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    • By David Ettinger in David Ettinger's Blog
      Sin Never Dies
      On the surface, it is unfortunate that God, at the moment we were saved, decided to leave our fleshly desires intact. In other words, He chose not to make us instantly resistant to sin. Because of this, in this worldly existence, sin never dies; it is the preeminent enemy of the Christian, and the sooner we understand this, the better off we are.
      In my younger years (I came to Christ in 1986), I begged God to take away my sinful desires, a plea I’m sure has been echoed by millions before and after. “After all,” I would remind my Creator, “You are the one who has called me to holiness [1 Peter 1:15-16], righteousness [Philippians 1:11], and purity [1 Peter 3:2]. How am I supposed to do all that when You neglected to make substantial upgrades in my flesh? Really, Lord, I can use a little help here.”
      I have come down quite significantly from such accusatory language, but I must admit that remnants of such thoughts remain. Nevertheless, I have come to accept the unavoidable truth that so long as we breathe in this fallen world, we will always be at war with our age-old enemy.
      A Helpful Verse
      One verse in particular has greatly aided me in my struggle, 1 Peter 2:11: “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”
      One truth I glean from this wonderful verse is that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are not “residents” of this world. Philippians 3:20 says: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” When that glorious day – the return of Christ – arrives, we will inherit new bodies (1 Corinthians 15:52-54), and sin will no longer hold sway over us.
      Until then, however, we struggle. The apostle Paul astutely writes:
      Ugh, what a condition we live in! Paul was so distressed over it that he added: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (v. 24).
      Fighting the Fight
      What Christian does not echo Paul’s lament? After all, as the above 1 Peter 2:11 tells us, we all possess “sinful desires.” And not only do all Christians possess “sinful desires,” these fiends never rest; they go at it 24/7, their objective to “wage war against your soul.”
      Yet, Peter tells us to “abstain” from them. If you think about it, there is great hope here. After all, God would not command us to do something that cannot be done. If He tells us to “abstain from sinful desires,” it must mean that it is possible for us to successfully do so. Indeed, it is possible! Remember when Paul cried out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” He also provided the answer in the very next verse: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).
      “Okay,” you may be thinking, “that’s great, but how do I do it?” One of the great verses in the fight against sin is 1 Corinthians 10:13, and I strongly urge you to memorize it: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
      Note the elements at work here. First, you are assured that no temptation out of the ordinary will ever seize you; you face the same temptations that have plagued humanity since the Creation. Second, know that once temptation hits you, God leaps into action, providing “a way out.” What is this way out? I don’t know, but God always offers you a countermeasure to your temptation.
      More strategy is offered in Philippians 4:8. The next time you find yourself battling temptation, do what this verse says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Committing your thoughts to that which is noble, pure, and lovely will certainly drive sinful thoughts away.
      And one other thing, especially if you have succumbed to sin: God knows your struggle and wants you to pick yourself up. Paul admonishes: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Note the words “straining” and “press on”; it won’t be easy, but it can be done.
      Forging On
      The war against sin rages on, and we forge on for the sake of our Lord and Savior who “called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:11). Remember, God is shaping and molding us, always refining us that we will “be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
      I wish you the best, fellow soldier, as we continue to wage war against that heinous foe which so fiercely wages war against us. Thankfully, our Savior has equipped us well, giving us everything need to win the war!
      Read more by David Ettinger: https://ettingerwriting.wordpress.com/
    • By Holyblues in Decisions
      For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.
    • By c taylor in cm taylor
      Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:a day to show off humility?To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black?Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?
      “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once.Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage.Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
      “If you get rid of unfair practices,quit blaming victims,quit gossiping about other people’s sins,If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—firm muscles, strong bones.You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry.You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,rebuild the foundations from out of your past.You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.
      “If you watch your step on the Sabbathand don’t use my holy day for personal advantage,If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration,If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there—Then you’ll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all.I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob.” Yes! God says so!
    • By David Ettinger in David Ettinger's Blog
      Uncomfortable Topic
      For many Christians, the topic of the Jewish people going to Heaven is an uncomfortable one. Yet, the question is legitimate: Do Jews go to Heaven?
      Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know how to reply, though the answer is rather simple. Sadly, as a Jewish believer in Christ for 30 years, I have only been asked this question once, but I wish I had been asked this more often. The Bible speaks clearly on the issue, and it should be viewed by believers as an opportunity for Gospel-sharing rather than as a cause for discomfort.
      So, let’s briefly examine the issue and determine the best way to respond to the question: Do Jews go to Heaven?
      Salvation Facts
      If you are ever asked this question, it is important to know your “salvation facts.” The first thing you need to know is that salvation – that is, eternal life with God when this life is over – is found exclusively in the Person of Jesus Christ.
      In John14:6, Jesus proclaims: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No explanation needed; Jesus expressed Himself precisely, and there can be no mistaking His message. This truth is affirmed in Acts 4:12, where the apostle Peter avers: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Again, no explanation needed; the truth is comprehensible as can be.
      The second thing you need to know is that having understood this truth, an individual must acknowledge and accept it. In Romans 10:9, the apostle Paul affirms: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Acts 16:31, Paul says: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Again, no explanation needed, but one thing to consider is that all four verses make no reference to a specific people group, race, or religion: salvation is in Christ, and it is on an individual basis.
      All Israel Will Be Saved?
      The most confusion among Christians regarding the issue of the salvation of the Jewish people concerns Romans 11:25-26, where Paul writes: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved” (italics added).
      Chapters 9 through 11 of the Book of Romans concern the Jewish people. In Chapters 1 through 8, Paul argues that salvation is by faith alone, apart from the Law of Moses. However, the Jews of the time countered, “But God gave us the Law and for centuries demanded we live by it. Paul, how can you possibly tell us now that the Law is of no account? Your Gospel is heretical.”
      In reply, Paul lays out a brilliant argument regarding the relationship of the Jewish people (“Israel”) and God. The key, as Paul explains, is that among the Jewish people, there is a “remnant” (Romans 9:27; 11:5) who are “chosen by grace” (11:5), and “only the remnant will be saved” (9:27).
      When will this occur? The issue is complex, but judicious Bible study reveals that the time when “all Israel [i.e., the “remnant”] will be saved” (11:26) will occur at the very end of the age at Christ’s return. The Jewish remnant will be those who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior; this verse clearly does not reference every Jewish person who has ever lived.
      The Bottom Line
      Having stated the means by which human beings are saved, and discounted the “exemption clause” for the Jewish people, we can now intelligently answer the question: “Do Jews go to Heaven?”
      In a way, it’s a trick question; one that cannot be answered by a “yes” or “no.” In fact, the same applies to the questions: “Do all Muslims go to Heaven? Do all Hindus go to Heaven? Do all church-attenders go to Heaven?” Outside of the appointed time at the end of the age when the “remnant” of Israel will be saved, there is no such thing as “group salvation.” Salvation is individual, hence the reason why a husband can be saved and his wife unsaved; parents can be saved and their children unsaved.
      If you are asked, “Do Jews go to Heaven?” this is how you should reply. “Salvation is on an individual basis. If a specific Jewish individual has accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior, she will go to Heaven; if she has rejected Christ, she will spend eternity separated from God.” The same applies to Muslims, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, and every other “group” you can think of. Salvation is in Christ alone, and is attained exclusively on an individual basis.
      So, do Jews go to Heaven? Some do, some don’t. Does an individual Jew accept Christ as his Lord and Savior? If so, then yes, this individual Jew is going to Heaven. What about the Jews – or Muslims, or JWs, or Mormons – as a whole, as a collective? Collective salvation does not exist.
      But to all individuals, the gracious cry goes forth: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”!
      Read my testimony, "From Judaism to Christ": https://ettingerwriting.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/my-journey-from-judaism-to-christ/
    • By AuthorIrisChacon in AuthorIrisChacon's Blog
      Review: The Captive Heart, a Christian historical romance, by Michelle Griep
      Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon (plus a star in the crown of Michelle Griep, author).
      Christian ladies, or any ladies, who enjoy an exciting historical romance without lurid explicit sexuality or profane language simply must treat yourselves to this novel, The Captive Heart.
      At first glance, the story premise of a proper English governess shipped to the American Colonies in 1770 to become an indentured servant to a rough-living frontiersman seems stale and predictable. Wait a chapter, however, and the story begins to take surprising turns and expose unexpected conflicts (both in the outside world and in the hearts of characters).
      Eleanor Morgan finds herself married to Samuel Heath, a stranger and half-Cherokee, who simply needs a mother for his 18-month-old daughter. Neither expects to have feelings for the new spouse, but an intact family unit is a practical necessity if they are to survive in Samuel's remote forest cabin.  Both together and separately, Eleanor and Samuel endure hardship and sudden revelations about themselves and about each other, and both of them grow in their faith as they are forced to rely more and more on God's grace in their lives.
      Be sure you get the title by Michelle Griep, because this catchy title has been used and re-used for years by other authors, many of them dealing in thinly veiled pornography masquerading as literature.  
      Griep's The Captive Heart is thoroughly and thrillingly romantic, exciting in action and exploration of exotic Native American culture, and absolutely the sweetest, most wholesome love story you have read in a long time. 
      If you do not find it in your bookstore, online or brick-and-mortar, ASK for it. You do not want to skip this one. Uplifting escapist fiction like The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep is very hard to find. 
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