generation that knows nothing of denying themselves, they don’t know what it means to pick up their cross and follow Jesus. A generation is going to hell because they believe the lie that they can have their cake and eat it too. As long as you post a couple bible verses on your Facebook or tweet about going to church, it’s OK to have a mental acknowledgement of Jesus and then go sleep with your girlfriend because you’re human and Jesus will understand, it’s all grace anyway.
We have a generation that will show up at church on Sunday and put on the pretty religious face, telling their friends they are followers of Jesus, then go to school on Monday and ignore the youth leaders standing at the flagpole ready to pray and proclaim Jesus over their school. It’s a Christianity in label only and holds no merit and bears no fruit. Can we honestly sit and watch this generation continue to spiral out further and further into a zombie like deception? We have a generation of professing youth that can’t pray or recite any scripture but they can sing the latest profane laced sexually explicit hip hop song that was just released, word for word. They can twerk like a superstar and know exactly how far they can go sexually with anal and oral sex and still call themselves virgins, because that’s all that matters, right?
It’s time to say enough is enough! The grace of God is not a license to sin. We have a confused generation when they see church leaders going in public to party at clubs wearing clothes that the waitresses at Hooter’s won’t even wear. When they see parents who proclaim the holiness of God, yet spend hours trying to perfect the latest jello shot recipe. This is a generation in the church that proclaims to know God, but deny Him by their actions. This should bring you to a place of travail, a place of grief and sorrow. The grace of God has been corrupted and placed in the same value as a condom for safe sex.
What is the authentic Grace of God? Paul then goes on to show us what the grace of God actually is and what it does. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14)
The authentic grace of God teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions. Countless times I have had to clarify with my kids that certain behaviors are unacceptable even though these behaviors are being acted out by professing believers engaging in acts of ungodliness and call it all grace. What is ungodliness? Ungodliness is anything neglecting the fear and worship of God. What are worldly passions? Lust of the flesh: desire for the indulgence of the senses, lust of the eyes: desire for the possession of the appealing, pride of life: desire for the elevation of self.
“As followers of Christ we must be careful not to get caught up in the behaviors, activities and pastimes that are common in the world, that do not reflect God’s character or promote His purposes. Many such things may even contradict His standards of truth and moral purity. In Ephesians 5:1-7 we read, “We are not to conform to the pattern of this corrupt world. Instead we must pattern our lives after the example of Christ. We must be “imitators of God” whose behavior and character are openly and distinctively different from those who do not follow Christ.” (Fire Bible) Mark Batterson sums it up this way, “We are seeing an inverted gospel. People want Jesus to follow them instead of them following Him.”
How do we teach our kids? As parents, we must first have a thorough knowledge of the Word of God. We must understand and know how to teach our children the authentic grace of God and how it differs from the counterfeit of God’s grace that the luke warm Church teaches. We must pray for discernment. We Must intercede on behalf of our kids and their generation continually. Grace-based parenting is not passive parenting. Grace-based parenting is proactive parenting. When we are teaching our kids to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, we are being proactive. Most importantly, we have to live it out. As parents, we cannot live as hypocrites, but teach our children another way. Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 7:21-23 that there will those who stand before Him and call Him Lord, yet, will not enter into the kingdom of Heaven, He says, only those who do the will of my Father.
Jesus, open our eyes to see any area of our lives where we have fallen into deception, help us to live in the authentic grace of God and forgive us for denying you with our actions.
Colleges are overrun with Atheist professors. It’s nothing new though. It is the result of an ongoing initiative that started over 60 years ago by a small group of very powerful and financially influential men to rid God from the American landscape. The result has been devastating on the myriads of immature, ungrounded, baby Christians, Jews, and Muslims who show up at college and are ultimately exposed to the faith-rattling influence of atheistic professors.
The importance of being able to defend what you believe, whether you are an Atheist, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, or Muslim is part of the evidence of how anchored you are in your religious or philosophical beliefs. Just because your parents had a certain belief or you were raised in a country where the belief system or religion was mandated by tyrannical leaders, does not mean that you are what you say you are.
Ultimately, what you truly believe will be seen in the form of the evidence in how you act, how you live, and how you speak. Your religious convictions are also shown in how well you can defend your position/faith in God in the face of opposition, criticism, and debate. Speaking as a Christian, sadly, there are very few professing Christians in college or out of college that know how to effectively defend what they believe, and how to successfully show the merits and Truth of God’s existence, His plan, and His love. If you are one of these people, maybe this story will encourage you to dig deeper into what you believe and emerge stronger and more resilient in the face of opposition and attack on what you believe.
My son Nathaniel shared this story with me, and it begs to be shared beyond our conversation. There was one atheist professor of philosophy who was speaking to his class on the problem that science has with the concept of there being a God – a Creator. He asked one of his new Christian students to stand and this is the story that has been shared for many years now that gives us an example of how to effectively defend the foundational Truth of God’s existence.
Professor: You are a Christian, aren’t you, son?
Student: Yes, sir.
Professor: So, you Believe in GOD?
Student: Absolutely, sir.
Professor: Is GOD Good?
Professor: Is God all-powerful?
Professor: My Brother died of Cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn’t. How is this
God you say that you believe in a good God then?
The student was silent.
Professor: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, Young Fella. Is GOD Good?
Professor: Is Satan good?
Professor: Where does Satan come from?
Student: From God.
Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And GOD did make everything. Correct?
Professor: So who created evil?
The student did not answer.
Professor: Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the World, don’t they?
Student: Yes, sir.
Professor: So, who Created them?
The student did not answer.
Professor: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son . . . Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.
Professor: Tell us if you have ever Heard your GOD?
Student: No , sir..
Professor: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, Smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student:No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?
Professor: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.
Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem science has.
Student: Sir, is there such a thing as heat?
Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Student: No, sir. There isn’t.
The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events.
Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no Heat, but we can’t go any further after that.
There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, but rather just the absence of it.
What about darkness, professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?
Student: Respectfully, you’re wrong again sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness does not exist. If it does, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?
Professor: Yes, so what is the point you are making young man ?
Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?
Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure.
Sir, science can’t even explain a Thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Please tell me, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.
Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an ongoing endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist, but a preacher?
Then the student addressed the class.
Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?
The class broke into laughter.
Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
The Room was Silent. The professor stared at the student, his face unfathomably perplexed.
Professor: I guess you’ll have to have faith that my lectures are accurate and true.
Student: That is it sir. Exactly! The link between man & God is faith. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.
The conversation ended. The students name? Albert Einstein.
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Dr. Bob Moorehead’s essay The Paradox of Our Age has been quoted countless times and attributed to several others as their original quotes. I think maybe because it is so universally true, no matter who you talk to, that our society has become the very thing he describes in his essay. Take a moment and read this and see what you think.
We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more vitamins but see fewer results. We drink too much; smoke too much; spend too recklessly; laugh too little; drive too fast; get too angry quickly; stay up too late; get up too tired; read too seldom; watch TV too much and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner; we sign more contracts only to realize fewer profits; we talk too much; love too seldom and lie too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things; we’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less.
We make faster planes, but have longer lines; we learned to rush, but not to wait; we have more weapons, but less peace; higher incomes, but lower morals; more parties, but less fun; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; drive smaller cars that have bigger problems; build larger factories that produce less. We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, but short character; steep in profits, but shallow relationships. These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; higher postage, but slower mail; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorces; these are times of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, cartridge living, throwaway morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to prevent, quiet or kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room. Indeed, these are the times!
About the Author: Dr. Bob Moorehead is a former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church. This essay appeared under the title “The Paradox of Our Age” in Words Aptly Spoken, Dr. Moorehead’s 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues used in his sermons and radio broadcasts.
A well-known marketing truth in western culture is that sex sells. It does not matter if it is toothpaste or beer. If you appeal to the sensual nature of mankind, you will always leave an impression on the mind and memory of the recipient. If you insert sexual innuendo or suggestive sexual thoughts into the equation, people will take a more heightened notice of it. Once a suggestive sexual thought is entertained by the human mind, unless a person is diligent to take such thoughts captive in their thought life, sexual innuendo or suggestive sexual intent will take root and grow into something much more.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that pornography is keeping up with technology. It’s just that type of blight on the world. Those who produce it and/or promote it are always looking for opportunity to insert it into every life if at all possible. They know that if they can get it in front of you, that your fallen human nature will gravitate to the lowest and weakest place in your humanity and morality. Internet pornography addiction is about to get a boost with new technology for television. As in Europe where the moral decline of their culture is escalating, pornography in America is going mainstream and bringing the same result as in Europe – a desensitizing of moral conscience and an escalation of sex related crimes as a result of the proliferation of it.
It’s crazy to think that less than 40 years ago pornography was such an obscure fringe industry that only perverts, pedophiles and degenerates looked at it. Today it has so permeated our culture that now it is seen as ‘OK’ and acceptable by a vast segment of the population in the United States. Does this mean that we have a growing population of perverts, pedophiles and degenerates? Only you can decide whether or not this is true. But, I digress.
So, about the title of this article – the Internet and technology are racing so quickly towards such futuristic advances in how content is delivered that sometimes it is hard to determine if something you are reading in a magazine or online is science fiction or real life reporting. On the upside to new technology, all kinds of cool gadgets and savvy little techie things that I just love. When I here the announcements that came out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from this past event, and see all of the new stuff that is coming out almost daily, I get excited like a kid on Christmas morning, wondering about all the things I will be able to do with the newest and best stuff.
One announcement awhile back was that there is now a message robot that rides around your back and gives you a massage. How cool is that? For $69 that’s pretty amazing, and if it really does what they say it will, I am already feeling the pain of the whole massage therapy industry. There’s lots of 3D TV’s in development that don’t require those pesky 3D glasses (SWEEET)!
Then there is the new video you can video your children with in 3D mode and then watch it on your 3D TV. What excitement this must bring for parents of little ones. You could catch shots of their first bicycle wrecks or the first food flung across the table in 3D! Imagine the fun of it! That would be so much fun! Since my boys are all grown up, I think I will use it for surfing trips with my boys now that they are older. That will be cool to see 3D surfing video of tropical adventures and walks through jungles. I just have to get one of those thingies. I keep digressing here… back on point….
ONE bit of tech news that I have found that is rather disturbing is that Marc Bell, the CEO of FriendFinder (which owns Penthouse magazine and a bunch of porn websites), made an announcement that they’re coming out with the world’s first 3D porn channel. Them coming out with 3D porn channel wasn’t what surprised me, but what did surprise me was how the announcement was made.
The FriendFinder CEO looked like he could be the CEO of any Fortune 500 company – well dressed in a nice business suit, clean cut, articulate. The announcement came on a business news program and it was reported as if it were business as usual in America. Not any outcry, any protest, or any editorial about its dangers. The news was hardly a blip on the radar of our culture. It just seems sort of bizarre – at least to me – that porn has gone mainstream in primetime business news. Surely, this is a sign of the times we are living in, just like in the time just prior to the fall of the Roman Empire when orgies and corruption and every form of sin abounded in its day to day culture.
The thing that seemed completely out of place was that while this guy Bell is being interviewed, the female news host was showing clips of women being provocative and sensual as they looked into the camera. It was not something you usually see while a CEO is being interviewed on a business news show. Then the gal from Fox doing the interview held up Penthouses first 3D BluRay movie and you could hardly see anything because the case had duct tape covering all the nude parts.
Is it just me or does porn as mainstream business news seem a bit sad, if not totally inappropriate. Why in the world would anyone with any moral fabric want to know about something like this. It’s just plain sad. So here we are in the technological revolution …we’re going from 2D porn to 3D porn, 3D porn channels and 3D porn movies. I guess Technology + Porn = More Porn. What’s next? Holographic porn or virtual reality porn?
Just on curiosity alone will be temptation enough for innocence to be stolen away from young teenaged men and women who are curious about sexuality. They have no idea how addictive pornography is and its affect on children, couples, families, and our communities. They will fall prey to this stuff and its addictive nature and their lives will be forever changed and their moral compass forever corrupted lest they, by the grace of God, are able to be pulled from its grips. A little footnote here. Medical research shows that porn stimulates the same triggers in brain that heroin addicts deal with. With this exposure porn is getting and the powerful nature of its lure to men and women alike, how can you who desire to live above mediocrity and the ordinary do anything about it?
It’s true that we might not be able to make much headway by getting the stuff banned (first amendment rights), unless Islam eventually takes over America and Sharia Law is implemented (not too far fetched either given the rapid growth of it in America). We CAN however, determine that we will make a covenant with our eyes and guard our hearts against giving into the temptation to seek after or find any enjoyment or pleasure in such things as pornography.
Here is takeaway for those who want to rise above mediocrity in this area of their lives and live a life of sexual purity.
If you are married, don’t even think about the idea of looking at another human being who is naked or sexually provocative if they are not your spouse. Even a casual curiosity in pornography will set you up for major failure in your marriage (ask any one of the 30 million or so marriages that have failed because of it getting into their marriage). By setting your moral standard high and rising above the mediocrity of an undisciplined mind and unfaithful heart to your marriage vows, you will reap a great reward in that of a deeper and richer intimacy with your spouse. Honoring your spouse in sexual purity will have a powerful impact on the longevity of your marriage and the quality of relationship you will have in marriage.
If you are single and hope for a marriage relationship one day, the use of porn of any kind will dilute your moral conscience, erode your ability to love purely, and corrupt your moral and experience a Song of Songs sort of love affair with your spouse. It will desensitize you to the needs of your future spouse and cause you to be discontent in your marital relationship once you get married. By avoiding porn, you protect your heart against destructive habits that will both dishonor and damage your future wife or husband.
For married and singles alike, be willing to be accountable to someone who you know and trust – even your spouse if you are married – if you have any involvement with or are being tempted with pornography. If you allow yourself to let shame or guilt keep us from being open and honest about either the temptation for or the addiction to sexually explicit materials, you will suffer consequences that could leave you broken and alone in life – and living through a string of unsuccessful relationships. Get help if you need it and save yourself some grief in your future.
OK, I am stepping down from my soap box. Anyone else care to step up on it and talk for a while?
“The story of Valentine’s Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian Martyr. The emperor was Claudius II. The Christian was Valentinus.
Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods, and had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ; not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs. He was arrested and imprisoned.
During the last weeks of Valentinus’s life a remarkable thing happened. Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might be brought to Valentinus for lessons. She had been blind since birth.
Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentinus read stories of Rome’s history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.
“Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?” Julia asked one day.
“Yes, my child, He hears each one.”
“Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night? I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you’ve told me about!”
“God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him,” Valentinus said.
“Oh, Valentinus, I do believe! I do!” She knelt and grasped his hand.
They sat quietly together, each praying. Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell. Radiant, Julia screamed, “Valentinus, I can see! I can see!”
“Praise be to God!” Valentinus exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.
On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it, “From your Valentine.” His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory.
He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.
Maybe this is not the kind of article that I should be posting on this website, but I am just about to burst with righteous indignation about how our society objectifies women. Women have been so dishonored for so long in our society, that they do not even realize their true value to society and the future of our world. Most – a vast majority – think that they are in competition with every other woman in the world as it relates to their outward appearance. They feel that they must buy into the whole mentality that they must stay looking young, dress like a teenager who has no moral judgment, and act like they are something that they were never meant to act like in order to win the approval of men.
Before I tear into this whole subject of beauty pageants for a moment, I unashamedly DO NOT subscribe at all to the whole ‘beauty pageant’ thing. It wreaks of what has destroyed tens of millions of women’s self esteem over the last several decades by promoting outer beauty over inner beauty. These spectacles have objectified women and paraded a standard for women at large that is simply not possible for women to measure up to. Don’t believe me? Ask any woman over the age of 20 or so who is about to go to the beach in the peak of beach weather in a bathing suit if they do not feel uncomfortable about their body in comparison to the women who look like a Miss America pageant contestant or Hawaiian Tropic beach girl.
All but a few of them (Christian or not) will tell you that they are not happy with their bodies, and do not feel like they can compete against younger women who are in the prime of their physical lives that they feel most men would rather look at or go after. Sad but true, and I have know quite a few who are just like this. When a woman gets to this sort of place in her thinking about herself and how society (men in particular) view her, they set themselves up for some very heartbreaking life experiences. In a worse case scenario – which happens a lot – these insecure women will say and do just whatever it takes to catch the eye, attention, and affections of a man.
Whatever the reason, whether because they hate being single or they are afraid that if they don’t do something soon, they will be too old for any man to want to marry them, they will act like a silly teenager without discretion and be willing to do things that God never intended for them to do in order to be “loved” by a man. Aside from the inherent sin nature, I truly believe that a woman’s true contribution to society goes far beyond making men lust after them, having babies, and acting and living like they are teenages because they are so insecure that they are not pretty enough to catch the heart of a man; and, even worse, do not think that they have anything beyond physical beauty and that of being on the arm of a man, to contribute to society! How barbarian and superficial can a society be that allows this sort of mentality to exist.
In my opinion (which still does not get me a free cup of coffee when I visit Starbucks), I am fully convinced that beauty pageants objectify women as much as pornography. Unlike the harsh objectification of women that comes through pornography, beauty pageants are a socially acceptable way to do it. These ongoing and annual spectacles put a spotlight on any woman who is even close to the age of the pageant’s contestants where they begin comparing themselves to these vanity-driven women – being overrun by negative emotions that come from the contrast between their beauty and the ‘beauty’ of the contestants.
If I have not made my point in how I think such an event is not totally, completely, and absolutely ridiculous in the 21st century, listen to this commentary. It is a hilariously funny reality of just what goes on. I couldn’t stop laughing at the blunt reality of the truth that was presented. It does have some mild profanity, but if all of you ‘religious’ people could put that deficiency aside for about 15 minutes, then you will probably be as entertained as you will be ready to boycott such events in the future where women are so objectified.
Love it, hate it, or send me hate mail because I have posted it – it does not matter. Either way, the reality of these kinds of events really speak to the condition of a society and where they place their values.
Women of today have been sold a bill of goods that tells them that they must work on their outer beauty if they want to be accepted or liked or admired. This is a lie. True beauty radiates from a woman who boldly and confidently knows who she is in Christ. Philippians 3:8 “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Jesus. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
Think about it! A woman who has truly denied herself, taken up her cross and becomes entirely consumed with Jesus, isn’t going to be an insecure woman. She is not going to be obsessed with making her outward appearance “Her Light”. A heart with such significant beauty – a God-given beauty – will overflow with compassion and love on to all who her life touches. It will not even be something that she will be conscious of doing. It will just happen out of an overflow of God through her.
True God-given beauty, and the passionate nature for life and for others that result from God’s indwelling Spirit, inflames the heart and satisfies the soul of anyone who is willing to surrender to the power of God’s love through the person of Jesus Christ. The resulting beauty – or rather the character behind the beauty – does not compare itself with a pretty face or a gorgeous body.
While those things may entice onlookers for a brief moment in life, there is no comparison of such fleeting beauty to the true beauty of a woman’s God-ignited, passionately devoted, continually overflowing inner beauty that lasts an eternity. This beauty is yours if you want it, and He will deposit it in such abundance in the most sacred places of your heart if you want it more than any other beauty you have.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears The Lord will be greatly praised.” – Proverbs 31:30
You cannot buy it. You cannot bargain for it. You cannot fake it until you make it. You can’t pretend to have it. When you have it, unlike earthly fleshly beauty, it will not wash off at the end of the day or need to be thrown in the laundry to be cleaned. It will not grow old, wrinkled, or unattractive. It is internally eternally yours. Only fully surrendering to Jesus can bring such life giving, refreshing, overflowing, and life blessing inner beauty. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears The Lord will be greatly praised.” – Proverbs 31:30
We have all been around it. We have heard and seen it happening, and when we do, something in us rises up and we just want to slap the snot out of the one who is doing it. NOT because we are mad or angry at them, but that they would be so foolish as to think anything good can come out of it. I am speaking about the condition of a person’s heart that would allow them to go as far as to do those things that God hates when it comes to relationship with others.
In Proverbs 6:16-19, among other places, we read of things that God hates.
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.”
How is it that someone cannot recognize these things as being not only destructive to people around them but also destructive to their own life? When someone is living at such a place in their lives where they go out of their way to live with such things as a part of their lives, the reality of where their heart is and how self-deceived they are really shines through. It is the kind of self-deception that causes them to believe that they have a right – even an obligation – to be the way they are. Tragically, they are not aware enough of the spiritual battle going on in their lives to recognize when they have become a puppet of the prince of darkness.
As a professing Christian, I’m not one to speak of anything but the love of God for the world. The God of Israel is the only God out of the millions of manmade gods who abounds in love, offers merciful redemption, and amazing grace. This is the message that I love to share more than anything else. It is the message where I see God work the most – when I share of His love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Yet, there is a side of God that is not spoken about often. It is His hatred for certain things. How can a God of love, hate? In Proverbs 6:16-19, among other places, we read of things that God hates.
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.”
If you have ever met someone that operates in any if these things, you have probably felt the same way that most people do who have a personal relationship with God. No one with any character wants to hang around people like this unless they are like this as well. Maybe this is why is is not a surprise that most people in tend to hate these very things that God hates.
Herein lie the greatest reasons for the conflicts in our world – willfully doing those things that God hates. May we all learn to love what God loves, but also to hate what God hates. This will be a world changer if everyone begins to hate the things that God hates.
I have many people who reach out for help in their lives tell me that they don’t think that they can ever have what they wish for in their lives. They seem to have already given up on their dreams before they have ever begun to pursue them. Whether it is something as simple as finding love, of getting out of the rut of trading an hour of their life for an hour of pay, or even some noble aspiration of doing something that will help others less fortunate than themselves. They just don’t see it happening.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but the greatest of these reasons is their lack of understanding of the power of faith. I am here to tell you that if you have dreamed it, contemplated it, or imagined it, and it is something that produces good in the world for someone besides just you, WHATEVER IT IS, IT IS POSSIBLE!
The greatest failure in life when you have something that you want or aspire to do is the failure to start working towards seeing it happen in your life. If you are someone that has been holding back and not realizing your dreams in life, change your circumstances today and begin to start working at it. If you do, you will be closer to achieving it than if you didn’t try at all. Just remember that your success or the success of any worthwhile endeavor is not an event, but a journey.
Five Steps for Increasing Your Faith
1) Determine what you want to do with your life and the goals you have for yourself. I have tons of things that I want to do in my life. All of them are my hopes. I love dreaming. I dream all of the time. Having an overactive mind as I do, my dreams are all over the place about things that I would like to do, want to do, or wish I could do. As I continue hoping for things, I begin dreaming about them (day and night). As this happens, a vision for each of them is eventually birthed (being able to see the big picture of how it might happen).
2) Prioritize your hopes, dreams, and visions (“goals”). The key to determining what you want to do with your life however, is much different. You can do all sorts of things throughout your life, but you want to focus on the most important first, then build from there. An example of immediate goals would be keeping a roof over your head and keeping you fed. An example of a dream or other life goal that is not absolutely necessary for survival would be starting your own business instead of working for someone else or writing a book that will become a national best seller. Make a list of everything you wan tto do with your life, then prioritize them based upon most important/essential versus less important and nonessential.
3) Begin reading books that will build your faith. Read books and stories of people who have overcome great challenges and done amazing things with their lives. Gain an understanding of why they did it, what inspired them, and how they overcame their challenges to achieve the things they did that made them famous.
I highly recommend reading the Bible. It is chalked full of amazing stories throughout history of what God did through average unlikely to succeed people. In fact, Scripture tells us that we can build our faith. In Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome, he writes, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Romans 10:17).
The more you read of great stories of success, the more your faith will grow in believing that you can be successful in the things that you hope or dreams of doing with your life.
4) Take your list of things that you want to do, and start a notebook for your top hopes or dreams. If your dreams or hopes are big enough, I suggest a notebook for each one. Before the dreams, hopes, or visions I have get to a single notebook of their own, they start on the pages of a single leather bound blank-paged book that I call my “Dream Book”. This is where I write about things that I dream about or envision myself doing.
In addition to my Dream Book, I have several individual notebooks that are each dedicated to a single dream, hope or vision that I have been given. These are my Battle Manuals. They are my written blueprints and battle plans on how to achieve victory in my life over procrastination, fear of failure, and indecision. They give me the upper hand on the demons of my life that often chase after me in my pursuit of the dreams, hopes, and visions I have for the things I want to do in my life.
5) Begin to talk about your hopes, dreams, and visions with others whom you trust and respect. The more you talk about the things that are in your heart that you want to do, the more real and the more clear they will become to you. The more clear they become, the more possible they will become in being accomplished. As you share your hopes, dreams and visions with others, you will find that many people you share with will get excited about what you are doing or hope to do. They will want to help you. If your hope, dream, or vision is big enough and can help others enough, they will find it worth their time in helping you, because they will see the potential in what you are doing.
6) Begin taking small incremental steps towards your goals on a daily basis. Once you have taken the time to make a list of steps that you need to take to see your goals realized, you can begin working towards your goals little by little. While having a timetable for your goals is a motivation to act upon your goals, be most concerned about simply taking the first step each day in accomplishing at least a small task that moves you closer to accomplishing the things you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
An Example of Small Incremental Steps.
Let’s say that you have a goal of wanting to start a website where you can encourage and motivate others. You want to share your life with others and the lessons you have learned along the way. At the same time, you don’t think that you have what it takes to do something like this.
The first step that you may want to take is to start a daily journal about the day to day activities of your life, the challenges you face, and how you overcame them. Nothing more. Just a simple daily journal – whether in a notebook or in a word processor on your computer. If you don’t have a word processor, simply email your daily writing to yourself and put a short title in the subject line about what you wrote about. In a few months time you will have 60 or so entries about your life and your victories in life. These daily journal posts will become the basic content for your website. With a little editing, adding a few photos, and coming up with a good title for each, you have sixty articles for your website that will be able to bless a lot of people.
It’s time to act – NOW!
If you have been encouraged by this article, consider acting on it. Take a moment and write down some of your hopes, dreams, or visions that you have had in your life that you have not yet acted upon. See where this list takes you in recognizing the potential you have to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others through the things that you hope and aspire to do. Watch what will happen in your life as you begin to act upon your goals as your faith grows from taking action. Your life will never be the same!
Life can get hectic. It can consume us if we let it. The economy being what it is, people are having to work longer hours and earn more money just to keep up with rising prices. In the midst of all of this, we are becoming a social network driven society where people, places, and things are looked at through impersonal ways and impersonal eyes. Friendships are often made and maintained online through social media websites like Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Linkedin, and Facebook.
I have thousands of connections through social media websites and contact lists that I have build. Before deleting two other Facebook profiles that I had, and another 3,000 on my remaining Facebook profile, I had three maxed out Facebook profiles totally 15,000 “friends”. Why I deleted them all is for another story of a chapter in my life, but suffice to say that of all those “friends” that I had, I knew very few of them personally. Maybe you can relate. How many of your Facebook friends are really your “FRIENDS” who you spend face to face time with in your life?
I know hundreds of people in and around my life that I see monthly, if not weekly on a regular basis. A lot of these people are those I work with in business, coach, mentor, and make money with. Of all of them that I actually see each week, a vast majority of these relationships have started and been maintained through technology. Most are solely maintained through technology. The result has been a lot of great connections with people that I am enjoying getting to know, encouraging, and watching their lives unfold – mainly through social media.
Beyond this, comparatively speaking, I have very few “real relationships” where I spend hours a week or even a month, living life with them in community and shared purpose in life. How about you? How many people of those you are connected to do you have a real relationship with where you are living out your lives on a daily or even weekly basis. How much time do you spend with them? How rich and rewarding are those relationships?
God created us for relationship. Maybe this is why social media is so amazingly successful. While Facebook started out as merely a way for college horndogs to rate female students, it has become wildly successful – as have other social media sites – as a way to network on a whole new level in personal and in business life. But like everything we have in life, it inevitably becomes a toy or a tool in our hands. How we choose to use the things we have been given stewardship over is what we will ultimately be judged for in this life (and even the life to come). What we end up getting out of life – the people we end up living out our lives with, the depth of our relationships, and the legacy we will leave behind – fully depends on how well we manage ourselves in the stewardship of the things that have been placed in our lives to use, enjoy, or experience.
The greatest robber of all the potential we have in life are the distractions of the things we allow into our lives on a daily basis. Social media as it is, is where a growing amount of time and energy is spent by most people. Are you losing out on opportunities in your life that God has intended for you because you are distracted by the use of technology in your life? Whether it is games, social networking, surfing the web, or tinkering around with things in your life, how you spend the preciously short time you have on earth will determine the quality of your life you have and the legacy you leave behind.
While reading about heaven today – having one of those homesick days – I was reminded of a conversation I had with my son Nathaniel when he was about 7 years old. We were sitting on a tree branch over a creek in Bear Creek Canyon in Colorado with his brother Joshua, and he asked me, “Daddy, how big is heaven?”
I answered him and said, “Son, it is big enough for everyone who wants to be there, and everyone who will be there will have a mansion all their own.”
“Dad? Are there any sad people in heaven?”
“No son, all our tears will be wiped away and we will only love and be happy, but you know what?”
“I am feeling only love and am happy right now because I am with you boys, and you are my happiness.”
I jumped off the limb I had been sitting on with them, and just looked in amazement that I was the father of two amazing little men, and I couldn’t help but tear up.
Joshua, my youngest, said, “Dad, why are you crying if you are so happy?”
“It’s my happiness release valve son. Sometimes when I am really happy, it just oozes out of my eyes.”
The Bible is very detailed about what heaven will be like for those who are written in the Lambs Book of Life. Yet, to me, just knowing what it will look like gets me excited. I mean, check this passage in Scripture that describes what heaven will LOOK like. It’s found in Revelation 21:10-20 (New International Version). It reads,
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.
The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia[a]in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits[b] thick,[c] by man’s measurement, which the angel was using.
The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.
The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.”
What a beautiful place heaven will be. I do not think any man can comprehend it, nor anyone who has said they have seen it in this life, has really seen it in all it’s awesome splendor. I do know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord for true followers of Christ; and this is my hope, that every one in this life who crosses my path will know before our paths part, that God loves them, that there is an eternal plan for their lives that starts on earth, that the Creator of the universe wants them to know Him personally through His son Jesus Christ, and above all, making certain that they know that they can know him before it is too late.
Yet, even so come quickly Lord Jesus.
Revelation 21:16 That is, about 1,400 miles (about 2,200 kilometers)
Revelation 21:17 That is, about 200 feet (about 65 meters)
Revelation 21:17 Or high
Revelation 21:20 The precise identification of some of these precious stones is uncertain.
Do you ever look around at professing Christians who just seem to see the same “gray, empty life” day in and day out? They don’t seem to have any motivation to do anything beyond just living day in and day out, caught up in the routines of life, having no passion for anything. We know what we are supposed to be doing. We hear it preached continually from the pulpit, yet, it doesn’t really sink in. We get so comfortable in our walk with the Lord. As we do, we begin to drift in our calling and spiritual responsibilities. We become numb to the things that once stirred our hearts to share our faith, and begin sliding into complacency for souls. I have to control myself sometimes, because I just want to shake those I see who have become like this. I want to say “Wake up!! There’s more to life than just existing”.
“Awake, O Sleeper, rise up from the dead and Christ will give you light,” (Ephesians 5:14).
I want to ask them, “doesn’t it bother you that there are so many people around you that are lost and going to hell?” Honestly, it never used to bother me, because I was so comfortable with overlooking the spiritual condition of others. I was numb to the fact that my friends, people I work with, people I said “I cared about” were lost and going to hell. I could not see that I was sliding into complacency for souls that God Himself wanted to me reach with His plan of salvation.
Today, my heart grieves badly at times for the missed opportunities I have had to share the love of God with people I knew were perishing, but didn’t. I grieve because all it takes is for people like you and me to share the love of Jesus, but we don’t. As Christians, sliding into complacency for souls is the last place we want to be. It is a dangerous place to be, because winning souls is at the center of the very will of God for our lives. We are called to fulfill the Great Commission that we have ALL been commissioned as Christians to do.
How can we who have been saved from sin and death not want to share the reality of God’s love and His plan of salvation with others who are in and around our lives? How can we forget this great gift of salvation we have been given and not want to share it with others so that they can have this gift as well? It is because we are sliding into complacency for souls.
All it takes is for people like you and me to tell those people in and around our lives that there is a God who loves them more than anything imaginable, who wants to set them free from bondage, heal their hearts, restore what the enemy has stolen, give them a new eternally happy life, and give them a burning passion and desire for living life to the fullest overflowing with joy and peace beyond comprehension. There is nothing in life that is worth the loss of one’s soul who could have gone to heaven if we had just opened our mouth and shared God’s Truth with them.
Matthew 16:26 says, “what good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet lose their soul?”
Hell is not easy to talk about, but it’s real, and I’m so broken that there are so many people that don’t even believe it is a real place or who do not fear it anymore. When it comes to sharing the plan of God’s salvation for man, people are so worried about others rejecting them or what people will think, that they do not have the most important conversation that a Christian can have with someone who does not have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Don’t let you pride allow someone to miss out on hearing who Jesus is and end up dying and going into eternity without Jesus as their Savior! Be willing to care enough to share the Truth of God’s living Word with others. Tell someone about Jesus Christ today and watch how God will work in your life as a result. This is not a time to be lulled by the flesh into complacency. It is a time to awaken ourselves from spiritual slumber, and be ready to be used by God when God says “Speak!”
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)
Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you are going to do. Long after the mood you said it in has left you, commitment is staying the course you are on to fulfill the obligations you have made. Have you ever just been so amped up to do something, but from having to wait, your excitement and willpower begin to slowly fade? Our relationship with the Lord can be very similar. When God is present in our lives, moving, and blessing us, we are unstoppable, confident, determined. But oftentimes, when we go through times that we like to call dry seasons or valleys in our lives, we find our attitude turning from seeking diligently after God to one where we could care less about praying or picking up a bible.
Because of what Jesus has done for us, He deserves all of us – one-hundred percent of us – not a half-hearted effort out of feeling obligated to love and serve Him. Let us not surrender to complacency in our spiritual lives and allow the flame of our passion for God to burn out. I know it can be a challenge, but remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. Remember what He willingly suffered so that we would not have to!
“There hearts are like an oven, they approach him with intrigue. There passion smolders all night, in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.” (Hosea 7:6)
Growing up, my dad continually encouraged me with these words. “Remember when you are feeling worn down and tired, and don’t feel like giving Jesus any of your day. Jesus was pretty worn down and tired when he was beaten and nailed to the cross, so that we could be forgiven and have life.” When we begin making up excuses, why we can’t fully honor or serve God and do His will in our lives, that’s when our desire for the fire of God starts fading.
I have allowed my fire to go out in my past. I have allowed my fire to go out completely, and it is not a good place to be as a Christian. There is only one place that we can get the fire of God from. It comes directly from our surrender to God and pressing into Him in worship, prayer, and meditation on His Word. We cannot get “on fire for God” looking for it in other people, activities, materials, pastors or even in church communities. It only comes from personally seeking God with all of our heart and mind.
When your desire to burn hot for God exceeds everything else, this is when you become solid in your faith. This is when your thinking begins to align with God’s thoughts, and your daily Christian walk begins to flourish. We must continuously be in a intimate relationship with the Lord, and actively fueling the fire on the altar of our hearts with His word, in prayer and through continual worship. Leviticus 6:12 encourages us saying, “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning add firewood. The fire must be kept burning, the fire must never go out.” Our hearts are the altar and the fire is the result of our constant pursuit of God. This is how the fire in our hearts towards God is kindled and kept ablaze. I desire to see people so filled with the love of God, it’s like fire shut up in their bones! Do you crave such an abundance?
In 2 Samuel 6:14, we read that David was dancing before the Lord with all his might. When we allow our hearts to be overtaken by the Spirit of God like David, our hearts become so engulfed with the power of God’s love, that we can no longer hold it in. Like David being so overwhelmed with God’s presence, we just have to dance with all our might to let it out. Sometimes I get so full of God’s presence that He begins pouring out of me in praise and singing. It is a wonderful place to be.
I’m always stirring the flames of my heart throughout the day, speaking the word over my life, sharing my testimony, singing praises, or praying. I want my passion burning so strong, people say, her fires uncontainable, and can see my flame from miles away. Let this become your daily challenge in your pursuit of God. Begin building the fire of God on he altar of your heart right now. Begin stirring the flames right now through a renewed commitment and devotion to he Word of God, to consistent prayer, and ongoing worship of God!
Allow God to ignite the fire in the areas of your life where you have allowed the fire of God to grow dim.
Allow God to ignite the fire in the areas of your life where you have allowed the fire of God to grow dim. Trust Him to give your heart a renewed flame that burns so hot, and so brightly and strong for you that darkness can no longer have its way in your life and the world can be led to the Light of God’s love through you.
A man brought the three cards, the three boxes of candy, and the three sets of flowers up to the cashier for checkout. The cashier rolled her eyes at him as she looked at his wedding band and mumbled…”these players make me sick.” This caused everyone else to look at the man funny too.
The man quietly responded…
“One set is for my mom because my dad passed away recently, and he used to do this for my mom. He taught me how to give love. The next set is for my wife because I love her and she teaches me how to receive and treasure love. The last set is for my daughter, because it’s up to me to teach her how she should be treated and who she should give her heart to.”
The cashier and other customers waiting in the check out line were quiet – some with tears in their eyes. The cashiers head bowed down. She was speechless.
The man whispered softly to the cashier as he turned to leave, “Have a blessed day.”
WARNING! This article is intended for the purpose of educating adults and parents on the affects and dangers of pornography. It may not be suitable for younger audiences. Parental discretion is advised.
The harm of pornography on adults, children, marriages, relationships and society is without a single doubt has been proven beyond any shadow of doubt. Still, there are those who would say that the harm of pornography has been fabricated by Bible-thumping Christians who say that they just don’t like it as an ‘artistic form’ of journalism or the movie industry, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind when you look at the statistics of the harm of pornography. The dangers of pornography are real, they are dangerous, and they are taking a toll on every culture that allows it to continue.
Throughout the history of our nation, Americans have instinctively known the dangers of pornography, and, as our nation’s moral beginnings would have it, we as a society have resisted its intrusion for the most part. Even as late into the 20th century as the 1970’s, Americans have been repulsed by the idea that such an industry would even make an attempt to open for business in our communities. Times have changed though. We have begun to see the negative affect of pornography on our families, our communities, and our culture as adult book stores, theaters, and behind the counter sales of adult-oriented magazines have found their way in to our everyday life.
As the 20th century came to a close we have watched the dawn of the information age and all the advances in technology become a part of our everyday lives. Of all that has come with this new era in society, the Internet has by far been, and still remains to be the most impacting of all modern day advances that have affected the way we live. All over the world, millions of people use the Internet every day. It is estimated that in the United States alone an estimated 250,000,000 men, women, and children access the Internet on an average day. This number is far greater on a worldwide scale. Whether it is for conducting business or to catch up on news, to check the weather, obtain travel information, pursue an educational endeavor, or simply to communicate with family and friends, the Internet has become (and will remain) a constructive and vital part of our everyday lives.
Pornography Goes Online
Most who use pornography live a life of lies concerning their addiction. But for some, whether married, single, young or old, male or female, there is an increasingly destructive aspect that the Internet is playing in our lives. It is the part that allows Internet users to access pornographic and adult-oriented Web sites with little more than a few clicks of a mouse. In deed, in the time that you will read this article, millions of adults and children alike will be going online for a very different reason than for a constructive reason – instead, it will be solely for the purpose of looking at pornography. Computer Pornography, also called cyberporn, has become so popular that it has become a billion-dollar business.
A writer from the Wall Street Journal sums up the basis of this growing dilemma in a clear observation. “Find a Web site that is profitable and chances are, its business and content is distinctly pornographic.” The writer went on to explain why people turn to the Internet for pornography. “Customers can view explicit content without having to slink into a sleazy bookstore or even visit the back room of the neighborhood video shop. Customers can peruse even the worst that cyberporn has to offer in the privacy of the home—or office.”
Some proponents will argue that there is no harm in being exposed to or the regular viewing of pornography. This is simply not true. The evident says something completely different. There was a time when there was no need for research data to tell us that pornography was harmful.
Yet, as pornography has entered the mainstream and society has begun to lose its instinctive moral adversity against such material, researchers have stepped up to prove what we once instinctively knew. Studies now prove that pornography and other sexualized media have the capacity to drastically alter the user’s brain chemistry and functionality. Whether or not one becomes addicted, virtually no one is immune to the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical affects of viewing pornography.
In post-addiction surveys, the overwhelming majority of those who have been freed from their addiction to pornography have said that the practice of viewing pornography and its affects on them were both humiliating and desensitizing to their moral conscience.
Relationship to Child Molestation
Pornography’s relationship to child molestation is enough reason to have it outlawed in the view of most law enforcement agencies. In a study of convicted child molesters, 77 percent of those who molested boys and 87 percent of those who molested girls admitted to the habitual use of pornography in the commission of their crimes. Besides stimulating the perpetrator, pornography facilitates child molestation in several ways. For example, pedophiles use pornographic photos to demonstrate to their victims what they want them to do.
They also use them to arouse a child or to lower a child’s inhibitions and communicate to the unsuspecting child that a particular sexual activity is okay: “This person is enjoying it; so will you.”
Rape and Sexual Violence
Pornography’s relationship to rape and sexual violence are undisputed by intellects and law enforcement agencies. According to one study, early exposure (under fourteen years of age) to pornography is related to greater involvement in deviant sexual practice, particularly rape. Slightly more than one-third of the child molesters and rapists in this study claimed to have at least occasionally been incited to commit an offense by recent exposure to pornography. Among the child molesters incited, the study reported that 53 percent of them deliberately used the stimuli of pornography as they prepared to offend.
Sex Industry Statistics
– $57.0 billion revenue world-wide(1)
– $12.0 billion of this is US revenue, more than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises or the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion). $2.5 of the $12 billion is related to internet porn. (1)
Porn on the Web
– 25% of total search engine requests are porn-related. (Top three searches: sex, mp3 and hotmail.) (2)
– 8% of total emails are porn-related. Average daily pornographic emails are 4.5 per internet user (1)
– 12% of total websites are pornographic (1)
– 100,000 websites offer illegal child pornography (1)
– Child pornography generates $3 billion annually (1)
– 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed porn online (most while doing homework) (1)
– Average age of first internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old (1)
– Largest consumer of internet pornography 12-17 age group (1)
– 20% of men admit accessing pornography at work(1) – 13% of women admit accessing pornography at work(1) – 53% of Promise Keeper men viewed pornography the previous week in one study(1) – 10% of adults admit having internet sexual addiction(1)
Affecting Business Productivity
– 70 percent of all internet porn traffic occurs during the 9-to-5 workday. (2)
– Nearly one out of three companies has terminated an employee for inappropriate web use. (2)
– According to Internet Data Center research 30 to 40 percent of employee internet activity is non business-related, costing millions of dollars in productivity. (2) This does not mean all the activity is porn related. For example, the cost to businesses in lost employee productivity from the internet broadcasts of the Starr report and the Clinton grand-jury video was in excess of $450 million, according to a study reported by ZDNet. (2)
Business and Legal Ramifications
Internet porn introduces the issue of a hostile work environment relative to internet use. Whereas lewd jokes, questionable bulletin board items or inappropriate comments used to put companies in hot water, employees today are accessing websites that promote hate groups, pornography and illegal activities. Viewed by an offended co-worker, any of these cyber-activities can bring lawsuits upon a company.
Several Fortune 500 companies have created an “acceptable use policy” for internet usage, including a disclaimer about the dangers of the internet, a summary of appropriate and inappropriate uses of the internet (i.e., no personal commercial uses, no illegal copying, etc.), a statement about avoiding frivolous use (i.e., downloading large personal files, engaging in chat rooms, etc.) and a ‘no expectation of privacy’ statement that waives privacy rights over any materials sent or created using the company’s computer network. (2)
Note: The data here reflects statistics that are 6 years old. In every category mentioned, the statistics are dramatically higher today than they were at the time of this article first appeared on another blog of mine. If you have more recent data, please let me know.
There’s something about the start of a new year, a new season, or even a new chapter in our lives that causes us to hope for positive change. Oftentimes however, our past failures, mistakes, and even past sins can leave us in wonderment of whether or not we have what it takes to succeed in the things we want most for our lives – whether is it in business or relationships. We find ourselves struggling to overcome our fear of failing and we worry about repeating our past failures or making the same mistakes again. We live in uncertainty of whether or not we will fall back into destructive cycles that lead us into sin again.
When a person lives in fear of these things and worrying about their future, they strip faith from their thinking (“…the conviction of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen”). It robs them of the strength they need to press through whatever stands in their way of being successful. Instead of being filled with expectation of seeing their goals and aspirations fulfilled, and their future at its best, they live in constant anxiety and uncertainty, and experience the negative emotions that come from embracing fear and worry over that of faith and hope.
The result of this faithless worrisome mindset causes those who live in it to entertain thoughts that ultimately affect their determination to be successful in what they want to accomplish. A mindset rooted in worry robs them of the strength to persevere under hardship, trial, and tribulations; and, ultimate it affects the decisions they make (“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death”).
When we willfully choose to worry, we run the risk of being paralyzed and being unable to make important decisions in our lives or pursuing a course of action that is in our best interest. When we live in a place of fear and worry, we often shy away from commitment and rob ourselves of God’s best for our lives both in our personal and business success, and even in relationships.
Don’t let fear or worry control your life. It will rob you of your strength to succeed in those things that matter most to you. Allow faith, hope, and love to dominate your life, and fear and worry will not be able to have influence over your life.
American Imperialism. America is a nation of war mongers. I have heard these kinds of statements lot recently. There has been a lot of very hateful words said about America over the last six years, sarcasm that has belittled America, and formal apologies to the world – and all none other than the President of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama. The nature of this criticism, and the source of it is rooted in a great and growing discontentment with the way things are going in the United States; and it has been brought on by who else but none other than influential college professors who have taught it to their students now for over 20 years.
There are demonstrations in the streets. People are speaking out against the policies of American democracy. They are speaking out against the large corporations and businesses of America. There is a growing outrage that there are not more entitlements for the masses. It appears that there are even ‘class wars’ within the American society starting up.
The American armed forces receive the same sort of public ridicule. There is a rising discontent with the military that they are unnecessarily imposing the wishes of an ‘ever-growing evil empire’ set on total world dominance. A revolution seems very likely that could topple the American republic. There is a lot of anxiety, anger, and animosity – especially in the youth of America who have been taught about the tyranny within our democracy to a place that they have begun to believe another form of government is in order. The poor who depend upon government entitlements as a part of their lifestyle want the money spent on the ‘American War Machine’ to be spent on more entitlements. Things just continue to get worse in the minds of a growing number of discontent Americans.
Yes, a lot can be said about America that is not right, but seldom do the accusers of America consider the great cost that has been paid by fellow American so that they can freely voice their opinion and have open protests about what they do not like with America. This criticism does not stop at just American’s who have the liberty to speak out against what they think or perceive as injustice. It extends even to heads of state of other countries. Here are some interactions with some of those who have spoken out against America from other countries.
John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of State Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded,”Does that include those who are buried here [that died liberating your country from Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship]?”
DeGaulle did not respond. You could have heard a pin drop in that room.
When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of ’empire building’ by George Bush. Colin Powell answered by saying, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury did not respond. You could have heard a pin drop.
There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?”
A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships;how many does France have?”
The French engineer did not respond. You could have heard a pin drop.
A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?”
Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, “Maybe it’s because the Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.”
The French Admiral did not respond. You could have heard a pin drop.
There is a lot of criticism of America. No doubt about it. There are a lot of people bent on seeing the very fabric of our Constitution and Bill of Rights completely changed. There are those who feel that anyone that has been able to prosper in America should share their wealth with those who have not. And there are those of an even larger number who do not understand the cost of freedom and the nature of what the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights represents.
These same people who say they are American do not know of or nor can they begin to understand the cost that has been paid by American citizens who have put their lives on the line, shed their blood, and even offered up their very lives for the sake of those Americans that choose not to. They do not know the cost that has been paid for them to help insure that all those who call themselves American can enjoy the very freedom they have to protest against Americans who they do not agree with.
Let me end with this.
Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.
A sarcastic customs officer asked abruptly of the gentleman, “You have been to France before, monsieur?”
Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”
The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”
“Impossible! Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France!”
The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, ”Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country from Adolf Hitler’s occupation, I couldn’t find a single Frenchman to show a passport to.”
The customs officer did not utter another word. And, you guessed it. You could have heard a pin drop.
Be critical of what you will about America if you are an American citizen. Be angry at greed, at the loss of life because of war, and at the flawed nature of our political system at times. BUT KNOW THIS. IF you think for a moment that doing anything to undermine our Constitution or the Bill of Rights that has protected every man, woman, and child in America for almost 350 years is good for America, consider those countries who have lived under regimes that would simply execute you if you spoke out against them. Is that what we really want? Consider carefully how you will bring change to America. Socialism or Communism is not the solution.
There is no question about it. In life, it does not matter how devoted or committed we are to a relationship, a cause, our life’s calling, or being a good parent. NO ONE is above the possibility of personal failure. It is inevitable. It is just a matter of time before each of us will fail at something that matters to us personally or to others. The most important thing to remember in knowing this is that overcoming failure is key a to personal growth.
Whether our personal failure is in falling short of the expectations we have for ourselves, falling short of the expectations that others have for us, failing in our character, and/or failing our personal moral compass – we all will fail. I have experienced all four, and I can tell you that I have failed quite well at all of these. I can also tell you first hand that there are four things you will learn about yourself, about those in and around your life that your failures may affect, and about God when you fail; and, they are all beneficial to overcoming failure in your life:
Your definition of friendship will evolve as you see how people who call you friend will act towards you when you fail.
Your understanding of the true nature of the hearts of those who say they love you, their maturity in how they respond to your honesty about your failings, and the value they place on their relationship with you when you are open and honest with them or at your lowest in life.
While the reaction to your failures by others around you may be harsh and unforgiving, your failures do not have to dictate your future. The reality of the consequences of your personal failures, while painful, embarrassing, and/or even humiliating in the moment and in the aftermath of your failure, are not deal breakers for you being successful in you life, in your profession, or in relationships.
When failure comes, it is most often the result of how we have handles our horizontal relationships (relationships with other humans). While horizontal relationships may suffer as a result of our failures, the key to getting past our failures and rising above them is in how we handle our vertical relationships (our relationship with God, His Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit). It is in our relationship with God that we will find our greatest victories in life after our failures. God’s grace sufficient and his forgiveness complete no matter what you do or what we fail to do in life.
Life Success Tip when you fail yourself or others:
Humble yourself first before God, and then to others when you fail. It is in this humility of heart that God’s goodness is most often seen. When you walk in humility before God and man, God will raise you up and restore you to what is His best is for your life.
It’s a sad fact, but true, that people would equate intelligence with skin color. Outside of the TRUE Body of Christ, there is a persistent malevolent force that still seeks to drive a wedge between races. I think that maybe this is what was foretold in Matthew 24:7 when Jesus prophesied that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” translated “ethnos against ethnos”.
While the attitude of this individual is somewhat skewed with anger – possibly even insecurity – he makes a valid point. It is not wisdom to group an entire race as being the same based on just a few of their ignorant or lazy. God knows that I have relatives that most might call white trash or hill billies just by the way they talk. But looks can be very deceiving. Take one of my nieces for instance. She is a ‘white girl’… I’ll call her Amanda for the sake of this story.
Amanda has an IQ that is well above 160 – one that is considered genius by many tests. All three of my nieces are genius for that matter. She is an accomplished musician – a concert pianist who has won state competitions – who is most at home playing a base guitar in a punk rock band. By education, she is a geneticist who works as an environmental scientist doing amazing things around that world to help improve our planets chances of survival. With her advanced scientific degrees, speaking three or four languages fluently, her accomplishments now at barely 30 years old, are more than most people will accomplish in two lifetimes.
Stay with me here. Her favorite cartoons in school were (and probably still are) Beavis and Butthead, and Sponge Bob. To see and listen to her carry on like Beavis and Butthead, most onlookers that did not know her would think she is a complete stoner wash out for human potential. While as intelligent as she is, she chooses to come across like an idiot sometimes. Why? I do not know. But, a few things she is not is white trash, a hill billy, or stupid. She burps up more brain cells eating pretzels and drinking imported beer than I will ever have.
My point is this. From a Christian world view, race, the color of our skin, or how we speak or act in public should not determine our value in life or be the reflection of what our race it like. Every race has its idiots, stupid sounding, stupid living members who just make the rest of us look bad. But the truth is that while speaking intelligently most always opens more doors than speaking unintelligently, this should not dictate a foregone conclusion that just because we sound unintelligent does not mean that we are. And, it should definitely not determine anything related to our race in general.
Concerning the complaint of a perceived racial inequality that was the point of this video, as it concerns race being a dividing line for contention between groups of people, surely when Jesus spoke of race rising up against race, He was speaking of a spiritually unregenerate people who do not know God. I can say this confidently because the absence of love (agape or phileo) is the root of racism. When Jesus was addressing ethnos rising up against ethnos, He was NOT speaking about the true Body of Christ. Those who are in the Body of Christ who are legitimate sons and daughters of God, do not see the color of one’s skin as a detractor or an attractor for having deep, committed, loving relationships with people in their lives – whether they are saved or not.
Glory to God that we who are in the Body of Christ have been given new eyes to see new life and live with an uncommon love for one another regardless of what we look like or sound like. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Overcoming homosexuality by any human means is completely impossible. It is a spiritual battle that must be won Spiritually through Christ. Here is a testimony of deliverance from homosexuality that was aired on the 700 Club hosted by Pat Robertson, the founder of CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network). Overcoming Homosexuality and the testimony of Matthew Manning is a dramatic, real, and heart moving story of someone caught up in the homosexual lifestyle who finds God through the prayers of a five year old boy on the streets of San Francisco. It’s a moving and inspirational story of deliverance, healing and forgiveness, and it is difficult to not see the hand of God in it. God’s power is shown so strongly in this story.
This testimony of overcoming homosexuality is a dramatic example of God’s ability to bring about full forgiveness in someone’s heart towards a person who horrifically abused him. When you read this, you will see just how powerful the love of God can be and His power to deliver any homosexual from this sort of demonic influence and bondage if someone has the will and desire to want deliverance from this sin.
The story begins
Matthew Manning was sexually molested by one of his older brothers before he was 10 years old. He was mocked and made fun of in school as often happens growing up by those students and peers that consider themselves to be ‘cool’. With this also came a home life where Matthew was not receiving the type of healthy and nurturing love and acceptance that is most needed in a young persons life – both in family life and from his friends or teachers at school.
In search of attention by male role models, and feeling the guilt and shame of the sexual abuse by his brother, he withdrew from his friends and found what he thought was the reassuring love and attention he was looking for at a local park where he began to hang out at. This park was known to have homosexual activity taking place in it by the men who frequented it. At ten years old, Matthew began to give himself to homosexual men – pedophiles – who were willing to give him the acceptance and attention he was wanting as a young boy.
Matthew tells of his experiences at the park and how he would go to the park whenever he would have problems at home, hoping to find the love and acceptance and nurturing he was hungry for at home. He was looking for was a hug from an older man who cared about his life and problems. The result of this puruit for acceptance led to him being a victim of sexually explicit activities with the older men he would encounter. Even though afterwards he would always feel shame and guilt, it was the only place he could the ‘unconditional’ love and acceptance he was looking for.
As a result of all this in his early years, he became found himself fully immersed in the perversion that comes from a homosexual lifestyle as he grew up. His guilt and shame were compounded by the fact that he was being sent to a ‘Christian school.’ Eventually he graduated from high school, and went on with his life – still living the life of a homosexual.
He eventually joined the Coast guard where he first got stationed in San Francisco – the homosexual capital of the world – as some call it. He told the story of how he would be out saving people during the day, then by night, be going to homosexual bars and participating in a habitual homosexual lifestyle at night.
During his time with the Coast Guard in San Francisco – although he did not know it at the time – a serial killer was killing homosexual men and throwing their bodies off of a bridge. One night as he was sitting by himself close to the bridge and water, a man approached him from behind, put a knife to his throat and led off by the man. He was told that he had been sent to teach Matthew a lesson. When Matthew asked him who had sent him, the man replied back, “You’ll find out when you end up burning in hell.”
Matthew did not know it, but he was being accosted by the guy who was the serial killer. The man took him off to the side and molested him. During the molestation, Matthew was able to break away and run to safety. There was no doubt that this guy was going to kill him. He immediately went to the police to report what had happened. Initially, the police thought that these were all suicides from the bodies they found floating in the waters, but later this guy admitted to killing other people.
After Matthew’s near death experience, he continued to live the lifestyle he had grown accustomed to. As he continued on living the homosexual life, he had encountered numerous street evangelists who were reaching out to him and seeking to help him be set free from the homosexual lifestyle. His view at the time was that he thought they were all judgmental and wanted nothing to do with any of them or even God Himself. He had come to believe the lie that is most often used as an excuse for homosexuality that he was born a homosexual and that there was nothing that either he or God could do to change his condition.
Then one day he met a woman and her five-year-old son who were out preaching on the streets. This little boy comes up to him and tells him “Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you.” He had heard all of that before and was not really moved by it. However, the little boy kept trying to get him to come to his church, which was just around the corner.
Initially, Matthew had no desire to visit the church, but one day as he was driving past the church, he literally heard an audible voice say to him – “This is the last time I am going to ask you.”
He knew right of way that this was the voice of God talking to him. a sudden fear came over Matthew when this happened, and he was quickened in his heart to visit the church that the little boy had asked him to visit. When he walked in, they had a band playing praise and worship music that was like nothing he had heard before. He actually thought that he had walked into some kind of cult. As he went to sit down, he saw the little five-year-old boy who had invited first invited him when he and his mother had approached Matthew on the street days before. Matthew had say down near the boy when he had finally sat down and the two of them could see each other.
As Matthew was gazing around the church, he was not really being moved by anything he saw. About the time he was realizing this, he looked over at the little five year old boy who had been witnessing to him out in the streets earlier. The little boy was standing up, hands held straight up in the air and he was crying. He was praying to God and the words he was praying to God were – “Please God, show Matthew that we are not all nuts in this church. Please God, show Him that You are real.”
When Matthew saw the boy praying with that kind of sincerity and intensity, he was immediately effected emotionally. He said that when he saw that, he knew that this was the real love he had been searching for all of his life – agape love – that someone could unconditionally love him for who he really was. Matthew gave his life to the Lord that night and got saved, but told God that he would have to change him on the inside to handle his homosexual desires for men.
After that night, Matthew continued to go to that church and began to study the the Bible; however, he continued in the habit of his homosexual lifestyle. [NOTE: Demonic spirits of homosexuality and perversion are very persuasive and strong demonic forces to contend with one you open that door to them.] During the interview with Pat Robertson, Matthew said the desires to engage in homosexuality were still there after he got saved, and he used those persistent desires he was still having as his excuse to still act out the thoughts and desires he was having since God had not taken away the desires after he was saved.
One night while in a church service, Matthew was overwhelmed by the power of God and felt an overwhelming presence of God’s Holy Spirit come on him and he was literally knocked to the floor (slain in the spirit as he called it). While under the influence of the Holy Spirit’s power as he laid on the ground, he had a vision. As he tells the story, he saw Jesus standing in front of him, and as soon as he sees Jesus he starts arguing with Him about his homosexual desires, and the reality that he can’t get rid of the homosexual desires. He said that that was when Jesus looked directly into Matthew’s eyes and said to him:
“Every time you commit a homosexual act, you are committing that act against Me.”
Jesus then said something else to him that had something to do with His sacrificial death on the cross and that His death on the cross had already set Matthew free from the bondage of the homosexual lifestyle that he was involved in.
Matthew said that when Jesus said all of this to him – it was the “truth of God” cutting right through him and cutting out the lie that he was born homosexual and that he could not be free of it that he had been living all of those years. Even as Matthew was still trying to hang onto his homosexual lifestyle and still walk with Christ, God was doing heart surgery in Matthew’s heart and delivering him from the bondage he was living in.
When Jesus had spoken those direct words to Matthew, he knew that he had been living a lie and that he had no more excuses for remaining in this lifestyle. Right after Jesus said all of this to him, he got up off of the floor. Immediately, he began to throw up!
Matthew said in his interview that, “I believe the puking was God’s way of vomiting all of the contamination that was in him from his homosexual lifestyle all those years. He also believed there was a possibility demons were being expelled out of him at this point.
After he finished throwing up, he went outside the church. Once outside, he heard God in an audible voice say, “I will heal you from this condition if you agree to witness to other homosexual men about My grace, mercy and power to set these men free from the bondage they were in.” Matthew agreed with God on this condition and he said from that day forward he has never had another homosexual encounter and has lost all natural desire for it! Wow! The power that comes from unconditional love and forgiveness, and surrender to Holy Spirit for full and complete redemption and deliverance. HOW COOL IT THAT!???
The story is NOT over yet! That best is still yet to come! Miracles! Be looking for part two of this story, “Overcoming Homosexuality and the Testimony of Matthew Manning (Part 2) – coming soon!
As always please leave a comment and share this article with anyone you know who is struggling with the sin and bondage of homosexuality. And, if you are brave enough, share this story with your connections on your favorite social network. Sure, you might have some of your contacts send you hate mail or unfriend you, BUT what if… what IF your sharing this article on your social media network profile could bring one single individual who is struggling with the homosexual lifestyle out of the darkness and bondage that is associated with this growing struggle in millions of lives? What if YOU could be the miracle that Matthew Manning found in that encounter with a five year old boy?
YOU ARE LOVED! You are not only loved, but you have worth – a great worth. You are loved so much and have so much worth to God that God Himself came down from heaven in the person of Jesus, His only Son, to live and to die on a cross in your place to make it possible that you could have a personal and intimate relationship with Him, the Creator of the universe.
Did you get that? That is how much you are loved and how much you are worth to God. He was willing to become man in the person of Jesus Christ, live a sinless life as a man, but without sin; and then willingly die on the cross for your sins and every shortcoming in your life. That is how much you mean to God; and how valuable and loved by God you are!
Not only are you are loved and of great value to God, you have a purpose in this life! Do not accept the lie that says that your life has no destiny or purpose. Your circumstances do not matter, your birth right, your place in this life before men. YOU have a destiny and purpose that is special to God. He said that “before you were in your mother’s womb,” He knew you. “For I know the thoughts I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” You are NOT a mistake! You ARE special! You ARE unique and perfectly made by God and for His purposes. Make no mistake about it.
Reject every thought that tells you when you fail that you have no potential or everything is hopeless. It is a lie! You have great potential! When you feel that there is no hope, please KNOW that there IS HOPE and that God is FOR you! YOU ARE LOVED! There is nothing on earth or any principality in heavenly place that can steal away this love. It is forever and it is everlasting. You ARE loved.
If you would like to learn more about this kind of love, and how you can know that you can experience this sort of love in a real and intimate way through a personal relationship with a living God who knows you and sees you just how you are and where you are, and still longs to be close and intimate with you, please write us at ruined (at) ruinedfortheordinary.com.
Your life matters! We care. Write us today to learn more about how you can experience the power and peace of this kind of love in your life right now, today! Someone is waiting to help you. Someone cares! Please write us today!
Frustration at work, frustration at home, frustration at school, failure in business, frustration or even failure in relationships, …these can all weigh heavy on one’s heart and ultimately affect their life. Maybe you can relate. I know I can. Overcoming frustration and failure in life is something that almost everyone deals with whether they are willing to admit it or not.
Sometimes I feel like I have failed more often than not in the things that matter most in life – and most often it is at my own doing that it happens. For sure, when we try to do it on our own, getting things right can be pretty frustrating; even down right disappointing.
BUT there is good news! Overcoming frustration and failure does not have to be a life long struggle if you don’t want it to be. The good news is that if we are able to allow God enough place in our lives, enough say so in our decisions, and enough room to work on our behalf, we can experience GREAT success in life. I know, because when I have allowed Him to work in and through me, He has done great things. Believe in what God can do in and through you, and do not believe the lies that are so often heard and believed by those who end up failing in life.
In a world where competition can be overwhelming and opportunity for success illusive, it’s important to remember that GOD DOES have a good plan for your life if you are willing to put your trust and faith in Him and not man or your own abilities. Take a few moments today and talk to God. He might have something He wants to say to you if you take the time to listen.
In a cynical world, where our tendency is to be self-focused and self-reliant, there are times when God chooses to get our attention through whatever means necessary. His ongoing goal for man is to reveal His Truth to us and the Truth of what all He has done for us. He is relentless. It is difficult for some people to stop long enough to see and hear God in their lives. Sometimes what it takes can seem extreme, but the stakes are high. A person’s entire eternity is at stake.
When will we realize just what God did for us in the person of Jesus Christ? When will be begin to see our lives as fully ransomed by the Creator of the universe just so that He could have a personal relationship with us. When will be come to fully understand that when we choose to be identified with Jesus and accept His gift of salvation, that His blood will begin to flow through our veins and not our own?
This video is really just that very thing – told by a one cynical skeptic who thought he had life all figured out. Watch it and see if it speaks to your heart concerning the completed work that was done at calvary on our behalf.
(Revelation, Chapter 12) “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
You can rest assured that the devil, like a roaring lion is roaming to and fro seeking to devour every soul on earth that he can, and will do all that he is able to prevent someone from accepting the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. He will lie to them, and deceive them, trick them, and even speak to them as if he were ‘God’ Himself, telling some to do the most terrible things to other humans just to prevent them from confessing Jesus as Lord. He HATES the name of Jesus!
The devil will even go as far as to tell those he has deceived to rewrite history, rewrite the Bible, to take the need of salvation through Jesus Christ out of the hearts and minds of the masses. He has already gone so far as to deceive followers of false prophets to kill and blow up innocent men, women, and children; and to starve, rape, and murder people as a part of ethnic cleansing.
This fallen angel of light, Lucifer, is so angry that he has convinced politicians to remove anything that has to do with God and His son Jesus from public view – even though the United States of America was founded on the very principles they are seeking to remove from our culture. These same politicians have even been made to believe that imposing fines and even imprisonment on those who would seek to protect the sanctity of human life and the unborn.
Don’t be surprised if the devil will attempt to use his influence in government to outlaw guns, close churches that speak out against the government, and arrest those they would call terrorists just because they were considered to be ‘right wing conservatives’ and have suspected ties to radical anti-government militias. I mean he has already been successful in influencing politicians to outlaw the assembling together of the Saints of God in public buildings and made it illegal to allow prayer in public schools.
Yes, he is very mad, and he knows his time is short. He and his demonic hordes are working overtime to lure people away from the still small voice of God that is calling to every man, woman, and child to turn their hearts back from darkness and the pleasures of the prince of this world (the devil) so that they will not perish but have eternal life with their Creator (God the Father) in heaven.
In my first installment of Overcoming Homosexuality, I introduced Matthew. This is the rest of his story, and how he ended up overcoming homosexuality.
Meanwhile, back at the cross, Matthew then proceeds to totally serve God. He then joins the church’s prison ministry team to preach to criminals behind bars. As he is doing all of this, he suddenly starts to get physically weaker. He couldn’t swim as long as he used to, his endurance and stamina are weakening, and he starts having problems with his intestines. He goes to a doctor, tests are run, and he finds out that he has full-blown AIDS – he is HIV positive!
He then starts yelling at God – how could He do this to me? God had healed him from the homosexual lifestyle and he was fully serving God and now all of a sudden he comes down with AIDS. God then very quickly tells him that the AIDS he has come down with is not as a result of any judgment being passed onto him by God – the AIDS has come upon him as a “consequence” of the homosexual lifestyle that he had been living in earlier and that he was simply reaping what he had sown over all of those previous years.
Matt then received realization and revelation that what seeds you plant in the ground will grow. And if you plant seeds of destruction, then you will eventually reap death and corruption as a result. God then tells Matt that He will fully heal him from the AIDS, but only if Matt is willing to agree to fully forgive everyone that has ever wronged him in this life – including the man who had given him the AIDS.
Matt at first wrestled with God on the issue, but he went ahead and did it. He forgave his brother who had molested him, he forgave his parents who had not properly loved him, and he forgave the man, whoever he was, who had given him the AIDS. Matt said he did not feel any forgiveness towards these people when doing this before the Lord, but he went ahead and confessed it out with his mouth and gave it all to the Lord.
Shortly after doing all of this, Matt’s AIDS takes a turn for the worse. He literally comes down with all of the symptoms of AIDS and ends up bedridden just waiting to die. As he is in bed literally dying from this disease, he keeps telling the doctors that God is going to heal him. Everyone thought he was crazy. They had also put him on AZT, which eventually makes him sterile as you will see further on down in the story.
Then one day as he was lying on his deathbed literally waiting to die, he gets a Word of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit to speak out this Word of Knowledge to the man who was attending to him in the hospital. God tells him to tell the man that he knows that he is gay! Matt speaks the Word of Knowledge out to the man. The guy can’t believe Matt would know something like this since they did not know each other. This man had been a Christian, but had turned away from God.
This man then tells Matt that if God will really heal him like he is claiming, then this guy would give his life back to Jesus and turn from his homosexual ways!
Then here is where miracle #3 occurs. While in bed dying from the AIDS and being hooked up to the life support machines, all of a sudden his vital signs start to rebound! Several doctors come running back in, check out the machines and tell him that they don’t understand it – but that all of his vital signs are rebounding back.
Matt literally stands up in his hospital bed and starts jumping up and down saying God has now healed him. They then do some more tests and tell him that even though his AIDS has miraculously gone into remission – that he is still HIV positive – the AIDS bug is still in him and that it could re-activate at anytime during his life.
As a result of the above miracle, the man who Matt had spoken the Word of Knowledge to earlier gave his life back to Christ and renounced his homosexual lifestyle!
Matt then continues on his walk with God believing that God will someday complete the healing and completely take out the HIV virus where he will no longer be HIV positive. Matt continues to stay on the church’s prison ministry team, witnessing to criminals and homosexuals. One day he was scheduled to speak in one of the prisons to 20 criminals wanting to hear his Christian testimony. When he walked in, he saw 20 men sitting in chairs directly in front of the podium he was going to speak from.
And guess who was sitting in the front row directly in front of where he was going to speak? The serial killer who had raped and molested him years earlier when he had been serving in the Coast Guard.
As soon as he sees this man, he starts feeling anger and wrath rise up in him. But then he had remembered his deal and covenant with God, that God would completely heal him from the AIDS if he would be willing to forgive all of those who had ever wronged him in the past – including the serial killer who had raped him.
Matt knew he was being tested and knew he had to try and forgive this man – even though his feelings were not initially lining up with it. Matt’s sermon for this particular group just coincidentally was going to be on forgiveness!
Talk about an unbelievable chess move made by God to arrange for all of this to occur!
Matt then delivers his sermon to the 20 inmates. After he gets done, he then makes an altar call to see if anyone wants to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Only one guy raises his hands to come up to get saved – and it is the serial killer!
Matt says that the man then starts to break down and cry in front of everyone. He then proceeds to tell Matt and the other 19 inmates that he has killed other people, that he has AIDS, and that he has given AIDS to other people during the course of his crime sprees! Matt finds out, right there on the spot, that this man was probably the man who had given him the AIDS when this man raped him back when he was in the Coast Guard.
Matt then asks the man to come forward in front of everyone else. Matt then tells this man that he was one of this man’s past victims. He tells the man that he was the 18 year old that he had raped at knife point at the location that it had occurred. Matt then tells him that he has fully forgiven him for what he has done to him and that God will also fully forgive him and accept him into His kingdom if he is truly sorry for his sins and is willing to accept Jesus as his personal Savior.
This man ends up getting saved that night with Matt. As a result of this man’s dramatic confession and Matt’s response to him, the other 19 inmates, who initially had not raised their hands to come forward to get saved, all broke down, came forward and accepted God’s free gift of eternal salvation as the serial killer had just done. Matt later found out that this serial killer, whose name was Kyle, died a year later in prison. Matt firmly believes that this man is now in heaven as a result of getting saved that day with him.
Shortly after all of the above occurs, Matt receives another powerful message from Jesus. Jesus tells him to go back and re-check his status on his AIDS. Jesus tells him that he has now received a full healing. Matt says that Jesus spoke these specific words to him and he says he will never forget these words. Jesus said to him – “This day I have purged yourblood with My Blood.”
Matt was literally choking up as he re-said those words back to the person who was interviewing him for this story. Matt then goes back to the doctor and has his AIDS checked out again. The doctor comes back completely dumbfounded and said he was now HIV negative. There was no trace of the virus anywhere in his system!
This doctor then interviewed other doctors who are experts in the treatment of AIDS. They said they have never seen anyone get diagnosed HIV positive, then break into full blown AIDS with all of its symptoms, then go back into remission while still continuing to be HIV positive, and then all of a sudden go into complete HIV negative! After all of this occurs, God leads Matt to the woman He wants him to marry. Matt had become sterile as a result of all the medication he had been on earlier trying to combat the AIDS. At the time of this interview with Trinity Broadcasting Network, Matt’s wife is now pregnant and they will be having a brand new baby boy very shortly! God has now also healed this man from his sterility! Matt gets himself checked out every 6 months to see if the AIDS have come back. The AIDS has not come back on him since 1994 when he had received the complete healing from the Lord on it.
Matt continues to serve God full time preaching about the mercy, love, forgiveness and power of God and that God can forgive and set anyone free from their past – no matter how bad or shameful their past may be.
Sometime ago, I posted an article on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) on my mentoring and coaching website I got a lot of comments on my article, and Google seemed to find it interesting enough to give it some pretty high ranking – #2 in search results for about 6 months until the meta tags were inadvertently changed by a new IT staff member. It’s a messy disorder for someone to have and wreaks havoc on the relationships in their life. Helping someone get free of NPD is not an easy road. Most often those who hope for success for a friend or loved one to come out of it are met with disappointment.
Recently, I posted that article to Facebook and got a comment on it that was more an appeal for help from a guy who had a girlfriend who apparently suffers from NPD. I did not anticipate that I would write such a long response to him about it, but it ended up that way. Here is his comment and his question, and my response. I thought it might be helpful to someone who might also know of someone suffering from this relationship disabling disorder.
Comment/Question: My girlfriend suffers from this disorder, yet she doesn’t realize it nor does she think she has this problem. She is the textbook version of it, so my question is, “how do you convince someone to seek help for this considering a NPD person thinks they are wayyyyyyyyyyy above needing help to begin with???
My Answer: Humanly speaking, this disorder can stem from an array of psychoses ranging from multi-personality disorder, bipolarism (manic depression), intense self-centeredness, and deep insecurities that can be as many as there are symptoms of NPD in someone. Getting someone help for this requires a great deal of patience to help them discover these abnormalities in their life.
This is sometimes best handled by addressing abnormalities in their attitude towards someone or something that triggers a manifestation of their NPD. In my view, NPD is the human view of a spiritual problem. It is an extreme manifestation of one’s self will and self-centered desires IN CONTRAST to that of a surrendered will to the will of God, and a life lived out in humility and love (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for a view of the antithesis of NPD). From a spiritual perspective, pastorally speaking, emotional healing of deep wounds that can go as far back as childhood, and deliverance from the SPIRITUAL influences (spiritual wickedness in high places – See Ephesians 6) is how NPD is best dealt with.
As with all positive change, it requires a person to first recognize that the way they live and relate to others is hurting themselves and their relationships and the root cause of their unhappiness and moodiness. I say unhappiness and moodiness, because I have yet to meet anyone that suffers from NPD that is truly happy with themselves or their relationships, and who does not deal with moodiness on a regular basis.
I am not a physician or a licensed psychiatrist, nor do I pretend to have all the answers, but I do understand Biblical and Spiritual principles well enough to know what can be done from a spiritual standpoint. Most psychoses have their origins in the spiritual realm, i.e. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 NLT). This sort of approach is for another article (or course of study), but practically speaking, if you are in a relationship with someone like this and NOT married to them, I suggest that you make sure they understand what you perceive in them, and if they are unwilling to seek help through counseling and you are suffering under the oppression of this “disorder” by staying in relationship with them, UNTANGLE yourself from the relationship with them as quickly as possible. I would suggest also distancing yourself from them for whatever length of time it takes for them to recognize and address this ‘disorder’.
If you are married to an individual suffering from NPD, seek marital counseling with a counselor that is well-educated in clinical psychology so that they will be able to address these issues head-on. The short version of the spiritual approach is pretty straight forward. It begins with prayer and fasting for the individual, and petitioning God to reveal their ‘unhappiness’ and ’emotional distress’ to them in such a way that they will want to get help and be delivered of the tormenting spirits that cause the manifestations associated with NPD.
ULTIMATELY, it is a matter of a person’s will to want to change. We are all given a free will to make choices in our lives (the very nature of God Himself). If she is not willing to change, no one, not even God can change her. Yes, God CAN allow her to suffer the full consequences of her actions over time until she is at a place where she wants change in her life, but until SHE realizes her need for change, nothing will change. NPD is a not meant to be a part of relationships, and NO relationship can be health and thrive when NPD is a part of it.
The ‘Verse of Sword’ “…then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush…”
For those who nullify the way of Mohammed as a peaceful religion and the ‘cure for the ills of modern culture, this verse from the Qur’an cannot be overlooked by rational minds. It invalidates over 100 less hateful verses – verses Muslims still use in trying to portray Islam as peaceful and tolerant world religion. Qur’an 9:5, like all of the more hate-filled verses which advocate violence towards anyone that does not accept and follow Mohammed’s teachings, set a standard of terror to be reigned upon unbelievers of the Muslim faith.
Verses of hate towards non-believers of Islam as written in the Qur’an represent 60% of the Qur’an. Non-believers, as defined by the Qur’an are anyone that is not a Muslim. In contrast to Mohammed’s teachings as found in the Qur’an, Holy Scriptures as found in the Bible quote Jesus Christ as consistently saying something quite different. While Mohammed said to kill infidels/unbelievers, Jesus, the Messiah brought an entirely different message to the world hundreds of years earlier. In contrast to Mohammed, the man who began Islam, Jesus Christ said:
“Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:28)
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44)
“…do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (Matthew 5:39)
“The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Jesus spoke of how you could tell a person’s true nature in life by their actions. He said, “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions,” (Matthew 7:20). Whether you are a Christian or a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, this timeless Truth spoken and lived out by Jesus stands as the standard for what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable in life. You will be known by the fruit you produce. Does what you do in your life produce Life or death? Do your actions show Love to your fellow man or do they advocate violence? Does Islam?
I am continually drawn back to the Biblical definition of what love is. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about what God’s Love looks like being lived out in the lives of those who profess to know and love God. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 we read in part what God’s love looks like being lived out, and it is in stark contrast to what Mohammed taught. Christians are compelled to love others as themselves, and as Christ loves.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
When you study the Bible – the Old Testament and New Testament alike – and every other document in history that relates to or speaks about the true nature of God and His Son Jesus, this Truth of what love is shines all the brighter in a dark and dying and corrupt and violent world. In contrast to the teachings of Mohammed, the Messiah Jesus spoke of loving everyone whether they were followers of Him or not. In contrast to the teachings of Islam, God loves everyone and wants no one not to spend eternity away from His love and goodness. “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9).
Ask yourself this question each time you see violence caused by ‘religion’ in the world or how you or those around you treat others in and around their lives. Does the ‘god’ that you follow after offer hope, forgiveness, and peace, or does what you believe and follow and promote self-centered or hate-filled mandates that are not rooted in the definition of what Love is (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)?
If you are wondering how to have world peace, of how to best live your life out so that people will remember you for something beyond that of you just having lived and died. If you want to combat violence and hate and injustice, consider the idea of loving others instead of hating them because they are different. God loves everyone the same. Why shouldn’t we?
LOVE….. When you consider all the complexities of the human heart, and of all the things that detract from our ability to find true love, it really is a miracle to find someone that will love us for who we are, and bear up under the reality of our imperfect nature for a life time. Let’s face it. Loving imperfection is not something that comes naturally. It takes something supernatural to happen in our hearts towards another person.
Sometimes people set their standards so high for what they want in a soulmate that they are even to attain unto their own standards. My suggestion to those frustrated with finding Mr. Right or Miss Right is to be willing to become like the individual you hope most to find in life as a soulmate.
Don’t live a double standard by expecting someone to be more perfect than you are, more together, more on top of their game, in better health or with a better attitude than you are willing to have for yourself. That is hypocrisy in its most perfect sense when it comes to love relationships.
Be willing to become what you most desire in a soulmate and you will find that you can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation in your search. They will find you.
I loved Christmas growing up! It was one of the most special times of year for me for a lot of reasons. Certainly, all of us – at least those of us that have grown up celebrating Christmas on December 25th – have many fond memories of Christmas in our lives. I know I do. I gave up the notion of their being a Santa Claus early on in my childhood, and for as long as I can remember as an adult, I believed Christmas day was the day that the Savior of the world was born – even before I knew the implication of what that meant for me personally. It was just what everyone I had ever met told me as I grew up, and what everyone had told them when they were growing up. December 25th is when we celebrate Christmas (Christ Mass or Christ Celebration) because Jesus was born on that day. Right? Yet the shocking history of Christ reveals a different Jesus whose birth is celebrated. Are you ready for this?
Yes, I know. Why in the world do I want to ruin a good thing? What can I be thinking to make such a statement as to cast any doubt upon the very foundation of what December 25th represents to billions (whether they are Christian or not). And for sure, who can deny the magical moments that surround that time of year. It has become synonymous with peace and goodwill towards all men. What a wonderful thought! The uniqueness of this special holiday with all of its delicious trappings, the smells of foods cooking, Christmas lights everywhere, a Christmas tree decorated so beautifully with ornaments, twinkling reflections of light that can be seen in all the little colored ball ornaments. Christmas is a magical time of year, isn’t it? Well, would you believe that calling it a ‘magical time’ of year is probably a better choice of words than calling it a ‘HOLY time’ of year, because the shocking history of Christmas reveals a different Jesus who is worshipped as being born on that day. Listen, and learn. Let those who have ears to hear, hear what is being said here.
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! December 25th, the Birth of the Anti-Christ!
Yes! Reading a headline like this would shock me too! Truth be told, if a newspaper were to bring something like this as a Christmas morning headline in their paper, they would probably be run out of town! I mean, when you figure that the average family goes in debt by hundreds of dollars each year just to pull of a reasonably decent Christmas celebration, and then to open the newspaper and read a headline that associated their financial investment in fun and family and celebration was in fact celebrating the birth of the Anti-Christ, I am thinking that there would be public outrage towards the newspaper in that town. Wouldn’t you think? The Truth be told – whether a newspaper prints the headline or not – this is the very reality of what takes place on December 25th each year.
Pictured here is the god that is worshiped in Freemasonry called “Baphomet.” He is actually Satan the “horned god” who is half human with the head of a goat. His astrological sign is “Capricorn” the goat beginning on the Zodiac Cycle from December 22nd through January 21st. Back in 1981, before I was born again, I had dabbled in the Zodiac and I found a book entitled “Jesus Was a Capricorn.” Even Kris Kristofferson had written a song entitled “Jesus Was a Capricorn” back in the 1970’s which became popular.You seeSatan wants us to believe that Yahu’shua (Jesus) was born on December 25th because he wants us to believe that “Jesus was a reincarnation of Lucifer.” In other words, Satan wants to be Jesus the Messiah so that he can be worshiped!
Why Does Satan Like December 25th for the Birth of Messiah?
Ever since the Tower of Babel, beginning with Nimrod and his reincarnated son Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14), there have been many pagan false Messiahs. Each of these characters are fallen angels who took on the identity of “ascended masters” who were supposedly reincarnations of the “Universal Christ” for all religions. In essence, this is “Gnosticism” the false doctrine that teaches that “Yahu’shua (Jesus) the Messiah of Israel did not come in the flesh.”
This doctrine teaches instead that our Messiah was merely a reincarnation of all the other pagan gods who came before him on December 25th. This is how Satan has been preparing the entire world to accept the Antichrist. He has been doing this since the beginning of the creation by gradually changing the truth into a lie so that even the “elect” could be deceived.
Why do the pagans want to associate the real Yahu’shua Messiah (Jesus Christ) with the date of December 25th? The answer is quite simple. December 22nd begins the Zodiac cycle of “Capricorn” the “Goat of Mendez” which is also Satan or Baphomet, the “horned god” who is worshiped by Satanists and High Degree Masons. The pagans want us to believe that Yahu’shua Messiah (Jesus Christ) was a reincarnation of Lucifer on December 25th the month of “Capricorn the Goat”!
Capricorn is Capricornus a Latin compound of “goat-head.” “Capra” means head in Latin while “cornus” means horn. The original Greek Aegocerus means “goat-horned.”
Enoch’s Constellations Testify of Messiah
Around 2,900 years before the birth of Messiah, the book of Enoch reveals that the angel Uriel had shown him the constellations that were created by YHWH for the purpose of telling the gospel message and the prophecy of Messiah coming to earth. There were 48 constellations in all, but 12 of these constellations were named after the 12 Tribes of Israel. Later on, the pagans in Babylon, Greece & Rome got a hold of this information and renamed these constellations after fallen angels. Nimrod (the great grandson of Noah) wanted to build the Tower of Babel for this very reason. He wanted to communicate with the fallen angels and study the stars in order to practice divination and sorcery. But the constellations were never meant to be used in that way. YHWH created the constellations to reveal his plan of salvation for mankind, but Satan uses the constellations to cause people to worship him and the fallen angels. We are commanded however to worship the Creator and not the things that are created by him.
Nimrod’s Kingdom of Babylon
But 2,000 years before the birth of Messiah, Noah’s great grandson, Nimrod built the Tower of Babel (Genesis 10:10, 11:9).
Nimrod consulted with the pagan priests of Satan and he was told that if he committed an act of incest that he would receive greater occult powers and the ability to have what is called “the third eye” or the “all seeing eye of Horus.” And so Nimrod married his mother Semiramis, and together, they built the Babylonian Empire which combined their pagan religion with their form of government. They worshiped the stars, sun, and the moon, and they sacrificed their babies to Molech. Noah’s son Shem was so angry about this, that he had Nimrod killed and his body parts were delivered to different provinces within Babylon as a warning to those who worshiped Molech aka Satan. This can all be verified by reading the book of Jasher which was originally part of the Cannon of scripture in the 1611 King James Version of the Bible. We know that this was a part of the record of scripture, because it is mentioned in other books of the Bible:
Joshua 10:13And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
2nd Samuel 1:18(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book ofJasher.)
Nimrod’s wife/mother wanted to keep this false pagan religion alive in order to keep the money coming in. She consulted her astrologers who told her that on December 22nd the sun is the furthest away from the earth, but on December 25th, the sun is “born again.” This is known as the “winter solstice” in paganism. Semiramis became pregnant on March 25th (Easter/Ishtar), which is called the spring equinox in paganism. She told the Babylonian people that Nimrod was the god of the sun, and that he impregnated her, with the rays of the sun.
Exactly 9 months later on December 25th, she gave birth to a son and named him Tammuz. She told the Babylonians that Tammuz was a reincarnation of Nimrod the “sun god” born on December 25th and that she was the “goddess of the moon” or the “Queen of Heaven.” Today the Roman Catholic Church officially named “Mary/Miriam” (the mother of Jesus/Yahu’shua) “The Queen of Heaven”after this pagan fertility goddess.
And so Semiramis then ordered the Babylonians to go into the forest and cut down a tree and decorate it with little balls (which were meant to be Nimrod’s testicles) to commemorate Nimrod who was “cut down” like a tree. Elohim (God) hates this practice which is why he warned the children of Israel not to learn this custom from the pagans.
Jeremiah 10:1 Hear ye the word which YHWH speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
2 Thus saith YHWH, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; (astrology) for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not.
And today, Christ Mass trees are erected supposedly in the name of Jesus, but this practice was started long before Yahu’shua (Jesus) ever came to earth. Did YHWH change his mind now? No, he still hates it and he says “learn NOT the ways of the heathen…”
YHWH rebuked the children of Israel for worshiping this Queen of Heaven who is called by various names i.e. Venus, Isis, Diana, Aphrodite, Ishtar, Easter, Astoreth, Catholic “Mary” etc.
Jeremiah 7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
Pictured here is the Universal Mother goddess known as “The Queen of Heaven” (Semiramis) holding her baby son Tammuz born December 25th. Should we assimilate our Messiah to this pagan deity?
Listen to what YHWH says about it:
Deuteronomy 12:29 When YHWH your Elohim cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land,
30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise;’ for every abomination to YHWH which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
31 You shall not worship YHWH your Elohim in that way
Did you get this? Let me paraphrase what Yah is saying:
“Don’t learn to worship me the same way that the heathen nations worship their gods and then say that you are doing it for me—-it is an abomination!”
To those who would say: “We can take back the pagan holidays for Jesus” or to those who would say “Let’s put Christ back in Christmas…”
He does not have any affiliation to Christmas and he never did. There is a very sinister reason behind why December 25th was chosen as the alleged birthday of our Messiah. The Papacy in 538 A.D. made Christmas official Roman Catholic Doctrine for no other reason than to have political correctness with the pagans.
Trying to put our beloved Messiah into “Christmas” is like erecting a life size statue of your ex-lover’s private parts right in front of your spouse at the foot of your marriage bed and then saying “honey look what I made for you….”
YHWH hates the fact that his backsliding whoring wife Israel went after her Ba’als and today he sees the Christian Church doing the identical thing and he wants these reminders out of his face!
Pictured here are all of the many “Christs” or false Messiah’s since the days of Nimrod, and they are all reincarnated on December 25th and crucified on March 25th (Ishtar/Easter).
YHWH is telling us that he does not want us to worship him the same way that the pagans worship their gods and then say “we are doing it for you, Jesus” he says this is an abomination!
YHWH was also very angry with the children of Israel for worshiping this pagan sun god named Tammuz born December 25th:
Ezekiel 8:5 Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.
13 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of YHWH’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
15 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.
16 And he brought me into the inner court of YHWH’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of YHWH, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of YHWH, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
The Image of Jealousy
Pictured here is the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. This is the Image of Jealousy that YHWH hates and is also called “An Egyptian Obelisk” (Ezekiel 8:5). It is the image of Nimrod’s erect penis. This is what the Christmas Tree represents. It is Nimrod’s Penis decorated with little balls that are meant to represent his testicles.
The Freemasons are responsible for designing Churches with steeples on them because Steeples are powerful talismans that draw witchcraft power and attract demons. This is why YHWH hates these images mentioned in Ezekiel 8 because he knows that they were deliberately designed to resemble Nimrod’s penis and to provoke him to jealousy!
The Biblical Cyclopedia, by McClintock and Strong, says: “Even the spires of churches are symbols retained from the old phallic worship” (“Phallus,” vol. VIII, p. 55).
Thomas Inman, in his book Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, writes that ancient fertility rites and phallic worship resulted in the setting up of various architectural structures such “as we now see towers or spires before our churches, and minarets before mosques” (p. XXII). This is sufficient evidence that our churches should not be adorned with such symbols and that they should have no connection to the worship of God.
As I did more research on steeples I discovered that in paganism they would cut the tops of trees off in the forest and make “phallic” symbols. In the Bible, Elohim (God) called these “groves.”
In the New King James Version the word “Asherah” is used for “groves.” Asherah is the Phoenician “goddess of love” also known as Venus in Rome (aka “Mary” to Catholics). The word “Asherah” in Hebrew means “groves”, yet it comes from the root word “ashar” meaning “straight or erect” hence the phallic symbol or obelisk. “an image of the male reproductive organ.”
Rome is the city with the greatest number of obelisks in the world. There are no less than 19 spires to be found in city squares or in gardens belonging to noble mansions.
St. Peter’s Square is adorned with Rome’s most famous obelisk without hieroglyphs. The Obelisk in St. Peter’s Square lies between the double colonnade and was brought to Rome from Heliopolis. Emperor Caligula had it brought here in 37 AD, to be used as a decoration for what a few years later would have been known as Nero’s Circus. Since St. Peter’s was founded by the remains of this circus, for a very long time the obelisk stood by the side of the basilica.
Once again we see the “worship of nature” is evident here in Obelisks, as Wiccans and witches use these to summon the powers of “nature” yet they are unaware that they are summoning Satan’s power.
Steeples are Phallic symbols and YHWH tells us to destroy them:
Exodus 34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves…
Deuteronomy 7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
Jeremiah 43:13 He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire. (KJV)
Jeremiah 43:13 He shall break the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt, and the temples of the gods of Egypt he shall burn with fire. (English Standard Version)
Here in the English Standard Version the phrase “Obelisk of Heliopolis” is specified.
Child Mass Services to Molech
Pictured here is the half man half horned animal god known as Molech (Satan). December 25th was the day that this deity required that children were sacrificed on the altar to him! Why December 25th? Because this is known in paganism as “the winter solstice” and it is supposedly the best time to offer up babies to Satan because the sun is being “reborn.” Satan wants to be the brightest star in the solar system, and he wants to be called “The Sun” even though in Malachi 4:2 our Messiah Yahu’shua, is called “the Sun of Righteousness.”
The people of Babylon would make a “wish list” for Molech and then they would place their babies to be burned alive into the arms of this god Molech along with their wish list, and they believed that by offering up their babies to this god on December 25th, they would receive everything that they had requested on their wish list in the year to come.
The image of Molech was a giant statue made of iron. Underneath this image was an oven, and it was stoked with wood until it became bright red. The image resembled today’s modern day “Satan Claws” (Santa Clause) and people are still “offering up their children” to Molech the god of prosperity and materialism when they ignorantly allow their children to sit on the lap of the image of Santa/Satan.
The word “mass” in English comes from a Latin word that is defined as follows: “a considerable assemblage, number, or quantity: a mass of troops, the masses, the ordinary or common people as a whole; the working classes or the lower social classes.” The word later on became associated with “mass murder” as in “massacre.” Hence the word “mass” is applied as follows: “pertaining to, involving, or affecting a large number of people: mass unemployment; mass migrations; mass murder.”
How did we derive the term “Christ Mass”? It stems from the perpetual sacrifice of our Messiah Yahu’shua supposedly at every Catholic “Mass”:
“Public celebration of the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant churches. The sacrament of the Eucharist.”
Every time we say “Merry Christ Mass” we are declaring that we are “Merry” about the “Mass Murder” of our Messiah on millions of altars in Catholic Churches across the globe on a daily basis! Roman Catholicism teaches that Yahu’shua (Jesus) must be crucified over and over again daily at each and every Mass. They teach that his once and for all sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient to atone for sin!
This very same Babylonian religion originated at the Tower of Babel, and was carried over into other cultures under different names. In Egypt she was known as Isis, Queen of Heaven and Tammuz was known as Horus. Nimrod was known as Seb.
The Egyptian priests placed these initials I H S of the pagan trinity (Isis, Horus & Seb) on a round wafer to commemorate the sun god and they ate it each year on December 25th believing that the sun god was being reincarnated in them as they ate this wafer god. They re-enacted the death of Nimrod on a “tree” on March 25th (Easter) and believed he would be reincarnated on December 25th. This re-enactment was called a “Mass” or Massacre.
Today, these same initials of I H S appear on the Catholic Eucharist Wafer. The Catholic Catechism teaches that the priest has the power to pull Christ down from his throne and crucify him again and again at each Mass. The Catechism states concerning Christ:
“At each mass, he performs the function of the victim anew…”
The Catholic Trinity secretly disguises a different trinity than what most Christians believe in:
The Pope as the “Holy Father”, Jesus as the pagan sun god (reincarnation of Tammuz), and Mary as the Holy Spirit, hence Isis (Mary) Horus (Jesus) Seb (Pope/Father).
Pictured here is the original “Trinity” of the Father Nimrod, the Mother Semiramis, and the Son Tammuz. The Roman Emperor Constantine borrowed this pagan myth and assimilated it to our Messiah. He renamed Nimrod “the Holy Father” (every Pope is supposedly a reincarnation of Nimrod the sun god). The title “Pope” in Latin is Pappas meaning “Father.” He renamed Semiramis “Mary” or the Holy Spirit. He renamed Tammuz “J’Zeus.”
Chanukah: The Re-Dedication of YHWH’s Temple
About 167 years before Messiah came to earth, there was a Greek-Syrian dictator known as Antiochus. Antiochus went into the Jewish temple and set up an abominable image of Zeus the pagan sun god on December 25th and claimed that he was a reincarnation of Zeus on December 25th. He gave himself the title “Epiphanies” which in Greek means “God Manifest” as he claimed that he was a reincarnation of “God” on December 25th.
Interestingly, the word “Epiphanies” adds up to 666 in the Greek alphabet. Antiochus was a precursor to the final Antichrist that will come before the second coming of Yahu’shua Messiah. Satan has now tried to launch a campaign against Chanukah calling it “pagan” when in reality Chanukah celebrates the overthrow of pagan sun god worship that is done each year on December 25th. Chanukah is the exact anti-thesis to Christmas and our Messiah celebrated it because it commemorates the re-dedication of his Father’s House (see John 10:22). The only man-made tradition that has been “added” to the “Feast of Dedication” by Judaism is the myth of the 8-day miracle of the oil that kept the menorah lit for eight days in a row on a one-day supply of oil. This is merely a myth and cannot be substantiated by the book of Maccabees. Also the temple menorah has only 7 branches, not 9 branches. I believe in celebrating Chanukah by reading the story of the Maccabees to our children and remember the Jewish people who died because they loved the commandments of YHWH and refused to bow to a pagan idol. But I believe in using the 7-branch temple menorah and not the 9-branch one invented by traditions of men. There is also much evidence that reveals that our Messiah was conceived on Chanukah and born 9 months later on in September on the Feast of Trumpets (see my article entitled “The Conception of Yahu’shua on Chanukah”).
The original name of Jesus was Yahu’shua (Joshua), which is what his parents named him. Yahu’shua literally means “Yahu shall save.”
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Miriam (Mary) the mother of Yahu’shua, he did not tell her to give him a Greek name. Gabriel said to name him Yahu’shua “for he shall save” his people.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, andthou shalt call his name YAHU’SHUA (JESUS): for he shall save his people from their sins.
Whose Birthday Are You Really Celebrating? J’Zeus or Yahu’shua?
The Greeks called their supreme deity “Zeus” but when they were receiving Yahu’shua as their Messiah in the 1st Century, they began placing a letter “Y” in front of Zeus as Y’Zeus since Yah is the Hebrew name for the self-existent eternal Elohim (God). From Y’Zeus, Ieosus became the Greek way to spell Yahu’shua (Joshua). Later on when the English translations of the Bible went into print, a new letter was added to the alphabet—the letter “J” and it was meant to sound like the “Y” sound. From there J’Zeus or Ieosus/Jeosus in Greek was the transliteration for Yahu’shua. The Greek transliteration of Yahu’shua was supposed to sound like “Yeosus” or Ieosus but as time went on in American culture, the letter “J” began to take on the pronunciation of the letter “G.” Hence today, the name Jesus sounds more like “Geezus” than the Greek “Yaysoos” or the Hebrew Yahu’shua. “Geezus” means nothing to people living in Israel or Hebrew speaking people. But Yahu’shua (Joshua) is his real name given to him by his heavenly Father.
In Latin the term “Io” means “hail” or “praise.” Hence on December 25th in Ancient Rome, people would give praises to the god Saturn on December 25th and shout “Io, Saturnalia, Io, Saturnalia.” This was a day for drunkeness, orgies, child sacrifices and debauchery. Later on the Roman pagan god of Jupiter & the Greek pagan god Zeus were merged into J’Zeus and so the phrase “Io Zeus, Io Zeus” was also used to say “Praise Zeus.” The Greek transliteration for the name of our Messiah went from Yahu’shua to Ieosus and this is how we came to the name J’Zeus. So you see, Io Zeus is the same thing as Ieosus which means “Praise Zeus!”
In 167 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanies sacrificed a pig on the altar of sacrifice in the Jewish Temple, and he outlawed the holy feasts of YHWH from Leviticus 23 as he persecuted the Jewish people. He burned all of the Torah scrolls he could find and he would not allow the Jewish people to obey the commandments of YHWH. He forced them to eat pork against their will and he forced them to worship him instead as the reincarnation of Zeus on December 25th and if they did not, they were executed.
During the days when Antiochus persecuted the Jews, there was a Jewish man by the name of Judah Maccabees. He and his sons began a revolt and they took back YHWH’s temple and cleansed it.
About 160 years after the Maccabean Revolt, Miriam/Mary conceived Yahu’shua on Chanukah in 4 B.C. on December 13th. This can be calculated precisely through scripture by knowing the date of John the Baptist’s birth from Luke chapter 1. John the Baptist’s father Zechariah was a priest in the temple and of the division of Abijah. In the book of 2nd Chronicles we find out that King David had divided up the priesthood into 24 courses annually. There were 24 priests and each one would serve for 2 weeks throughout the year. Zechariah, being of the division of Abijah, would serve in the Jewish month of Sivan (June on our calendar). Zechariah went home to his wife Elizabeth and she conceived immediately following his temple duty according to the words of Gabriel.
In 325 A.D., Constantine a Roman Emperor, in an attempt to unify the Roman Empire, combined this same pagan religion from Babylon with so-called Christianity. Constantine worshiped “Mithra” the pagan sun god born December 25th. He believed he could bring unity to Rome by keeping this pagan religion and combining it with Christianity. So he wrote the Edict of Milan and he dis-fellowshipped the Jewish believers in Yahu’shua (Jesus).
But Constantine did not remove the pagan statues from the pagan temples but instead he gave them “Christian” names. He named Venus “Mary” and he named Sol the pagan sun god “Jesus.”
He wrote: “…the Jews are dogs and the Christians should have nothing to do with the Jews…God has shown us a better way…”
He outlawed Passover and enforced “Easter” in its place for the Babylonian goddess Ishtar/Semiramis. He also outlawed Sabbath and enforced it on Sunday for the sun god instead. He had believers in Messiah killed who kept these feasts of YHWH from Leviticus 23 that the Jewish Apostles and Yahu’shua also kept.
In the 5th Century, the Catholic Church officially made Christ Mass on December 25th the official date for celebrating the birth of Messiah because of Constantine’s influence.
Constantine was the first Pope historically giving himself the title “Pontifex Maximus” which is still to this day the official title of a Pope. This literally means “The Ultimate Bridge” between God and Man! In other words, the word “Pontiff” means “bridge” as every Pope purports to be the bridge or mediator between Elohim (God) and Man just like Yahu’shua (Jesus)!
The word “pope” means “father” in Latin and Yahu’shua said “call no man upon the earth your father, for there is one who is your father…” (Matthew 23:9)
So where does the term “Christ Mass” have its origin? The Catholic Mass is a Massacre of Christ where he is being crucified all over again according to Catholic dogma.
When we say “Merry Christ Mass” we are saying “Let’s be Merry about crucifying Jesus afresh…”
But Hebrews 6 tells us “seeing they crucify to themselves the son of God afresh and put him to an open shame…”
If we say “Merry Christ Mass” we are saying that we are merry about putting our Messiah, Yahu’shua to an open shame!
Why does the Catholic Church believe he must be crucified afresh? Because they teach that Yahu’shua did not inherit a corruptible physical nature like us, and that he did not crucify the sinful nature on the cross. But Romans 8:3 says that Yahu’shua (Jesus) “came in the likeness of sinful flesh…” so that he could destroy sin in the flesh once and for all!
Romans 6:10 …For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto Elohim (God).
Catholicism teaches that Yahu’shua (Jesus) inherited a sinless divine nature from Mary his mother as they teach that she was born without original sin. This is what is called the “Immaculate Conception.” Most Protestants think this has to do with the virgin birth of Yahu’shua Messiah, but it does not. The Immaculate Conception is about Mary’s birth supposedly without original sin. And of course this is total blasphemy and a lie.
Mary, although a godly woman was born as a sinner like everyone else and she herself acknowledged her need for Yahu’shua to save her.
And so this is what is so blasphemous about the Catholic Mass and why we as believers should have nothing to do with saying “Merry Christ Mass.”
1st John 4:3 in the King James Version (other versions deleted this verse) gives us a litmus test for how to “try the spirits” to see whether or not they are from Elohim (God). It says that “every spirit” which denies or “confesses not” that “Yahu’shua Messiah is come in the flesh” (with a carnal nature) is from the Antichrist. What does this mean “come in the flesh?” The Greek word for “flesh” in this verse is “sarx” meaning “having a sensual nature.” This means that Yahu’shua had a corruptible nature physically but not spiritually. His blood came from his Heavenly Father, but his corruptible body came from his mother. Yahu’shua had to possess both natures in order to be the anointed Savior. He had to have an incorruptible nature spiritually, having blood that was perfect and without sin so as to be the perfect atonement for sin. He had to also possess a corruptible nature physically so that he could put to death “the body of sins” (Colossians 2:11, 1st Peter 2:24, Romans 6:6).
This Catholic Doctrine which says that Mary was born without original sin and that Yahu’shua did not possess a carnal nature either because of her, is from the Antichrist! Yahu’shua had to possess a carnal nature in order to destroy sin on the cross once and for all. Yahu’shua was 100% Elohim (God) and 100% Human at the same time. Although he never sinned, he was “tempted in every way as we are” (Hebrews 4:15).
And so the Catholic Mass is Antichrist doctrine which denies that Yahu’shua destroyed the carnal sinful nature on the cross once and for all. That is why they teach he must “perform the function of the victim anew at every Mass…”
Now we see how Anti-Christ Christ Mass really is!
If Yahu’shua is supposedly another reincarnation of all the false pagan Messiah’s born December 25th that have come up through the centuries i.e. Nimrod, Tammuz, Apollo, Zeus, Bacchus, Krishna, etc. then “he is not come in the flesh.” In other words this teaching insinuates that “the Christ” is a consciousness rather than a person! Yahu’shua (Jesus) is the Messiah fully in the flesh! The Catholic Mass denies this by teaching that he must be crucified over and over again at each Mass.
Today, Christendom has borrowed much of its system from the ancient Babylonian religion of Nimrod and Semiramis, which is why Yahu’shua (Jesus) said in Revelation 18 concerning MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS:
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
In the 1500’s many people obeyed this command and did just what Yahu’shua commanded here. They left Roman Catholicism and thus began the biggest revival in European history. We call this The Protestant Reformation. Protestant Churches preached against Christ Mass and Easter, and even the Puritans that came over on the Mayflower wanted nothing to do with these pagan days. It was official church doctrine in the Baptist, Presbyterian and many other Protestant Denominations not to observe these Catholic Pagan days known as Christ Mass and Easter. In fact, it was against the law to own a Christ Mass tree in the 1600’s in America!
Only in the past 100 years in America, have these pagan days become popular once again in the Protestant churches. Why?
1st Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
As we approach the second coming of Yahu’shua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah), the Bible tells us that many shall depart from the faith of the Jewish Apostles and give heed to doctrines of devils.
Many Jews believe that Yahu’shua (Jesus) was a false pagan Messiah because we Christians have been lying and telling the world that he was born on the same day that Antiochus Epiphanies persecuted them under inspiration of the pagan sun god Zeus on December 25th. They also see that we are celebrating his resurrection on “Easter” which comes one month earlier from Passover on our solar pagan calendar. They view this as a big joke because we claim that Yahu’shua (Jesus) is our “Passover Lamb” yet we celebrate his resurrection one month before Passover according to the corruption of the Roman Papacy who corrupted YHWH’s calendar. No wonder why Jews have a hard time accepting Yahu’shua as the Messiah, with all of our confusing mixture of Babylonian sun god worship which only serves to distort prophecy.
Jews see December 25th as a day when they were being persecuted for worshiping the one true Elohim (God) YHWH, and they were forced to worship a false Messiah “Zeus” on December 25th.
Yahu’shua told the woman at the well:
John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Any Jew knows that YHWH would never allow the Messiah to be born on a pagan sun god day. Any Jew knows that when Messiah comes he will be born on a Holy day of YHWH from Leviticus 23 of which YHWH said “ye shall observe these throughout all your generations…forever…”
Celebrating the Appointed Feasts of YHWH versus the Pagan Days that Commemorate Nimrod
The Holy Feast days of YHWH were never meant to go away with the New Covenant. All of the pagan sun god worship festivals that we have adopted instead point to the Antichrist, Nimrod, the first impostor to the true Jewish Messiah in history.
We can unveil the true Jewish Messiah by telling the truth that Yahu’shua was born on a Holy Day of YHWH and not on a man-made pagan sun god day.
Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
This verse is often used out of context to justify keeping pagan days, but it is saying just the opposite. We are not to judge those who want to keep the feasts of YHWH from Leviticus 23 that are called “holy” and we are not to judge each other in HOW these holy days are celebrated. This means that we don’t have to sacrifice animals any longer under the new administration of grace. Every believer in Yahu’shua is now under the royal priesthood of Melchizedek, and so we do not celebrate these feasts in the rabbinical way that they were formerly kept. We are now led by the Holy Spirit in how we keep these holy days. This verse is in no way condoning keeping pagan days, because YHWH never called them holy.
Only when we start associating Yahu’shua with the Holy Days of YHWH will the Jewish people begin to recognize him as the true Jewish Messiah.
The Jewish people are on YHWH’s top list of priorities because in John 4:22 Messiah revealed to us that “salvation comes from the House of Judah” (Jews). It is a small sacrifice for us as believers to give up man-made traditions in order to win them back:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Messiah: for it is the power of Elohim (God) unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Do you remember what Yahu’shua said concerning Traditions of Men?
Matthew 15:6 Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
If we want the commandments of YHWH to once again become effective in our lives, we must abandon the “traditions of men.”
The Law of Moses is not “done away with” (Matthew 5:17-19), but rather it has been transferred from stone into “fleshy tables of the heart” (2nd Corinthians 3:3). Under the New Covenant, these same laws given to us in stone through Moses were now given to every believer on the Day of Pentecost (called Shavuot) written upon our minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:10, 10:16).
Before we can see the same fire from heaven as in the days when Elijah offered up the sacrifice on Mount Carmel, we must first follow the same steps that Elijah followed. He did several things in 1st Kings 18 before YHWH Elohim consumed the sacrifice:
1. He repaired the broken down altar. This means that he re-established true biblical worship not patterned after Baal or sun god worship.
2. He set up 12 stones after the 12 tribes “from whom the word of Elohim (God) came.” This means that he re-established the plum line of the Torah (God’s Law).
3. He watered the sacrifice “three times” with “four barrels.” This symbolizes three major outpourings of the Holy Spirit in history. The number four symbolizes the “four corners” of the earth or “harvest.” This means that the pattern for true revival will always be preceded by the “washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). In other words, a return to the scriptures as the plum line is the plum-line to a true revival—-and not merely “manifestations.” This means the baptism of repentance (water/word) must precede the baptism in fire (power).
The true fire of the Holy Spirit will consume the body of believers only when these steps are followed. We cannot by-pass the cross of Messiah and repentance. We cannot skip over these steps and run towards the “fire” or we will end up with “strange fire” which will be a counterfeit.
The Testimony of Yahu’shua (Jesus)
In Revelation 19:10 we read that the “testimony of Yahu’shua is the spirit of prophecy.” We also read in Revelation 12:17 that the dragon will make war with the remnant of Israel’s seed that “keep the commandments” and “have the testimony of Yahu’shua Messiah.” And lastly we find out in Revelation 22:14 that only those who “do his commandments” may have right to eat from the tree of life, and may enter into the gate of the New Jerusalem!
This being the case, don’t you want to know what the “testimony of Yahu’shua” is? Don’t you want to find out what all of this means so that you may be able to do the commandments?”
The Holy Feast Days of YHWH are commanded for “all Israel” (not only the house of Judah/Jews) and they are the “Testimony of Yahu’shua (Jesus)” because they declare his testimony as follows:
1. Passover: The death of Yahu’shua Messiah on the cross as our Passover Lamb
2. Feast of Unleavened Bread: The burial of Yahu’shua Messiah.
3. First Fruits: Yahu’shua’s true resurrection day. He went into the lowest parts of the earth and brought before the Father “the first fruits” of men’s souls (Ephesians 4:8; 1st Corinthians 15:20-23; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4).
4. Feast of Weeks/Pentecost: Yahu’shua baptized believers in fire and the Holy Spirit as he promised; He also wrote the Torah/Law in our hearts and minds as the sign of the New Covenant.
5. Feast of Trumpets: Yahu’shua’s true date of birth on September 11th 3 B.C. the Father “announced his son” with a great sound of a trumpet blast into the world; the future catching away of the bride at the “last trump.”
6. Day of Atonement: Yahu’shua announced in the temple on Yom Kippur that he had fulfilled Isaiah 61 as the “anointed one” who was to come. He proclaimed the “acceptable year of the Lord” that year for Israel’s sins had been forgiven because of him; He became the “scapegoat” by taking away sin and took sin out in the wilderness for 40 days, never to return (as far as the east is from the west); (Luke 4:18-21).
7. Feast of Tabernacles: Yahu’shua dwelled in the sukkah or manger with his parents during this eight day feast shortly after his birth; The future consummation of the wedding between Messiah and his bride. He will drink the 4th cup of the Kingdom in the New Millennium and his bride shall “tabernacle” or dwell in peace and safety with him for 1,000 years.
8. Weekly Sabbath: Yahu’shua resurrected on Saturday night at sundown (the first day of the week) “three days and three nights after his Wednesday Passover crucifixion and this is why he declared “I am Lord of the Sabbath.”
Yahu’shua will fulfill the Sabbath Millennium 7,000 years from creation as 1,000 years of rest when we receive our new bodies. (2nd Peter 3:8, one day is as one thousand years with YHWH).
The Sabbaths & Feast Days A Sign of Our Covenant with YHWH
As New Covenant believers who are born again by the Holy Spirit and washed in the blood of the lamb, we are now grafted into the Olive Tree (Israel) according to Romans 11, and we are “part of the commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:12). Now because we are New Covenant Israel, we are still commanded to keep his “Sabbaths” (Feasts) as a “sign” between us and him forever. This is what sanctifies us and sets us apart from the other pagan religions of the world:
Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am YHWH that doth sanctify you.
Ezekiel 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them that they might know that I am YHWH that sanctify them.
Ezekiel 20:20 And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am YHWH your Elohim (God).
Why should we abandon the pagan feasts of Nimrod made to appear “Christian”?
1. Because they are an abomination to YHWH, and he hates them.
2. Because they defile us and keep us in deception.
3. Because they point to another Christ, not the true Messiah of Israel.
4. Because the Anti-Messiah will mark his own children with the “sign” which are the feasts ordained by the Roman Papacy.
Why should we keep the Feasts of YHWH?
1. They are a sign between us and him forever.
2. They declare the testimony of Yahu’shua (Jesus).
3. They are called “holy convocations” (rehearsals) of prophetic future events.
YHWH has given us a “sign” of his covenant forever and they are his appointed feasts and Sabbaths. These are what separate us and sanctify us from the other counterfeit religions.
The Book of Jasher, Apocrypha
Brown, F., Driver, S.R., and Briggs, C.A. (abbreviated to BDB), A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament.Oxford (Clarendon Press, 1962).
Cassuto, U., A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, 2 vols. (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1964).
Frankfort, H., Kingship and the Gods (Chicago: University Press, 1948).
Heidel, A., The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels (Chicago: University Press, 1963).
Jacobsen, T., The Sumerian Kinglist (Chicago: University Press, 1939).
I have been going through some tough times lately (yes, personal and business coaches go through stuff too). It has been quite possibly, …. no …. most certainly, the toughest time in my personal life that I have ever faced. There is lots of pain. It’s all very messy and very dramatic at times – at least from my perspective. As a success coach for many years now, it’s ironic that I would be walking through much of the same things that I have helped coaching clients walk through. It’s not that I have not had to deal with many of these issues in the past, but that this time around it all seems very more deeply impacting on my life. Indeed the process of personal success can be very messy at times.
I’ve been very fortunate to have trustworthy people that I could turn to who have been able to help me gain insight and wisdom from these tough times. There is pain in this journey. There is internal conflict. There is disappointment. There is uncertainty. Yes, there is everything that can make a life messy, BUT… with this messy drama in my life, there is growth like I have not known in my life in years, a wealth of knowledge about relationships, insight into things I have internalized and struggled with for most of my life, and with it all, everything that make life worth living. I am becoming a much better (and hopefully more likable and lovable) man. Isn’t this what we all want in life – to be more likable and lovable?
It’s Not an Easy Process
Growth and change bring conflict. It’s just how life is. When you attempt to do great things in your life, to achieve, to excel, to improve how you relate to others, you will most always face some sort of criticism, ridicule, skepticism, and/or opposition. In short, things can get messy. It’s just how life is when you seek to rise above mediocrity. Not everyone will see things your way. Not everyone will be excited for your growth. Not everyone will be encouraging about what you are going through or about the progress of your journey.
Jesus Himself faced continual criticism for what He said, ridicule for the things He did, and skepticism from even His own family and friends at times. He faced intense opposition from the very people He sought to bring the Truth of who He was and what He offered to those who would follow Him. As far as the Truth of who Jesus is, even today – 2000 years after He was resurrected from the dead – His name still brings conflict, criticism, ridicule, skepticism, and opposition. Don’t believe me? Stand out on a busy street corner and proclaim Jesus as Lord and see what sort of response you get.
We must get used to things getting messy at times in our lives if we want to see real growth in our character. We must be willing to work through the challenges that come our way if we want to excel in the things we most want in our lives. We must be ready to come to terms with the things in our lives that keep us from becoming everything that we were created to become. It is in all this – life’s greatest challenges – that the greatest success stories are born out of. These ‘success stories’ are made out of the torn and tattered fabric of human experience. The heroes in our lives are most often those who have weathered the greatest storms. These heroes in life provide the greatest inspiration for others to aspire to become like.
Success – lasting success – comes at a price. The caveat in being a great success story is that you must be willing to be transparent, honest, and open to being real with your life. There are a great multitude of superficial, insincere, shallow people all around us – those fake it until you make it sort of people – that confuse success with money, things, popularity, and sexual appeal. These are NOT the heroes in life or the examples of what the masses really want. At the core of our existence, humans want authenticity. When they see it, it’s like a drink of cool water to their dry souls. They just can’t get enough. In our superficial Hollywood driven world, people are screaming for authenticity, honesty, sincerity, and realness. BE THAT AUTHENTIC INDIVIDUAL!
Don’t Choose to Live the Hollywood Version of Yourself
Remember that while the Hollywood version of yourself may reflect a good life with no problems, challenges, struggles or heart aches, it is not real life. Living superficially in your relationships or living the deceptive ‘fake it until you make it’ lifestyle, only robs you of the deeper and more meaningful things that allow us to live an authentic purpose-filled life. When we live behind a mask of perfection in hopes that others will like or accept us more, we will ultimately fail both ourselves and others who need an example of the strength and courage that comes from the furnace of hardship, trials, pain, and personal failure. Don’t sell yourself short and settle for the Hollywood version of yourself. There are enough superficial Hollywood characters in life. Determine to start living your life authentically so your life can be the life of a hero to someone who needs one.
Be willing to live authentically by embracing the messy and the dramatic in life. It is what best shapes our character and future success. Those who live authentic transparent lives, and are willing to be real and honest with the world around them are the true heroes. This sort of realness in your life will bring you the sort of things that cannot be bought, cannot be traded for, and cannot be leveraged into. This realness will spill over into every part of your life – into your family life, into your school life, into our work life, and into your relationships. As you strive to live authentically and embrace the messy things of your life as opportunities for growth, you will see amazing things happen in you from the inside out. When you determine that no matter what may come from your choice to be real, honest, and transparent in your life, you will begin to live and to love more passionately. The best part of the whole process will be that you will have a positive impact on those around you who will want to have what you have.
Encouragement for those of you who are struggling in a relationship right now:
GOD CARES about your heart and the heart of the one you love. He does not want your love to die, but you cannot have the best of everything in your love life without having Him at the center of it. (keep reading… there is hope)
It’s never too late for two people who truly love each other to stop the destructive things they are doing to harm their love relationship, and start doing things that bring life to their relationship. All too often couples speak death and entertain thoughts of death and division when they are wounded or angry or frustrated. They even look elsewhere for intimacy during these times. STOP IT if you are doing this. Repent from it!
When two people are willing to go deep and find the richness that comes from thoughtful and honest communication about what they need, what pains their hearts, and how they feel, God can work in their hearts. When this happens, you will end up with a stronger, more passionate, and more meaningful relationship then ever before. The love you have is worth fighting for so don’t give up on it!
MEN!!!! If you have wounded the heart of the woman in your life through your foolishness, insensitivity or even willful sin – REPENT! Stop what you are doing that is wounding her heart!!! Stop it! REPENT (turn away from it)!!! Remove anything from your life that is a hindrance in protecting her heart. Nothing is more valuable to you in this life than a woman who has truly given her heart to you – NOTHING!
She is a grace gift to you from God. BUT DO NOT THINK that you can abuse such a gift and not run the risk of losing it forever if you do not change our ways. Rid your life of anything that she feels is damaging your relationship with her and pursue her with your WHOLE heart as if she were the very air that you breath.
WOMEN!!!! You may be the one who is wounding your man’s heart through your insensitivity to his insecurities. You may even be the one who is being unfaithful and breaking the commitment you have made to him after years of frustration in your relationship with him. This is NOT of God. You are in his life to refine him and be God’s instrument of grace to perfect him into the potential man you first saw in him. Don’t jump ship just because you are tired of the journey or frustrated with the situation. Stop!
True love is worth fighting for. If you have a man who if deeply in love with you no matter how big of a jerk he is at times, there is hope. God put you in his life to DE-jerk him. Just remain faithful to the work at hand in helping him reach his full potential as a man and the lover of your soul. YOU will be blessed for it.
When he is a jerk in the things he says or is doing, tell him. COMMUNICATE!!!! Lovingly take him by the hand, look into his eyes, and tell him how he is hurting your heart. Then, be willing to forgive and move forward with what you know is real in your heart towards him – the desire and love that brought you to him in the first place.
YOU must be willing to be true to your love and the grace gift you have been given. Do not open yourself up to anything (any other man’s affections) that could be dangerous to the love you have for the man you have been given who love you so deeply. He is a gift to you.
If you have been unfaithful while you have been apart, stop it. Don’t just admit it, but confess it and repent of it. God’s grace is sufficient and He will heal your relationship if you are willing to let your heart be true to the one you have been given.
MEN AND WOMEN!!! Love conquers all. Love covers a multitude of sin. Love never fails. If you don’t ‘feel’ in love, it’s ok. Act in love and your faith for love will grow, and your feelings will follow close behind. Just don’t give up on love.
I recently heard a pastor where I go to Church say, “Whenever we are hurting inside, we don’t want anyone to get close to us. We push people away, and we hurt anyone who gets too close.” Moral of the story for those who do not have a weak stomach for love? Breaking through a fortified heart is a major chore, but fully worth it when it comes to love if you are willing to go the distance.
I think that there is a great deal of truth in what this pastor said, but feel that it may not always be ‘hurt’ that a person feels who is seeking to help the one they love, but rather disappointment, frustration, and even resentment if the journey is too long. Yes there is emotional pain that comes when we are rejected or pushed away by the very person we love and want to help. Pain is a part of life in a fallen world. The good news is that the result of success for pressing through is far greater and far more rewarding that allowing you and your mate to grow apart and ultimately fail in your relationship.
Relationships – whether in marriage or not – are work. Make no doubt about it, they are flippin’ work. BUT, the successful relationships that you will hear and read about are those relationships where one or both of the couple have remained consistent in their conviction that the relationship is worth the work, and where there is a sustained commitment to communicate – even when only one of the two is able to for a season in their life.
It works both ways too. The one that is hurting and protective of their heart tends to push away and resist intimacy, because it means revealing the pain and having to deal with raw emotions. This by itself is a major threat to their already fragile heart that does not want to suffer ridicule, rejection, or abandonment. On the flip side, the one that has rolled up their sleeves to help the hurting soul can easily become disappointed, frustrated, and resentful because their lover is continually shutting down emotionally, avoiding confrontation with their struggles, or pushing away so as to avoid the heart pain they have from surfacing. They guard their heart against any potential further pain to their own detriment.
When it comes to love relationships, this sort of conflict can be very dangerous. This is because the devil hates happy endings, and especially ‘match made in heaven love stories’. He will do whatever he can to bring it to an end. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that would seek to tempt or lure a woman who is in love away from that man she loves, whether that man she loves is her lover or her husband. The same can be said about an alluring woman, who ‘puts out the vibe’ around men who are vulnerable, even if the woman putting out the vibe feels justified in keeping her eye open for opportunities for a new romance to replace her old one that is not going as well as she had hoped it would.
The devil sets traps for the one that is being pushed away. He plants thoughts that it is OK, because the person you have been in love with will never change, or maybe reminds him or her that the person that is struggling has told you that you should keep your options open. LISTEN! If someone is struggling with intimacy and is pushing you away, realize that it is not them rejecting your love, but just being afraid to trust as you go digging around in their hearts. I have been in these shoes before – of being fearful of intimacy, fearful of inadequacy, fearful of being dumped or rejected or abandoned. It’s a yucky place to be. The natural defense – at least in my case – was to push the person who loved me away by telling them that they could find someone else much nicer or richer or better looking than I was. I know. What a lame way to deflect the love of a woman. It was like I was shooting myself in the foot and then reloading the gun and doing it again, and again and again.
Again, speaking from personal experience, the individual who is hurting and pushing away is screaming in their heart that they are trapped in it and can’t find their way out of the places they feel trapped in. This is when you really dig in and make sure they know that you are NOT going anywhere, that you are committed to the relationship, and are going to do whatever it takes to break through their fortified heart. If you are the one being pushed away, listen up. The biggest and most successful trap of the enemy is that of putting someone else of the opposite sex in your path, or luring you away from the one that you have been in love with – whether for a year, five years, or 20 years.
The devil plants thoughts that are so convincing in times like these that your rationale for infidelity or unfaithfulness will be almost too appealing to resist. Want some advice ladies. If you are a woman that truly does love a man who is struggling emotionally, and the thoughts come that say you would be better off looking elsewhere and throwing away the months or years you have invested into your present love relationship…. DO NOT DO IT! Don’t throw away the baby with the bath water in your love relationship. Remain committed and faithful, and it will pay off in huge dividends.
Reality check for women who are in a relationship with a man who is struggling emotionally and pushing you away – if you are a woman, men are always going to be sweating you. The world is filled with pretty faces and smooth talking, seductive, testosterone driven, worldly minded men who will ultimately cause you great heart ache. If you open your thoughts and emotions up to the possibility, then you can bet your momma’s last pair of underwear that the devil will swoop in and make you think that this new guy is from God Himself. You will think that this is your escape from what you are now believing to be a failed love relationship. Don’t be so foolish (men or women) to think that bailing out of a troubled relationship and jumping into another one to fill some void you now have, is going to make your new relationship anything better. Most always, the ‘rebound’ relationship will be a big disappointment in the end, and you will have thrown away the best thing that ever happened to you in the first place with the man you were so faithful to for so long.
Hint: It is only a failed relationship when you – the stronger and braver of the two that are in it – decide you will not love them any longer. In a nutshell, say what you may to make yourself seem the victim or the one being rejected, but it is you who is giving up. The saddest part of this is that in most cases, relationships are just on the cusp of a major break through when someone does give up.
OK, NOW FOR YOU MEN… Pay close attention!
Men, if you are struggling with inner demons, and have someone in your life that truly loves you, do NOT push them away. Do NOT allow your fears and distrust of being hurt, exposed, rejected or abandoned by that woman keep you from allowing her to chisel away at and break through into your heart’s heart so that you can find healing. God is working through her. If you reject her, you reject God’s love for you through her. Listen… it’s better that you would be rejected for your honesty, than to ultimately lose a woman that could have gone the distance with you if you had just been willing to be more transparent and vulnerable to them. My point is that you will never know unless you are willing to go deep with them by letting them into your heart in all it’s beauty and ugliness, joy and pain.
It is a MIRACLE of God’s love that a man with a wounded and hurting heart is sent a woman who will take the time – no matter how long it takes – to break through the fear and distrust that fortifies a wounded and hurting heart. This type of love from a woman is seldom found, but I believe that it is fully possible to have miracles like this happen. I believe, because it happened to me. I am talking like five years of blood, sweat, and tears by the woman who pursued my heart with a pick ax to break through the thick walls of my distrust for women and fear of intimacy. It got so bad that she had to tunnel up under my heart’s walls. Then, once she did, what she found was a mess. She found my unhealthy, bleeding, wounded, and broken heart, and she still loved me all the same. It was her persistent patience with me for all those years since she had first given her heart to me, that ultimately laid waste to the fortified walls of my heart and captured my heart’s heart.
Guys, LISTEN! This is the kind of woman you WANT to keep around. This kind of woman is truly a champion among all women. She is a woman that exemplifies Proverbs 31. “The heart of her man/husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (v11-12). Her children rise up and call her blessed; her man/husband also, and he praises her (v28). I know a woman like this. What an amazing woman she is! So, DO NOT do something stupid and be prideful, arrogant, and willfully resistant to the woman who says she loves you. GO DEEP with her before it is too late!
OK, back to the women… Pay close attention!
Women, the same goes for you. Let the man that God has brought into your life go deep with you. Do not be afraid to allow your wounded and hurting heart to be made whole through the man who loves you. This is how trust and enduring commitment are forged. There is no fear, struggle, pain, or disappointment in your life that God cannot heal, and God often uses the miracle of a man’s unwavering love for you to bring it to pass. Be willing to open your own heart up and trust your man with your heart. Vulnerability is very appealing and very sexy if you have yourself a good man. And, you would not be with him unless he had some potential, right?
“Dear Sir, Need help with marriage. I need some advice.” What’s a guy supposed to do with a Facebook message like this? It would seem that I am the least likely to be giving advice as a divorcee, but as some of you know who visit this website, I own a coaching business; and from time to time, I post articles on relationships. My articles always come with a disclaimer that I am not a marriage counselor or licensed in any way to give advice on the subject. I make it clear that I am sharing out of my own experience and understanding, and what has worked for others that I have encouraged. This is the case with this article.
This particular article is really an exchange of emails from a woman who wrote, “Dear Dave, Need help with marriage. I need some advice.” The business me wanted to write back and say that I don’t counsel people on marital relationships, the cautious me wanted to write back and tell her that I don’t counsel women in general on any subject as a single man, unless it is the love of my life (yep, I have one). Yet, there was a part of me that just had compassion for this woman. From the little I knew of her through Facebook, she was a good Christian woman and really seemed sincere in her plea. SO, I gave it a shot, and this is what I wrote back to her.
First, the rest of her message:
My husband is asking for a divorce because there is nothing between us anymore… He sleeps at one end of the house and I sleep in the suite… He is impotent and I think he hates me for knowing. What should I do? What can I do? I could really use some advice here, and I know that you provide personal development coaching. Can you give me some guidance?
I know this is a tough time for you, and I do empathize with your circumstances. Here are a few things that you may want to consider.
First, know that I will be praying for your situation as I am reminded of it in my thinking. Prayer CAN change things, and marital relationships are something that God likes to see last.
Concerning your husband’s impotence, I am not a doctor or healthcare professional, but I can give you a little advice that has been helpful to others in the past.
Most men have their whole identity wrapped up in their sexuality and the ability to please a woman. The reality of what truly pleases a woman and what a man most often thinks pleases a woman are most often two different things; however, the ego of most men seems to believe it is just sexual. You must break through this fallacy in his thinking.
Your goal is to reach out to him, pursue him as if he was a the young hunk a man you married, and seek to satisfy his heart and the deeper things below the surface of his physical limitations. Having never spoken with him, I can only speak from what I know on the surface, but I would say that he is most likely feeling inadequate and his way of dealing with it is to push himself away from you and wall up. You must be a wall breaker.
Do NOT REact to what he says or does, but ACT as Christ would towards him. Become the incarnate Song of Songs Shulamite woman to him. Draw him out, reassure him of how sexy he is regardless of a ‘temporary’ ailment (impotence IS reversible).
There are solutions for impotence. There are some things that I know have been successful that are not drugs, and I think you may find that if he is willing to address the issue head on, that there is hope for his full recovery. Again, I am not a healthcare professional, but I can recommend that you look into these three things that might be really helpful for your husband.
Look into Protandim, a supplement that can help
Look into Chiropractors that utilize N.E.T. therapy
Look into essential oils and reflexology
There are solutions to marital alienation.
“The effectual fervent prayers of the righteous avail much.” I think this is self-explanatory. Search your own heart and see that you are in right standing before God in your attitudes and mindset concerning your husband and that you are not living in sin – either through your attitudes or activities – so that your prayers can be fruitful.
Use your charm, sexiness, and passionate desire, the way you did when you and he were just falling in love, to be the woman of his dreams even in the midst of this obstacle in your marriage. Don’t give in to the thoughts and imaginations that say it is over in your marriage. Take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and speak LIFE AND DESIRE AND PASSION over your husband and over your relationship.
Get the focus of your lives on worshipping God through praise and worship music, through studying the Word together, and you continually reassuring him that you will not let him go and that he is the best thing that has ever happened to you. You MUST work to help him (and you) get your eyes off of yourselves, so that you can begin to gain God’s perspective of your lives, your relationship, and your marriage.
You MUST rebuild his confidence in Christ, his understanding that impotence has no affect on your love for him, your desire for him, and your desire to be please by him in every way that is possible. Become the adventurous one in your marriage and don’t back down from being his Shulamite woman (See Song of Songs).
This all boils down to a spiritual battle when you really pull away all of the facade and see it for what it really is. The devil hates marriage, and he hates people being in love and remaining committed to one another. He is the father of all lies, and he will do whatever he needs to in order to plant those lies in your thinking. Stand firm! Read and put into action, Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, and Philippians 4:8. These will help you get the ship of your marriage back on course as you take control of the spiritual wickedness that is seeking to tear your marriage and love apart. Stand firm.
This was what I wrote. I never heard back from her after this. Maybe it was not what she wanted to hear. I don’t know. But, I know that it is what she needed to hear, at least concerning the spiritual advice. It may just be something you need to hear also, if you are reading it. So, for the individual who is reading this that wants to take something positive away from this article , here it is:
The Take Away: Learn to recognize dangers to the relationships that mean the most to you, and learn how to activate an offensive against anything that has the potential to damage or destroy them. If you are married, never let down your guard against the potential of something that could shipwreck your marriage. There will be many of them along the way, and you must learn to spot them, discuss them with your spouse, and have a plan in how to deal with them.
Lot’s of people are talking about Islam these days and asking, “What is Islam?” When I asked a muslim woman, “what is Islam,” you would have thought from her answer that it was the most wonderful thing we could ever hope to have on earth. She refused to directly answer my questions about Jihad, about their social agenda, or about the harsh treatment of women and human rights in general that are a part of the Islamic culture.
For most people, based on what they have heard in the news, they are fairly accurate in their assumptions about Islam, but no muslim will admit to being a part of or condoning the violence, either directly or indirectly. It is important to understand what Islam is and how to explain it to others if they ask.
Make no mistake about it though. Your ignorance about Islam does not negate Islam’s influence over where you live, work, how you raise your family, and how world affairs will be conducted if Islam is successful.
You see, Islam is not a cult. It’s not a religion. It is a way of life – a totally encompassing way of life that is imposed on societies that they conquer. Islam brings the spiritual, moral, governmental, legal, military, and educational aspects all under one totalitarian government ruled by religious clerics. If allowed to follow its natural course of action, it brings whatever society they infiltrate and conquer to its knees by whatever means necessary.
Make NO mistake about it. If you do nothing and just let happen what Islamic leaders are working with focused intent to bring to pass, you will have no excuse for what is to come. This video explains some very insightful information that you may want to check out for yourself. Be informed. Get involved. Let your voice be heard. Stand your ground.
Can Jesus be seen throughout Scripture? I am often asked by those who are Jewish faith where Jesus is in the Old Testament. Even more so, I am asked often by Christians just what Jesus can do for them in their lives in a day and time when to be a Christian is not popular, and to think that Jesus can help mankind in any way. What is Jesus to you? How do you see Him? Can Jesus bring you any hope? Where is Jesus in the World… in your life?
The greatest man in history whose life was foretold in detail by the Prophets of Israel, came not as the world expected that He would. This man, who was not attractive by the world’s standards, was named Jesus.
He had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called him Healer.
He never won the Noble Peace Prize, but He was called the Prince of Peace.
He had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet he conquered the world.
There was no falsehood, fault or guile found in Him and He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried and sealed in a tomb that was guarded by a company of Roman soldiers, yet three days later, the tomb was found empty.
Jesus was born, He lived, He died, and was raised from the dead 2000 years ago, yet He lives today.
Everyone must decide whether this Rabbi was a liar, lunatic or Lord. Your eternal destination depends upon the choice you will make.
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He gently removes one layer at a time to the quiet revelation of bare flesh. Flesh adorned with the evidence of (current and past) wounds, but to Him, He’d prefer to articulate them as beauty marks. For in His eyes these scars are as stunning as stars fox-trotting across an October sky. And as He disrobes us – piece-by-piece, layer by layer – we (me and the five other women on my team) are being stripped completely bare. Yet what He’s doing within and between us is something completely extraordinary, something intimate, something supernatural… something we could only encounter through getting naked together.
Each of us vulnerable in this undressing process. Each a bit fragile, yet daring. Each slightly awkward in posture… as we become more and more exposed. And at times it’s a painful place to abide in. At times, it’s completely exhausting. Six women with marred flesh. Scars as wide and as deep and as long and as flawless as His love for us. Yet not nearly as breathtaking as the freedom He’s invited us into.
This month, He’s stripped us of our everyday comforts. He’s invited us into a place where our idols, our fears, our weaknesses and our insecurities can be brought into the light. Miles upon miles away from a Starbuck’s (or any coffee place for that matter), we’re tucked within the striking hills of Naslavcea, Moldova – a village of less than 1,000 people (though I’ve only seen about a dozen or so other people since we’ve arrived). Our two-room cottage is quiet and quaint – each room lined with 3 single, metal-framed beds. We have no shower or bathroom – just a squatty potty in an outhouse for a toilet. Our water (for drinking, cooking and cleaning) we fetch from a nearby well and heat little by little in a Russian-made, metal teapot. Food is minimal, and that which we have is refrigerated outside. There’s no heater, just a woodstove that obliges us to cut wood daily. Despite the stove and a few layers of clothing, the cold still taunts us. It’s a simple life… a challenging life… a life contradictory to the ones we knew in America.
This month, we’re being stripped… more than ever before. And in this place of spiritual nudity, wounds are beginning to heal. Lies are being confronted by Truth. Our insufficiencies are being replaced by His sufficiency. We’re in a place where true “community” exists. Where His love is manifested through people. Where grace becomes personified. Where fear is overpowered. A place where we are becoming completely unbound, free from the shackles of our previous lives. Free to joyfully dance around – in the buff — completely unabashed.
Every flaw, every imperfection, stunning to His eyes… because when His light shines upon marred flesh – the flesh we try so hard to hide beneath layers – that’s when it becomes transformed by His beauty and radiance. Transformed into His image (Genesis 1:27), His flawless, stunning image. This month, He’s stripping off and exposing everything that keeps us from being (looking and smelling and acting and loving) more like His son, Jesus. We’re becoming purified. We’re becoming bare – together – just as He intended. And it’s all so beautiful and lovely…
I am not sure of the origin of this or if it actually came from the mouth of Bill Cosby, but man, whoever really wrote this hit the nail on the head about the state of affairs in the world today. If Bill Cosby did actually say this, I applaud him for standing up and sticking his head above mediocrity and ‘political correctness.” Leave our thoughts in the comments section below and let me know what you think.
“I’m 76. Except for brief period in the 50’s when I was doing my National Service, I’ve worked hard since I was 17. Except for some some serious health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn’t call in sick in nearly 40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as though retirement was a bad idea, and I’m tired. Very tired.’
“I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.’
“I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an andShari’a law tells them to.’
“I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques and Madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia, New Zealand, UK, America and Canada, while no one from these countries are allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or any other
Arab country to teach love and tolerance.’
“I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.’
“I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?’
“I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of all parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.’
“I’m really tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.’
“I’m also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and early 20’s be-deck themselves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making themselves un-employable and then claiming money from the Government.’
“Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 76. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making.I’m just sorry for my granddaughter and their children.
“Thank God I’m on the way out and not on the way in.’
All too often when we are wounded by the words or actions of others, emotional pain and injury to the heart (where we feel emotion the deepest) occurs. We tend to stuff those pains and injuries deep into our heart, in places that any human will seldom find ever again, and we work to overcome the offense the best we can through our human reasoning and often times ungodly – indeed, godless – methods that do not at all consider the supernatural healing power of G-d through His Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Healer.
As I thought about this all too familiar experience in peoples’ lives, the Lord spoke this word to me… The Lord would say to all those who struggle continually in life with emotional pain,…
“To you who are wounded and struggling to survive the pain associated with rejection, betrayal, and abandonment, and to go on with your life, the healing will begin when you let Me into the secret place where you hide all your hurts, the pains to deep to explain, and the emptiness. If you want healing, you must look to Me, the Healer of your soul. I am He that you seek for your heart’s pain. There is nothing that you will experience or that you have already experienced in rejection, betrayal, and abandonment that I have not experienced far greater in rejection, betrayal, and abandonment. I have known all of these pains, and I tell you that I know your pain. I have seen and I have heard your cries, and now I will take them from you and make you whole, I will make a new creation out of you. Remember anytime the enemy brings back these horrible memories to you, think on good and lovely things and dismiss those which bring you anguish and pain says the Lord. If you do these things, I will renew your mind, and give you a new heart that is full of my glory.”
Here are scriptures that will encourage you or those you know who are struggling with emotional pain.
Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, says the Lord.”
Psalm 118:17 “I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.”
Proverbs 4:20-24 “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. And put away from you a deceitful mouth, and out perverse lips far from you.”
Psalms 126:5, 6 “Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.”
Philippians 4:6-8 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
When we apply the Living Word of God to our broken lives and look wholly to Him for our every emotional need and to heal our broken hearts, He is faithful to do just that. If you are suffering loss, have ben hurt, abused, mistreated, cast away, abandoned, unjustly accused, or feeling the death grip of the ugliness of this world around your life, call out to God through the person of Jesus Christ. He will be faithful to bring healing to your heart.
Romans 10:13 “Those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you need someone to talk to or to pray with you, write us today at RUINED [at] RuinedfortheOrdinary.com, and leave us your contact information. we will be quick to get back with you.
We are the Church. Easy to say, but how many of those who confess the name of Jesus as Savior and Lord actually have evidence of it in their lives through their daily commitment to live i out? Are YOU the Church? See if YOU fit into this mold or not.
The Protesters May Be Speaking Their Mind, but Do They Really Know Why They’re Protesting?
Yes, I have student loans. Am I mad about that? No. Because I chose to go to college. Do I think college should be given to me? No. It’s something you work for. It’s something you earn. Don’t want to have to pay for it? Study hard and get scholarships. It’s not my (or any taxpayers’) fault you decided to be an art history major and during a recession you can’t “find a job.”
Honestly, don’t give me that “can’t find a job” line. Temp agencies are always hiring. McDonald’s is always hiring. How about, rather than trashing the streets, blocking traffic and using an NYPD car as a bathroom, you look for a job?
These Occupy “where ever you are” protesters are getting on my last nerve.
Here’s an idea. Want to stick it to the banks? Don’t take a loan. Don’t borrow money. Don’t spend more than you make. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Want to change the world? Want to change policy?
Don’t just hang out. DO SOMETHING. Contact your representatives, your senators, the president. Write letters, tweets, emails. Make phone calls.
Do I agree with the protesters? No. Have you read some of the “demands” of the group? Wow. If that’s the kind of government and regulations they want, I’m sure Cuba would love to have them. But their anger is directed at the wrong group. It’s not Wall Street or bankers, it’s the failed administration of Barack Obama. The protesters need to move from Wall Street to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Here’s the deal. Just because you were born in America, you’re only entitled to three things, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. No one said “health care” or “college education.” People who have worked for things (and yes, even those who have inherited it) owe nothing to anyone.
Yes. We need to boost the economy, but I’ve never known of a poor company hiring people, it’s always the companies that are doing well that hire. We need to get our people back to work. We need to stop the wasteful spending (and bailouts). This is America. No one and no company is too big to fail. It is failing is how we learn. At nine months of age, we didn’t start walking around without falling a few times.
Unlike this blogger, I don’t consider myself a percentage. My husband and I don’t own, we rent. Having worked for a mortgage company, I knew that once the “balloon loans” everyone was getting came due, it was going to burst. And it did. But I knew what we could and couldn’t afford. So we didn’t buy.
It’s about personal responsibility. That’s what it all comes down to. It’s something that worked for our grandparents… why can’t our generation do it? Stop blaming and start working. And be sure to vote in 2012.
There has been a great deal of debate over Israel and their insistence that they should not have to give up any land to “Palestinian Refugees”. Their contention is that the land that the Palestinians are claiming as their own was never their own to begin with. The land was and still remains the land of Israel where people from surrounding Arab nations had been given the privilege to settle in by Israel.
Unfortunately for most who follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they do not get the whole story and they do not fully understand all of the facts surrounding the conflict. The conflict was and remains a fabrication by the same Arab proponents that claim their was never a holocaust during World War II. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be anyone in a predominately liberal Washington DC who is willing to dig around and find the facts for themselves. Instead, the United States, in its efforts to keep the oil flowing, is willing to buy into the fabrication of this conflict and placate the Arab nations.
Without the facts, no one can make an intelligent determination of who is justified in their position more – the Palestinians or the Israelites. This video will help to shed some light on the subject and help you to get answers to the questions that seem to be being avoided by everyone who opposes Israel.
Please leave your comments below whether you are for or against the opinions shared in this video. Let your voice be heard and stand up for what you believe.
My sister’s journey in the teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni, Nichiren Daishonin, and the SGI-USA Buddhism movement are well-known to many of my friends. Being a Christ follower and someone that absolutely adores my sister, the conversation between us often comes up about the similarities of our spiritual journeys. She began her journey in the SGI-USA Buddhism movement at about the same time that I began my walk as a Christ follower. Over the years she has continually said that our spiritual journeys – her journey with SGI-USA Buddhism that has its roots in the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni’s philosophy of life from about 2500 years ago that began in Nepal, which subsequently influenced Nichiren Daishonin, a 13th century monk in Japan. The culmination of these two men’s teachings led to the formation of the SGI-USA Buddhism movement in the United States. Today, her belief system remains in Buddha Shakyamuni, Nichiren Daishonin, and the SGI-USA Buddhism Movement.
She had continually spoken to me in great sencerity that she feels that our spiritual viewpoints have more similarities than differences. I have always said that the teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni, Nichiren Daishonin, and the SGI-USA Buddhism Movement are not at all similar in nature outside of the fact that they both bring some hope for peace on earth and good will to mankind. It was not until just recently after receiving another similar statement through a FaceBook message on the subject that the SGI-USA Buddhism Movement was like Christianity that I felt compelled to take the time to write her concerning the reality of our differences and the reality of their consequences on the eternal destinies of those who followed both.
It seems fitting to share my letter in this blog because the nature of this Ruined for the Ordinary community is to share what we are most passionate about. Of the few hundred other bloggers that have their own blogs under this domain (as subdomains), I believe this post may provide some clarity on the subject of how to respectfully debate diametrically opposed religious views, i.e. in this instance an Americanized form of Buddhism and that of Christianity. I will not use my sister’s name out of my great and heart-felt love and respect for her as my sister, so I will only refer to her as “my beloved sister that I love deeply.” My letter begins….
“My beloved sister that I love deeply, I know we have discussed this in detail once before, but truly, I must tell you that we do NOT have anything in common concerning our choices in spiritual journey other than we are both are on one. The God focused and surrender life of a Christ follower is in direct conflict with the self-awareness and self-directed life found in Nichiren Buddhism since its beginnings in Nepal 2500 years ago.
While I would never discount the evolution of your religion that had its roots in the teachings and human wisdom of Buddha Shakyamuni or the reality that such were rooted in Gnostic traditions that preceded his day, it must be said that a closer look at the roots of it is realistic if we are to have civil discourse on the comparisons between our two spiritual journeys. Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings and philosophy of life was in large part what affected Nichiren Daishonin in the 13th century (in Japan) to continue the evolutionary ideologies of self-awareness and self-enlightenment that are without a question the better of many world religions that teach intolerance of others. I am in full agreement that peace over violence, love over hate, and tolerance over intolerance is by far the best and most suitable life to live and to teach others. Yet, this alone is not significant enough to address the eternal nature of every human soul.
Still, just the same my beloved sister that I love deeply, respectfully, I must tell you that Nichiren Daishonin’s understanding of the Creator, of the fallen nature of man’s rebelliousness, self-willed and self-determination that refuses to acknowledge God or the need of a Savior is severely flawed. It will ultimately send millions into eternity – an eternity that will not be the eternity that they had hoped for or were made to believe existed for them. It will not be an eternity of bliss, happiness, comfort or peace.
I appreciate the efforts of the SGI-USA Buddhism movement to positively affect our culture and in its attempt to bring order and peace to the world, but even in the best of its intentions, it remains in opposition to the source of true Peace, true brotherly love and what sacrificial Love is all about which is needed in order to have lasting peace. Most critical of all, the need of every human to be saved from a certain and coming eternal judgment for their self-indulgence, self-willed, and self-exalted lives who deny Truth by the very nature of the fallen human state is paramount.
In contrast to Nichiren Daishonin, the reality of the one true God still exists – the Creator of heaven and earth, who for the last almost 6000 years has sought to reveal Himself to man. He has with relentless and unbridled love sought to call the hearts of a rebellious human race back to Himself and to His eternal peace, joy, and happiness. From the very beginnings of many in the middle east, our Creator has never stopped pursuing us and has gone as far as to even sacrifice His own life in human form so that man would not have to pay the penalty of their sin and rebellion.
Can you find any similarity in our faiths when the loving Savior that I know as Jesus Christ would say,
“I am the Way the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.’
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’
“He who has the Son, has life, but He who has not the Son does not have life.’
“All have rebelled and sinned against God and fall short of His glory.”
‘The consequences of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”
“It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the judgment.”
I would respectfully ask you to consider the source of my personal faith for a moment if you will. The texts and teaching of my faith are rooted in a journey of over 6000 years of a loving Creator in pursuit of a rebellious self-willed mankind. The Bible that I use in part for my main reference to this love story is a compilation of 66 books written by over 40 authors over 3000 years from remote and unconnected avenues of communication. Every text from beginning to the end that is recorded in this book we call the Bible all carry the same central theme and inerrancy of history, and of law and revelation of what is to come.
The Bible is made up of history that corresponds with every other historical, archaeological and paleontological resource that is considered reputable by modern historians. It is songs, poetry and proverbs that life, guide, encourage, and direct a prudent, humble, peaceful, and loving lifestyle. It is law – what every civilized and even uncivilized cultures acknowledge as foundational truths for living, and which every modern world law has been based on for thousands of years not.
It is prophesy (the prewritten history of what is to come). What most intellects far to my superior find most amazing about the prophetic aspects of Scriptures is that to date every single prophecy of ancient Scriptures has come to pass in the time and the place and the way it was pre-recorded to happen. This prewritten history has clearly shown the event of modern civilization to be in unison with what was written thousands of years ago by the prophets of Israel. Aside from modern day fulfillments which are overwhelming clear to see, Jesus alone fulfilled over 300 prophesies starting prior to his birth and leading all the way until his death and resurrection from the dead (an event witnessed by over 5000 people).
Mathematicians have placed the mathematical probabilities of Jesus fulfilling even eight of the over 300 prophesies that were fulfilled by him in the time and in the order they were to have occurred beyond calculation. In taking just eight of the most improbable prophecies alone that relate to major events in his life, mathematicians say the probability of all eight taking place in the time and in the order they were prophesied to have taken place that the mathematical probability would be something like 10 to the 17th power to one that they could actually happen. Ask someone who is good at math how many 10 to the 17th power is because I can’t figure out just how many zeros that is. I think it is something like, 100,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. This is not a very likely possibility if I were the one trying to pull some big scam or conspiracy off to make me look like someone that I was not.
One mathematician gave this illustration of it – “If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 10 to the 17th power of silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They’ll cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would’ve had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”
In the most arguably aggressive attack by the most ardent of foes of Christianity (the American Atheists Association for instance), none has been able to disprove the validity of anything written within the pages of Holy Scriptures, to overturn any rock of Biblical history through archaeological discovery, scientifically disprove or find any legal precedent that could overturn even a single statement found in Scriptures. Movements as this one and their predecessors have spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 150 years to do just that. Is Jesus who He said he was? He allows us to decide our own fate. We will either see Him as a liar, a lunatic, or we will see Him as who He really is, “Lord” (Creator, King of all Kings, Lord of all Lords, the Savior, Redeemer, the Prince of Peace).
My beloved sister that I love deeply, what I have shared in these moments is not in any way an indictment against what you believe as being a peaceful way of life. What I am sharing is the foundational Truth of what I Christianity is based on. You and I were created in God’s likeness and image. We are spirit (the nature of God Himself), we live in a body (temporary vessel to experience our Creator’s creation for us to enjoy and relate to Him in while we are here), we have emotions that allow us to relate and to experience the joys and sorrows of God and of one another, and we have been given HIS divine free and volitional will to choose either to acknowledge Him or to reject Him (as it has been from the beginning).
He does not force His love upon us. He is a perfect gentleman, and does not force us to do anything. It is up to us by an act of our free will, to accept His love and His forgiveness for our willful rebellion and willful acts of selfishness and self-determination to achieve godhead and the divine (which of course are both not attainable by man in any way) or to reject it.
In the words of the Master that I follow and serve, there is only one way to experience eternal life in the peace and presence of our Creator and that is in and through a personal relationship with a resurrected Savior who took all of our sin, rebellion, and self-willed life on Himself so that we would not suffer judgment for turning our backs on the very One who created us. The Master that I serve is the one and only Prince of Peace.
Conclusion: In whatever we believe and are willing to die for, we must be willing to defend and to live for. There is nothing wrong in discussing the differences of our chosen spiritual journeys, and if we are to be peacemakers and bridge builders, the we must be willing to be open to civil discourse about what we believe and why, whether we are Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Gnostic, or Jewish. The issues and conflicts of life can find peaceful ends IF we are willing to communicate. Resorting to name calling and innuendo that casts a shadow of doubt on one’s intentions does not build bridges. To accuse others of hatefulness does not build bridges. To resist civil discourse when so much in our world is now at stake, does not build bridges.
As a Christian, I actively use apologetics in my effort to reveal Truth. I actively defend my faith and in doing so, seek to build bridges and advance the Kingdom of God. My encouragement to readers and those who seek to be bridge builders is that in every instance, in every debate, in every disagreement, there is one thing that cannot be debated or argued, and that is the merits of my unconditional love that I show everyone regardless of our differences.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Samuel David “SD” Ward is a writer, author, speaker, personal development coach, and Christian apologetics enthusiast. His involvement in life and coaching, as well as business and online marketing has allowed him many opportunities to successfully share his Christian faith with those who do not share his Judeo-Christian beliefs. He is the father of four teenaged and twenty-something boys and loves to serve in whatever capacity he is able to help others rise above mediocrity and experience their very best and highest level of success in life.
Merriam Webster defines persistence as, “the action or fact of persisting; perseverance; to be persistent, i.e. continuing to exist despite interference or treatment.”
Recently I went to see my son on Sunday at the Church where he has been actively involved in ministry for the last few years while finishing his college degree. He was leading praise and worship for the Sunday services (3 services back-to-back). As often as I see him up on stage doing what he does, I am always amazed. On this particular Sunday he had been dealing with a sore throat only a few days earlier. He was not entirely feeling his total outgoing self. I guess I should have been concerned as a parent, but I wasn’t. He is a big boy now, and knows enough to take care of his voice.
As I was standing there as a part of the congregation listening, singing, and being blessed by the music, I wondered a bit. There he is, doing what he loves to do, and doing it so well. WOW! How did he get so good at it, so fast? I had one of those ‘parent’ moments when a parent sort of gets choked up and filled with gratitude for one of their children (it happens a lot with me and my boys). I really did marvel at it all as I was taking it in at that moment.
I wondered for a brief moment, “was it just his natural talent or maybe a gift that was given him?” Quickly I came to my senses, remembering what he sounded like the first time he attempted to sing a song when he was just starting out playing guitar and singing. It was definitely NOT a gift! (Son, if you are reading this, don’t take it too hard. You are amazing now.) Was it that he is just so naturally talented that anything he put his hands to would turn to gold or success or blessing? No, it was not a natural talent. I remembered Joshua really having to work hard to be good at anything he attempted to do, and his frustration growing up when he was not as good as he thought he should be.
After contemplating it for a while, it really just sort of smacked me in the face. Although some of what I was witnessing in my son’s life might have had something to do with being G-d given (at least the desire to do it), the overwhelming reality was that it was his almost daily consistent hard work in practicing, and his perseverance that contributed the most to his success as an up and coming Christian musician. Something else dawned on me as I stood there – my son’s focus. Joshua had determined when he was just barely 16 to take me up on my word and self-authored proverb of, “Investing twenty minutes a day for one year on any skill that you want to perfect will ultimately place you in the top 1% of the world population that is able to do it, and who are best at it.”
I really don’t know how ‘divine’ of a concept or thought this ‘dad proverb’ has been, but for Joshua, his daily persistent small steps in developing his skill at playing guitar and singing allowed him to be on stage with a number of other talented musicians, and leading worship in front of a thousand people. How cool is that!
For Joshua, he was like any other young person growing up. He had all sorts of ideas of what he wanted to do, and over the years it has been a long list – soccer, running, martial arts, surfing, girls, music, guitar, singing, law school, seminary, working with youth, and of course, did I say surfing? He loves surfing. The nature of my son Joshua is that those things that he chose to put his hands to were and are destined to be achieved, conquered, possessed, completed, or given of his total heart towards. Music and leading worship was one of those. And, there he was after 6 years of consistent effort, playing guitar, singing, and sounding like an up and coming music talent that would one day fill coliseums and stadiums. He looked totally in his element. I was in awe of what G-d was doing through him to touch the lives of so many there that morning, but most of all, I was amazed at what Joshua had done in preparation for such a time as this, and the persistence it required for him to get there.
MY POINT in all of this is simply this. IF you are to be successful at anything, or even come close to perfecting something of significance in your life, you MUST be willing to count the cost of your task, and then focus with a persistent vitality in seeing it through to completion. This is critical to your overall success in life. Yet, sadly, for most, having the willingness to persist seems too difficult.
Unfortunately for many, there is a lack of a willful act to follow through with what they have started and to remain steadfast in their conviction to be successful at it. This is true in developing skill sets, accomplishing goals, and completing personal or work assignments, as it is in that of going the distance in a relationship when the relationship seems to be all but falling a part.
This lack of commitment to follow through is why so few people ever really achieve anything great or significant in their lives. It especially holds true in the area of financial success, and that of achieving one’s dreams they have for themselves or their family. They simply choose to give up or quit before they really get started. They choose to listen to those ‘voices’ of pessimism, condemnation, shame, inferiority or insecurity in their heads. That is not how we are created to be. We were made to be alive, productive, pro-active, creative, and successful in our lives, and in accomplishing worthwhile goals and pursuits that we were meant to possess.
The same can be said about your involvement in business, and especially in that of developing an online marketing career. Like anything worthwhile, it takes your willingness to see the big picture of what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it, it requires a plan, and FOCUSED intent that will allow you to be persistent in the small day to day steps towards success that are necessary if you are to be successful and reach your bigger personal, business, and financial goals.
It is so very easy to get shipwrecked in our dreams, and forget why we are doing what we are doing. There will always be tons of temptations to get you side tracked, off course, and completely distracted IF you do not resist them. Take these five important steps in changing your future:
1) Determine what you are most passionate about, and what you want most out of life, and then write it down, whether it takes a sentence, a paragraph, a page, or a book!
2) Make a list of goals that you will use to keep you on track, and that will be your benchmarks (road signs along the road towards your success to let you know you are on course), and commit to investing at least 20 minutes each day in a concerted, intently focused way to learn everything you can about what you are wanting to do in achieving your ultimate goal and how to best accomplish it.
3) Become accountable to someone, if not multiple people, about what you want to do. Become accountable to someone for your daily actions. Without accountability, you cannot expect to rise above what the average and mediocre settle for.
4) Surround yourself with wise advisers that you can call on for insight, help, or assistance.
5) Determine once and for all that you will set your hands to the plow for your future success and not turn back from the task in what you know you have been called to do, and build into your daily life, the power of persistence that says, I will continue to do the things that may be difficult for me, or that I may not enjoy doing right now, in return for the great good of my ultimate success in what I want to do or that I have been called to do.
Believe it or not for all of you huggers out there, there are actually some people in the world that are so wrapped up in themselves that they really don’t like give or receive hugs unless it is for some selfish reason. I don’t know why. It really defies my understanding of what life is all about, but just the same, it happens. For all of your other rogue members of society, I implore you – learn how to give a hug and change the world around you.
If you have found this article as a result of wanting to learn how to hug someone appropriately, you might find some of this information helpful. At the very core of a hug itself, there is a basic human need for physical touch. Scientific research has showed a direct correlation between the amount of physical touch and one’s mental and physical well-being; and, hugging people is one of the best non-threatening ways to give physical touch in a healthy way. Hugs, like that of a genuine smile towards someone, is as powerful a remedy of sadness or gloom as anything else one can give away for free to anyone where there is no cost to the giver of it. If anything, when given appropriately and with the right motives, a hug can change the entire day in the life of someone who is struggling, in the same way a smile can. BUT WOW! Imagine a day when you are feeling really beaten up by the world, alone, or unappreciated, and someone comes up to you with a smile on their face and gives you a big sincere hug! It can change your whole perspective on the day if you receive it! Right?
Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to hug people. Knowing this is not rocket science. Most people can sense the motive behind most hugs or the sincerity of them, so having the right motive in hugging people is really the main thing to consider. Do you hug someone out of a lustful or selfish desire to fulfill your own needs? Only you can be the one to say if this is your motive, but rest assured, most people, especially those of the opposite sex can sense the motive and nature of the individual giving the hug. This fear can lead to people even regulating hugs! Crazy as this sounds, in certain circles of society where any physical contact with the opposite sex is questionable, you might be taught that any sort of frontal contact with the opposite sex while hugging is wrong. I will let God be the judge of that. Personally, there is no where in Scripture that indicates that, i.e. how to appropriately hug someone of the opposite sex.
When you hug out of a great desire to show others – speaking of adults – that they are valued and respected, and appreciated, they feel it! Children in general love to be hugged unless the person hugging them has been physically abusive to them in some way. Children NEED hugs – lots of hugs – healthy appropriate hugs – that give them a sense of belonging, of being cared about and protected. In a world that is filled with so much stress and conflict, pain and suffering, humans often put up walls of protection to shield them from this pain – a sort of emotional barrier. This is especially true in those who suffer traumatic experiences in their lives. One of the first things to go in a person’s life when emotionally stressful things happen is their willingness to hug or to be hugged. It is one of the ways they detach from the world around them – a sort of self-preservation mode.
Jesus gave hugs to men and women as if they were long lost friends. He embraced everyone with the same intensity, and the same heart – one of true love, caring, and compassion. I’m not dissing these groups that have rules on what is appropriate and what is not, but I really do find that they often overstep their bounds in regulating love and the motives of peoples’ hearts in hugging. For me personally, I say hug everyone as if they are a long lost friend or family member! Embrace everyone with the greatest respect and admiration for their existence in the knowledge that God created them with as much care and as much love as they did you.
If you do hug people, I encourage you to look within and check your motives in giving hugs to people – especially those of the opposite sex. Above all, find a reason that is not self-centered or self-promoting. When you find a reason or motive to hug that is not self-promoting or self-centered, you will begin to change the world around you one life at a time. Everyone needs healthy physical contact. We are hard wired for it. Hugging someone can be a powerful way to bring healing, comfort, hope and encouragement to them. If you are not prone to hugging others, learn how to give a hug and change the world around you. Most of all though, if you do, it will radically change your life in the process.
Here is a video that really caught my attention. As simple as the idea was, it is revolutionary in today’s busy, impersonal and suspicious world. Honestly, at first I thought it a hoax and that it was all staged. I have come to learn that it is actually a real event that has started a worldwide movement – a movement to hug people! Enjoy!
If you are inspired by this video as most, chances are you will end up hugging a few more people than you might have in the coming days. We applaud you! Who have you hugged today? Who will you hug today? And, why those hugs be for all the right reasons that leave someone enriched and with a sense of gratitude that you reached out to them and encouraged them.
Understanding Atheism and the reasoning of an atheist can be maddening at times. An atheist’s position is most often rooted deeply in a belief system that is unable to think that they should have to surrender to the will of someone else, mainly some ‘spiritual being’, i.e. God. Let’s face it. At face value, Christianity is a way of life that rips the head off of pride and self-sufficiency, and says, “Die, so that Christ can live in you.” OUCH! Talk about a wake up call for even some professing Christians. No wonder some people find it an easier path to just say there is no god and that we came from primeval ooze billions of years ago.
We all know someone that says they are an atheist. I have several long time friends who profess atheism as their belief system. I even have a sister that is Buddhist that is an atheist – at least to the best of her understanding of what that means to her as a Buddhist. Honestly, she (and those atheist friends that I talk with on ‘spiritual matters’ get confused and angry whenever we discuss the merits of our belief systems – in the case of my sister, mine being Judeo-Christian and hers being Buddhism.
Truth be told, every belief system has some sort of measure of faith that is required in order to believe in it. Oftentimes, it is the only guiding force behind one’s belief. In some minds, it does not matter what the truth is on the subject. They just have the faith to believe what they believe and nothing more can be said about it to them. If you are a Christian, and want to see progress made in sharing your faith with Atheists, my advice is to GET OUT OF THE WAY, and let G-d do it.
Remember that our warfare is not natural, but supernatural when it comes to soul winning. Paul reminds us that “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). The battle against UNbelief in God is NOT won through argument or debate. It is won through love, compassion, AND the use of the Living Word of G-d.
When confronted with the antagonism of an Atheist, remember that while they have faith in their belief system, that it is rooted in a faith for what they have heard about Atheism. Holy Scripture tell us that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The faith that Scripture speaks of is faith in God and in the need of a Savior. If you want to be productive for the sake of the Kingdom, do not argue the merits of your faith with someone, but rather share the Word – as much of it as they can hear. The Word is powerful.
In Hebrews 4:12 it says that the “word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” WOW! That is powerful! Just think about it. IF you are willing to share the Living Word of G-d with someone – let’s say an Atheist for example – it will go out of your mouth, into their ears and like a roman battle sword, go deeply into them. Let’s face it. It’s hard to battle the Living Word once it gets in you, even if you are a Christ follower! It will clean you up and set you straight! How much more will it have an affect on someone that does not have it in them.
All arguments aside about how to share your faith with an Atheist (or a non-believer in general), Jesus said that, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,” (John 6:44). This means that our job is simply to get the Word out there and in them, and then Holy Spirit will draw them.
I was recently on a FaceBook profile where what seemed to be a pastor of a church was throwing out some questions to a sister in Christ who is outspoken about her faith and love for G-d. He wrote, “Here is a thought for discussion if you don’t mind Annika. How do you feel about preachers and teachers that go off into tongues while preaching and teaching and intentionally have no interpretation? How do you feel about Christians being encouraged to pray in tongues corporately? How do you feel about praying over people and their needs and doing so in tongues? Is the above scriptural…:)…God bless”
OH golly! I just want to shake people sometimes and say WAKE UP!
Being the non-confrontational soul that I am (NOT), I chose to post a comment to this well-meaning brother who was seeking to stir up a debate that really, in my humble opinion, does not really matter in the greater scope of things. My response follows:
“WOW! Loaded question Clyde! You know, ultimately it all boils down to is that church you speak of winning souls? Doesn’t it? The tree is known by its fruit. Take the River Church in Tampa Florida USA – www.revival.com. They are bringing about 500 souls to Christ daily on the streets of their city – so many in the last few years since they started hitting the streets that the crime rate in the city has dropped some 30% from what I have heard. The city fathers are meeting with the church leadership about helping in the city with all sorts of needs since they attribute most of this drop in crime to their direct efforts in winning souls and healing broken lives. All this said, River Church (revival.com) starts their services with corporate prayer in tongues – I mean, anyone that has that gift in that congregation is “praying in the Holy Ghost.’
“My point is this. Is it REALLY something worth splitting hairs over? Does it really matter to G-d that the Body is made up of so many different ‘members’ and each having a different rolls and functions? Is our time as Christian – preachers or not – best used to debate issues as insignificant as that of what is ‘appropriate’ in a church service or to debate anything for that matter that brings division in the Body of Christ where the core tenants of our Faith are in order? Wouldn’t out time be best spent bringing the lost to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; and, that of seeing these redeemed lives become productive in the Body of Christ and in the world? Is such a debate as that of whether someone is speaking in tongues and where they do it, worth the time in light of the importance of the advancement of G-d’s kingdom on earth – mainly that of winning souls into the Kingdom?’
“I will leave this to the great ‘theologians’ and ‘academics’ of our day who choose to argue such points over that of actively winning souls. I will leave such unproductive debate to the scholarly religious community types who hold the position of pulpit ministry where they choose to sit in judgment of congregations who are different than their own. I will leave such lofty debate to the Ecumenical’s as they sit in wonderment of why their church memberships are dwindling, where the average age of their congregations are rapidly approaching the a graveyard call, and where the spiritual lives of their congregations are drying up to a point of PRE-born again infancy.’
“I am not any great theologian, nor am I so presumptuous as to think that I know the will of G-d for everyone concerning how He wants everyone to conduct church services, BUT I do know this one thing… “He who wins souls is wise.” A tree (church) is known by its fruit.”
Wheeeww! OK, so I posted this, and well, leave it to me to stir up a big can of worms.
How do you feel about this issue? What do you think is more important to the Christian Church – finding dividing lines to stand in opposition to other congregations that do not worship G-d in the same way that we do, or focusing on winning souls and bringing healing to broken lives? Weigh in on it! Stir up my can of worms why don’t ya? Leave a comment!
This is for those who think they are “Christian” and think they are going to heaven. It is not for the unbeliever, the lost, the one’s in this world who have no understanding or interest in who G-d is.
Do you really know you are going to heaven? Do you really think you are a Christian? Do you REALLY believe that there is a Hell? Do you REALLY think that if you live in habitual sin, that you have any place in heaven? Do you REALLY think that a simple prayer can get you saved from your sins? Do you not know that there can be no salvation without repentance? Is THIS what you call Christianity?
God has always demonstrated a special place in his heart for children. All throughout scripture God refers to children as a “gift”, a “blessing”, a “reward” etc. Jesus Christ himself came to the earth as a baby and even in his child-state fully embodied the Kingdom of God. In the same way, in their sanctified nature, children are capable of embodying the kingdom of God.
They are spiritual beings and receive the same impartation of the Holy Spirit as adults do. God does not show partiality and gives of himself freely to all mankind in pursuit of him regardless of age. In fact, Christ’s mandate was clear when he said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Mt. 19:14)
It is the very desire of Jesus that children have unfettered access to Him, for they have been predestined to inherit his kingdom. God in his great wisdom has positioned mankind so that in fact, it is only together with children that we can gain a more clear understanding of the Kingdom.
(“Mt.11:25-26) “Jesus said, ‘I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure’”
(Mt.18:3-4) “I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”
Children are an integral part of the body of Christ, and a gift from God in revealing his kingdom here on earth. Children are to be loved, valued, and welcomed in the body of Christ. (Mt.18:5)
Having Kingdom Values
We are living in such a unique juncture of time in human history and never before has it been so vital that we possess kingdom values in relation to children. Children are the primary people group on planet earth (52% of the earth’s population is under 15), and the earth is yielding the greatest harvest field ever before in time (over 6 billion people). God is setting up the playing field for the greatest revival of youth and children the world has ever seen. As believers, we must begin to reassess our priorities and values and get them lined up with God’s. God is calling us to overcome old wineskin mindsets towards children and to contend for the new thing that God wants to do in them and through them.
Most churches are not prepared for the harvest because we don’t yet value children spiritually as we should. As believers we must seek to have Kingdom values and we need to begin to advocate for others to pursue the same—so that our hearts, resources, structures, etc. are in line with what God is doing with children.
Becoming a True Intergenerational Church
In John 17 Jesus expresses his desire for us to become one with the Father and one with each other. We believe a huge part of the unity that Christ desires is for intergenerational unity—the whole body, or family of God, working together to glorify Christ. Children are an integral part of the body of Christ and must be trained and equipped to function within the body. The word of God confirms that children are not exempt in ministry,
(Joel 2:28) “I will pour out my spirit on all people, Your sons and daughters will prophesy,..”
(Ps. 8:2) “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger”
(Ps. 127:3-5) “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”
Children are the church of today, and are filled with God-given purpose for this hour. Children should be trained up in the deep things of God and equipped in the undiluted Gospel of the Kingdom. Adults and children must learn to work together in unity so that the promises of John 17 (“so the world may believe”) will be released. God is restoring our understanding of family, both in the natural and in the spirit. It is the desire of God that his entire family work interdependently, valuing what each member carries. Children have much to offer and we must take them seriously.
It is vital that we disciple them intentionally and include them in real, tangible ways. We need to posture ourselves, our ministries, and our structures in the spirit of true intergenerational unity. God is shaking our old mindsets and structures of how we view the church, and is bringing us to a place of wholeness—the whole church, the whole bride, being made ready.
John Piper does not mince words when it comes to gaining ground against the darkness that surrounds so many Christians now a days. He – like many others who seek to bring the lost to Jesus and to bring those who are in bondage, in captivity to sin and defeat, and who are chained to habits and lifestyles that are robbing them of LIFE and ABUNDANCE – has a mandate from God to say it like it is, and to confront darkness where it is, even if it is in the middle of a Christian home.
Sadly, a rapidly growing number of Christian homes are facing the very same attacks and assaults on them as those homes where Christ is not none. This message by John Piper is a wake up call to all who will hear, who have ears to hear. Let me tell you up front that he is direct and explicit concerning sexual sin, and if you have children in close proximity, I recommend that you consider listening to this when they are not in hearing distance.
The link below is to a YouTube video that is worth showing to every small group for teens, singles, and even married couples. To those who have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit of God is saying.
Understanding the mercy and forgiveness of God is something that comes hard for some, and Danny Croce was no exception. And, if trying to figure out just how deep God’s mercy and forgiveness can be, how is this for irony? Only God could choose a killer to lead others into new life, and turn prison from a place of punishment into a place of promise.
Young Danny Croce was always “attracted to trouble,” he reminisces—gangs, gambling, booze, cocaine: high-risk activities to jolt him out of the numbing pointlessness of life. Before succumbing to that “inevitable grey tombstone,” he craved some thrills.
But in his mid-twenties he played a perilous game: After downing a six-pack of beer for lunch, he would return to his job of “hanging iron, ” laying steel girders atop some of Boston’s tallest skyscrapers.
Danny managed to avoid calamity on the job. But in February 1984, a cold rainstorm forced the crew to quit early—so they launched into a bar-hopping spree to warm themselves up. Later, “drunk out of my tree,” Danny was heading home when he rammed his car through a wooden barricade and struck a police officer directing traffic. A few days later, the officer died. Danny was charged with vehicular homicide.
A sobered Danny couldn’t escape the python of guilt coiled around his heart. “I’d replay the accident in my mind,” he explains. “I tried hard to change the ending, but I couldn’t.”
He wanted to go to the officer’s family to tell them he was sorry, that he didn’t mean to rip away their father and husband. But Danny’s lawyer immediately nixed that plan, afraid he might say something that would jeopardize his case.
A year later, when Danny decided to plead guilty to the charges, he met the officer’s widow for the first time—in court. Her distressing comments “cut me like a knife,” he recalls. “In all this time,” she told the judge, “he’s never said he was sorry.”
Danny wept as the bailiff handcuffed him and led him from the courtroom. He strained to turn and face the woman. “Mrs. ______, I swear to God, I am so sorry.” But the bailiff pushed him on.
Days later, confined in a five- by seven-foot cell in the Plymouth County jail, Danny still wrestled with haunting memories of the deadly crime. “At 3 A.M.,” he says, “I’d turn my pillow over, trying to find a dry spot; I’d been crying so hard.”
One day Danny recounted his tormenting story at an inmate support group—who mostly fed him useless platitudes. But one “hippie-type,” an inmate named Wayne, ventured a subtle witness: “Have you ever tried to pray to God?”
Spurred by that simple question, in bed that night Danny repeated a one-line prayer—the only thing he could think of: “Please, God, please.” Next thing he knew, the stirrings of morning had roused him from his first restful slumber in a long time. For several nights following, his unpolished but pure prayers led to peaceful sleep. Then Wayne gave Danny a New Testament, a book he had never read.
As Danny read the Gospels, Jesus’ power both amazed and frightened him. He touches blind people and they see, Danny marveled. He makes deaf people hear. Who is this guy?
Then he got to the part where Jesus talked about the consequences of sin, “about weeping and the gnashing of teeth,” Danny recalls. “I knew that I was in big trouble. Guilty.”
Danny turned to jail Chaplain Bob Hanson, and under his gentle guidance, the repentant inmate yielded his past, present, and future to Christ, gratefully receiving His forgiveness and promise of new life. Danny renounced his reckless high-wire act for a stable walk of faith grounded in God’s Word.
“It was such an eye-opening experience for me to meet God in jail and have all this time to immerse myself in the Word,” says Danny. “I really grew in the Lord.” During Bible studies and chapel services, Chaplain Hanson would encourage the inmates, “If you have a question, write it down.”
“So I’d come in with two pages!” says Danny. “He taught me so many things because I was so hungry.” As God satisfied that hunger with Himself, old counterfeit lures lost their appeal: cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, gambling. “It wasn’t like, ‘You’re a Christian now; you’d better stop doing those things,’ ” Danny says. “I just didn’t want to do them anymore.”
Acting Like a Dad
During one of his personal Bible studies, Danny came across 1 Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.”
“That hit me right between the eyes,” he remembers, because there was a little girl out there who was most likely his daughter.
Seven years earlier, Danny had longed to marry his lover, “but I just couldn’t tie her down,” he says. When they finally broke up, “I was crushed. I was a professional boxer at the time, and it was the hardest hit I’d ever taken.”
So three weeks later, when his ex called to say she was pregnant, “I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. She’d been seeing all these other guys behind my back; it could be my child, or it could be someone else’s.”
And once a year, that’s the answer he gave the Department of Social Services when they questioned him about being the father of little Melissa. No one ever suggested a paternity test.
But there in his jail cell, reading 1 Timothy 5:8, Danny felt the racing heartbeat of conviction: If Melissa is my daughter and I’m not providing for her, I’m in big trouble! But what could he do from jail?
Then, as Christmas approached, Danny “was absolutely blown away” when Myles Fish, then a Prison Fellowship staff member, came to tell the inmates about PF’s Angel Tree® program—a way for them to give Christmas gifts to their children from prison. Danny couldn’t believe it when Myles said people from churches would buy and deliver the gifts. “Brand new?” he asked. “Brand new,” Myles assured him. And volunteers would provide not only the gifts, but also the Good News of Jesus Christ, in a written form that a seven-year-old like Melissa could easily understand. Danny was thrilled: “That’s the thing I wanted most for her.”
After Christmas, Melissa visited Danny and thanked him for the gifts. He’d stepped out to build a bridge . . . and she’d walked across.
And for the rest of his sentence, Danny prayed he’d be able to minister to others as Angel Tree had ministered to him and Melissa.
Released in 1986, Danny again went to the Department of Social Services, this time with a different answer to their query. “I’m a Christian now,” he said, “and I need to know for sure if this is my daughter or not.” He asked for the blood test. The result: A 99-percent certainty he was the dad. Now taking full responsibility, Danny began paying child support, including several years’ worth of penalties and interest for missed payments.
During one of his visits with Melissa in the Boston suburb of Holbrook, dad and daughter took a walk around the block. As they neared Brookville Baptist Church, Danny noted the sign advertising Vacation Bible School. “I really wanted her to learn about Jesus,” he says—so he went in and asked the pastor if Melissa could attend. From there, both dad and daughter regularly attended church services, and Melissa accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord.
Settled into a new relationship with his daughter, a new church home, and a new job in construction, Danny set out to serve others as he had promised God in jail. He worked with the handicapped, taught Sunday school at Boston Children’s Hospital, started a basketball league for teens, and visited prison inmates. Through his ministry he met his wife, Kim.
Together they worried about Melissa, living with a mother who still dabbled in drugs and promiscuous sex. Then one evening, a couple years out of jail, Danny got a call from the mom. “I can’t handle her,” she said of their 10-year-old daughter, whose distressing home life had spilled over into trouble at school. “Do you want her?”
“Of course!” Danny and Kim immediately agreed, and soon welcomed Melissa into a safe, loving, and healthy family. They enrolled her in a Christian school, “where her straight F’s turned into straight A’s” boasts Danny. She also gained a new baby brother.
Hitting the Books
In 1991 Danny experienced still another dramatic life change: the opportunity, at age 35, to go to college. “You need to finish your education,” challenged a Prison Fellowship staff member, explaining that Illinois’ Wheaton College had a Charles Colson scholarship fund, set up specifically to help ex-prisoners.
“Prison Fellowship blew me away again,” says Danny—who juggled painting jobs and academic studies for four years to earn a degree in Bible and theology.
In 1996, a year after his graduation, Danny became a chaplain with the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry, assigned—at the invitation of his jail mentor Chaplain Hanson—to Plymouth County Correctional Facility! “The inmates are younger now; they’re gang-bangers,” Hanson told him. “We need somebody younger here.” And Danny could speak their language.
Like its former inmate, the facility had gone through a striking transformation. “When I was there, it was dirty, scummy, had cockroaches,” Danny describes. The new buildings, housing 1,500 county, state, and federal inmates, provide clean, state-of-the-art secure accommodations. “Best of all, I can go anywhere I want in it, and can get out the same day!” he jokes.
Now serving as senior chaplain with three assistants (Hanson retired in 2002), Danny pours his heart and energies into ministering not only to the inmates but also to the officers and their families. He teaches Bible studies, counsels, visits the sick, comforts the grieving. “I bring not only the good news, but sometimes the bad news,” he says—like word of a death in the family. “The phone’s always ringing or another e-mail’s popping up”: distraught spouses and parents imploring him to visit or put in a good word for their imprisoned loved one. As head chaplain, he juggles numerous administrative details, screening clergy and lay volunteers, scheduling services and other events, making sure that inmates from a variety of religious backgrounds have the means to express their faith.
And yes, every Christmas he makes sure that inmate fathers have the same chance he had to sign up for Angel Tree.
“I love being back where I found God, or where God found me,” he corrects himself. “I was the one that was lost.”
He knows that countless others now stumble through that same engulfing darkness, groping for a way out of their confusion, guilt, and shame. In his nearly eight years at the jail, Danny estimates that “thousands have come to Christ.” Many are now back on the outside, “working hard, being good fathers, serving as deacons and elders in their church.” He still gets calls from a lot of them: sometimes asking guidance for a problem; sometimes telling him how much they appreciated his care and counsel, and how it set them on a stable path, illumined by the light of Christ. He tells of one former inmate, “a bad dude” named Ed, whose construction business is booming because “everybody saw the change in him.” He describes another inmate, Bob, whose hard work and upbeat disposition prompted a corrections officer to plead, “Tell me about this Christ.” The inmate led the officer in a prayer of surrender to the Lord.
“I love seeing God work in these bad boys’ hearts to give them hope and meaning and a reason to live,” says Danny.
His own life is a prime illustration: a former “bad boy” transformed into a respected minister, loving husband, father of five, and grandfather of three—thanks to oldest daughter Melissa, now in her twenties and happily married.
You can find this and many other inspirational stories of hope and encouragement at www.pfm.org, an organization dedicated to help prison inmates and their families that way founded by Charles Colson.
Looking back, “I hate what I did,” he says soberly, referring to the deadly car crash. “I wish to God it had never happened. But God still takes bad situations and turns them over for good.” God’s merciful irony.
Have you ever woken up and looked out at the world from your bed, and just wanted to bury your head under the covers and wish the day would pass you by so that you did not have to deal with all that was surrounding your life at that moment in your life? Come on. Admit it. We all have, well, except for the liars who are reading this. It is just human nature to want to avoid conflict and cirsumstances that leave us feeling angry, annoyed, weary, beaten up, abused or frustrated. I know that I have at times, even when to the world (my public face AKA my outer facade of “Mr. Got It All Together”) I am calm, cool, and collected.
It can be overwhelming at times, even for someone who professes Christ as their Savior and Lord. And, quite honestly, I personally could not face some of those things I have had to face in my life, and still must face in my own life, if I did not have Jesus Christ in my life. Call me a whimp before men, but I need Jesus. Maybe you are like me in this way, maybe not, but I want to encourage you right now in that place you are in.
If you are not a Christ follower, some of this might not make sense to you, but please take a moment and at very least, read the Scriptures below. They are filled with hope for you, and they are Living! For my brothers and sisters, hear what the Spirit is saying.
G-d is stretching His people and stripping away the things of this world that are holding them back from HIS BEST for them. He is beginning to separate the wheat from the tares within the Church, and saying to His Bride, “Come away with Me and let me give you counsel and comfort and encouragement in this dark and perverse time before my return.’
“You who have been made weary in your own efforts, in your own stength, but My strength is a stong and sustaining strength that I want to give you. Even though you are weary in this time, KNOW that I the Lord am strong, and I AM your refuge and your comforter if you choose to run into my arms.’
“If you seek Me you will find favor and Life and ressurrection power, MY ressurrection power, and it will be in you to overcome the world because I have overcome the world. Your time is near when you will receive your breakthrough. I know of temptation. I know of dismay and of sorrow. I understand frustration. I understand betrayal. I know of all of these things that you face in your life right now. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I AM with you. Seek only My face and My voice and not the voice of men or angels. Seek ME alone and find your deliverance.’
Thus says the Lord of Hosts to His children.
Brothers, sisters, and those of you who read this now, DO NOT think for a moment that the LIVING G-D of ISRAEL does not see and know of your circumstances and DESIRES to help you in your time of need. Do you feel stretched? Do you feel torn and ragged and worn out? Do you want to cry? If you do, CRY OUT TO THE LORD who saves us from all our calamities and from destruction. Know this, that YOUR BREAKTHROUGH is coming. Do not give up and do not allow thoughts (those from the evil one) to tell you that you are worthless, useless, unappreciated, unbeautiful, or unredeemable. IT IS A LIE!!! You are none of these things, because G-d does not make junk or trash or refuse. YOU ARE HIS TREASURE!!! And, you are a ‘thing’ that HE LOVES DEEPLY!!! Hear the Word of the Lord!
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you”, says the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall you call upon Me, and you shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.”
Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not; for I am with you. Be not dismayed; for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.
Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
Phillipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Be encouraged today, and share this message with others that need encouragement. YOU could be the hope they need to endure, and your sharing this encouragement may very well be their salvation from all they are under or struggling with – even when they do not show it.
Being faithful in the midst of difficulty is not the norm in today’s world of self-centeredness. It takes extraordinary character to persevere and not waver in our convictions even when the circumstances are not our fault. I would like to think that I have not done stupid things in my life that have cost others hardship, but if I were to be totally honest (and hey, why not… I am not using my real name here), I can say that I am responsible for a great many people’s hardship in this life because of very stupid decisions I have made.
When we make poor decisions in our lives, inevitably that are innocent bystanders that get hurt or suffer as a result of our actions. Many times when this happens, there is nothing we can do about it. The results of our mistakes (if we have any conscience or character remaining at all) is that we will live with the reality that those affected must suffer from our mistakes; and, it can haunt us for life. OK, now the flip side to that.
What if you are the one that sufferings disasters that have happened to you? Events that came to pass as a result of someone else’s sin or abuse or foolish actions that end up leaving us wounded, crippled, suffering, and living in mental or physical pain – or both? This happens, alot! Events haunt us for life even though we have no direct responsibility for those events that take place. It would be nice if we could just shrug off these sorts of hauntings, accept things for the way they are, and just make the best of the situation, wouldn’t it?
I am reminded of the story of the Hebrew prophet Daniel and his friends who were innocent bystanders to events that took place. As a result, they suffered a lifelong exile to Babylon because of Israel’s disobedience to God. The cool thing is that even in the midst of terrible circumstances, they did not let their misfortune destroy their relationship with each other or with God. They knew in their hearts that their lives belonged to God, that He was their source of strength when all of their own strength was gone. The realities of exile and persecution they lived through did not deter them from living successful lives. And, their lives offer great insight about how we can deal with personal calamity or tragedy in our lives if we are the victim or innocent bystanders of someone else’s mistakes that affect us, or their actions or sins against us.
Just a little recap here incase you are rusty on your Old Testament reading to paint you a little portrait of what I am talking about here. After being taken from Jerusalem to Babylon, Daniel and his friends were trained for service in the Babylonian government. Their captors often demanded things of them that were in direct opposition to what they knew God would want or expect out of them. Here it is.
Daniel and his friends were completely devoted to honoring God. They were unshakable in their faith. To protect their relationship with God, Daniel and his friends set clear boundaries for their behavior and what they would and would not do. They made a plan and stuck to it – following God’s plan for their lives regardless of what might come. They chose to be fully committed to their course of action even in the worst of circumstances. Despite their conviction’s conflict with the command of their captors, they stood their ground, and God protected them for their faithfulness to Him.
Something to think about here… Although Daniel and his friends were exiled to Babylon for the sins of their ancestors, they didn’t use that as an excuse to carry on those sins or to feel sorry for themselves. They chose NOT to continue in their forefather’s failures. They instead trusted God to protect them and to redeem their lives from the curse of the sins of others on their lives, and they were determined to live according to God’s precepts and teachings.
I was confronted by a critic of my Christian faith some time ago, and asked what I was willing to die for. I thought for a minute, and replied, “I can’t say for certain what I would die for other than my friends, but I can tell you what I am willing to live for, and His name is Messiah, Savior, Prince of Peace, Son of G-d, the I AM that I AM, the G-d of Israel – Jesus.” Then I asked him, “Who or what besides yourself are YOU willing to live for?”
Take some action: Determine what or who you will live your life for once and for all. Then, sit down and write out your life credo; and what you will be known for, what you will do in your life, and why. Determine once you have written it that you will become the personification of those convictions regardless of popularity, position, or persecution. Strive to remain committed to this new mindset – live it every day in every way. Once you have made this determination, seek out a few close and trusted friends to hold you accountable, then stay the course no matter what as you live it out.
Every once in a while I hear a song that I have heard sung in vacation Bible schools and Sunday school classes by children since the time I first began to walk with Jesus. It goes something like this. “Be careful little eyes what you see, Be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down with Love, So be careful little eyes what you see…” I love that song. So simple, yet so profound when it comes to spiritual warfare, and the devil’s ongoing attack on the mind of man.
I doubt very few young people even understand the significance of that song when they sing it, that by guarding your eyes you can in effect guard against temptation. There is nothing like hearing children singing this, especially in knowing that the words are being deeply seated in their being in preparation for the great battle for their very soul as they grow to become accountable for their lives before G-d.
It is unfortunate that as children grow up that they lose the memory of these words. As adults, many men and women that profess to know G-d personally have not learned from their childhood, or even the common sense lessons of life, of how to put this simple song into practice, or the severe consequences of not doing so. Too many men and women allow their wondering eyes to lead them into thoughts and temptations that they ultimately fall victim to, and from those events destructive patterns begin to take root deep in the human soul. In many cases, these habits ultimately lead them into bondage as they give in to temptation after temptation leading them to say and do things they would never have thought they could do.
Casting Crowns came out with a song that riffs off of this song called Slow Fade. If you have not heard it, take a moment to visit jango.com and do a search for it. It is a great reminder not only to those who would allow their eyes to wonder for their own protection, but a reminder for those of us with children, and the onlookers who look up to us for guidance and spiritual strength. We must be careful little what we choose to set our eyes upon. Very careful. If not, the destructive and humiliating consequences will have their affect on us, and it will not be a pretty picture to look at of a life if we were made to be transparent in our lives as it will be in the Day of Judgment.
Today, as you go about your day, whether here online or in your ‘real world’ experience, take the time to monitor your eyes and what they look at. Consider the thoughts that arise and ask yourself, “If my thoughts were to be heard out loud by my closest friends, my dad, my mom, MY CHILDREN, MY HUSBAND or MY WIFE, what would they say? What would they think of me as a person? Choose today to make a covenant with your eyes and rise above mediocrity and the way the world chooses to live. If you need help or encouragement in this area, write us at: ruined [at] ruinedfortheordinary.com. We are for your success.
I recently commented on a wall post by an individual who was speaking out about his concern and discontent in how the office of Prophet is viewed by the modern day Church. And while I am very slow to recognize that calling in someone based on just their word for it that they have been called to be a prophet and have that gift, I do fully recognize that the gift of prophecy is active and significant in today’s Church. Here in lies the rub, for me at least as it concerns this particular post I read.
Unfortunately for my new friend, there is a lack of understanding in the Church as a whole about the gift of prophecy. His frustration was obvious, no doubt the result of a faceoff with a Pastor of a Church that did not see eye to eye with him on either his gift or what he had prophesied. Either way, his making it public on FaceBook seemed abit out of character for a man (or woman) that would be called to the office of Prophet.
The Scripture that came to mind was Proverbs 6:16-19. “There are six things the LORD HATES, seven that are DETESTABLE to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” I am not one to bark (outloud at least) about what I see happening when I see things that I KNOW the Lord hates, but for all practical purposes, this well-meaning brother was becoming a “man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” It’s just not something you do on FaceBook in front of almost 600 million users.
OK, so back on point, like each of the Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts, each gift (offices within the Church in the view of many scholars) carries with it a warning of its misuse or use in error. A harsher judgment by G-d Himself to be one for certain. But, of the office of prophet, I don’t think there is another gift that demands stoning to death should the prophet prophecy inaccurately.
Yes, believe it or not, this was the practice of Old Testament days. Stone false prophets to death (those who prophesied inaccurately); and even in many cases, it was more of, “just stone them anyway, because we don’t like what he is saying.” To be judged harshly for the misuse or failing in the other Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts seems a far cry less painful than stoning.
Here is my take on the gift of prophecy. The GIFT of prophecy is far more recognized in the New Testament Church, than the OFFICE of the Prophet, since it was not directly mentioned as a governing office within the New Testament Church in any writings found in the New Testament or in any supporting documents of that day. Sadly too, it is one of those gifts that is seldom appreciated like that of Apostle, Pastor, Teacher, and Evangelist, or even many of the minor gifts as in those as found in the ministry of helps. And in some main stream denomination, you would most likely be totally ostracized from that denomination for operating in that gift in any way. It’s just way to ‘spooky’ for most “cozy comfy sunday go to meeting” Christians.
The Bible clearly teaches that we are ALL encouraged to operate in all gifts, including prophecy; however, the office of Prophet in the new Testament Church is not widely recognized, and considered by the masses as it was in the day of the Prophets, an obscure and little appreciated position (for the most part). I mean, they were very active in Old Testament day, and are responsible for many leadings, corrections, and directions brought by G-d Himself, but speaking of how humans at large have historically acted towards prophets, they are were not and are not fully – if at all – appreciated in the Church… and especially by Apostles or Pastors.
As a “position” in the Body of Christ, it is seldom incorporated into Church government due to the obscure nature of it in light of G-d’s Logos Word. It is recognized at times within the context of the spoken Word of G-d from the pulpit under unction of Holy Spirit by the Pastor and Teacher, but not as circumvention to that which is taught from the pulpit.
Like in the days of our forefathers of the faith, the prophet of today is not taken seriously because of their abuse of the calling when they attempt to direct the affairs of the Church through a soulish incarnation of Holy Spirit speaking, rather than under the unction of Holy Spirit who gives the Word through the prophet. In a real sense, such abuse is not foreign to the other Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts.
I have seen gross abuse by those operating in every position of the five fold ministry gifts aside from the gift of Prophet. Of course such a calling (gift) comes under even more scrutiny in light of the edict that if a prophet speaks a false prophecy that they should be stoned to death as a false prophet.
As throughout the history of the Prophet, one can expect to be unpopular, unappreciated, unrecognized, and unlistened to, and quite possibly – howbeit not stoned to death if they miss a prophecy – put out of the Church if they do as being a false prophet. I think this is why so many of the true men and women of G-d that I know who operate mightily in the gift of prophecy tend to have few friends, spend most of their time in prayer, and have only a select number of ministerial associations (aside from the ‘fans’ who think its a cool gift to have and wish they had it).
I know of a church where they have a great deal of prophetic activity going on and the office of Prophet is taken very seriously. In fact, in their foyer leading into the sanctuary, there is literally a dump truck of river rocks dumped into a large container in easy reach of all paritioners. The sign reads, “Let he who rises to the call and office prophet, prophesy well, lest he know the full measure of falsely doing so.”
I prophesy often, and accurately, but being one who has been hit by a few rocks in my day, I do NOT want to EVER be called to the office of the Prophet!!! I am not that brave. I will stick to pastoring, teaching and evangelizing!!! :-)
I posted a blog some time ago in my FaceBook Notes concerning some issues that affect our nation negatively both in the short term and long term. One commenter made the remark that she was glad that we were finally getting ‘religion’ out of our government, quoting the most misquoted phrase related to our Constitution that there is, i.e. ‘the separation of church and state.”
As I began to write a response to the commenter, I realized that most well-meaning citizens of our great nation are mostly clueless about this term and where it actually comes from. My natural course of reasoning then wondered how many Americans even know what our nation’s constitution says, what’s included in it, and what the Bill of Rights are.
My mind, now spiraling out of control over the realization of how much that most people, at least in America, take freedom for granted, what it takes to get it back once it’s lost, and even more startling, how many even realize when it is being lost. It began to make perfect sense to me how we Americans have allowed our nation’s moral fiber to decay so rapidly, and for those who believe in the foundational principles of what our nation was founded on to so easily be duped into accepting misinformation handed down by shrewd and deceitful individuals bent on stripping our nation of its heritage – mainly our Constitution and what the First Amendment actually says. [head spinning at this point]
Most who know me know me as a conservative right-winged entrepreneurial capitalist. Guilty as charged. This said, you can expect me to get up on my soap box when I see gross injustice being carried out by a few who do not represent the many or masses. In recent months, it has continually been America’s present administration. Somehow it has been decided that even amid the lowest poll rating, and highest voter disapproval that our present White House and Congress have aggressively pushed through extremist laws that border on the line of dictatorship and not that of democracy. It does not really matter what the general public want, think, or say. The policies that only a few desire are being pushed into law over the will of the masses.
Take the Hate Crimes Bill for instance, or even more destructive (ok, well, equally as destructive), the healthcare bill. It’s just absolutely out in left field when it comes to a reality check. I am still trying to understand the mentality of forced health care where it would be a federal crime if you do not have a health care policy. Someone help me to understand this, please.
We now have a health care bill where the health care policy felon (the offender) who could not afford the health care plan (approximately $290/mth) would be subject to up to a $5000 fine and imprisonment for not having a health care plan. Yet, the cost per day of someone in jail costs the tax payer about $285, or equivalent to the cost of a monthly premium for a healthcare policy for the person that is jailed. Are you following me? Am I missing something? But here is the kicker. If you are an inmate in our penal system, you receive free health care – free at least in that the taxpayers pay for it.
OK, so back on topic here. The commenter on my post boldly proclaimed the ‘separation of church and state’ clause relating to a statement made by our President that America was “no longer a Christian nation.” To further emphasis his point, he canceled the National Day of Prayer, something that our nation has celebrated as a people for some 60 years publicly, and was an overflow of what takes place in the halls of Congress everyday as the day gets started.
This said, I humbly submit to those who would wonder about such things that the separation of church and state is a principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” The modern concept of or verbal remaking of our 1st Amendment concerning church and state has been credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke (not an American). The phrase “separation of church and state” specifically can be traced to an 1802 letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists; an assembly where Jefferson spoke of the collective effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
This statement of Jefferson has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court. Ironically, the Court has not always fully embraced the principle itself but rather deferred their reasoning to it since it had previously been quoted or ascribed to in earlier decisions. The reality of this misrepresentation of what the Constitution actually says, and what the meaning of the term was originally meant to say are in fact in great opposition to one another. Clearly, there has been a very small segment of very powerful atheists and Gnostics who were able to manipulate the Courts, Judges, politicians, and media over the years to bring about this distortion of fact and principle as it was originally intended.
With even this modified nomenclature of ‘separation of church and state” there can be no way it can constitute the stripping of G-d out of our society, nor the oppressive behavior towards those who profess faith in Christ as is now being seen as commonplace for those who dare to be known and heard concerning moral absolutes and any law that is based on moral absolutes. The First Amendment clearly says that the government cannot force people to believe a certain way. It does not say that a government of the people by the people and for the people cannot have a preference to believe in the values that have shaped every civilized culture since the beginning of recorded history.
I am sure that if most intelligent people who are unaware of what our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the supporting documents of our nation actually said, they would see very clearly that our nation is founded exclusively upon Christian values and principles, and the Holy Scriptures themselves. It is the G-d inspired writing of the Constitution that allows a Buddhist for instance to be a practicing Buddhist in America, and to be known for doing it, and have the ability to be shown respect for their decision to believe the way they so choose. However, those who seek so aggressively to remove the Christian faith from our nation do not realize that in most of the rest of the world (Muslim world for instance) you would be executed for being a Buddhist or a homosexual for that matter. This certain death of course would be after they were most likely raped and tortured, and the torturers made that Buddhist or homosexual recant their beliefs or die a painful death.
Ok, so back to the Amendment in question, which does not say anywhere in it “separation of church and state”. The reason for the Amendment was the result of an oppressive government in England that controlled the Church in an effort to control the people. In her defense (the commenter on my original blog found on FaceBook), I do understand why there are those in our society (America) that are glad ‘Christianity’ and the moral guidelines that originally came from this G-d centered way of life are being removed from our country. The moral pillars of Christ’s Church cast a dark shadow on immoral behavior or self-consumed lifestyles. But, what these proponents of a ‘godless society’ do not realize is that removing G-d/Christ from our country will not remove the nagging feeling of guilt or the growing animosity towards anyone or anything that would stand in opposition to their willful choice to lead such a lives.
This ideology of self-exaltation and self-awareness that would seek to overturn the moral laws of G-d (a religion in and of itself) that the 2% of our country who are homosexual who want their life style to become a mainstream way of life, taught as acceptable to our preschool and elementary aged children, and have a law that says you cannot even say it is wrong without being charged for a federal crime, is by its very nature an aberrant religious order. Should we as a nation not also reject and rise up against this self gratifying religion? (Religion defined: Man made philosophy that helps man feel good about him self that is based on his own needs and not others).
This all said, the First Amendment in no way constitutes the stripping of G-d out of our society, nor the oppressive behavior towards those who profess faith in Christ. But it would make sense given the growing hatred for Christians. We (myself included) are the most persecuted ‘religion’ in America and around the world. I believe I heard that last year almost 300,000 Christians were killed simply because they were Christians. The majority of the millions killed in Africa through starvation and ethnic cleansing have been Christian. And, through abortion alone, children that G-d sees as His very own, over 45,000,000 have been murdered for nothing more than a convenience in all but very few isolated cases. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but is there a pattern forming here that is paramount to a tribulation period of Biblical proportions?
I’m getting off track again… sorry. The First Amendment as written clearly says that the government cannot force people to believe a certain way. It does not say that our government – a government of the people by the people and for the people – cannot have a preference to believe in and adhere to the values that have shaped every civilized culture since the beginning of recorded history (being repetitive here to make a point).
What do you think about all this? I would love to hear what you have to say on this either way.