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Watch What You Watch

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  ~Romans 12:2

By now, most of us have heard about the tragic shooting that took place in Aurora, Colorado at the Aurora Century 16 movie theater. The deadly rampage targeted people inside a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”. According to Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, the shooter had painted his hair red and was in a costume, stating that he was the “Joker”, a character in the film. According to the New York Daily News website, the suspect arrested was 24-year-old James Holmes, who would later boast to police that he was “channeling Batman’s arch nemesis.”

This raises many questions:

Are all movies simply “harmless entertainment”?

Do some movies/video games inspire violence?

Is it possible that some movies are demonic?

To answer these questions, let’s look at the facts. In the journal, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, researchers report that watching violence portrayed in movies and other media may make teens more accepting of violence. Also, let’s consider a few incidents of where murder/violence was connected to violent and evil movies/video games. As you may recall, in 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold launched an assault on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, murdering 13 and wounding 23 before turning the guns on themselves. According to Serendip, an educational website, Harris and Klebold both enjoyed playing the bloody, shoot-’em-up video game Doom, a game licensed by the U.S. military to train soldiers to effectively kill. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tracks Internet hate groups, found in its archives a copy of Harris’ web site with a version of Doom. He had customized it so that there were two shooters, each with extra weapons and unlimited ammunition, and the other people in the game could not fight back. For a class project, Harris and Klebold made a videotape that was similar to their customized version of Doom. In the video, Harris and Klebold were dressed in trench coats, carried guns, and killed school athletes. They acted out their videotaped performance in real life less than a year later. Furthermore, the movie, “Natural Born Killers” was also an influence for the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre, with the phrase “going NBK” in the journal entries of the killers signaling the start of their rampage.

There are other movies which have been linked to murders, suicides and attempted suicides. Movies such as: Scream, Money Train, A Clockwork Orange, The Collector, The Basketball Diaries, The Matrix, Taxi Driver, RoboCop 2 ,Magnum Force, The Deer Hunter, The Program, The Child’s Play series, Girl Interrupted, Twilight, and probably many more which were not recorded. It was also reported that the movie, “Breaking Dawn”, caused many people to have seizures who had never had photosensitivity epilepsy or seizures before. Furthermore, a 1997 episode of “Pokemon” caused nearly 700 viewers to suffer seizures. This brings to mind an occurrence in the Bible. Remember the account in Luke 9 where a boy had seizures due to a demon? I will list the scripture below – but it is safe to say that, yes, some movies can be demonic.

Luke 9:37-43MSG states: “When they came down off the mountain the next day, a big crowd was there to meet them.  A man called from out of the crowd, “Please, please, Teacher, take a look at my son. He’s my only child.  Often a spirit seizes him. Suddenly he’s screaming, thrown into convulsions, his mouth foaming. And then it beats him black and blue before it leaves.  I asked your disciples to deliver him but they couldn’t.”  Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring your son here.”  While he was coming, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into convulsions. Jesus stepped in, ordered the vile spirit gone, healed the boy, and handed him back to his father.  They all shook their heads in wonder, astonished at God’s greatness, God’s majestic greatness.”  

Not only can evil, demonic movies affect the watcher, but it can also affect the actors/actresses/film makers in a negative way. Olin Miller once said, “According to the reformers, most of the movies have unsound effects.” Pastor Mark Driscoll, of Seattle, echoes this sentiment by saying, “A movie is a sermon with pictures.”  Again, we must watch out for what we are allowing ourselves to watch. Mail Online produced an article entitled, “The Curse of Batman”. In the article, the reporter states: The devastating shooting at a screening of the new Batman film comes after a string of tragic incidences surrounding the film franchise that has led some to say the film is cursed. Before this shooting spree, one of the greatest tragedies associated with the film was the death of Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in The Dark Knight. The actor was found dead in his Manhattan apartment in January 2008 after taking an accidental drugs overdose, six months before the film’s release. Conway Wickliffe, a New Zealand-born special effects technician, died while working on that film. He was on a camera truck filming a stunt when it crashed into a tree in October 2007. Another cast member was struck by the ‘curse’ of Batman – but fortunately survived. Morgan Freeman, who played Lucius Fox in the film, was seriously injured in a car accident in Mississippi in August 2008. His co-star, and the star of the franchise, Christian Bale, hit the headlines in July 2008 when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister shortly before the London’s premiere.The sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, suffered upsets during filming. A stunt double for Anne Hathaway, who plays Catwoman, reportedly crashed into expensive camera equipment during filming in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in August last year. Days later the Batwing vehicle was half destroyed in an accident.

Furthermore, New York Daily News reported the following:  Heath Ledger thought landing the demanding role of the Joker was a dream come true – but now some think it was a nightmare that led to his tragic death. Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in 1989 – and who was furious he wasn’t consulted about the creepy role – offered a cryptic comment when told Ledger was dead. “Well,” Nicholson told reporters in London, “I warned him.” Ledger told reporters he “slept an average of two hours a night” while playing “a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.” Tony Timpone, editor of the fantasy magazine Fangoria, said the movie should do well, despite the “cloud over it” from Ledger’s death. “It’s going to be tough, because the Joker is such an indelible character, and Heath was such an indelible actor. It could be tough to disassociate ourselves from reality. Because the movie looks like it’s going to be so dark, and his life had such a dark end.”

My whole reason for producing this blog post is to sound the warning – NOT ALL ENTERTAINMENT IS HARMLESS. Satan cleverly packages evil in a movie, in a video game, in a book, in something that seems harmless – but beware. It’s much like Las Vegas with all of its lights and shimmer – it looks beautiful on the outside but it is known as “Sin City.” The outside of a cup or dish may be clean and sparkling, but if it is dirty on the inside, who would want to drink or eat from it? In Matthew 23, Jesus teaches how foolish it would be to strain your water for gnats, yet swallow a camel. Likewise, He went on to say, “…Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish,and then the outside will become clean, too” Matthew 23:25-26NLT. How does watching a violent movie please the Lord or make us more like Christ? What is our heart-felt motive for wanting to view such evil movies? Aren’t there better things we could do with our time? Those of us who bear the name of Christ are to be a light in this world and to come out from among the sin of the world. What is the point of filling our minds with stupidity, evil, violence, and filth? Please friend, watch what you allow yourself to watch or engage in. Only when we lay aside these weights and hindrances will we see the Holy Spirit move strongly in our lives. Only then can we overcome sin and be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. Only then can we truly make an impact on the world around us for the good.

“All the ways of a man seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.” ~Proverbs 21:2

“Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” ~Ephesians  5:10-11

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” ~Ephesians 5:15-16ESV

Sources:

http://www.nydailynews.com

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu

http://www.trutv.com

http://brainz.org

http://www.foxnews.com

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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The Hot Air Balloon

hotairballoonI was in the car casually looking out the window as we drove down the highway. Billboards, shopping centers, and road signs whizzed past my eyes as we drove. I noticed the sky was especially blue and pretty that day. As I got lost in thought while staring at the beautiful clouds, something caught my attention.

Over the distant mountain, I noticed something in the sky. I squinted my eyes but couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I locked my gaze on this mysterious object out of curiosity. As the object came closer, I could clearly see that it was a hot air balloon. It got closer and closer until I could tell that there were many people aboard its tiny basket. It was beautiful. It brought a smile to my face.

Then, to my absolute shock, the once peacefully coasting hot air balloon began to behave erratically. A plume of black smoke also confirmed to me that the fire mechanism which was used to keep the balloon afloat had, somehow, gone out. Since there was some air left in the balloon, the fall wasn’t immediate – nonetheless, it began plummeting at a decent rate of speed. I didn’t utter a word. I was in shock watching this scene unfold before my eyes. With my eyes wide open and my jaw dropped, I covered my mouth with my hand and sat there stunned.

My heart sank lower within me as I saw the passengers jumping out of the basket. All I could see were silhouettes against the bright, blue sky. Yet, I knew each vague silhouette represented a life, a soul. Each one has a story to tell, a unique journey, their own personality, talents and interests that make them who they are. Most of them have loved ones that care about them. Each falling silhouette is more than just a vague shadow – they mean the world to somebody. But now, just like that, they’re falling to their certain death.

I couldn’t bear to watch these precious souls falling! Just as I was about to look away and give up all hope, something amazing happened. All over the sky, I saw colorful, life-saving parachutes popping open! All of the passengers were prepared and equipped with parachutes! My hope which was almost gone burst open, much like the colorful parachutes. I knew everything was going to be okay. My bated breath suddenly transformed into a refreshing sigh of relief.

Later that day, the hot air balloon passengers were reunited with family members. Some of the more resilient passengers ran into their loved ones arms with a smile, as if they felt no trauma whatsoever. Other passengers, still reeling from the events that took place, reunited with family while tears were streaming down their eyes. Still others, others couldn’t even run into the arms of those they cared about – they had to walk with a slow, painful limp from the impact of their landing. Nonetheless, everyone was reunited – that’s all that really mattered.

Isn’t this account much like our life and our faith?

Just like the hot air balloon, we have times when we are coasting peacefully through life. The sky is bright and blue, bursting with happiness. Then, to our shock and dismay, life suddenly begins spiraling out of control. Our faith is shaken. Just like that, everything seems to be going wrong. The fire that kept our faith alive and our life afloat has seemingly gone out. It blindsides us. We didn’t see this coming – especially in light of how everything was so calm and peaceful moments ago.

Nonetheless, there is a small reserve of faith within us which keeps the fall from being immediate. Still, we find ourselves heading downward at a decent rate of speed. What can we do during times like these? Where can we turn when our hope and faith is plummeting? There seems to be no way out of this nightmare. The death of our faith is so real and so near that we can envision the devastation of the fall. We think it’s all over. We fear this is how it is going to end – in tragedy.

habIn this time of trouble when faith is shaken and hopes are shattered, God Almighty quickens his holy word to our remembrance. The powerful words in scripture speak of God as being a “very present help” in times of trouble; and that he “is able to keep you from falling.” The amazing hope contained in these promises causes our faith to burst open with a life-saving “parachute”, as it were.

Our God has made a way, just as the prophet Isaiah said he would. He has made a “path in the mighty waters… a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” He comforts with warm, truthful words, saying, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” By this amazing hope we’ve found in our Lord, we are persuaded… “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Just as the passengers of the hot air balloon were reunited with loved ones, God’s children will all be reunited in Glory. Whether walking unaided or limping, the reunions were just as sweet. ‘Twill be likewise in Glory. The main thing is, we made it… even if, proverbially, we had to limp in. We made it, and that’s all that really matters in the end. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Allow me to point out that Jacob, the Biblical patriarch, walked with a limp, due to his hip being injured during a time in his life when he wrestled with God (see Gen. 32). Although limping physically through life, he endured and was powerful. Likewise, even if we have to limp through trials of life, spiritually speaking, let’s remember that we can endure. All it takes is a mustard seed sized faith. Elbert Hubbard, American writer and philosopher, put it like this: “God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas – but for scars.”  As long as we keep getting up and moving toward our Lord, the enemy can’t keep us down.

In his song “We Fall Down”, songwriter, Kyle Matthews, writes: “The saints are just the sinners who fall down… and get up.” We will still be greeted in Glory with open arms and a smile, simply because we didn’t stay down when life plummeted out of control. Time there will heal the limp – but oh dear one, just make it through the gate!

Scripture encourages and admonishes us: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” We’re not in this fight alone, Christ intercedes to the Father God for us. And, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” In this life, we must have endurance. Hebrews 10:36 states: “For you have need of endurance, so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”  What victory awaits us beyond the heartaches of life! When we see the Lord, when we reunite with the saints, when pain is a thing of the past and disaster looms no more – we will be so grateful for our life-saving faith which was so mercifully given to us by our Savior. The skies will burst brightly with joy unspeakable!

 

Scripture References:
Psalm 46:1, Jude 1:24, Isaiah 43:16, 19, Isaiah 43:2, Romans 8:39, 1st Timothy 6:12, Romans 8:18, Romans 8:31
Sources:
biblehub.com, wikipedia.org, polyvore.com
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“Don’t Judge Your Spiritual Condition By Feelings” Sermon

For this month’s blog entry, I would highly encourage all of my readers to watch this video sermon by the late David Wilkerson. It is a timely and highly encouraging sermon for the Christian who feels that they are in a rut of boredom, repetition, or discouragement.

 

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How Would You Treat an Angel?

angelbThe annoying door-to-door salesman, the fast food worker who made a mistake on your order, the telemarketer who calls in the middle of dinner, the elderly man who drives slowly and causes you to be late to work – how do we, as Christians, treat these people? Do we show patience, understanding, kindness, and a Christ-like attitude toward them? Or do we treat them with disdain, hatred, and anger?

Now, allow me to pose a hypothetical question – what if an angel was disguised as a clumsy fast food worker or as a slow, elderly man? Would that change the way that we, as Christians, treat them? Of course! We would be extra kind, patient, and apt to show hospitality while extending grace to such a one. Well, maybe this idea isn’t so far-fetched or hypothetical. You see, the Bible says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). In other words, the Berean Study Bible puts it like this, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

In Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, it states: “The Greek word for ‘angels’ – messengers – of itself would serve to remind these Christians that, though the strangers whom they welcomed were but men, they might be special messengers of God.”  So whether an angel in disguise (which appear as men) or a special messenger sent by God, it is clear that we are to show hospitality and Christian love to others – even strangers. Remember the scripture, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” (Matt. 7:12).

How Would You Treat Jesus?

In the first section of this blog, we discussed how we might behave differently if we were in the presence of an angel. But, let’s take that a step further – how would we treat Jesus if he were walking among us, yet hidden in a disguise? Wouldn’t it be utterly devastating to learn that we’d treated someone with disregard only to find out later that the person was really Jesus in disguise?! Again, this is not such a far-fetched idea, for the Holy Spirit lives within many. In Matthew 10:40, Jesus said, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” This concept is best explained in Matthew 25:34-46:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

It Matters To God How We Treat Others

The point of this blog entry is to show the importance of how we treat others – even strangers. The Bible also teaches us not to show favoritism to the rich while despising the poor (see James 2:1-13); to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (see Mark 12:31); and to be a good “Samaritan” who has pity and mercy upon a helpless soul in need (see Luke 10:25-37). Likewise, we are to speak graciously with kind words – even to strangers (see Col. 4:5-6). If necessary, we are to bridle our tongues so that we do not speak out of our anger or haste. The Bible even goes so far as to say this: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).

The Bible is full of examples which teach us how to behave in a Godly manner and how to treat others. When we choose to offer hospitality, we are to do so without grumbling (1st Pet. 4:9). It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to have a genuinely kind heart. Kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control – these are some of the “fruits” that grow in our lives as we yield to the Holy Spirit (see Gal. 5:22).

As we know, it’s easy to love the loveable – but it is the unlovable who usually need to feel loved. We never know what such an unlovable person is going through. I’ve heard it said that hurt people often have masks. Hurt may be masked as anger, rebellion, or as having a bad attitude. Love will go a long way and that is what the hurting people need. Jesus showed his love by dying for such souls so that they could be saved and loved eternally. Loving the lost takes on many forms. Love is ultimately shown when we reveal truths to them and lead them to our loving God. We are taught in Matthew 5:43-48 to even love our enemies…

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

It’s equally important to God how we treat our family. For example, it’s important how husbands treat their wives. If they do not show honor, scripture says that their prayers could be hindered. “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1st Pet. 3:7). The Bible also instructs wives, children, and all of us how to behave in a Godly manner. If we should behave badly in a weak moment, we need to be humble enough to admit fault, ask for forgiveness, mourn our sin, and repent. It doesn’t always come natural, but as disciples of the Lord Jesus, let’s strive to put ourselves aside in order to live a life pleasing to him. Again, I will reiterate – it is very important to God how we treat others.

It isn’t always easy and there will be plenty of opportunities to become angry or to be tempted to treat others poorly; but the next time you’re tempted to give someone a “piece of your mind” or to show hatred, remember to ask yourself these questions – “What if this is a test and really just an angel in disguse? How would Jesus want me to behave toward strangers or enemies? What if my anger drives an unstable soul to harm themselves?” Reaffirm in your mind that it is very important to God how Christians treat others since we are his ambassadors. Let’s have a depth to us so that we shine with love and genuine, Christian kindness.

Sources: biblehub.com, youtube.com, polyvore.com
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5 Important Truths I’ve Learned (Part 3)

Welcome back to Part 3 of 3 of “Important Truths I’ve Learned”.

You may read Part 1 HERE.

You may read Part 2 HERE.

This is the final installment of this three-part series. In each entry, I have been listing five valuable lessons which the Lord has taught me over the years. Again, I certainly have not “arrived” and still have much to learn, but I hope the following insights will help and inspire you in some way. The truths below are listed in random order.

1.) You will become unpopular and even hated if you stand for truth; but speak it and stand for it anyway. Some people have a huge fear of being unpopular; but it is far better to be unpopular with people than it is to be unknown by God! Woe unto those to whom He will say, “I never knew you… depart from me” (see Matt. 7:23). In scripture, the Bible says that the people hated Jesus without a cause (see John 15:25). It also states this: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).  And Mark 13:13 states: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Have courage to stand alone and be unpopular, hated, and misunderstood for a season. You see, we’re in a foreign land here, but when we’re home with our Lord, we’ll be fully accepted, understood, and loved for all eternity.

2.) Be a genuinely kind-hearted person and look to make others smile, not expecting anything in return. One of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness (see Galatians 5:22). It is heart-warming and rewarding to be good to people and to show Christ’s love and kindness. We never know what someone else is going through so an act of kindness, no matter how small, can go a long way. Ways we can show kindness is to always show appreciation, give words of encouragement, compliments, and do good deeds – expecting nothing in return. Matthew 7:12 puts it like this: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”  Love and kindness doesn’t mean we accept and embrace sin – it simply means we show Christ’s concern and care for those without Him and to continue encouraging other Believers, as well. I like the quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. where he said, I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

3.) Keep everything in perspective and zoom out! If a photographer has the camera zoomed in to the dirt on the ground, it will magnify each clod of dirt and make it appear as a huge boulder. Also, he will not be able to clearly see and photograph the beautiful, vast world around him if he’s only focused on the dirt. The same applies to life… I often have to remind myself to “zoom out” and look at the big picture of eternity. It’s so easy for life’s problems to appear bigger than life and to become too overwhelming. But we are as a grain of sand viewed from outer space and our God is far greater than our problems. Always remember that, in the end, God will set everything right anyhow – so our momentary affliction or heartache is only temporary. We must remind ourselves of such truths often. Just as Jesus did when He was on the cross… it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross (see Heb. 12:2). In other words, He had immense joy to look forward to; and that was what enabled Him to endure. Likewise, the Christian has Jesus to look up to and immense joy in Heaven to look forward to – that is how we endure. It’s like this… “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal(2nd Corinthians 4:17-18). Just as the hymn so beautifully says… Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face – and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” His grace is sufficient, it’s enough to help us endure. May God grant us the wherewithal to look at the bigger picture and zoom out when life gets overwhelming.

4.) God won’t let His children go to Hell; rest assured – and live free from this fear. In this life, friends come and they go – whether by choice, a move, or death. But we must remember that God will never leave us nor forsake us (see Deut. 31:8). But what I am referencing is the fact that He won’t forsake His own children to Hell. There was a season in my life when the enemy tried to fool me into thinking that I wasn’t “good enough” and that I would land in Hell somehow. However, I had to learn to trust that God has a firm grip on the surrendered soul. God is a loyal to us when we are loyal to Him. His loyalty shows toward Israel as a picture of His loyalty to his beloved. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands… (see Isaiah 49:15-16). As devout followers of our Lord who walk in the light, we can always have blessed assurance as we rest in Him and strive to please Him. Bible teacher, Arthur Pink, once stated: “Not one for whom He died can possibly miss heaven.” Granted, we must do our part and allow the Spirit to strengthen us to abstain from sin – but as we do so, we can rest in the Beloved. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1st John 5:13). And Romans 8:16 which states: “The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.” If you are His – He will not let you go. Should you err, He will see to it that you are brought back into alignment through various means which He lovingly yet firmly employs. As the Good Shepherd, He would leave the 99 sheep to search for the one sheep that had gone astray (see Matthew 18:10-14). What love! What assurance we have in Him!

5.) Separate from the world of sin. A line of a popular Christian song says it like this, “Take this world and give me Jesus.” That is my heart’s cry and the cry of Christians around the world. Remember, we live in the world of sin, but we do not take part in it (see John 17:16). Sin brings no pleasure to the child of God that is fully surrendered to Him. Staying pure in God’s sight is a work of the Spirit but also a discipline. Scripture teaches us to guard our heart above all else, because everything we do flows from the heart (see Proverbs 4:23). “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you…” (2nd Cor. 6:17). I have found that abstaining from worldly music, movies, books, activities, etc. makes for a clearer mind and conscience. (See my blog, “Watch What You Watch”).  As Christians, we are crucified to the world, and the world, to us (see Gal. 6:14). To still love the world of sin represents spiritual adultery and lack of loyalty. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). It is disgusting to be lukewarm in our spirituality… be one or the other – good or evil, in or out, hot or cold; because God has said, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). Thank God, we’re free from the world of sin!

Remember, the Bible is our safeguard to keep us from being deceived by erroneous teaching. It doesn’t matter if the whole world endorses a particular sin – if the Bible states that it is sin, then it is sin. If the Bible warns to abstain from it, then abstain. Though thousands may ridicule us and think we’re wrong – we must stand our ground even if that means standing alone. As the Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister, George Macdonald put it… “Truth is truth, whether it’s spoken by the lips of Jesus or Balaam’s donkey.”

I hope something I’ve said in these past few posts has ignited your faith and helped you in your walk with the Lord. Until next time, God bless!

Sources: polyvore.com, wikipedia.org, biblehub.com
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5 Important Truths I’ve Learned (Part 1)

The Lord saved my soul nearly 30 years ago when I was a young girl. In the many years I’ve walked with Him, I have found Him to be faithful, trustworthy, and true. I still have much to learn, but I would like to highlight some of the truths which God has shown me in these (almost) 30 years. The list below is in random order, as I feel all of these truths I’ve learned have their own importance.

Since I will briefly expound on each truth, I will break this up into parts. This is Part 1 of 3. I hope something written here will help you in your journey toward Heaven and a closer walk with our Lord.

gf1.) ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST AND SEEK HIS WILL IN EVERYTHING – If we put God first, everything else falls into place (see Matt. 6:33). The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray for God’s Will. Think about it, His Will is done in Heaven and that is one of the many great reasons that it is heavenly, peaceful, and wonderful. As Nazi concentration camp survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, once said, “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.”


cp2.) DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS – This is a lesson that I have to be re-taught often; but find great liberty if I follow this advice. Don’t compare temporary things such as appearance, abilities, success, or finances. Be content with what you have (see Phil. 4:11). But most importantly, never ever dare to compare yourself to nominal Christians who seem to “get away” with sin or a lax walk with God. Remember, God knows and sees all. He sees your obedience and will reward you openly (see Matt. 6:5-6). The Bible even says that it is unwise to compare ourselves to others (see 2nd Cor. 10:2).


fg3.) LEARN TO FORGIVE – Forgiveness is one of the more challenging things we must do in order to maintain a strong walk with the Lord. It is vital that we learn to shrug things off, forgive, and not stew over things. Again, this is a lesson we must re-learn over and over; but we must be able to forgive. Forgiveness does not condone sin or wrong actions of another, but it gives us freedom to love and live freely. As much as it depends on you, the Bible says, we are to live at peace with all when possible (see Rom. 12:8). I like this quote: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.”


pryr4.) NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYER – There have been so many times when I have found myself in a quandary, not knowing what to do. I have found that prayer clarifies things for me so much easier than me wracking my brain trying to figure out situations on my own. Inevitably, God will drop a scripture into my mind that will help clarify things for me. Prayer gives me courage, comfort, healing, direction, and deepens my trust in God. Prayer is limitless, you can talk to God about anything! It is a necessity as a Christian. Revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, once put it like this: “No man is greater than his prayer life.” And the beloved preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said, “Prayerless souls are Christless souls, Christless souls are Graceless souls and Graceless souls shall soon be damned souls. See your peril, you that neglect altogether the blessed privilege of prayer!”  


cry5.) IT’S OKAY TO CRY IN GOD’S ARMS – Game face. In life, we have to put our “game face” on and be rough and tough, oftentimes, as a means of survival. But, when we come to our Father God, we don’t have to be strong. A broken and a contrite spirit, He will not despise (see Psalm 51:17). We find a safe place of comfort under His wings. There, we can release our stresses, burdens, and heartaches. The Bible even tells us to cast our burdens upon the Lord because He cares for us and He won’t let us slip and fall (see Psalm 55:22). And remember, we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses (see Hebrews 4:15).


Listen to the comforting song posted below. ↓ ↓ ↓

Sources: biblehub.com, google.com, azquotes.com, youtube.com, polyvore.com
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Like Mother and Child

“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” ~Psalm 139:13-16

Ever since she was a little girl, she longed for motherhood. She was the best little Mommy to her doll, always taking it with her everywhere she went. Then many years later, the day came when her dream would be realized. Her and her husband found out that they would be expecting their first baby. But, in order for her to be able to carry a healthy baby, there were some changes which the doctor had her make. She had to be very careful what she consumed, take extra vitamins, and get plenty of rest. This proved to be no problem since the Mom-to-be knew it was for the health of the baby she was carrying. She disciplined herself willingly in order to protect the baby she was carrying within.

“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” ~Isaiah 49:15

isscLiken this scenario to the spirit within. Each of us, whether male or female, black or white, rich or poor, single or married – carries within us very precious cargo. That “cargo” is our soul/spirit which will last eternally. We, like the expectant mother, must protect the spirit within. We must be disciplined and oftentimes deny our selfish whims for the health of the spirit. We dare not consume things which would be harmful to our spirit.

A lady that is not pregnant may decide to re-paint her kitchen and proceed to paint it herself. But, the lady that is pregnant must not be around the paint fumes, as it has the potential to cause great harm to the baby she is carrying. As I’ve heard it said before, “Others may… but you cannot.” It’s not punishment but caution to refrain from certain activities which may cause great harm to the spirit within. As the quote says, “There are two freedoms: the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought” (Charles Kingsley).

“Keep [guard] thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” ~Proverbs 4:23

So, we must ALL guard the spirit within us much like a pregnant mother would protect the child growing within her at any cost; even if it means forsaking herself. As Christians, we are God’s children and He cares for us. But, we also have a responsibility to guard what we allow into our minds and spirits. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Let’s strive to keep our thoughts pure and our lives guarded from evil. In regards to guarding the spirit within, I would also encourage all Christians to read my previous post, “Watch What You Watch” HERE.

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” ~James 3:10-11

Not only do we need to be careful what we allow in but we must also be careful what comes out. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. The book of James speaks a lot about taming the “unruly member” of our body – the tongue.  This is more challenging for some of us than others. Nonetheless, it is what the Bible prescribes and we must willingly crucify our flesh for the greater good of our spirit and for the spiritual health of those around us who may be looking to us as an example. Alas, bridling the tongue is difficult – but attainable for us all. Remember, Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:28).  So we must know when to speak and when to refrain from speaking. And also note that what we put in will always come out. This is why it is so important that we guard our spirit.

Remember, the Holy Spirit is holy – so we must make our bodies a temple which He can comfortably dwell within. If I had to sum up the point of this entire blog entry, it would be with the scripture found in 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 which states: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Sources: biblehub.com, polyvore.com, youtube.com

 

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The Birth of Christ

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD” ~Luke 2:11

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It is now the month of December where many people remember the birth of Christ. Many scholars believe that Jesus was most likely born in another month, perhaps September or even in the Spring. Still, this is the time of year when His birth is observed. I would like to encourage each of you to reflect upon the scriptures when Jesus so willingly came to earth. Take in the depth and magnitude of His first coming.

To see a full list of the scriptures pertaining to Christ’s birth, please click HERE.

I made a little video for my family, but I consider my brothers and sisters in Christ my family also! So, please enjoy the video posted below. God bless each of you this season and into the upcoming year!

Sources: polyvore.com     youtube.com     whatsaiththescripture.com
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“In the School of God…”

Keith Daniel (courtesy of sermonindex.net)

Keith Daniel (courtesy of sermonindex.net)

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while now, you will most likely remember that I have often quoted a man of God by the name of Keith Daniel. His honest teaching and anointed sermons have truly enriched my spirit.

Keith Daniel is an evangelist from South Africa who does a yearly tour to America in the Fall months to preach at various conservative churches. He also visits other countries and locations around the world, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In this day and age, it is often challenging to find sincere, humble, anointed, powerful, genuine teaching and preaching from the Bible. That is why I truly enjoy Bro. Daniel’s ministry – he makes certain to base his teachings upon God’s holy word.  We do not exalt man, we exalt God – and I can see the fruit of God’s blessings in the life and ministry of Bro. Keith Daniel.

Not long ago, I listened to one of his classic sermons, “In the School of God”. I found this sermon at SermonIndex.net. I have listened to this sermon more than once and find that it is so insightful and anointed. It is such an encouraging sermon to listen to if you are going through a battle in life. It is my desire for the body of Christ to be encouraged. I truly believe that we must find our encouragement through prayer, worship, scripture, and anointed teaching of the Holy Bible. I believe you will find great encouragement and insight by listening to the short excerpt video below. If you wish to listen to the entire sermon, you can find it HERE.

“In The School of God” by Keith Daniel

Sources: Youtube.com, Sermonindex.net

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The Walking Dead EXPOSED

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I have heard many people raving about “The Walking Dead” television show… “TWD” for short.  Many people who profess Christ are die-hard fans. Instantly, I became concerned for fellow-Christians who may watch this show; not in a judgmental way, but in a way that one would show concern for a friend who is in trouble. That is the reason for this blog, so hear me out…

Where I’m Coming From

As the author of this blog, I want my readers to know where I am coming from. I felt a strong sense that I needed to speak up on this topic in case there are those who are unaware of how a simple TV show can affect the mind and spirit. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, and since I already blogged on the way certain books, movies, and TV shows can impact us, I feel it unnecessary to go over that again. However, I will direct you to my previous blog HERE for more information.

As I have stated before, I am not perfect – God is. I am not the authoritarian – God is. This blog is yielded to God and I believe that He can work through this blog to bring things to the public’s attention. Quite honestly, it is hard to write blogs such as these; not because of the backlash I receive or even the name-calling. What is so hard for me, personally, is having to research things which I really have no interest in touching with a 10-foot pole; and for good reason.

As Christians, we must all strive daily to keep a pure mind and heart, free from the world’s pollution. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”  Simply researching the topic is unsettling – and I honestly do not understand my fellow-Christians actively turning the television on to watch such gory shows. As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.”  It breaks my heart and causes me deep concern and bewilderment that such nonsensical filth is infiltrating the minds of Christians. Nonetheless, I research in order to help others and that is my whole intent and motivation for doing so.

Before I “got in too deep” I wanted to get my facts straight. Admittedly, I have not watched the shows; therefore, I do not claim to be an authority on TWD. However, I feel that I have researched enough to point out a few things as some “food for thought”. Again, I am not confused as to why sinners would watch such shows – since darkness attracts darkness; but, what confuses me is how Christians can take such shows in. I have heard it said that movies and TV shows are like sermons with pictures. I would agree.

What is TWD All About?

twdThe Walking Dead is a television show about, well, walking dead zombies which they call “walkers”. According to TWD website, the storyline is this: “Waking up in an empty hospital after weeks in a coma, County Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) finds himself utterly alone. The world as he knows it is gone, ravaged by a zombie epidemic. The Walking Dead tells the story of the weeks and months that follow after the apocalypse.”

There is a lot of violence, gore, blood, shooting, and killing in the show. In fact, there is even TWD merchandise that, in essence, promotes killing. In an advertisement for TWD, the ad with the skull image said, “death knows no borders” and “fear the walking dead”. Of course, the Bible teaches contrary to fear and repeatedly says, “Fear not”. And we also know that “death knows no borders” is an entirely false statement in light of what the Bible states. Although these phrases are in regards to a fictitious plot, the mindset it strives to instill is very real.

But somehow, all of this is looked upon as good because it is the “bad guys” who are killed in the show. Totally fictitious, yes, but not a message we (Christians) should embrace or wear T-shirts promoting. I mean, am I way off in left field here? It seems common knowledge that a person who claims Christ should already know this. A valid question for Christians is posed in 2nd Corinthians 6:14: “…for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  Just the imagery, alone, looks like it is straight out of the pits of Hell!

It’s Gotten Out of Hand!

imagesThe Walking Dead comics and television show have garnered so much attention that August 6, 2016 was officially declared “The Walking Dead Day” in Cynthiana, Kentucky. A free, public event to celebrate this day was hosted by the Cynthiana-Harrison County Chamber of Commerce. Not completely shocking, yet, hard to come to grips with the fact that some who profess Christ helped fuel this fire. How? By patronizing such events, by purchasing TWD merchandise, by never missing an episode of the show, thus, increasing television ratings.

How else has TWD gotten out of hand? Well, it is even impacting the Director/Make-up Artist of the show. Greg Nicotero has many roles behind-the-scenes of TWD television show. In a recent interview with Deadline.com, Nicotero stated: ” I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better for our group, and it’s pretty intense. I mean, the show, we’re sort of opening a new chapter.” He continued, “Everybody’s putting so much of their heart and soul into it. You know, after directing the premiere episode, I was ****** up for two weeks, you know? I really felt like I dragged a lot of my dearest friends into these really deep, dark places shooting that episode, and it’s been definitely an experience unlike anything that I’ve ever handled before.”

How then, can a Christian look on, craving more intense gore? Such gore and intensity that even the show’s crew member had trouble with it mentally! Why watch? As Missionary Keith Daniel once asked, “Is being entertained worth being defiled?” Don’t let your choices of entertainment get out of hand, fellow-Believers! We are accountable to God. The more evil we allow, the more we will crave to entertain us. Not to mention how such imagery desensitizes us. “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (see 1st Thess. 5:22).

A Double Standard

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(Click to enlarge)

As the above-mentioned scriptures briefly alluded to, having a double standard (a double mind) is dangerous and woeful for the Believer. We must choose if we stand for light or darkness. Yes, we must choose a “team”, so to speak. There is no neutral ground.

In James 3:11, another poignant question is posed, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” God deals with absolutes – we are either in or out, hot or cold. In the book of Revelation, He says: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). But He instructs in love. Later in this chapter, He says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” His love allows us a second chance to live a clean life pleasing to him while we still have time.

You see, double-mindedness breeds instability. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). The Christian’s body is where the Holy Spirit lives – our bodies are His temple. But let’s remember that He is holy and does not mix with unholiness. We must choose, would we rather have the holy or the unholy? There can’t be both. Please see my previous post which speaks of this at length HERE.

The late pastor of Times Square Church in New York, David Wilkerson, often taught his congregation about the pitfalls that came with questionable entertainment and certain television shows. In a heartfelt sermon, he once warned his congregation by asking a valid question. He asked, “If you are sitting there when Jesus comes and you are watching that filth, how do you expect to come out of that cesspool suddenly and into the arms of Jesus?”

Take this to heart. Search your soul. Strive to please God above all other human desires. Eternity is at stake. The high road isn’t always the easy road – but it is always worth it! I would like to conclude with one final, resounding scripture from 2nd Corinthians 6. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

 

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Sources:
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