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Going rate to kill pastor: $250

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Hindu extremist groups are offering money, food and alcohol to anyone who murders Christians and destroys their homes.

The violence is nothing new in Orissa, India, where India's Communist Party estimates that more than 500 Christians have been killed by Hindu mobs in Orissa since late August, 12 times more than official government claims of only 40 homicides.

But now the stakes are even higher - and pastors have a bounty on their heads.

Faiz Rahman, chairman of Good News India, said Hindu militants are targeting Christian leaders, the Christian Post reported.

"The going price to kill a pastor is $250," he said.

Rahman, a head of several orphanages in Orissa State, said he's helped 25 pastors to leave refugee camps, but 250 Christian leaders are still in shelters.

"All of the pastors are high value targets," Rahman told the UK-based Release International. "We've got to get them out of the refugee camps."

An All-India Christian Council spokesman said, "People are being offered rewards to kill, and to destroy churches and Christian properties. They are being offered foreign liquor, chicken, mutton and weapons. They are given petrol and kerosene."

Read More Here

TEST ALL THINGS, EVEN MIRACLES

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To be forewarned is to be forearmed

The basis of some people's Christianity is if a miracle takes place, it is sufficient evidence for them to believe it is from God. They never check it out or test it; something that God commands us to do. The Bible teaches us that Satan uses this method to deceive the naïve, the immature, and the ignorant to remove them from walking in the truth of the word. Someone who argues that miracles are from God 100 percent of the time is already open to deception. This becomes a major flaw from those who are willing to accept all miracles that happens is from God. To avoid testing is to neglect many of the Bibles commands for our safety. Jesus warns us about a movement in the last days that will be done by many coming in his name (Mt.24:5-6) and include miraculous signs taking place. Matthew 24:23-25: "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christ's and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." If a Christian neglects this they will be deceived.

Read More Here

We are constantly reminded of Paul's admonition to "prove all things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

[Note: Article adapted from The Berean Call, November 21, 2008]

Follow Up to "Did God Set Mankind Up For Failure?"

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This is a follow up to my other post and the comment I received regarding that article. Go here for the first post.

What was the temptation placed before man? The tree? Or the Woman? Or God's instructions? If we focus on the sin of eating the fruit as the first sin then maybe there is a point of God setting up man but the tree was just an object of a temptation or rather the 'question in a test'...it just shows if we can follow instructions.

Luke 6:1-2 tells us that "...Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan [note: where He was just baptized.], and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Being forty days tempted of the devil." [note: See also Matthew 3:13-4:11; Mark 1:9-13] Was Jesus being set up by the spirit to be tempted? YES! Was Jesus being set up to fail? NO! Did Jesus face the same kind of temptation set up as Adam did? Yes, He did. But He proved faithful and thus perfect to be the only one to remove the curse and debt of sin, right? So was Jesus set up to fail or succeed because of the temptation? Neither He passed the test because He followed the instructions, just like any student in school passes the test by learning and applying the information taught.

Is it a sin to be tempted or to yield to the temptation to the sin? Would it have been better if the garden was full of trees they were told not to eat and only one good true to eat from? Consider that wherever you are in the garden if you get hungry you can only eat from the one tree in the middle. The other ones that may be easier to get to and looked refreshing they would bring about sin's curse...does this scenario fill the same role as being set up for failure? I would think yes would be appropriate. The test objective is still the same and in fact the test is even harder. God told man just stay away from the one tree to protect it self and he failed at this simple thing. Why? Let's look at what I believe to be the true first sin.

I believe that the Bible shows that Adam added to God's instructions [note compare Gen 2:16-17 to 3:1-3]. Eve was not yet created in 2:17 so who told her about God's instructions? Did Adam add that "not to touch" stipulation? Did this give the room for Satan to raise doubts about what God said? We see Adam was "with her" (Gen 3:6). Why didn't he correct Eve or tell the serpent what God did say...Adam had heard it. When he didn't reinforce what God's instructions were...it raised opportunity for the serpent to cause Eve to question. But Adam couldn't have reinforced God's instructions because he had lied and added to them...albeit for a noble reason but still he lied when he implied what God's instructions to Eve were...don't eat..don't touch. This leads me to reason that the taking of the fruit was not the temptation or the sin, the mess was created by Adam adding to God's instructions and then lying or trying to at least conceal the truth. Adam should have revealed that he added something different to God's original instructions when the serpent asked "Yea, hath God said..." (Gen 3:1). But instead Adam kept this to himself and then once on this slippery slope he became a willing participant in the eating of the fruit offered to him.

Here's a curious thought - when their eyes were opened what did they know? Did they know that Adam had lied and that he failed to really care for Eve and warn her? Do you think she understood what kind of selfish, self-centered, conniving man Adam was, especially when he blamed God for "the woman whom thou gavest me" (Gen 3:12)?

How was Jesus was successful in escaping temptation? By using the 'Words of God' (the Scripture) the exact area that Adam failed at. Adam twisted the Words of God to fit his desire to not be alone, for his need of companionship, or whatever his personal reasons were. But ultimately when it came time for the test of temptation he failed to use God's words. He was trapped by his sin of lying/adding to God's instructions and truly this is the failure of man.

Since I believe this to be the first and ultimate sin of mankind...guess what the tree really had less of an effect than we like to think on the sin in the garden. Man is constantly being tempted...being tested...only following God's exact instructions can make us successful. Just like at school, huh?

Please think on these things and let me know if I can be of any more help.

Vatican Synod Says Bible Not The Only Word of God

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When Bible believers discuss the “Word of God” they assume everyone agrees they are referring to the Bible. But if you are talking to a Roman Catholic, he is probably thinking of more than that.

In October a Synod of Bishops was called to discuss “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” Guidelines for discussion contain this statement: “Both [the Bible and Tradition] are channels of communication of the Word of God. Therefore, the Word of God finds its completeness of meaning and grace in experiencing both, ‘one inside the other.’ In this way, both can be called, and indeed are, the “Word of God.”

This may seem like so much doublespeak, but it essentially expands the definition of the “Word of God” to include the Roman Catholic Tradition. Therefore, when we speak of the “Word of God” to a Roman Catholic, he is not thinking just the Bible, but also the Tradition or “Magisterium.” It is this official Tradition that encrusts the Bible with all the ritual, superstition and priestcraft so contradictory to Scripture.

So, when you use the Bible to witness to a Roman Catholic, he does not see it as God’s complete word for him. In fact, he has been taught that he cannot even understand the Bible unless it is interpreted by Roman Catholic “Tradition.”

The guidelines for the Synod go on to confirm this: “…the faithful have the responsibility to listen to [the Bible] and meditate on it; but to explain it is the responsibility only of those who by right of sacred ordination have the task of teaching or those who have been entrusted with the exercise of this ministry.” While the layman may “listen to and meditate on [the Bible],” only the pope and his priests are allowed to “explain” it.

This is no different from the Jehovah’s Witness who is told he is not capable of understanding the Bible, but must rely on the Watchtower Society to interpret and “explain” it.

In Matthew 15, Jesus told the Pharisees, “…ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” Can the pope avoid the same condemnation when the Bible says Jesus is the only mediator but Vatican “Tradition” says pray to the Virgin Mary goddess? Or the Bible says God is Spirit to be worshiped “in spirit and truth” but the pope says worship a wafer god, instead? Or, the Bible says the Holy Spirit will guide us to truth but the pope says the “church” and its “Tradition” must “explain” what is truth?

How this spiritual bondage plays out is graphically illustrated by a young lady who this writer attempted to witness to. When encouraged to study the Bible, she responded, “No, if I read the Bible it will raise questions that I do not understand. If I have a problem, I go to my priest and he solves it for me.”

With Jehovah’s Witnesses, soul winners have discovered that the best approach is to plant seeds of doubt about the Watchtower Society. A similar approach with Roman Catholics can be effective. Chick Publications has tracts and books that equip you to do this. Paperback books Understanding Roman Catholicism and Answers to my Catholic Friends point out the unbiblical teachings of the Traditions, or Magisterium. Babylon Religion and The Two Babylons detail the pagan origins of the unscriptural Traditions. Tracts include Why is Mary Crying?, Last Rites, The Death Cookie and Are Roman Catholics Christians?

The precious Roman Catholics are trusting this prostitute “church” to get them to heaven. They need to know that Jesus said to “come out of her…that ye be not partakers of her sins.” Rev. 18:4.

[Article from "Battle Cry" Novmeber/December 2008 Issue]

Did God Set Mankind Up For Failure?

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Recently, I was presented with this 'argument' about God, Adam, and Sin. Now the Bible says that God doesn't tempt us but is that right? James 1:13 - Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

Here is the discussion...
Genesis 2:17 - But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Why would a loving God place temptation before the very first man created knowing what the outcome would be. Isn't that making sure that man would fall? Why would that same loving God then sentence people to hell for taking advantage of something that He created? Something is not right with this picture. All that was accomplished by God creating that tree was the first humans had their lives destroyed, they were cast out of the garden that God had created for them, the first man born on earth murdered his brother, and the second man born was murdered. Now somebody please tell me this is good. And of course down through the ages man has hated, killed, and went to hell because sin was passed down by God's first creation. What was God thinking?

Why should all mankind be sentenced to having to choose between good and evil, because the first man and woman decided to eat something God forbade them to eat? We all have the power to choose and I understand that but the Bible says that sin was passed down from Adam as though we have no choice but to sin and that is exactly what the Bible says. [Romans 5:12 - Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death was passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:] Adam was born with no sin. Why don't we all have the same choice? Why should we all be sentenced to death because one man sinned? Even our justice is better than that. A man commits a crime , is sentenced but his family isn't convicted because is.


OK first off this is the kind circle logic that gets people focusing in the wrong direction. I don't criticize or blame people for this reasoning we see that John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus (who boldly proclaimed Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29) even had a time of doubts and questions (Matt. 11:2-15, Luke 7:18-35 - He asked of Jesus Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?). Jesus set a great example in dealing with John's doubts but proving his heavenly power. So the first answer I would have for one who brought of these questions is that God showed His love by sending Jesus and Jesus showed His love by willingly giving His life for us. One would think that if God was setting up anyone for heartache it would be himself or Jesus...He who knew no sin yet willingly gave all He had to become the appeasement of God's righteousness (see Phil. 2:5-8 & Rom. 5:6-21).

Secondly, this reasoning can simply be answered in the same circle reasoning of man's logic. To blame God for 'setting man up for failure' is like blaming the auto industry for making engines that go much faster than the speed limit. The driver has a choice to speed even though the capabilities and opportunity is in front of the driver to go 120 MPH that doesn't mean that man is 'being set up to get a speeding ticket'. Auto manufacturers know that people are going to speed and that mankind has the capability to speed, and is presented with opportunities to speed...ultimately though it is up to the driver to choose to speed. The same with Adam's sin in the garden. He chose to tell Eve something different than what God told him (compare Gen. 2:17 & 3:3). She chose to look at it, take it, eat it and then offer it to Adam that was there with her. And he chose to take it from her and eat it as well. They simply made a choice, albeit a seriously bad choice that has affected all of us. But a choice that God was prepared for by having a plan in place before the world was formed that was fulfilled by Jesus' death on the cross.

Thirdly, if the first man didn't choose and as the person making the question asked why not give each man a choice to sin or not...God in His wisdom knew that man would sin someday if not Adam then Cain, or any other of offspring of Adam and Eve. So let's apply some of this reverse logic and say that God didn't delay the inevitable and that He actually shows great mercy and wisdom knowing (or designing) the situation with the first man sinning so that the plan would be put into place immediately for man to have a way to escape the judgement of sin. Understand that I don't think that God said "oh well, it's going to happen anyways. I guess I might as well do it now" but if one wants to discuss a silly logic I can counter with another silly logic of my own.

Fourth, to compare God's justice system to ours is ridiculous. On one hand we have wrongly accused and condemned innocent people for crimes that they didn't commit. On the other hand, when a man is condemned for a crime while the court doesn't condemn the family, the situation in essence does condemn them and they suffer greatly for it. No one sins in a vacuum. There are always effects we know it, we see it, we experience it and God knew it from the very beginning and mankind has been paying for it ever since and compounding it with our own sins making it worse for each generation.

I hope that my points are considered and would love to have you leave comments or counter points to the original item or my counter-points. Thanks for reading and God bless!

HOW TRACTS TALK

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God uses the printed page as well as the spoken word.


Every phase of the Protestant Reformation in Europe was preceded by an immense tract effort that almost “turned the world upside down.”

Martin Luther wrote more than one tract, booklet, or book for every working week of his entire life.

Among the most precious items of cargo on the Mayflower on her first trip to America were Pastor John Robinson’s tracts.

William Penn, founder of the city of Philadelphia, wrote a single religious tract that freed 12,000 Quakers imprisoned for Christ’s sake.

Benjamin Franklin ghostwrote and printed the tracts for several early American evangelists, including those of George Whitefield.

Almost every foreign mission field in the world was opened by missionaries who first used tracts to win the heathen to Christ. A son of one of the chiefs of Burdwain, India, was converted through a single tract, and he was instrumental in winning 1,500 natives to Christ.

Dwight L. Moody began his fruitful evangelistic ministry in Chicago by
the simple act of distributing tracts to Great Lakes seaman.

John Wanamaker, while Postmaster General of the United States, carefully selected gospel tracts for distribution to those with whom he came in contact.

Whistler’s Mother was called a “preacher in skirts” because she distributed tracts to the workers on the railroad between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

We are letting tracts talk when we give tracts to others.

Casual Dress, Casual Life

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Article by Evangelist Mike Azinger (used with permission)

If you look up the word “casual” in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, you will find the phrase, “see [also] Accident.” At the scene of accidents, you find “casualties.” “Casualty,” I was told some years ago, has the same root word as “casual.” Or, to put it more simply, accidents happen when things are taken casually. Even things like casual attire. If there is one thing that reveals how far American society has fallen, it is how far our dress standards have fallen. The prostitutes from years ago would blush at the sight of what many of today’s grade school and junior high girls wear to class every day. For generations, the Bible was our standard-bearer for how we dressed: modesty and contrast between the sexes were the standards, and these, by their very definition, implied dignity, beauty, and a demand for respect. Tragically, Hollywood and the music industry set our standards for dress today, and their lifestyles represent no limits, which brings - at its end - futility or madness. Look deep in the eyes of your average entertainer: they are empty, hollow, and lost. They are evil and self-loving; and you will see there no fear of God. Yet, most American moms and dads have few qualms about these type of people setting dress standards for their children.

Casual dress, I think, is a symptom of an un-serious culture. Casual Friday was as quickly embraced in America as shopping on Sunday - more convenient and more comfortable, thank you, and please don’t pester me about what God thinks of it. Many women today dress like, and, therefore, look like men, and many men dress like slobs or like boys. It’s no wonder we show little respect for each other: who respects a woman who looks like a man or who respects a grown man who doesn’t have enough dignity to dress like a grown man? By nature, we show more respect to people who dress more dignified. By nature, we treat females with more respect when they dress more feminine. By nature, we treat men with more respect when they dress masculine and dignified. I am saying things that used to be self evident to the average American. William F. Buckley, in a 1959 article titled “What To Do About Slovenly Dress?” in National Review magazine, wrote,

“Respectful or respectable dressing is a characteristic of adult society. Some
people are born gentlemen, other people acquire gentility during life, still
others must have it forced on them.”


Good luck. That was 1959. Imagine forcing such rules on this society. As Buckley also said, “Coat and- tie is merely a symbol. It could be courtesy; deference; reverence; humility; moderation…” Indeed it is. Should we be surprised then, that when we discard the coat and tie et. al. in our society that we find that “courtesy, deference, reverence, and humility” have strangely disappeared also? And they will
not return to their previous throne until our standards are elevated to their previous heights.

Can we not make the point from Ephesians 6 (though it is not the primary teaching of the text) that God wants his people sufficiently dressed and even dressed with dignity, by his command for the Christian “to take unto you the whole (as in completely dressed) armour of God…having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness…”? This is, of course, teaching of spiritual warfare, but I believe you can also make the case that if God dresses you fully for spiritual warfare, he would expect the same in every day life.
We understand, most of us, the principles of modesty and that there is to be a distinction between a man and a woman; which, the greater the distinction, the more dignity it brings to both male and female. Disagree? Then go attend a wedding and tell me I’m wrong. There you will see the bride arrayed in all of her female glory - adorned to the apotheosis of her femininity: bringing glory to God by glorifying her femininity and by making herself beautiful for her husband-to-be. Likewise the man,
who dresses to accentuate his masculinity to be as manly as he possibly can be for his new bride, and, whether he intends it or not, bringing glory to God by glorifying his maleness, and each, by contrasting so strongly and so beautifully their corresponding sexes, they glorify God together: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…and
behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:27,31) God is glorified in contrast; man finds happiness in reflecting God’s glory. Most wedding picture frames encase two lovers with big smiles - because they are glorifying God.

In the Old Testament, the high-priests who attended the Temple were commanded to have a specific dress - dignified, ornamental, and metaphoric - that included eight sacred vestments that “without wearing the full number of his vestments, [the High-Priest’s] service would be invalid…” God believes in dignity and the more so the higher up you go. The High-Priest wore twice the garments as the ordinary priests and had “gold, the symbol of splendor, appear[ing] in them.” Holiness, high dress, and dignity are inseparable. David McCullough said in his great book, 1776, “…there was never any mistaking the impeccably uniformed, commanding figure of Washington, who looked always as if on parade.” On the day Washington took command, July 3rd, 1776, a young doctor, James Thatcher, witnessed the ceremony and said of Washington:
His Excellency was on horseback, in company with several military gentlemen. It was not difficult to distinguish him from all others. His personal appearance is truly noble and majestic, being tall and well proportioned. His dress is a blue coat with buff colored facings, a rich epaulet on each shoulder, buff underdress, and an elegant small sword, a black cockade in his hat.

The father of our country, perhaps, set the standard for generations to come on the dignity of dress. It remained strong and fairly consistent until the 1920s and still held respectably strong until the late ’60’s. Then the hippies, the anti-war crowd, and the sexual revolution gave us blue jeans, unkempt hair, and bad manners and destroyed - slowly but surely - the common social graces, children addressing
adults as “sir” and “mam,” and dressing with dignity and modesty. What had held strong for generations - like so many icons smashed by the 60s revolution - fell to pieces in a few short years. It ’s up to Christians to hold the line.

We turned into brutes after the Fall, which is why God dressed Adam and Eve right away -the eyes of fallen man are corrupted from looking on nakedness, and brutes are tamed somewhat by proper dress. Which is why dress has been an issue ever since the Fall: God understands the evil influence of nakedness - and so does Satan.
Our dress, I think, reflects many things about us, but most importantly it reflects our morals and our religion. Our dress is casual, an after-thought. It is slovenly, unkempt, and undignified. It reflects little respect for our fellow man and little respect for God. It’s a Christians duty to be a contrast to the world. Modesty and contrast between the sexes are vital standards to keep. They glorify God and are a lighthouse to a world descending quickly into the depravity of the savages. Dress is something God has more than a casual interest in - and has since the Garden.

Gems From Tozer

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A new Decalogue has been adopted by the neo-Christians of our day, the first word of which reads "Thou shalt not disagree;" and a new set of Beatitudes too, which begins "Blessed are they that tolerate everything, for they shall not be made accountable for anything." It is now the accepted thing to talk over religious differences in public with the understanding that no one will try to convert another or point out errors in his belief.

Imagine Moses agreeing to take part in a panel discussion with Israel over the golden calf; or Elijah engaging in a gentlemanly dialogue with the prophets of Baal. Or try to picture our Lord Jesus Christ seeking a meeting of the minds with the Pharisees to iron out differences.

The blessing of God is promised to the peacemaker, but the religious negotiator had better watch his step. Darkness and light can never be brought together by talk. Some things are not negotiable.



A.W. Tozer, Gems From Tozer, 47-48

A Choice

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“We have a clear choice between one of two diverging pathways, the road of
faith
or the road of human reason and unbelief. Do we begin with the Word of
God or do we begin with the word of men? This is the question and it has in the
first instance little to do with texts, but with the faithfulness of our God.

To decide these things we need only a believing heart and the ability to
read. Of course, textual scholars will deem all non-academics meddling in what
they regard as
their exclusive area of work unworthy to tie their bootlaces,
still less to steal their clothes! ... For it to be of any use, textual study
must be grounded upon what the Bible already says about itself.

If we do not begin with the Word of God, we shall never end with it!”



--David W. Norris, The Big Picture
Copied from Dave Cloud, Friday Church News, Oct 31, 2008

'CHRISTIANITY TODAY' AND RICHARD FOSTER

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Christianity Today is the magazine of the Southern Baptist Convention. Read this article from The Berean Call:

In "A Life Formed in the Spirit," Christianity Today is once again celebrating Richard Foster's "legacy" -- which is one, unfortunately, of great heresy.

Failing to test the spirits, Foster followed his Quaker training in silence and meditation to reach an altered state of consciousness in which he believes to have met Jesus personally.

Sound bizarre? It should, but Foster taught this same meditative technique, step-by-step, in the first edition of "Celebration of Discipline," with the promise that if you visualize and focus on Jesus, it will be more than an exercise of the mind, and that Christ will literally, actually "come to you":

"[I]n your imagination allow your spiritual body, shining with light, to rise out of your physical body. Look back so that you can see yourself lying in the grass and reassure your body that you will return momentarily ... Go deeper and deeper into outer space until there is nothing except the warm presence of the eternal Creator. Rest in His presence."

In this same volume Foster boldly declared, "let us embrace the New Age with abandon" (paraphrase-need to confirm source). Both of these statements have been carefully excised in later editions in order to disarm objections to these anti-biblical references.

In spite of Foster's wholehearted embrace of shamanism and New Spirituality, he continues to be a celebrated "hero of the faith," championed by such publications as Christianity Today magazine, for which Foster serves as an "Advisory Editor."

What's interesting is that both Foster and Willard cut their teeth in the Quaker Friends Church, whose founder (George Fox) preached New Age Universalism -- and with which Foster and Willard have pollinated (polluted) the entire Body of Christ under the guise of "Spiritual Formation."

The "celebration" of this fact is proof positive of the Word of God, which prophesied, "in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim 4:1).

Foster should not be celebrated, nor his writings, but soundly rebuked by CT, and rejected by all who fear God.

But tragically, Christianity Today is simply walking in the footsteps of its founder, who "had nothing but praise for his long-time friend John Paul II and in particular for 'his strong Catholic faith.' Furthermore, [Graham] declared that there were no essential disagreements between them theologically."*

John Paul II was personally acquainted with the Dali Lama and allowed this self-worshiping "god-man" to place a statue of Buddah on the Catholic altar to perform prayer rituals at the church of St. Peter at Assisi.*

If Billy Graham and Foster are really in the TRUE faith (once delivered unto the saints), why have they united with false religions and encouraged the church to follow after other gods?

Again, this is fulfillment of 1 Tim 4:1, indicating that deception and apostasy are in full bloom, just as our Lord warned would be the first and foremost sign of the times before his return (Matthew 24:3-27).

For more on this story see "Hello Dalia" by T. A. McMahon.

"...there was no open vision." I Sam. 3:1

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I encourage you to read this other blog first that very elegantly shares the viewpoint of the preciousness of God's Word. Starting there gives you a reference for my continuing thoughts here.

I was reading the Scripture ["And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision." (1 Samuel 3:1)] used in another blog. As so often happens when reading and studying God's Word, I felt there was more to be said.

Another consideration of this passage that the blog author dealt with as to "why the Word was so precious in Samuel's days" is found in the verse more specifically in that phrase "there was no open vision." The vision or word of God (i.e. "thus saith the Lord") was to come from the Man (men) of God...prophets and priests. Eli and his sons failed the people because they had no communication...no vision from God. In fact Eli's sons turned the people against the worship of God (I Sam. 2:12-17, 22). Obviously we know that they did have religious rituals and temple functions but no communication...no real relationship with God. Hmmm...seems very similar to modern times doesn't it!? Sad!

So what did Solomon mean when he said in Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Is this judgement from a lack-of-vision to be applied towards witnessing or growth in a ministry, as so many pastors imply? I say no it is to be applied to our acceptance and reliance upon the very vision or words from God, the Scriptures. In times past the vision came through a prophet or priest and this was how God spoke to His people but Hebrews 1:1-2 clearly tells us that God now speaks to us through His Son. And I would confidently say that the Apostle John describes the Son of God as synomynous with the Word (John 1:1-3; I John 1:1-5). So Jesus is the Word. He is the Truth. So the Bible is the Supernatually inspired and preserved words from God and I would say it is the Word of God...Jesus no long in human flesh walking the earth but in written evidence of the Bible. The truth exists even today in the Scriptures and this is the way that God speaks to His children.

I firmly believe that pastors are to completely and boldly teach/preach the Word, or as 2 Timothy 4:2 clearly tells us, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. " Too many pastors make light of the Word, the commuication with God and vision from God, and so it should be no surprise when the congregation fails to see the importance...the preciousness of God's Word. Oh, I pray that this will never be thought of me, in my service as a Christian or in my minsitry as a pastor.

What is often overlooked today is that the children of God, both the Israelites of old and the Christians since the days of Christ, are supposed to take personal responsibility for their own spiritual growth, but I believe that the prophets/priests (of old) and pastors (of today) were/are to mind the camp and keep the Lord at the forefront of the people's lives.


So my goal as a Christian is to be learning as much about God's instructions for me and my life. My purpose as a pastor is to tell the people that God has entrusted me with to "stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God." (1 Samuel 9:27b). My desire is to make the Word of God precious and relevant in all aspects of their life.



God bless you my friends and stay in the Word!

To Save The Lost

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Christ's call is to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; He came not to call scoffers but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers, and artistic musical performances, but to capture men from the devil's clutches and the very jaws of Hell. This can be accomplished only by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered devotion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ.

--C.T. Studd (1860-1931. Missionary to China)

The Cross In Crisis

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Pastor Mark J. Smith, Director of Bible Tracts, Inc wrote:

There is a scandal attached to the cross. Many of those urging sinners to be saved are calling them to religious activities and emotional choruses, but not to the cross. To preach the Biblical cross would cause sinners to see thier real condition before God, who is holy.

"Cursed" is the word the Bible uses. You see, only the vilest people were scandalized by experiencing cross death. Many who like the forgiveness of the cross refuse to come any closer when they see what owning the cross says about them personally. It makes them stumble.

Without the scandal of the cross...
- our baptisms become mere rituals,
- communion becomes an add-on to already full services,
- the true ugliness and deception of our sins are not seen,
- the power of sin that makes men enemies of God is not grasped,
- the beauty of God's love and grace is not adequately displayed,
- the power to transform our lives is lost, and
- the greatness of God's power to overcome the egos of organizational church structures or the fetters of religious tradition will not be seen.


Thank God for the shame and suffering of Jesus on the cross that I claimed as a 9 year old boy for a covering for my sin debt...for my salvation.

Mistakes in the Evolution Debate

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It isn't just the New York Times that ignores the facts when reporting about the debate over how to teach evolution. Not to be outdone by its competitor the Washington Post catches up [July 28, 2008] with an ill-informed opinion piece (Evolving Toward a Compromise) that yet again completely misreports what is going on in the upcoming review of Texas' state science standards.

A proposal before the Texas Board of Education calls for including the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution in the state's science curriculum. This initiative is understood by supporters and opponents to be a strategic effort to get around First Amendment restrictions on teaching religion in science class.

First, there is no such proposal. The Texas state science standards currently state:

The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to: (A) analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information;

As has already been pointed out, no one is considering a proposal to add "strengths and weaknesses" language. It's already in there, and has been since the late 1980s. It's the Darwinists who are trying to remove the language. Read More Here

Ministry Online Breakthrough

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I have been building websites for nearly 10 years now which started from a personal desire to stay connected with my family while deployed around the world. I eventually turned this hobby into a way to create ministry websites for the churches we attended. I have explored many church websites and oddly enough I have 'collected' websites that seem to get it right in simplicity, substance, and style. I have developed an opinion of what a ministry website should have and have identified the strengths and weaknesses of how to represent a ministry and the Lord. I pastor a very small church and know that we could not afford many web development companies, but that doesn't mean that we couldn't or shouldn't have a web presence. Over the years I have seen people come to the church through a web search for a church or a Christian school.

So a web presence is a real blessing and I would even go so far to say it is a necessity, but why do churches hurt themselves with a website that doesn't properly represent their ministry? Or why create a website that looks dated in style and function? Or why use colors or layouts that seem to be developed by a high school student instead of a professional looking web presence? What about content? Is it updated on a regular basis? People are accustomed to a certain professional representation for an organization and when a ministry looks like it slapped something together three years ago in the basement...it hurts the ministry.

What advice do I have? Do it right and professional but understand that this doesn't have to be with an expensive start up fee or a costly monthly service. There are many options and even some do-it-yourself web companies that provide reasonable (albeit cookie-cutter, once-size-fits-all) web services. Many churches may have a member who has an interest to help with website but doesn't always have the experience or commitment to the website and so it quickly becomes impractical to maintain or outdated in its content. Personally, I think that the most important website consideration is that it needs to be updated regularly and give people (members and visitors) a connection to the ministry. But also these websites need to stay current with modern web features from the proper use of appropriate pictures, a good use of complementary/coordinating colors, or the possible use of embedded Javascript or Flash. I also encourage a church to make audio or video sermons available online. Another important area in web design is in the area of functionality which comes through a good website layout. There are so many considerations when developing a web presence but the average pastor or missionary is just ignorant or often overwhelmed and accepts whatever the volunteer throws together. Sometimes they simply decide that it is not important enough to deal with the hassles and don't develop a web presence and miss out on having an impact on their members or miss an opportunity to invite visitors to the church.

I say all of this to encourage you to do some research and strive for a professional quality web presence. If I can be a help either through relevant advice or through my web development company, Baptist Ministries Worldwide, please let me know. God bless you, my friends.

God's Ecomony

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This week I sent out a number of letters to church members, visitors, famiy, and friends with the very message that I would like to share with you now.

The fundamentals of God's economy are sound! Isn't it wonderful to read a statement like that in times of great economic and financial upheaval in the United States and around the World?
I wanted to take a few moments to write to you today concerning some of the events that have taken place over the past few weeks and months, as well as provide you with some encouragement from the Word of God.

When I hear someone make a statement that the "fundamentals" are sound, maybe you're like me, and have to ask yourself what exactly those fundamentals are! My desire is not to convince you that the world economy is sound, because God is the only one that knows the direction we are going, yet I do believe that when we take a look at God's fundamentals, we will see that in fact, He's not worried while He sits on His awesome throne in Heaven.

I'm going to just briefly state a few things that I believe are equated with God's economy, and I trust you will be encouraged.

THE FUNDAMENTAL OF GRACE REMAINS AMAZINGLY FREE!
His grace is still amazing! Grace in its essence means "unmerited favor". In other words, we receive the grace of God in our lives as a totally FREE gift that we cannot earn regardless of how hard we try.

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

For some reason, it is so difficult for people to reach out and simply accept this gift, but this is what must happen for Christ to truly come into our lives. You may have heard the statement, "If it's free, it's for me!" Well, Salvation is free, yet it was not cheap by any means! Christ willingly laid down His life for us.

THE FUNDAMENTAL OF WAGES ARE STILL THE SAME!

On the other side of the point made previously, we must also remember that God's wages are still the same for those who would reject His precious gift of mercy as we see in the Word of God in Romans 6:23a – “For the wages of sin is death...”
Of course we know the second part of that verse speaks of the gift of God, but too many people overlook the important first part of this verse because we would much rather enjoy a "gift", than get this "wage".

Why is this important in the discussion of God's economy? It is important because we must recognize as Christians that it is both our duty and privilege to share the Gospel with a world that still needs to hear an adequate presentation of the Gospel. Take time to become acquainted with a simple way to share your faith, backed up by the Word of God. Also, live your faith in front of people that will even lead them to a point of asking you how you can have so much peace in tumultuous times!

If you are a Christian, I encourage you to share your faith with people in these challenging times. Spiritual doors are wide open, and we have the answer! His Name is Jesus.

THE FUNDAMENTAL OF GIVING REMAINS TRUE!

God GAVE His Son, and Jesus GAVE His life, and in those 2 acts of mercy showed the very essence of what God is all about. These are our examples of sacrificial giving.
The Bible tells us in Luke 6:38 - “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Yes, even in the year 2008 this principle is still true! When we give, there is something miraculous about it that in turn not only meets the need of the church or person we are giving to, but it also honors God with our obedience to His Word. Giving is a sign that we recognize we are not the source of our blessings, and that without Him giving into our lives, we would have no hope on a number of levels.
Should you still give in difficult times? Absolutely! It's almost like asking if you should still breathe even when it's hard to catch your breath! I believe we need to be a giving people now more than ever.

These are just a few of the ways that the fundamentals of God's economy are still sound, and I would encourage you to search the Word for more encouragement and inspiration.

This is a time to ADVANCE on the enemy and not RETREAT!
Rest assured... God's Economy is Sound!

Is Psychology Blasphemy?

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OK, I will admit to taking quite a few courses to earn a Psychology degree when I was in the Marine Corps stationed in California. I had a desire to teach at the college level and wanted to get there by way of a Psychology degree rather than an Education degree (which by the way, would have been easier and quicker!). I had my pet lab rat, Skippy, though he was of the virtual breed than the physical type. We did lots of things on the computer in proving the theories of psychology. But as I have grown in the Lord since those long ago days and have been involved in more counselling as a Pastor, I have realized the dangers of Psychology for the Christian and the church. Of course, I am not an expert and get much of my understanding from those who have specialized and studied these areas so I'm gonna share one of my resources with you - Search the Scriptures Daily a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I've gotten many thoughts on this particular subject from Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon of The Berean Call. Here is the link to both the MP3 file and the full transcript.

Let's get started, psychology presents problems for a Christian, because psychology pretends, or attempts to deal with the very things that the Bible deals with. Are you happy? Do you want to be fulfilled? Do you want to live a worthwhile, fruitful life, and so forth? This is what the Bible deals with, this is the province of the Bible, and it’s a spiritual matter not a psychological one. We are led by Christ, we are indwelt by Christ, filled with His spirit, and He’s our life. Okay? Now, when psychology pretends to deal with these areas the implication instantly is, the Bible doesn’t handle it properly, it doesn’t handle it sufficiently, or even correctly. Therefore we have to help the Bible out, and we have to help the Bible where it has some deficiencies, and we’ll bring in psychology and that will do the job. The Christian fails to acknowledge this humanistic attitude towards the Bible and the major conflict between psychology and the teachings of the Bible.

Certainly, I know that even in my limited experiences, with regard to Biblical counselling for Christians, a great concern that I have is that modern psychology has undermined the belief in the sufficiency of God’s Word. So, an attitude has developed amongst spiritual leaders that says if the Bible is not sufficient then we need to turn elsewhere, and psychology hurriedly says, well, we’ve got the answers with regard to man’s emotional problems, his problems of living, and so forth and many Pastors and lay people fall into this trap unknowingly. Understand that I'm taking not about all of psychology but rather about psychotherapy. It almost seems contrary to say but there are some legitimate studies in psychology... industrial psychology, developmental psychology in the different learning patterns & difficulties of people, and so forth. The major problem with psychology is that it is firmly based upon Darwin (he of evolution fame). It’s based upon the medical model of Freud so that man is not a spiritual being, he’s just some kind of stimulus response mechanism. So in some ways, psychology is helpful, because we do learn things, we are influenced by experiences that we have had, but that’s not the only thing, especially for the Christian because we have Christ to turn to and are told to seek after Him.

So why all the fascination between the Church and Psychology? First off, the Bible claims in II Peter 1 - "According as His divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, to the knowledge of Him who has called us unto glory and virtue, whereby given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, and so forth, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature." The Christian is supposed to have a divine nature and the Scripture says that Christ is living, Christ is your life (Colossians 3) when Christ who is your life. I don’t believe that Christ needs any help from psychology. So by its very definition and purpose psychology, not only undermines the confidence, it destroys the person's confidence in Christ. What psychology says is, "The Bible does not have the answers that we need for everyday, relevant life." But we know the Bible does.

Oh, the Bible doesn’t have the answers for repairing an automobile, tuning the engine, brushing your teeth, or other things. So, we wouldn’t think of saying Christian aerodynamics or Christian auto mechanics. No, that is silly though we do know that there are Christians who are auto mechanics, dentists, physicists, or even chemists, but no one would ever talk about a need for a philosophy of Christian chemistry or a Christian physics. So why do we use the term Christian Psychology? Why do we talk about the need for Christian psychology? That’s the problem --psychology's inerrant attitude of trying to replace the Bible. So before you go seeking Christian psychotherapy...seek the counsel of a wise pastor who is in the Word and will only use the Word for counselling. I tell my people that I'm always available to counsel and provide advice and some of my best counselling is done on Sundays at 10 am, 11 am, 6 pm and again on Wednesdays at 7 pm. See ya in church!

To answer my article's title...YES!! Especially in the area of psychotherapy. Sadly, psychology is blasphemy that is unwittingly taught and practiced by many Pastors and Churches. So I say get in the Word and get in Church...it will do wonders for your soul and you'll find that only God provides the answers to life and that peace that passes all human understanding!!

Love Your Pastor

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October is Clergy Appreciation Month which is dedicated to uplifting and encouraging our nation's spiritual leaders (the pastor) in the church.

I have often revolted against that word, CLERGY, because it includes those that I would not refer to as pastors. But since religious organizations often have different names for their spiritual leaders I guess Clergy is meant to be the universal umbrella that covers them no matter the religious sect. Of course, I'm always quick to claim it when its on the sign for good parking spots at the hospital or a discount at a local establishment (I'm mostly kidding!). I do want to boldly say something and understand I don't want to seem to be self-serving but
Church members you absolutely need to love your pastor and his family...and you need to show it! If you can't love them then you need to ask God to work more in your life or you need to leave that church.
All of the members of my church are supportive and loving towards my family and I. They regularly show it, but there is one man in particular who blesses me more than gifts, or taking us out to eat, or whatever. This man is such an encouragement, such a blessing to me because he often tells me that he loves me. Not for any personal gain or because I have done something for him, but because he simply loves me and I know and see it from him. Understand that outside of my family, no man has ever said this to me and that overwhelms me (in a good way!) and is such a blessing!! This man is over 20 years older than me and I should be the one to encourage him but it seems the Lord brings this man to tell me that he loves me at just the times that I need uplifting and encouragement.

Church member understand that pastors and their families face incredible pressures. They often feel overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations and demands and frequently battle burnout. So, while prayer support is important throughout the year, Clergy Appreciation Month is dedicated to uplifting and encouraging pastors. So for the next couple of weeks, I want to encourage you to love your pastor and to tell him and show it. I guarantee that if the church members do this and show it not necessarily with gifts but with a sincere heart...it will make a world of difference in your church and to your pastor and his family!

Pastors and Politics

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Many people ask me about who I support in the current political races from national to local level. I gladly tell them. Many of the same people and others ask my views on certain ballot or societal issues. I gladly tell them. Though I strive to make certain points very clear...as a citizen and a parent I have very strong views on political and societal issues and as a Christian I have a responsibility to be ready to provide Biblical reasoning for my politics. Of course, many people would condemn me if I used my position as Pastor to 'preach the party's plank' so to speak. So I never endorse a candidate or a ballot proposal from the pulpit.

Please understand this is not out of fear of offending someone or being accused of abusing the liberal idea of 'separation of church and state.' I don't do these endorsements, because I have a fear of preaching politics when I should be preaching the 'mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ' as Paul so aptly put it. If I faithfully preach the whole counsel of the Word of God then all the other things will fall in line. The true Christian should be the best citizen. The Lord's Steward is the best caretaker of His creation. [On a side note, this stewardship of nature is to be without an attitude of worship for the creation more than the Creator.] No, the Christian and especially the Pastor should be aware and involved in political things that could grant or limit the freedoms of worship & witnessing, but not so politically involved that we ignore the very action of worship & witnessing.

I read this article and felt it adequately covered my thoughts for the arguments of faith and politics. Written by Frank Pastore, a radio talk-show host in Los Angeles, who boldly mixes religion and politics and encourages Christians to do the same. I provided the link to the whole article but I especially liked his closing comments -
Some Christians may claim, “Christians shouldn’t argue about politics” simply because they’re political liberals who are unwilling to actually engage in argument over their political views. Instead, they would rather attempt to stifle debate by taking the pseudo moral high ground, saying something like, “Truly spiritual Christians are above politics.”

That’s too bad. Christians can and should argue, especially about theology and politics — and hopefully in that order. Read More

In case you were wondering, I post my political thoughts on my other blog where I also post my thoughts as a father, a football fan, and even show off my humorous side. I do this because I want this blog to maintain it's distinction as my pastoral blog.

God bless you my friends and I pray that the Lord finds you faithful in service to Him!

GANDHI'S LOVE LETTERS TO HITLER

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On September 25, five American religious organizations [hosted] a Ramadan dinner for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his upcoming visit to the United States. These include the Mennonite Central Committee, the Quakers, the World Council of Churches, and Religions for Peace. How is it that these Christian "peace" organizations are willing to break bread with a declared warmonger and Holocaust denier? An answer lies in the troubling history of these organizations - a history that includes a shameful alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II.

The pacifist-Nazi axis dates to the 1930s. None other than the worldwide spokesman for non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, wrote letters to Adolph Hitler that were deferential in their tone and abhorrent in their implications. A 1939 letter was apologetically described by Gandhi as a "mere impertinence" and included the following signoff: "I anticipate your forgiveness, if I have erred in writing to you. I remain, Your sincere friend, Sd. M. MK Gandhi."

In a letter dated December 24, 1940, Gandhi assured Hitler that he had no doubt of "your bravery or devotion to your fatherland." Zionist appeals for Gandhi to support a national home for the Jewish people, meanwhile, fell on deaf ears, as he insisted that "Palestine belongs to the Arabs." Not only did Gandhi reject the cause of a Jewish state but he effectively echoed Nazi propaganda, as with his warning that "this cry for the national home affords a colorable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews."

Even more supportive of Hitler were the Mennonites. In a letter dated September 10, 1933, the Conference of East and West Prussian Mennonites from the German city-state of Danzig wrote to the Fuhrer to express its "deep gratitude for the powerful revival that God has given our nation through your energy" and wished Hitler a "joyful cooperation in the up building of our Fatherland through the power of the Gospel." If its enthusiasm for hosting Ahmadinejad is any guide, the Mennonite Church has learned little from this dark chapter in its past. On the contrary, the church's alliance with the Iranian leader is an extension of its hard-line anti-Israel politics, which find expression in its funding of books advocating the so-called "right-of-return" for Palestinian Arabs - a policy that, if implemented, would mean the destruction of Israel. Read More Here
History already records the close cooperation between Islam and Nazism, which was an obvious influence in the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people, but rarely do we see the connections between so-called 'christian' organizations. It has often been supposed that the Catholic church knowingly ignored the persecution and murder of million of Jews. Some have even suspected the Catholic church of being involved in the thievery and persecution directed at the Jews or at least in the cover up of the extent of it all.

What's this mean to us? Well, first, we need to understand that Jews have no special dispensation for salvation apart from Jesus Christ. John Hagee has said that salvation is different for a Jew because they have the Abrahamic covenant...but Jesus fulfilled all of that and more so yes even a Jew must acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and trust in His Death and Resurrection as the only way to God. Second, the Christian society should recognize the promise that God "will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12). So the people whose God is the Lord should also realize that a special blessing comes from a good relationship with Abraham's children (born through Sarah not Hagar). I'm amazed at the so-called churches or religions that ignore God's promises and try to replace the Jewish nation with the Christian church. Sadly, time will give full evidence of those who cursed and were cursed and those who have received blessings for being kind and supportive of the Jews and not the enemies of the Jews.

My friends, always be faithful in your studies and be ready to give every man an answer...not of man's dogmas or opinions but from God's Word.

A "DUTY TO DIE"

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DEMENTIA SUFFERERS MAY HAVE A "DUTY TO DIE" [Excerpts from the British newspaper the Telegraph. Link to full article provided at end.]

Elderly people suffering from dementia should consider ending their lives because they are a burden on the NHS and their families, according to the influential medical ethics expert Baroness Warnock.

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.

The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.

Her comments in a magazine interview have been condemned as "immoral" and "barbaric", but also sparked fears that they may find wider support because of her influence on ethical matters.

Lady Warnock, a former headmistress who went on to become Britain's leading moral philosopher, chaired a landmark Government committee in the 1980s that established the law on fertility treatment and embryo research.

A prominent supporter of euthanasia, she has previously suggested that pensioners who do not want to become a burden on their carers should be helped to die.

Last year the Mental Capacity Act came into effect that gives legal force to "living wills", so patients can appoint an "attorney" to tell doctors when their hospital food and water should be removed.

But in her latest interview, given to the Church of Scotland's magazine Life and Work, Lady Warnock goes further by claiming that dementia sufferers should consider ending their lives through euthanasia because of the strain they put on their families and public services. [Read more of the story here]

What a sad state-of-affairs from a supposedly moral and Christian society. The cries that roses up to God's ears from Sodom & Gomorrah...seem to be rising again through abortion and euthanasia. Do you see a direct result of evolution at work here? Because if man is nothing more than the descendent of some mangy animal we really are not much better than animals! Of course, we have a twisted society that is more impressed with protecting the environment and endangered species and ignores the value of human life. Pray, my friends, Pray!!

Saudi child 'files for divorce'

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A court in Saudi Arabia is reported to be preparing to hear a plea for divorce from an eight-year-old girl who has been married off to a man in his 50s.

The Saudi newspaper al-Watan said the girl had been married off to the man by her father without her knowledge.

The child's mother is thought to be pushing for the marriage to be annulled - though the father opposes the move.

In April, a court in neighbouring Yemen annulled the arranged marriage of another eight-year-old girl.

She had been married to a 28-year-old man.

How tragic is our world culture? What a slap in the face to God! The cries of the innocent scream to God for justice just as they did before the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah (Gen. 18:20-21, 19:13 ). It is more pressing to be witnessing to warn the people of impending judgement from a righteous and holy God!!!!

[Read more from this BBC article]

Early Platypus Stuns Evolutionists

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With the possible exception of a monotreme tooth assumed to be 62 million years old, the oldest known platypus fossil was dated 15 million years old. Now, a fossil from Australia reported in Science sets a new record: 112 million years old.

"It's really, really old for a monotreme," Timothy Rowe of the University of Texas (UT), Austin, told the audience at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology last month in Austin, Texas. How to fit this with the evolution of monotremes?

That would push back the fossil record of the platypus quite a bit; the next youngest fossil is Obdurodon dicksoni from 15-million-year-old rocks in Australia. It is also much older than current estimates from DNA of when platypuses and echidnas diverged from their most recent common ancestor. Molecular clocks put that date somewhere between 17 million and 80 million years ago. Rowe speculated that one reason for the underestimate may be that monotremes evolve at slower rates than other mammals do, an idea that fits with their lower diversity.


Was this platypus a transitional form? No. Was it evolving from a simpler animal into a complex creature with a duck bill, poison spur, electrical sensing organ, webbed feet, fur, and ability to lay eggs? No -- it was Darwin's nightmare popping up way, way back in the record, over 100 million years earlier (in their own dating scheme) than the next clear platypus fossil. Why not consider the obvious, that there was never any 113 million years between the two fossils?

[Excerpts from Creation Matters, Volume 12, Number 6, November / December 2007]

Scoff Not the Word

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“Let me call your attention to the fact that when Jesus had risen from the dead, He was just as tender of Scripture as He was before His decease. He told them that ‘all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me. Then He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and this it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the
dead’ (Luke 24:44-46).

Find Jesus where you may, He is the antagonist of those who would lessen the authority of Holy Scripture. ‘It is written’ is His weapon against Satan, His argument against wicked men. The learned of this hour scoff at the Book and accuse of Bibliolatry those of us who reverence the Divine Word; but in this they derive no assistance from the teaching or example of Jesus. Not a word derogatory of Scripture ever fell from the lips of Jesus Christ; but evermore He manifested the most reverent regard for every jot and tittle of the inspired Volume. Since our Savior, not only before His death, but after it, took care to commend the Scriptures to us, let us avoid with all our hearts all teaching in which Holy Scripture is put into the
background”.

--Charles Spurgeon, “Scoff Not at the Book”

I Am The Local Church

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To the man who prizes sanity, peacefulness, pure-mindedness, social standing, and longevity, I am a Necessity.

I am hung about with sweet memories: memories of brides - memories of mothers - memories of boys and girls - memories of the aged as they grope their ways down the shadows. I am endowed with the Living Well.

I live in the lives of the young and in the dreams of the old. I am the Teller of Truth.

I lift up the fallen, strengthen the weak, and help the distressed. I am the Keeper of the Cure.

I show mercy and bestow kindness. I give the gifts that gold cannot buy nor kings take away, given freely to all who ask. I am rich from my Creator.

Sometime, someday, some hour in the near future or far future, you will yearn for the touch of my friendly hand. I am the Local Church.

Ponder This...

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*There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.

*If God sends us on stony paths, He will provide us with strong shoes.

*The trouble with being a good sport is that you have to lose to prove it.

*America has more food to eat than any other country in the world, and more diets to keep us from eating it!

*Sin: a moment of gratification; an eternity of remorse.

*People take your example far more serious than they do your advice.

*Good advice - push, pull, or get out of the way.

*Other books were given for our information; the Bible was given for our transformation.

*The death penalty may not eliminate crime, but it sure stops repeaters.

Stay faithful, my friends, and be of good cheer...we serve a risen Savior!!

Remember 9/11

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We all watched in horror as planes crashed into those majestic towers. When damaged, they eventually plummeted to the ground. Yet under the debris there was a foundation not destroyed. Yes, our nation has been attacked. Buildings destroyed. Lives lost.
But now we have a choice - whether to implode and disintegrate as a nation, or to become stronger, to rebuild on a solid foundation. I believe we are starting to rebuild our nation on that foundation. And that foundation is our trust in God.

[Editor: this speech was given by a pastor within days of 9/11]

A Sure Foundation

Psalm 54:1-4, 7

Save me, O God, by thy name,
and judge me by thy strength.
Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers are risen up against me,
and oppressors seek after my soul:
they have not set God before them.
Behold, God is mine helper...

For he hath delivered me out of all trouble:
and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

PBS implies - "Bible Isn't True"

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The Public Broadcasting System (PBS), probably the most liberal network in America, will present a program this fall entitled "The Bible's Buried Secrets". This is supposed to be an investigation that says the Old Testament is a bunch of made-up stories that never happened. This show is scheduled to air on November 18 and says the Bible is not true.

Producer Paula Apsell said, "...It's [The Bible's Buried Secrets] designed for intelligent people who are willing to change their mind. …it will give intelligent people who want to read the Bible in a modern way a chance. If we insist on reading the Bible literally, in 25 years, nobody will read it any longer."

The Bible gives us the answer to PBS and these intelligent people - "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools...." Romans 1:22


Some of the 'invesigative' highlights of "The Bible's Buried Secrets" are:
• The Old Testament was written in the sixth century BC and hundreds of authors contributed.
• Abraham, Sarah and their offspring didn't exist.
• There is no archaeological evidence of the Exodus.
• Monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.
• The Israelites were actually Canaanites.
• The Israelites believed that God had a wife.

"The Bible's Buried Secrets" is simply one more reason Congress should stop supporting PBS with our tax dollars. Congress gives PBS hundreds of millions of tax dollars to help support the network.

The Sins of a Self-Made Man

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I preached this on Sunday and boy what an impact it made on me. Coming from a military background where everything was a competition to be the best and brightest; in order to get the next promotion and ideal posting to aid a person in their next promotion...and so the cycle repeated itself. It was understood that everyone successful in the military was a 'self-made man (or woman)'. So this message was one of those preached at me to stand guard against this attitude of Saul and especially many people of our current society have this self-made, I-did-it-my-way attitude. Our text is I Samuel 9:1-21 (primarily 1-3 & 15-21).

We see that King Saul epitomizes many of the values that Americans hold dear. He would have fit right into our political system and idea of the 'prefect candidate'. Understand that this sermon was not preached because of this election period we are in, nor was it aimed at any particular candidate since many from both sides of the aisle could fall into this description. Back to Saul, he represents a person who arose from a background of personal obscurity to become not just a figure of prominence, power, and prestige, but the political head of an entire nation. Saul was an effective leader and warrior. During his reign, Israel reclaimed much land lost to the Philistines. The Bible speaks of his great height. Apparently Saul was a person of athletic build, charismatic personality, and handsome appearance. With his success, Saul remained a persona of conscience. On more than one occasion he admitted his guilt. It takes a 'big' person to do that. 'Small' people do not admit their errors. It would be easy to assign the tag of "self-made man" to Saul.
Yet Saul's life ended in shame and failure. His biography is one of the great tragedies of the Bible. Saul appears in the Bible as a man in the prime of life who had already realized much of his potential. Saul had it all, but he let it slip away. We cannot read of Saul's life without thinking of the little boy giving his dad the sports news of the neighborhood softball game: "We had 'em 18-0 but blew it in the bottom of the first!" That was Saul. Saul was beset by some of the sins of a self-made man.

I. Thinking too little of yourself. Result: Playing to other's approval.
We see that Saul didn't think much of himself (vs. 21). Later we see him hiding among the 'stuff' (I Sam. ). This is an ongoing issue for Saul and leads to his disobedience against God and ultimately his downfall and the disappearance of God's leading in his life. We see one example of this disobedience in I Sam. 15 when he is told to utterly destroy the Amelekites and he doesn't; when the prophet Samuel says something to him, Saul blames the people. In reality it was him giving in to the peer pressure, real or imagined. He was the King. He was the ultimate authority in the land (outside of God). So how is it the 'people made him do it?' Sounds like Adam blaming God for 'that woman He gave to Adam.' This is a terrible side effect of thinking too little of yourself. Saul had it all going for him. We already looked at everything going for him...his stature...his looks...his ability...his personality. Saul also forgot he was God's chosen man and that should have been enough but it wasn't and he gave into the trap of trying to please others even to the point of disobeying God.

II. Thinking only of yourself. Result: Leaving God out of your life.
Thinking only of yourself and your world leads to failure to see yourself and your world with the eyes of faith. Saul thought only of himself. He did not see that God was a part of the picture of reality too. Sadly, we see this proven by Saul's actions in I Sam. 13:8-14 while camped at Gigal preparing for war with the Philistines. Saul had been instructed not to begin the military campaign until Samuel had made the proper sacrifice. After waiting seven days for Samuel to come, Saul took matters into his own hands and made the sacrifice himself. He evidently thought, "Sacrifice is a mere formality anyway. Who needs God when you have a sharp sword? I can pray as well as any prophet. Let's make the sacrifice and get on with it!" By Saul's actions we can see that he left God out of his worldview and took a dangerous 'self-made' attitude of "I can handle this one by myself." The danger with telling yourself that you really are self-made man is that sooner or later you are likely to believe it.

III. Thinking too long by yourself (away from God). Result: Failing to view life with God as an ongoing relationship you must nurture.
Self-made people may think that they do not normally need God. Oh they are OK with those who do need God but that is something that lesser people need not me...the self made man. Saul stayed away from God too long. He did not see his life with the Lord as anything more than a panic measure to which he could resort in case of an emergency. Saul would have been wise to heed the warning of the prophet Samuel. We would be wise to heed the Scripture...Matthew 16:24 - "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." I Sam. 28:3-14 shows us the last days of Saul's life. Samuel the prophet had died, and a new Philistine invasion threatened Israel. Without Samuel to advise him, Saul was afraid. He had banished all the mediums and spiritualists from the land, but when he had inquired of the Lord and found no answer, Saul in desperation sought the witch of Endor to conjure up Samuel from the dead. Saul had stayed away too long away from God. Now god was through with Saul. An emergency arose, and Saul had no relationship with God to see him through it. Saul literally self-destructed. His death is the only suicide recorded in the Old Testament. Our relationship with Christ is something to nurture daily. We cannot stop giving time to this relationship at age fourteen and come back to it at age thirty-four and expect much to be there.

So in conclusion, spiritually speaking, a self-made man is a terrible tragedy. We do have an option: the Christ-made person. When we finally confess our own inability to find fulfillment, purpose, and true life in and of ourselves, Christ beckons us to try life His way. You can find God's help today.

Beware False Teachers!

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I'm amazed at the hatred people display towards President Bush and the excitement that people display towards Barack Obama. I have heard enough blasphemy from his lips (read my "Obama the Christian?" article) and that of his pastor, Rev. Wright to convince me that he is a scary man with a self-serving attitude and is a 'tickler' of the ears (II Timothy 4:3-4).

Now this video really perplexed me as it was listed on YouTube as a Pro-Obama video and it seems to fill that role as the pastor preaches regarding the 'specialness' of Obama's candidacy and the idea that he is being attacked and hindered in his candidacy because God put him in this position and by implication that anyone against Obama is against God's will. But scarier than this obvious Obama frenzy is the blatant heresy that is being espoused by preachers these days, especially this man.

Let me say that I don't know this man and I think he ministers in the Detroit area. I watched his whole video and want to point out that in his introduction he means Psalm 68 not 38. And of course, he does preach his sermon from Zephaniah 3. In both his introduction and in his message he seriously takes these verses out of context.

Let's look at Psalm 68:31 first, the 'princes that are coming out of Egypt and those from Ethiopia' in Psalm 68 are bringing gifts to the Hebrew King and the Temple of God because they are acknowledging God as the One True God. [editor: He misquotes the verse's ending he says, "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to her God;" but oddly the verse doesn't say "her God"...but simply "unto God." So could they be worshipping their God, Jehovah, or just acknowledging the Hebrew God?] Either way this is a good historical passage for the situation that David and Solomon ruled under...many peoples came to honor them and worship at Solomon's Temple. [Editor: this passage is also a great picture of Christ's Second Coming.] So I don't see that in this context that this is a statement that black people will be raised up to rule and be used by God anymore than any other nation or people that surrenders to God's will. I do believe that God is the One True God and that He of course is the God for all peoples. We understand that God will use anyone of any color, culture, or background as long as they come to Him on His terms and in His way; which is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. God is no respecter of persons. He accomplishes His will through the poor and outcast as well as He can use the rich and influential. But to imply that Obama is fulfilling some "prophecy" from Psalm 68 is definitely stretching the context at best or is blatant heresy at worst.

Now this preacher shares a video from one of his sermons out of Zephaniah 3 regarding this ongoing theme of some sort of "prophetic" claim of black people from Africa. He implies that the calling of those from Ethiopia is the spiritual "Chosen of God" but this passage is specifically talking about God calling back His people the Hebrews (the Jews) back to Him after they are to be taken into captivity. A little bit of background here, Zephaniah a prophet in Judah [editor: who's name means "Jehovah has treasured"] was a contemporary of Jeremiah (who was a prophet in Israel) before the nations were taken into captivity by the Babylonians, is often accredited with the mini-revival that Judah underwent during the rule of King Josiah. Sadly, the revival didn't last long and Zephaniah's prophecy that they would be taken into captivity just like Israel had been years earlier became reality. Thankfully God in His goodness allowed Zephaniah to show that God would restore His people back into their land. [Editor: The book of Zephaniah is also a passage that paints a wonderful picture of the messianic kingdom when all nations shall serve the Lord, and restored Israel will finally be "a name and a praise among all people of the earth" (3:20).] So for this pastor to use this verse in 3:10 to claim some special prophecy for Africans or African-Americans is a serious breech of context and shows a lack of understand of this book and the Old Testament's relation of the Hebrews as God's 'Chosen People.' He also takes a leap regarding the nation of Ethiopia in particular as being a blessed people with a gift in their hand from God that contradicts Zephaniah's previous judgment on the Ethiopian nation. Zephaniah 2:12 tells us, "Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword." I don't know how you get from a judgment like this to a special blessing for the Ethiopians being the 'spiritual chosen people of God' as he implies. [Editor: Chapter 2 shows us that other nations were being judged not just the Ethiopians]. Confusing the meaning of Scripture or taking it out of context is indeed dangerous territory as the Lord proclaims judgment on those you add to His Word (Rev 22:18).

I say all of this not as a political tool or to trash any one's culture, heritage, background; but to point to the importance of knowing the Word enough to defend against heresy and to be wary of false teachers.

This is not all of this man's message. I have listened to the other two parts and he continues to take Scripture out of context and insinuates correlations between Barack Obama and the story of Jeremiah the Prophet. Christians you bear a responsibility to be in the Word and to know the Word so that you may be able to counter the lies of false teachers and pastors what a responsibility we have to preach the whole counsel of God.

Proverbs 30:5-6, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

Perspective

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I wish I could write with the eloquence of a speech-writer and the beauty of a poet. But either way I appreciate that others have the talent to sum up how I feel so many times. So Bob Benson put it this way-
We are a generation in a hurry, captured by a desire to finish it up, to get it done. We hurriedly take our place in today's horn blowing, door slamming, rib jostling society. To speed us on our way, we've devised condensed books, instant coffee, and tv dinners. We want to ride on the freeway; any little delay in the middle lane, and we are filled with impatient acts, unkind words, and unprintable thoughts. This must be part of the reason it's sometimes hard to walk with God. He doesn't seem to get in a hurry. His plan may turn us off through sorrow's valley, or across monotony's plain, or up pain's winding hill. For in His wisdom, He sees there are some things you cannot do quickly. There are some places you cannot be in an instant. He knows it takes delay and dark nights, setbacks and sad hours mixed with sunshine and blessing, freeways and bypasses.

And learning slowly, I am prone to pray, "God, send relief! I cannot bear the sorrow, pain, and tears." But with time's passing, I have come to pray, "God, I want to learn quickly; I want to know Thy way." So let Him have His way. Let Him slow you down or hold you still or back you up. He will get you there, in His time and in His way.

I couldn't agree more and I strive to teach this to my church. I strive to make the Word of God relevant to them through successes and failures through sorrows and joys. For me personally, I pray that God gives me the wisdom to recognize the good and bad times that He has me go through and the maturity to learn the lesson the first time.

Book Giveaway

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I get reports from Sitemeter [a website monitoring company] that people visit my blog, but hardly anyone ever leaves comments...which I guess is your prerogative but I would like to see who is actually visiting and reading my blog. So for the next few weeks [until September 27th] I'll be running one of these "Giveaway" contests that I see many other bloggers doing. So if you leave a comment in this article you will be automatically entered in my giveaway.

"What am I giving away?" you ask. Well, I offer up the latest book authored by Dr. Bill Monroe, "The Good News is a Verb. GO" This is an insightful and timely book that points out the simplicity of the commission of Christ to "go into all the world." In this book, Pastor Monroe counters this simple, easy-to-understand, often preached about 'Great Commission' with the sad fact that today we have nearly an absolute failure of Christians to heed Christ's command and to actually 'GO'.

I have read this book and it has re-ignited my spark for evangelism and personal soul-winning. I hope you will realize it is more than just having a good testimony and clean lifestyle...it is a conscious decision accompanied by physical action. I believe this book will be a blessing to you and I want to give it away...so this blog giveaway is a two-fold means to do that! First, I'll get an idea of who visits and secondly, I can give away a good, solid book.


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