Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Memory Boost

Memorize Scripture! It is very important. We must be prepared to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15) to every sincere question we are asked (Colossians 4:6). So equip yourself with the Word of God. Memorize some verses or whole passages to help defend your faith, or when it comes to witnessing to others, or when your heart asks you to preach.

But be careful when you pray for wisdom and knowledge. For wisdom can become your idol. And even praying about a sin over and over and not truly repenting can become your idol. Something you pray for too often can consume your mind and thoughts all day, everyday. Remember who you are praying to. Remember your relationship with God.

Boasting
Remember when sharing your faith or defending it that we should not boast on it. You do not support the faith, but the faith supports you. Do not blind yourself in your own ignorance. You must represent a blooming seed—a scion of your faith.

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, (Eph 2:12) and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and richness fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.
Romans 11:16-20 (NKJV)

Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:31

But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
Jeremiah 9:24

Monday, 30 March 2009

Two is Better Than One

Ecclesiastes 4:9 - 12
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


Ecclesiastes 4:9 is about spiritual fruit. Teamwork is critical in overcoming any type of sin. Ecclesiastes 4:11 refers to spiritual warmth or Christian zeal. It asks the question, "How can one keep warm alone?" The question is rhetorical, and is designed to teach that it is easy to become lukewarm toward Jesus if "alone," but together people can spur one another on toward loving Him more. We can help each other "stay warm" together.

"Two are better than one, and more happy jointly than either of them could be separately, more pleased in one another than they could be in themselves only, mutually serviceable to each other's welfare, and by a united strength more likely to do good to others" - Matthew Henry

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

"If two lie together, they have heat. So virtuous and gracious affections are excited by good society, and Christians warm one another by provoking one another to love and to good works." - Matthew Henry


We have discovered that two working together can produce spiritual fruit (vs. 9), that two together can provide spiritual restoration (vs. 10), that togetherness can prompt spiritual zeal (vs. 11), and now we will see that two working together can provide spiritual protection.

"United strength. If an enemy find a man alone, he is likely to prevail against him; with his own single strength he cannot win, but, if he have a second, he may do well enough: two shall withstand him." Matthew Henry

Notice this biblical story which reinforces the truth we have been studying:

Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. 10 He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites. 11 Joab said, 'If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you.' 12 Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight." 2 Sam. 10:9-12

The end result of this battle was victory for the Israelites. Joab, in essence, said, "You help me with my enemy, and I'll help you with yours." And so, together, they were victorious, whereas separately they would have been conquered. This is an important aspect of an accountability relationship. We should provide one another with spiritual protection from our mutual enemy. The way we do this is to pray for each other, share "battle tips" that helped us, take each other to the Word of God, and help each other radically amputate the causes of sin. This is a winnable war. But it takes two!

"We Christians need each other. There is strength in numbers. When isolated and separated from our brothers, we are easy pickings for the Enemy of our souls." (Robert Daniels The War Within)


Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17


We need friends who can be accountable for us. We need to put away our pride and "man up" to our weakness and tell someone about our sins. We need fellowship and someone we can trust to help lift us up when we are down.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

Resource: http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Godly Sorrow

2 Corinthians 7:8-13
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it, I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.


True Repentance
Remove the obstacles out of the way of your path so that God can prepare the road to salvation (Isaiah 57:14-15). Sin, pride and hardness of heart always go together (Hebrews 3:13). Genuine repentance brings with it lowliness and contriteness.

My sorrow was in that I was offending God and was not getting close to Him at all. When I confessed in this area, I fell to my knees with a broken heart, wanting to be delivered and desiring a closer relationship with God.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2,7
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Much dreaming, and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Bearing Good Fruit

Witnessing isn't always about preaching. One important way to witness to others is by the way we act. The way we present ourselves in public should be in the example of Jesus. We as Christians are supposed to represent what God is like. Jesus was a prime example because.. well he was God in the flesh! And what better way to learn how to be a good witness is to examine what good fruits you produce. Do you bear the seven key fruits? "For every tree is known by its own fruit" (Luke 6:44).

Luke 7:6-7
6 He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’


If you are not bearing good fruit, then you have not truly repented and turned away from evil.

In Mark 1, a leper came to Jesus, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean” (Mark 1:40). Jesus can make you clean from your sins. He can make you clean. He is willing and able. He is the only one who can(and did) take away your sins and redeem you if you surrender your will to Him. Strive to praise Him and only Him. You will soon bear fruit if you acknowledge Him and worship Him as your Saviour. Prayer and feasting in His word everyday are important if you want to grow with the Lord.

The Relationship of Believers of Christ
John 15:1-11
1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.


So abide with Jesus and you will bear more fruit. If you are saved by Jesus, then Jesus is in you. He is in you by the deliverance of the Holy Spirit.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit
John 15:26-27
26 But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.


Self Examination
Let me ask you to examine yourself. Are you really a Christian? Do you bear fruit? Are you living a holy life? Are you living in a Godly manner? Do you live for Christ, or for yourself? Are you repenting? Do you hate sin? Do you hate the evil deeds you have committed? Or do you love sin and let it run your life? Is God first and foremost in your life? Have you made any idol that you love more than God? I don't mean just "American Idol," like a popstar, but even a holiday, or material possession like a car, or video game. Even a football or hockey team can be carved idols if you worship them more than your Saviour. Which brings you joy in life?

Do you hate sin so much you want it to perish and be out of your life forever because it pulls you away from your relationship with God?

Jesus Chooses You
John 15:16
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.


O' Lord, my Gracious Father in Heaven, Merciful God and Redeemer, I pray this to the weary Christians:

My brothers and sisters,
If you want to bear good fruit and bear good witness to others. First you must humble yourselves to God and swallow your pride. Pride has no room in the Kingdom of God. You must be a servant for God alone. The World will reject you because you are not part of the World as Jesus is not part of this World either. But love the fellow man as Jesus loved you. You must accept what God's Son Jesus did on the cross for you. God punished His son for hours of iniquities, died on the cross, and rose three days after to prove that He is the Lord. Confess your sins now and turn 180 degrees to Christ as your Saviour and redeemer of eternal life.
I pray this in Jesus name,
Amen.


Verses to study:
Genesis 26:22
Proverbs 17:14
Proverbs 20:3
Proverbs 26:17
Matthew 12:18-21
Titus 3:9-11
2 Timothy 2:14-26

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Exposing the Truth: Setting Captives Free

Those who are living in deceit like this will do everything they can to protect the sinful secret life from being exposed. They become very angry and defensive if questioned about any wrongdoing.

John 3:19-20
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.


From experience I've had the problem of keeping secrets. Dark secrets. Self-gratifying, and self-indulging secrets.

1 John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.


We know that we are to first and foremost confess our sins to God. This confession only comes to God and us, but this is the first step toward walking in the light that brings purity.

No matter if the secret is about an addiction, an abortion, gambling, or any sexual impurity, the are all self-loathing. We feel shame and are embarrassed to tell anyone fearing more shame and embarrassment. But the outcome is the total opposite. Once the truth is exposed into the light and we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus will purify us from all sin.

Luke 23:26
They laid hold upon one Simon . . . and on him they laid the cross.


Oswald Chambers writes,
"If we obey God it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the sting comes in. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything, it is a delight, but it costs those who do not love Him a good deal. If we obey God it will mean that other people's plans are upset, and they will gibe us with it - "You call this Christianity?" We can prevent the suffering; but if we are going to obey God, we must not prevent it, we must let the cost be paid.

Our human pride entrenches itself on this point, and we say - I will never accept anything from anyone. We shall have to, or disobey God. We have no right to expect to be in any other relation than our Lord Himself was in (see Luke 8:2-3).

Stagnation in spiritual life comes when we say we will bear the whole thing ourselves. We cannot. We are so involved in the universal purposes of God that immediately we obey God, others are affected. Are we going to remain loyal in our obedience to God and go through the humiliation of refusing to be independent, or are we going to take the other line and say - I will not cost other people suffering? We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but we shall be a grief to our Lord. Whereas if we obey God, He will look after those who have been pressed into the consequences of our obedience. We have simply to obey and to leave all consequences with Him.

Beware of the inclination to dictate to God as to what you will allow to happen if you obey Him."

They may present the appearance of being spiritual people who are knowledgeable about the Bible. And yet, we all know that information is not the same thing as transformation. What these people need to do is to begin to slowly, carefully, expose this hidden life to someone else, using discernment as to "who and when" to approach.

Resource: http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/

Monday, 9 March 2009

A Response to My Rational Response

As you may have noticed my main focus right now has been on the apologetics of the Bible. I have noticed that I have stopped writing encouraging letters but writing more of a defense of faith. I do not have doubts in the Lord at all. He is willing and he is in control. I am studying apologetics so that I know how to defend Christianity and help others to defend their faith when skeptics ask. My mind is cluttered with the 'What,' 'How,' and 'Why' questions that I had come up with in the past and others have brought up. I am trying to answer many questions that Christians have. I know from my own experience that I had a lot of questions that needed answering. But after I found Christ I stopped and began to just listen. The answers are all in the Scripture, and also in experience. I found that a lot of my experiences have a direct link with the Scripture. So now I am trying to help share some answers to these struggling time we have in faith. We should always ask questions. It is not wrong to ask God a question. I found that it's the best way to get to know him is to ask him who he is and for his help. I do not want to get into arguments with Feminists, Homosexuals, or Athesists but to understand them and share with them my experiences. Not to rebuke them how they should live but to share with you from my own experiences living and dining with friends who are not saved in a hope that they may see the difference in me. When I saw the difference in my dad and the joy and peace he had when he found Christ, I wanted that same thing. I wanted Christ in my life. I won't get into my testimony now, so I will leave it at this.
I know how much Christ can change your life. He has changed a whole lot in me and more! It takes a huge commitment and humility to live a holy life. It's not easy but it's very rewarding. God Bless You!

A Response to Feminism & Homosexuality

Edited for accuracy on Sunday, May 15, 2011, and again on Sunday, August 14, 2011.

I just recently checked out a friend's favourite website called community.feministing.com. At first, the website I found it quite friendly and unoffensive. Under their comments policy it reads,
"We view Feministing as a platform for not only discussion among feminists and allies, but for reaching (rational, not hateful) people who may not agree with every word we write. However, we require that discussion in comments should be respectful and be directed toward the ideas and argument, not the person. All comments with hate speech, personal attacks, or offensive language will be deleted. If we have to delete a total of three comments by any one commenter, that person will be banned."
But I found a link just to the right of it with the title "Friday Feminist F*** You" which was under the Editor Favourites. An organization that professes to promote such a good cause for women comes off quite offensive and hateful to anyone who doesn't believe the same. I agree that society is quite sexist towards women, especially advertisements. This is what the world has become. But when the feminists say "F-You" to the offender, what does that help? What kind of message are they teaching others? I'm sure not all feminists act like this or agree with the way they act. But why would you want to be a part of such a group that promotes such callous behaviour governed by emotional flare-ups? I understand these women and men have tender emotions and I respect the sentimental issues. But an idea influenced by or proceeding from effusive feelings or emotions is neither logical nor rational. We must address the issues with a sound mind.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Proper Heart Motive

What should be the Christian's motive for finding freedom from bondage to impurity?: The Glory of God.

Where is the glory of God seen most clearly?: In the Person of Jesus Christ, Who is the radiance of Gods glory.

What is it that enables us to be transformed?: To be transformed in the glory of the Lord (Romans 12:2). To turn to him so that our eyes and our ears are opened to the truth (Matt 13:15).

Isaiah 6:1-5

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;

The whole earth is full of His glory!"

4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

5 So I said:

"Woe is me, for I am undone!

Because I am a man of unclean lips,

And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts"


One interesting thing to note is that as Isaiah saw the glory of God he was humbled, and he saw his sin most clearly. If we see the glory of God, we too will see our own uncleanness, and will need to cry out for grace as Isaiah did.

May we all focus together on God's glory and seek Him together for grace to be free!

Friday, 6 March 2009

A Tribute to Womanhood

Matthew 15:21-28
The Faith of a Gentile Woman

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”

23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”

24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”

25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”

26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”

28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.


This woman, not even an Israelite, showed so much faith in Jesus that her request was granted. Jesus wanted to see if she really had faith in him. This showed to his disciples that even a non-Israeli woman can have faith in him just by hearing about his miracles. She not only believed in his miracles, she believed that he was the Lord.

John 4:1-30
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

4 Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.

4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.


Observation: In the above story, Jesus Christ spoke to a woman about two kinds of water:

  1. "This water," which would not satisfy and would not quench spiritual thirst. The woman would have to keep coming back again and again to get more of "this water."
  2. "The water I give" which would quench thirst eternally.

Then Jesus brought up the fact that the woman had had multiple relationships (five husbands and a current live-in, for a total of six relationships). Obviously, she was finding no permanent satisfaction in these relationships, so she had to keep going back to find a new love, each time hoping that this time would be the last. In bringing up her "unquenchable thirst" for different relationships, Jesus revealed to her that she would never be truly satisfied until she began "drinking" from the water He would give her.

Samaritans weren't liked by the Jews in this time; they were pagans. The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had "no dealings with the Samaritans"(John 8:48). The Samaritans did not know the Lord.

Jesus spoke with the woman at the well. In this time women were exploited, especially a woman who had been divorced. Jesus let his disciples go into the city while he stayed hidden. The first Samaritan Jesus spoke to was a woman. This fulfilled the prophecy; "For the message the Lord told him to proclaim against the altar in Bethel and against the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true” (1 Kings 13:32).


John 8:1-11
A Woman Caught in Adultery

8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus defended a woman who had sinned. Not even Jesus would condemn her because he loves all sinners. Jesus proved that men are no better than women. We all sin and fall on the same level under God's judgment.


John 20:11-18
The First Appearance of Jesus
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene


11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

16 “Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.


The reason Mary couldn't recognize Jesus was because he didn't want to reveal himself to her until she was ready. When she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” Then when Jesus saw that she was eager to find him, he revealed himself to her. “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me" (Proverbs 8:17). The first person Jesus revealed himself resurrected to proclaim that he had defeated death, to fulfill what God promised for mankind, was first told to a woman. The Good News was to be spread by a woman. How great of an honour to be given to women.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Heaven

God chose not only to make physical humans to live on a physical Earth, but he chose to become a man on that same Earth. He did this to redeem mankind and the earth, and to enjoy forever the company of human beings in a world made for them—a world called the New Earth (Isaiah 65:17;66:22). That world is what we are to be looking forward to (2 Peter 3:13).

We have never known an Earth without sin, suffering, and death—yet we yearn for it. God tells us that the world we—and all creation—long for, a world delivered from the Curse, will one day be ours to live in . . . forever (Romans 8:19-23).

Often we think of going to a Heaven as departing from our place into an angelic realm to live with God in his place. But the Bible says that in the ultimate Heaven God will come down from his place to live with us in our place, the New Earth.

Immanuel, one of the names of Christ, does not mean "us with God"; it means "God with us." Where will he be with us? On the New Earth.

We've heard it said, "This world is not our home." That's true, but it's a half truth. We should qualify it by saying, "This world—the earth as it now is, under the Curse—is not our home." But we should also say, "This world—the earth as it once was, before sin and the Curse—was our home." And we should add, "This world—the earth as it one day will be, delivered from sin and the Curse—will be our home."


How Can We Know For Sure That We'll Go to Heaven?

Is it possible to know for sure we're going to Heaven? The apostle John said, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). So we can know for sure that we'll go to Heaven when we die.

Do you? If not, please read carefully below. It may be the most important thing you ever read. What could be more important for you to consider than whether you go to Heaven or Hell?

To sin means to fall short of God's holy standards. Sin is what ended Eden's paradise. And all of us, like Adam and Eve, are sinners. you too are a sinner. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Sin separates us from a relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2). There's a huge gulf between us and God, and there's nothing we can do to cross it. Sin deceives us and makes us think that wrong is right and right is wrong (Proverbs 14:12). It makes us imagine that we're okay when we're really not.

Sin has terrible consequences, but God has provided a solution: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ, the Son of God, loved us so much that he became a man to deliver us from our sin (John 3:16). He came to identify with us in our humanity and our weakness, but he did so without being tainted by our sin (Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15-16).

Jesus died on the cross as the only one worthy to pay the penalty for our sins demanded by the holiness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). On the cross, he took upon himself the Hell we deserve, in order to purchase for us the Heaven we don't deserve.

Being God, and therefore all-powerful, Jesus Christ rose from the grave, defeating sin and conquering death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 54-57).

When Christ died on the cross for us, he said, "It is finished" (John 19:30). The Greek word translated "it is finished" was commonly written across certificates of debt when they were canceled. It meant "paid in full." Christ died so that all our sins, could once and for all be marked "paid in full."

Only when our sins are dealt with in Christ can we enter Heaven. We cannot pay our way. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). "Salvation is found in no one else [but Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Christ's death on the cross, and his resurrection, is the bridge that cross that chasm which separates us form God. Because of Jesus Christ's atonement of our sins, God freely offers us forgiveness: "He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:10-12).

To be forgiven, we must recognize and repent of our sins: "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). Forgiveness is not automatic. It's conditioned upon confession: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and purify us form all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Christ offers to everyone the gift of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life: "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Revelation 22:17).

There's no righteous deed we can do that will earn us a place in Heaven (Titus 3:5). We come to Christ empty-handed. We can take no credit for salvation: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not form yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). This gift cannot be worked for, earned, or achieved. It's not dependent on our merit or effort but solely on Christ's generous sacrifice on our behalf.

Now is the time to make things right with God. Confess your sinfulness and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf.

You are made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person and Heaven is the place. They are a package—they come together. you cannot get Heaven without Jesus, or Jesus without Heaven.

"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6). If you do call upon Christ to save you, you'll have all eternity, in the New Heaven and on the New Earth, to be glad that you did.

And I'll look forward to seeing you there!


For more information please read the Bible.


Resource: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Moral Rights

In the book The End of Reason, Ravi Zacharias shares a story about when he was speaking on the radio with a woman about abortion. Throughout her tirade she repeatedly insisted, "It's my moral right to do what I choose to do with my body!"

Zacharias explains,

A person may dismissively say that he or she does not see a moral order. But I strongly suspect that the real issue is not an absence of moral order in the world but the insistence on determining for oneself what is good and what is evil, in spite of what we intuitively know to be true. Let's be honest. To believe that there is no moral order, one must assume knowledge of what a moral order would look like if there were one. But why should one person's opinion of what the moral order should look like be any more authentic than anyone else's? And besides, if there is no moral order, any attempt to enforce one is sheer pragmatism, open to any challenge for other pragmatic reasons.
On the other hand, before the charge is made that the God of the Bible violates his own moral order, ought one not consider the fact that the same God who gave the moral law also gives the reasons he allows pain and suffering? Why debate, even for the sake of argument, the possibility that God has given a moral law and ignore the reasoning that accompanies it?


We Naturally Resist God's Moral Order

Isn't is ironic that when Islam is in a position of power, Islamic beliefs are forced on everyone, and that when atheism has the upper hand, atheistic beliefs are enforced on everyone? Only in Christianity is the privilege given both to believe and to disbelieve without any enforcement.


Are Atheists More "Moral" Than Others?

An article written by Richard Dawkins was chiefly advocated that any prospective student with a creationist point of view should be refused admittance into Oxford. And he criticizes the intolerance of religion? Dawkins is a professor at Oxford, a university whose motto is "The Lord Is My Light." He has been given privileges to teach because of the Judeo-Christian ethic of tolerance. And now that he is in the driver's seat, he wishes to evict not just Christian faculty but even students who do not subscribe to his atheistic views. Ask any Christian academician how careful Christian professors need to be about acknowledging their faith in a classroom. Now Dawkins and others want the students to be silenced as well. Underneath their dangerous political correctness is an agenda to stifle all thought but their own.


Resource: The End Of Reason by Ravi Zacharias

Why You Must Repent

For those who have not seriously thought about reading the Bible there is something I must tell you,

Jesus is coming back soon to set up his earthly kingdom. The requirement though to enter his kingdom is that we must be absolutely perfect without sin.

No one is without sin, not one. All of us face eternal judgment from separation from God. This is why we must receive Jesus Christ into your life as Lord. He is the only one who lived a perfect life and thus became the substitute for our sins. He rose from the dead proving he was God, and he wants to save us from the penalty of our sins and give us eternal life.

But we must individually receive him. This is what it means to believe in Jesus.

God wants us to be reconciled to himself so much so that he gave his only son to die for us.

It's all in this book; the Holy Bible.

I pray that you will consider what I am saying.


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