Tuesday, 30 June 2009

God's Agenda

We often pray for God's Will in our lives. But how often do we pray for His Hours?

My prayer is;

Father,

I dedicate my hours to you
I want to work for your agenda and not mine
Show me how to use my strengths and weaknesses
So that I can better give you glory
Take away my materialism and the want for things that I don't have
Show me how to be thankful for what I have
You have given me everything I needed
You know what is best for me
I dedicate my hours to you

In Jesus name,
Amen!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Expect Conflict

InTouch Magazine, June 2009 Issue, Page 42
Read | 2 Corinthians 4:5-10

Contrary to a thread of popular but poor theology, salvation does not guarantee an easy life. It is tempting to present Christianity as a safe haven from which to watch the world swirl past—then one could open the door to allow in joy and blessing, but hardship could not squeeze through. That brand of religion would sell well in the world marketplace, but it isn't real.

The truth is, Christians cannot escape conflict or ridicule. The biblical principles we hold dear often seem like foolishness to nonbelievers. What's more, defending our faith and sharing the gospel frequently draw criticism or anger from listeners. But Scripture counsels against keeping quiet and blending in (Matt. 5:14-15). In fact, we are to welcome disagreement as a way to grow our faith.

Consider this: Our belief system is named for a man who so thoroughly challenged the status quo that religious leaders called for His death. Jesus Christ was at the centre of controversy during His ministry and very likely all through life. That's why the biblical record so often shows Him slipping away for time alone with God—He was seeking direction and receiving strength. While Jesus was fully God, He was also fully human. He knew the sting of rejection and the taste of fear, just as we do (Heb. 4:15).

Early Light | As believers, we are called to be peacemakers, but that doesn't mean isolating ourselves from all who oppose the church. Accept conflict as inevitable and reach out anyway. Some who hear the gospel from you may believe. You can have a powerful impact simply by being the person God called you to be—a witness for Christ.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Christian Reflections on Western Thought & Culture: The Fall of The Roman Empire

To understand where we are in today's world—in our intellectual ideas and in our cultural political lives—we must trace three lines in history, namely, the philosophical, the scientific, and the religious. The philosophic seeks intellectual answers to the basic questions of life. The scientific has two parts: first, the makeup of the physical universe and then the practical application of what it discovers in technology. The direction in which science will move is set by the philosophical world view of the scientists. Peoples religious views also determine the direction of their individual lives and of their society.
In many ways Rome was great, but it had no real answers to the basic problems that all humanity faces.

The Greek & Roman Gods

The Greeks and Romans tried to build society upon their gods. But these gods were not big enough because they were finite, limited. Even all their gods put together were not infinite. Actually, the gods in Greek and Roman thinking were like men and women larger than life, but not basically different from human men and women. The gods were amplified humanity, not divinity. Life the Greeks, the Romans had no infinite god. This being so, they had no sufficient reference point intellectually; that being so, they did not have anything big enough or permanent enough to which to relate either their thinking or their living. Consequently, their value system was not strong enough to bear the strains of life, either individual or political. All their gods put together could not give them a sufficient base for life, morals, values, and final decisions. These gods depended on the society that which had made them, and when this society collapsed the gods tumbled with it. Thus, the Greek and Roman experiments in social harmony ultimately failed.

Julius Caesar
In the days of Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.), Rome turned to an authoritarian system centred in Caesar himself. Before the days of Caesar, the senate would not keep in order. Armed gangs terrorized the city of Rome and the normal processes of government were disrupted as rivals fought for power. Self-interest became more significant than social interest, however sophisticated the trappings. Thus, in desperation the people accepted authoritarian government.

Culture & Individual Collapse
A culture or individual with a weak base can stand only when the pressure on it is not too great. As an illustration, let us think of a Roman bridge. The Romans built little humpbacked bridges over many of the streams of Europe. People and wagons went over these structures for centuries, for two millennia. But if people today drove heavily loaded trucks over these bridges, they would break. It is this way with the lives and value systems of individuals and cultures when they have nothing stronger to build on than their own limitedness, their own finiteness. They can stand when pressures are not too great, but when pressures mount, if then they do not have sufficient base, they crash—just as the Roman bridge would case in under the weight of a modern six-wheeled truck. Culture and the freedoms of people are fragile. Without a sufficient base, a when such pressures come only time is needed—and often not a great deal of time—before there is a collapse.

Christians In The Arena In Rome
Perhaps no one has represented more vividly to our generation the inner weakness of imperial Rome than has Fellini (1920-) in his film Satyricon. He reminds us that the classical world is not to be romanticized, but that it was both cruel and decadent as it came to the logical conclusion of its world view.
Rome was cruel, and its cruelty can perhaps be best pictured by the events which took place in the arena in Rome itself. People seated above the arena floor watched gladiator contests and Christians thrown to the beasts. Let us not forget why the Christians were killed. They were not killed because they worshipped Jesus. Various religions covered the whole Roman world. One such was the cult of Mithras, a popular Persian form of Zoroastrinaism which had reached Rome by 67 B.C. Nobody cared who worshipped whom so long as the worshipper did not disrupt the unity of the state, centred in the formal worship of Caesar. The reason the Christians were killed was because they were rebels. This was especially so after their growing rejection by the Jewish synagogues lost for them the immunity granted to the Jews since Julius Caesar's time.
We may express the nature of their rebellion in two ways, both of which are true.

The One and Only God
First, we can say they worshipped Jesus as God and they worshipped the infinite-personal God only. The Caesar's would not tolerate this worshipping of the one God only. It was the unity of the state during the third century and during the reign of Diocletian (248-305), when people of the higher classes began to become Christians in larger numbers. If they had worshipped Jesus and Caesar, they would have gone unharmed, but they rejected all forms of syncretism. They worshipped the God who had revealed himself in the Old Testament, through Christ, and in the New Testament which had gradually been written. And they worshipped him as the only God. They allowed no mixture: All other Gods were seen as false gods.

God's Revelation
We can also express in a second way why the Christians were killed: No totalitarian authority nor authoritarian state can tolerate those who have an absolute by which to judge that state and its actions. The Christians has that absolute in God's revelation. Because the Christians has an absolute, universal standard by which to judge not only personal morals but the state, they were counted as enemies of totalitarian Rome and were thrown to the beasts.

The Late Empire
Apathy was the chief mark of the late Empire. As the Roman economy slumped lower and lower, burdened with an aggravated inflation and a costly government, authoritarianism increased to counter the apathy. Since work was no longer done voluntarily, it was brought increasingly under the authority of the state, and freedoms were lost. So, because of the general apathy and its results, and because of oppressive control, few thought the old civilization worth saving.
Rome did not fall because of external forces such as the invasion by the barbarians. Roma had no sufficient inward base; the barbarians only completed the breakdown—and Rome gradually became a ruin.


Reference: How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer, Pages 20-21, 23-24, 26, 29.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Are You Ready?

Every one of us has a predestined time when we will die. Consider that we have to take into account our whole life and be judged before the Almighty. He has a prearranged plan for the time when He will judge you. Are you ready?

We Don't Know What Day
We don't even know if we'll be here on earth in the next hour. Take advantage of the time you have and make sure you're right with the Lord in every moment, every decision, and every word you speak, for every idol work you speak will be taken into account for your salvation on judgement day.

How Often Are You In His Word?
If you are truly abiding with Him you should know His Word, not only in your heart but in the words you speak to others and the unsaved. The only way for an unbeliever to know God is to hear or read His Word. How else can the unsaved be reached? How else can they know God? If you are truly saved you love hearing and studying His Word. How often are you in His Word? Once a week? Just on Sunday at Church? If you truly love Him you yearn to know Him, and the best way is to get into His Book the Bible.

Are You Witnessing Christ?
The best way for others to see the love of God is through His Son Jesus Christ. There is no perfect display of His love than through His Son and His mercy on the Cross. Do you display the characteristics of what Christ is like? Do others see His loving kindness through your conduct in every day life? When a friend or co-worker comes to you for advice use this opportunity to witness to them with His Word. There is nothing in the Bible that God has left out to help us in any situation in our lives. His Word is sufficient in any case. Stand by your faith and acknowledge your friends with the trust in His Word that it is sufficient and the truth.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Friedrich Nietzsche's complete rejection of Christianity, with the famous quote "God is dead", led him to be known as a remarkable philosopher in his own right, but also as a progenitor of existentialism.

A brilliant young man, he was appointed professor at the University of Basel aged 24 having not even finished his degree.

Nietzsche was debilitated from chronic illness. He lived as an invalid (sickly person) for many days of each year. Born with severe Myopia he had always been a sickly child. During the Franco-Prussia War he contracted dysentery and diphtheria while serving as a medical ordinate. While he was a student he became infected with syphilis in a brothel. By the age of 30 Nietzsche had become a partial inveigled (someone who entices or ensnares by flattery talk to acquire or obtain something).

Nietzsche argued that the Christian system of faith and worship was not only incorrect, but harmful to society because it allowed the weak to rule the strong - it suppressed the will to power which was the driving force of human character. He wanted people to throw of the shackles of our misguided Christian morality and become supermen - free and titanic. He later called himself the 'Anti-Christ.'

The core of Nietzsche's work, including Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-92), Beyond Good and Evil (1886), The Birth of Tragedy (1872) was to find a meaning and morality in the absence of God.

However, without God he felt that the future of man might spiral into a society of nihilism, devoid of any meaning; his aim was for man to realize the lack of divine purpose and create his own values.

Without divine sanction and retribution human suffering was unintelligible. Nietzsche sought for a replacement. He looked into philosophy for an answer and discovered the teachings of the German atheist thinker, Arthur Schopenhauer. Here he sought the consolation he craved to make sense of a godless universe. Schopenhauer's philosophy is very pessimistic at its core. One way to get out of this misery momentarily was the role of art and above all music.

His evanescent philosophical life ended 20 years later when he went insane and died shortly afterwards.


References: BBC.co.uk, TopDocumentaryFilms.com; Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A Life In Sync With God

Living Beyond The Limits by Frank Graham
Prologue

All my life, I've loved machines that are fast, loud, even dangerous. That's just the way I am. Whether it's flying an airplane, riding the wind on a dirt bike, four-wheeling through the Colorado mountains, or cruising in my old pickup through the North Carolina countryside, I love it! What I don't love are roller coasters or carnival Ferris wheels, especially when they start down. I'd much rather be in the cockpit twenty thousand feet up in the clouds than sitting in a chair forty feet above the ground with someone else at the controls.

Maybe that is why, as a young man, I was so reluctant to surrender my life to God. I thought Christianity would be boring, that it would mean living by other people's dull rules, that it would be, in a sense, a living death. I wanted to be in complete control. I wanted to live hard, fast, and free, to experience life on the edge.

And for a while, I did. I witnessed firsthand what it was like to hear bullets whizzing past my head and artillery exploding in the distance. I crossed closely guarded borders and travelled over perilous and exotic terrain.

But eventually the excitement proved to be nothing more than a temporary high. I soon realized that there wasn't enough adventure in the entire world to satisfy my thirsty spirit. No matter how thrilling the day, when my head hit the pillow at night I was overcome by a nagging emptiness—a dark void.

I began to discover what King Solomon lamented in the book of Ecclesiastes: "I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. . . . Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had one and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; . . . So I hated life. . . . All of it is meaningless" (2:10-11,17 NIV).


Acknowledgement:
"Live Fast, Die Young"

This is the attitude for many of the youth and even some adults. They chase after the wind, seeking adventure and excitement in their life, but end up with empty hands. They are chasing after something that they'll be never satisfied with. The things like fame, honour, and fortune are all vanity and meaningless because they will be taken away when we die. We were brought into this world naked, and we will leave this world the same way—from dust to dust.

Are You Living For Christ Or For Vanity?
King Solomon said, "All is vanity" (ESV).

Ecclesiastes 8:5-9
5 He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful;
And a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment,

6 Because, for every matter there is a time and judgment,
Though the misery of man increases greatly.

7 For he does not know what will happen;
So who can tell him when it will occur?

8 No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit,
And no one has power in the day of death.

There is no release from that war,
And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.

9 All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.


There is no end in chasing after pleasures of the body. It is a never ending race.

Ecclesiastes 12:11-12

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Finding Your Calling

Can God still use me, even while I am still a sinner?
Of course He can!

At the times when we ask for forgiveness for our sins we can sometimes feel like 'God can't use me because I have failed Him.' That is Satan tricking us to make us feel unclean and unable for the Lord's work. There are times when God asks us to do something when we don't want to or feel like it. When He does we feel frustrated and find ourselves fighting against our flesh. Sometimes we can get anxious and impatient. But that is the flesh. God asks us to do things for Him to praise Him and to build up His body for the Kingdom. Sometimes we can get frustrated and make a move without asking God and confirming it with Him. We make a move without His driven faith.

Yes, it is true that He asks us to do something 'right now,' but ask Him first to put the burden on your heart if it is His Will and Calling for you. Make sure that this is what God has put on your heart and not just something you want to do. God will ask us to do things that we don't think we are capable of; things we think that are beyond our abilities, but God knows our abilities. He knows you better than you think that you know yourself. This is why we want to seek Him. As followers of Christ, we seek His counsel, and His friendship. He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him and to help us in every need in our lives, but most of all, to help us better praise Him.

Grow with Him. Asking Him for His Will and His Calling into your life. Ask Him for the burdens you feel on your heart. If it is Evangelism, Discipling, Teaching, Helping, Preaching, whatever it may be. Ask God to show you His Calling in your life, and not of your own.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Hell's Best Kept Secret

video

Christian Dating


Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)

Paul is saying that we should not be "mismatched" with unbelievers. What could be more clear?

Has your mother ever told you, 'Do not mix oil with water' ?


Willaim Lane Craig replied to a concerned Christian, Judith, about marrying unbelievers,

" Is there, then, a contradiction with Paul’s commands in I Cor. 7.12-16? Not at all! Paul is speaking there to couples who were both unbelievers but one of whom has since become a Christian and so finds himself or herself with an unbelieving spouse. That this is the situation is evident in Paul’s overriding principle, also applied to slaves and uncircumcised, “Let everyone lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him and in which God has called him (v. 17). “Everyone should remain in the state in which he was called” (v. 20). So if you were married when you were called, Paul tells you not to leave your non-believing partner. Stay married, just as you were when called to follow Christ, unless the unbelieving partner desires to separate.

But Paul prohibits Christian believers to marry unbelievers. Why? In II Cor. 6.15 he says: “ Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” One might be tempted to answer Paul’s question, “Well, we’re both really into sports and the outdoors” or “We both love finance and business.” But Paul would have regarded such an answer as betraying an utter lack of understanding of the marriage union. For Paul common faith in Christ was central to the marriage relationship. Take that away and you’ve taken the heart out of the marriage. That so few of our marriages between Christians today exhibit the centrality of Christ is shameful testimony to the extent to which we have become assimilated to the world’s view of marriage. Is little wonder, then, that divorce rates among Christian couples is as high as among non-Christians? It’s been my privilege to be married for over thirty years to a woman whose first and foremost love is to know and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Our common desire to know and serve him has bound us tightly together. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be married to someone who didn’t share that common first love. It has seen us through the ups and downs of life. I don’t know your personal situation, Judith, but if you’re contemplating marrying a non-believer, I’d urge you not to do so, no matter how much you love him. Obey God, give Him time to work in your boyfriend’s heart, and in the meantime strive to become the woman that Christ wants you to be, as his character is formed in you. On the other hand, if you’ve already married a non-believer, then you should confess your sin, claim the Lord’s forgiveness, and then obey scriptural commands on how a believing wife married to a non-Christian should deport herself (I Peter 3. 1-6). "


Dating is Worldly


Many teenagers believe that they know everything. The truth is, if you're a teenager or young adult, You know Nothing! Take you're parent's advice, don't date and don't get into a relationship with non-believers. Trust me, I had to learn the hard way. I thought I knew what I was doing. But I didn't even notice myself running away from God. I felt freedom from Him. But once a slave of God, always a slave. How could I reject such a forgiving and loving God! Thank the Lord! He pulled me back with repentance and faith! Praise Jesus!


Reference: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5795,
YouTube.com

Monday, 1 June 2009

Being Tested

It seems that after my baptism I've been tested more with my heart. Especially with my job and the way I display my life to others that I work with. And now there is more testing of my obedience to God. Especially my sexual drive. It's of course not so easy for a young single man. I've cut down the branch of lust from my mind. But the flesh keeps knocking on the door telling me, "you want sex." But I take those thoughts captive. I'm striving to be a Man (of Christ), not just some male mammal hungry to have sex. I find that Satan is trying to trick myself and others that it is just my nature as a man to have these urges.

We must learn to take fleshly thoughts captive, live in God's Grace, and share His Mercy and Love with others.