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Maurice M Hebert

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About Maurice M Hebert

  • Birthday 07/15/1957

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  1. Part 1 Noah Webster, the Father of Christian Education, defines the word “occupy” as: To take in possession…to keep in possession… to cover or fill… to employ to busy oneself. He refers to the biblical use in Luke 19:13 where a rich landowner leaves his ten servants with ten pounds and commands them to “occupy until I return” As Christians we understand the great commission given by Christ in Matt 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” With the promise of His return John 14:28 and Acts 1:11 we understand that Christ has not left us powerless or without help. Luke 24:9 He has left us the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us occupying us as we occupy the place where he once was physically present and now is spiritually present. We see the great commission being worked out around the globe as His faithful share the word of truth, mercy and grace to the lost. I would like to expand on the definition and concept of the word “occupy’ by sharing these action words. Please dwell momentarily on each one and contemplate how they form a more complete understanding of discipleship. Occupy – to take up residence – to live in community – to inhabit – inhabitants of a region often: define, mold, impact, affect, create, encourage, shape, inform, motivate, develop, maintain, secure, defend, reflect, educate, preserve, influence, sustain, multiply, communicate, relate, lead, build, grow, produce, increase, the culture, the community, the society and its institutions. In the book “Discipling Nations” author Darrow Miller states that “either the church will disciple the nation or the nation will disciple the church” My contemplation this morning is in regards to the current situation of the church in quarantine and what we may learn from this perspective. Do we find ourselves comfortable and spirit filled in the church on a weekly basis but living spiritually anemic lives the rest of the week? Perhaps God is calling us to live the spirit-filled life each day of the week in all that we do. In our discipling and in our attempt to fulfill the great commission are we taking the word occupy seriously? Review the action words for occupy again, slowly, prayerfully. Part 2 Martin Luther lived in a dark and terrible time of physical and spiritual sickness. He often attended to the sick and dying and felt it his duty to give of himself whenever it was possible and reasonable and his actions would not endanger others. In the days of the dark plague he writes. “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what He has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” Luther’s Works Volume 43 pg 132 the letter “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” written to Rev. Dr. John Hess. We have a much greater advantage in many ways than Luther had in his day. We may rely on our government and institutions formed to serve the physical health needs of our community. We may rely on the cumulative albeit tentative wealth of our nation to fill our economic needs with a stimulus package. So what is our call as Christians in this day? It is the same as always, occupy and disciple in whatever means, skill, and passion we have been blessed with. Part 3 I will finish with a look at Acts 3:1-10 Peter and John encounter a lame beggar at the gate of the temple called Beautiful. Here they are pressed by the beggar for alms. They turn to the man and speak “We have no silver or gold but what we do have we give to you, “in the name of Christ Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk” The man is healed and he joyfully accompanies them into the temple leaping and praising God. All the people around him are amazed and they also give glory and praise to God. We may temporarily enjoy the benefit of a stimulus package from the state. But the state is not able to deliver what Christ can and what we as believers can. Are we, the church, perhaps like the lame man? Do we hear the call? As we respond in joy and praise we as well will have the ability to say to our neighbor “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” Peter and John as occupants of the community are not only physically present but as the vessels of the Spirit of Christ Himself they are spiritually present even outside the Temple. His spirit is calling us in our quarantine time at home, with our family, near our neighbors to not only be physically present but to be spiritually present, walking in the spirit, letting our light shine in whatever way he has gifted us, spirit filled not only at church but wherever we occupy!
  2. There is that stretch of time between Christmas and New Year’s when I often become contemplative. Looking back and looking forward I summarize the year’s events and set goals for the year to come. This year on Sunday between the two holidays my spirit was awakened by a sunrise display unlike any I had witnessed before. I was encouraged in a most powerful way by this event. First, I must explain my frame of mind and the circumstance in which this event occurred. In the weeks prior to Christmas, I had been focused on adding to my portfolio of photographic art. I had been pursuing sunrises in particular. After sorting and editing many shots I settled on uploading a few of the best to my website. The necessary day job had been pressing my time and energy and my morning commute had become an hour of yearning to being elsewhere and doing anything other than my responsible self would allow. The commute took me from east to west across a beautiful stretch of valley in Southern New Hampshire. On some mornings I could see pink and orange pastel colors across the sky. The traffic was light this morning and I had the road to myself. With praise and worship music playing in the background I was praying for direction, guidance, and affirmation. I found myself peculiarly sensitive and emotional and caught in a suspension of physical and spiritual reality. The light of the rising sun appeared in my rear-view mirror above the dash. I looked up and marveled at the fact that due to the approaching winter weather and the road mist on my rear window I could look into the sun. As it rose above the horizon I noticed it appeared in my side mirrors as well. My heart swelled and tears came to my eyes as I gazed momentarily into a unique solar display. Perfectly centered in my three mirrors was a glowing type of trinity. I felt an overwhelming peace and comfort and realized the triune God had made His presence known to me. Here in my rear-view mirrors was the symbolic presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I engaged an appeal to logic by reasoning that the whole event was a matter of timing and circumstance. However, my heart informed my mind that the timing and circumstance of this event were in direct correlation to my spiritual need. I was in dire need of encouragement and affirmation that only God could provide. In those few moments of a powerful display of grace, I recommitted my life to drawing closer to my Father, serving my Lord Jesus and embracing the Holy Spirit as my guide and source of strength. His mighty, loving and unmerited grace rose up within me as the sun appeared that morning in a marvelous display of the triune reality of God. The year ahead is in His hands! Ephesians 1:17 "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him." More on the Trinity https://overviewbible.com/trinity-bible-verses/
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  4. Arrrrrrgh how foolish - thanks guys for catching that - the sentiment is evident in both historical documents as well as the Bill of Rights - but expressed emphatically in the Declaration of Independence! I should know that - am humbly corrected.
  5. Who would have imagined a time when a written law was necessary to protect a child from its own mother? What darkness has blinded the conscience of an individual to the reality and value of another living being, not of some alien and strange species but one of its own? The founders of this nation no doubt struggled with establishing the very framework of a moral, just and civil society. Recognizing the values of life, liberty and property were manifest in the Old Testament scripture, they determined these were the best principles to pursue. Their wisdom, born of Christian study and experience caused them to build our Constitution upon the very foundations necessary for a blessed and prosperous nation. Need we be reminded once more of the blessing and the curse that befalls a people who choose darkness over light, death over life. “See, today I am setting before you a blessing and a curse a blessing if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, but a curse if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God and turn aside from the path I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.” Deut 11:26 – 28 The US Declaration of Independence has declared that “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is urgent that we revisit this phrase daily and teach it to ourselves and our children. Current legislation from numerous states has effectively removed protections to the Right to Life. It is only a matter of time before Liberty and Property follow. ( I say Property because it is the original and better understanding of the concept phrased “pursuit of Happiness”.) For statist and enemies of our Constitution, there is enough debatable material within this phrase to allow them the opportunity to destroy us from within. They have been relentlessly redefining each term and concept to fit their design of government. The only thing that is keeping our nation from total collapse at this point is the very Spirit of God. Let us take up His full armor and engage the enemy with the words of Truth and Righteousness. It is late for us to make up lost time but we must stand firm and be committed to teaching with full understanding and compelling reason that our nation has indeed been blessed because of the loving obedience of a grateful people to the God of Life, Liberty and Happiness. Choose this day – Life! Article XIV - US Constitution July 9, 1868 Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. More Related http://founding.com/the-declaration/founding-principles/among-these-are-life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness/
  6. This is a clear presentation of our need - Thanks for the encouragement! Surrender each day to the Holy Spirit every area of life and you will rejoice in His presence!
  7. The radio reception was fading in and out. I was hearing a discussion that was so passionate and interesting I had to pull over to the shoulder in a clear reception area. One of the guests was sharing about the reasons for a rise in depression, drug abuse and suicide in America. She mentioned that we no longer teach our children the words of the founders, or the Declaration of Independence, we have replaced reason and rational inquiry with emotional and political correctness. We are no longer teaching that we are blessed with self-evident truths, that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. We are no longer teaching that as created beings we are made in our creators’ image and have value and meaning and purpose. I felt a sense of grief for our nation and a verse of scripture came to mind. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His inheritance!” Psalm 33:12 My heart raced as I remembered how I had come to faith in Christ because of a study I had begun of the words and actions revealing the hearts and minds of our founders. I knew that a rational and reasonable examination of the history of our founding as “one nation under God” is effective in bringing about a conviction of truth. I had concluded that Christianity had survived thousands of years because of the testimony and martyrdom of its faithful followers. I had reasoned that the apostles being the frail men they were had been friended and changed by Jesus Christ. They lived with Him, traveled and spoke with Him, they were taught by Him and ministered with Him. They had given their lives over to Jesus. They found Him so remarkable, so life-changing, so life-giving and uplifting to the point that they were willing to die for speaking the truth of who He is. Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and know that you are The Messiah, The Son of THE LIVING GOD.” John 6:68-69 We, believers, are the spiritual descendants of the apostles, saints and martyrs, pilgrims and statesmen who have declared that “we have no king but King Jesus!” The fruits of liberty and freedom we enjoy in this country are unequaled anywhere in the world. "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?" Deuteronomy 4:7 Christian principles formed the foundation of our Declaration of Independence our Constitution our Government and Judicial system, we have been blessed with so much that we now take for granted. As these principles are attacked daily by the enemies of life and liberty we must be vigilant in teaching and restoring the understanding and the true source of these principles. There is no greater battle than the one being waged right now for the hearts and minds of our youth. The public school system has removed the teaching of these valuable foundational principles and all mention of their true source. This blessed nation is at stake. In the early days of our founding, the Puritans formed schools with the purpose of teaching Scripture to every child. The study of the Bible was essential for developing a worldview that understood principles of self-government and just laws, which upheld the value of life, liberty, and property. These were the schools that helped develop leaders such as Patrick Henry who spoke the words “Give me liberty or give me death” A famous beneficiary of a principled Christian education, author of the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language and Founding Father of American scholarship, Noah Webster, wrote: “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. . . . No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” Founder, Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in his publication titled A Defense of the Use of the Bible as a Schoolbook, wrote: “Before I state my arguments in favor of teaching children to read by means of the Bible, I shall assume the … following propositions: First, that Christianity is the only true and perfect religion, and that in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obeys its precepts, they will be wise and happy; Second, that a better knowledge of this religion is to be acquired by reading the Bible than in any other way; Finally, that the Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world. . . .”1 Often considered the father of the American Revolution, Samuel Adams wrote in 1790: “Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; of instructing them in the art of self-government, without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies, great or small; in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system . . . .” Letter to John Adams, October 4, 1790 The Principle Approach Model for Learning and Teaching American Christian History From the Foundation of American Christian Education - F.A.C.E. The generations of our founding had applied their learning to the task of building a nation founded on Christian principles. Their capacity to apply a Christian worldview and moral reason to all areas of life helped establish a nation of Law and Liberty that would allow and encourage all people to pursue God and His Word My study began with the Foundation for American Christian History. Since that eye-opening study, I have become aware of other organizations that share the same desire of teaching and restoring a true understanding of the basic Christian principles of our founding while developing a worldview that is able to discern the times in which we live. They are listed below. F.A.C.E The Pilgrim Institute The Summit Ministries / Understanding the Times Curriculum The Public Square / American Policy Roundtable / Mission To America Nehemiah Institute The Exodus Mandate Footnotes: 1 Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Printed by Thomas and William Bradford, 1806) pp. 93-94.
  8. The best way to honor the celebration of Christmas is to contemplate the reality of the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. In the history of Gods people as recorded in the Old Testament, the focal point of prophets and dreamers, hopeful leaders and humble servants, was the promise. God spoke this promise to Adam and Eve in the garden as they realized the fruit of their rebellion was death and darkness and separation from the true source of love and life. Jesus fulfilled this promise as the Messiah, in Hebrew Jeshua Hamashiach. We celebrate because the fulfillment brings us the affirmation of truth, hope, and life. The prophecies given in the Old Testament are recorded as fulfilled in the New Testament. The Bible is like the two sides of a coin, one side part of the other. The Old Testament predicts the coming of the Messiah, the New Testament confirms the fulfillment of these predictions. The odds of any one person fulfilling prophecy in this manner is described in a quote from the blog ” Y-Jesus.” Y-Jesus https://y-jesus.com/what-are-the-odds/ “Bible scholars tell us that nearly 300 references to 61 specific prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The odds against one person fulfilling that many prophecies would be beyond all mathematical possibility. It could never happen, no matter how much time was allotted.” The following prophecies are but a few of the many given in scripture. Jeshua Hamashiach would be; The seed of a woman Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Fulfilled Hebrews 2:14 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil” The descendant of Abraham Genesis 12: 1-3 “Then the Lord said to Abraham…..I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” The descendant of David 2 Samuel 7: 12-16 “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." Fulfilled Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." The star coming out of Jacob Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth." From the tribe of Judah Genesis 49:10 "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." Fulfilled Luke 3:34 “the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,” Luke 3:23-33 “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph…the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,” The prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Fulfilled Matthew 2:1 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.” Born of a Virgin Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Fulfilled Matthew 1:18 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Messiah would come As Gods Son Psalm 2:1-12 “Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their …" Fulfilled John 6:32 “Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Luke 4:16-19 “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: from Isaiah 61: 18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” John 6:37-38 “Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.” As The Son of Man Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples…" Fulfilled Mark 10:45, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” As the Passover lamb Exodus 12:1-51 “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb …" Fulfilled John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” As the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,” Fulfilled Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” The Messiahs plan He will bring a new covenant Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah," Fulfilled Luke 22:20 “After supper, he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” The prophecies of the life of Jesus Christ His miraculous power Isaiah 35:5-6 “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;" Fulfilled Matthew 11: 4-6 “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” The prophecies of the death of Jesus Christ His suffering and death Isaiah 52:13 through 53:12 “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind….” Psalm 22:16 “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” Fulfilled John 20:25-27 “But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” His resurrection Psalm 16: 8-11 “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” Fulfilled Luke 24:4-6 “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” The Messiah returns The second coming of Jesus Christ Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep …" Waiting for Fulfillment 1 Thessalonians 4:16 -18 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Revelation 1:7 “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him–even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.” Revelation 21: "Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty, I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life." Come, Lord Jesus, Jeshua Hamashiach Come! https://jewsforjesus.org/answers/top-40-most-helpful-messianic-prophecies/ https://www.endtime.com/articles-endtime-magazine/prophecies-first-coming-fulfillments/ https://www.gotquestions.org/second-advent-Messiah.html https://www.jewishvoice.org/learn/who-is-yeshua
  9. Of all the concepts known to man, love is the most mysterious most powerful and most misunderstood. It is often mimicked and maligned and many are seduced by its counterfeit cousins' lust and desire. The Bible describes the love of God this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Without God's love, we would not be here today exploring its meaning. For it is the love of God that has saved us and allows us the opportunity to choose freely to love Him in return. The love of God is the highest and greatest of all, for God Himself is love. 1 John 4:8 All relationships since creation seeks to attain that love and to maintain and perpetuate it through each generation. His love is timeless, it reaches out from beyond eternity to our present reality in time and is expressed in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Bible explains that in the fullness of time God sent His Son to rescue us from the curse of our rebellion and to be adopted as His children. Gal 4:4-7 The Old Testament is the narrative of creation and the prophecy of the coming king. The New Testament details how this prophecy was fulfilled and how our loving God rescues all who believe. Jesus gives us a great lesson about the type of love He had for us and came to express. In the research on love, you may come across anywhere from 3 to 14 types of love. In Jesus time the Greeks recognized 4 types of love. Philia is a love found in strong relationships such as friends who support and encourage each other. We may have many friends and acquaintances but few that share mutual trust and confidence. This is a love on has for a true friend committed to a long-term relationship. Eros describes the passion and intimacy found in a romance between lovers. Eros is a committed devotion to one particular individual where passion and intimacy is the result of a relationship that incorporates the types of love described here. The sexual expression of which is reserved for a man and a woman as husband and wife. Storge is reflected in the loving relationship of a family. Strong families are built upon the characteristics of this love. The family unit is built up and strengthened by mutual compassion, empathy, and affection. Agape is a selfless and unconditional love. Loving another regardless of faults or failures. It is more than a friendship or a romance. It is a higher form of love that we are called to approach. It is a Christ-like love. The Agape love of our creator is a love beyond all understanding. It reaches into the darkness and shines light upon our path. It builds up rather than tears down. This unconditional love reaches out selflessly, gives sacrificially and is concerned only with the well being of others. Here is a love that sees the need and provides, that seeks out and rescues those in peril, who are lost, confused, hopeless, depressed, and fatigued. This love brings victory to the defeated, dignity to the shamed, righteousness to the degraded and the depraved. This love rescues humanity from all its failures, and heartaches, and its total depravity. God's love reaches out and says I made you, I love you, learn of me, seek me and I will be found, turn to me and I will pick you up. Isaiah 1: 18, Isaiah 55:6-7 , Matt 7:7-12 , Matt 11:28-30 Jesus is God in the flesh and as He placed his arms outstretched on the cross, His love overpowered all temptation to curse and condemn His creation. He recalled the words He spoke earlier to the people in town. "No one takes my life - I lay it down freely" John 10:17-18 As He remembers gazing over Jerusalem from the hillside and weeping over the condition of His people, Jesus surrenders His earthly life in pain and anguish. He cries out "It is finished" John 19:29-30 God came to the earth He created to confront and defeat death. "For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. " Hebrews 12:2-3 He now calls us to believe and rejoice in Him and His love and Eternal Kingdom https://www.gotquestions.org/God-is-love.html
  10. The King has declared that ''it is now a crime at any place and any time to read speak or write anything that rhymes.'' As an overreaction to a strange curse, King Vyrnan places the language of his kingdom in exile. How will the citizens respond? What is the plan to restore their language to its former glory? Are you ready and able to help? A whimsical text with delightful illustrations involves the reader in an attempt to rescue the language of the kingdom. Find the hidden words that complete the verse and take a look through the newly invented ''Rhymeoccular.'' Be sure to read this one out loud to your children they will truly enjoy it!
  11. The first mention of a king in the bible is in Genesis 14:1 “At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar…” The king of Shinar also known as Babylon is the first mention of a king and kingdom rule. Scholars regard Amraphel to be Hammurabi of Sumer, whose legal code was a foundation for other legislation to follow. The concepts of a king, kingly rule and kingdom have always been a uniting force of civilization. In America, we pride ourselves in having thrown off the yoke of the despotic kingly rule of Great Britain. We chose to live and govern ourselves following scriptural principles such as freedom of conscience, personal responsibility, self-control and representative self-government. The individual freedoms we enjoy are un-equal around the globe. However, the general understanding of these foundational principles is waning. We do not understand nor do we teach that the foundation of our individual freedom is the surrender to the kingship of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ is what inspired and empowered us to become a free people. Although there is a widespread debate about whether our nation was formed as a Christian nation, it is mostly fueled by the fact that many will not recognize the scriptural principles put into the framework of our government. The study of the writings of our founders leaves no doubt that the prevailing worldview was indeed Christian. William Penn “If you are not governed by God, you will be ruled by tyrants” 1) John Adams “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity” 2) Samuel Adams ” The rights of the Colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament” 3) Noah Webster “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles…This is genuine Christianity and to this, we owe our free constitutions of government.” 4) These inspired leaders realized that the freedom of thought and conscience was a freedom enhanced by the renewing power of salvation and redemption in Jesus Christ. This liberty was born in the heart and soul of those who left their homeland, crossing the ocean to settle in a place where freedom of religion and worship would be enshrined in a new political compact. Self-government was made possible by a people who understood the concept of self-control. In their minds, self-control was the fruit of submission by the individual to a higher authority, namely Jesus Christ. The founders had an understanding that individual liberty was a blessing that came from the personal submission to a new king. Thus the popular sentiment heard throughout the days of the American struggle for Independence from an earthly despotic king was “We have no king but King Jesus”. 5) A Culture in Need of Restraint Our culture has helped create the attitude that we are free to do as we please, to follow every passion and desire. Yet we find that society cannot live this way consistently without the need for external controls on personal behavior. We need to protect ourselves from each other. Families have a need to protect their children from the permissive culture we helped to create where one is free to behave in any fashion they wish abandoning self-control and personal responsibility and respect for others. The less self-control is practiced the more external restraints become necessary. Here we see that the power of the state must grow as the need to restrain evil does. The tendency today is towards more government control of every area of life because many lack self-control. We now demand powerful agents and technologies that will protect us from the monsters we have created. Those who share a humanist worldview are enjoying the rapid growth of a powerful government using the language of the freedom-loving self-controlled people to attack the foundational principles of the nation. The destructive passions once formally restrained by self-controlled submission to God and His moral law are now protected and encouraged by irresponsible legislation, upheld by corrupted courts. Public institutions are prohibited from displaying the foundational precepts of moral law in the Ten Commandments. The rights and responsibilities of the people are being transferred to an increasingly secular government. Conforming to the pressure of a misinterpreted religious clause, the government may no longer invoke or apply moral reasoning in discouraging the pursuit of corrupt desires and behavior. As in the days of the Roman Empire, the state is all too willing to exert this control and restrain personal freedom whenever they saw the need. When people are not able to govern themselves they will be governed by the state. This heavy-handed control has been witnessed throughout history. The barbaric Roman rule, the gulags of the former Soviet Union, the murderous reign of the German Nazis and the Red Chinese have not convinced anyone of the effectiveness of government control. Whether we call it socialism, communism, progressivism, liberalism, statism, one world government, or globalism, it is the default form of control for people who abandon the true God. There is no doubt the people of our nation are divided concerning many issues. The most obvious reason for this polarization is the basic worldview distinctions between secular humanism and Christianity. The fruit of a relentless teaching from the secular humanist perspective is a growing desire to try socialism. Having been taught lies about socialism they embrace a romantic notion that socialism will solve the human problem of evil. They do not realize the trade-off for this false security and the altruistic pursuit of a godless system of government is personal liberty. The first of these liberties, freedom of conscience is under steady attack from socio/cultural elites and intellectuals wielding the intimidating weapon of Political Correctness. As courts become more detached from absolute morals embracing pragmatism and relativity, they are swayed by the left to rule against those who oppose the socialist and secular humanist agenda. Subjects of Gods Kingdom One day Jesus was asked by the Pharisees “When will the Kingdom of God begin?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘It has begun here in this place or there in that part of the country.’ For the Kingdom of God is within you.” (TLB, Luke 17:20-21) The kingdom Jesus speaks of is a spiritual kingdom made evident in the behavior of the kingdom people. He is calling us to serve Him and live within the principles of His kingdom. As we remember the Lord’s prayer “Our Father who art in heaven your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” God wants us to do His will here on earth as His kingdom people. He wants us to share the good news of salvation and redemption from the darkness of sin by the work of Jesus Christ. He wants us to share liberty and freedom by living out godly principles found in His word, the principles upon which our form of government has been formed. The blessings secured within this framework are derived by the willing submission of those governed. Once we forget the principles of right government our government will forget and the words liberty and freedom will be redefined so as to cloud the memory of our loss. This is Billy Graham’s last Facebook message. “If you went for a walk in the woods, but then decided to wander off the path, and found yourself surrounded by a thicket of thorns and poison ivy, who would you blame? Would you blame the person who built the path? No, of course not. Instead, you’d blame yourself if you were honest, because you alone were responsible for wandering from the path. In a far deeper way, this is what happens when we decide to leave God out of our lives. For a time, it may seem like wandering away from Him doesn’t make any difference; it may even seem easier and freer. But eventually, it catches up with us—just as wandering off that path and into the thicket caught up with you.” —Billy Graham #BG100 I am writing not so much to persuade the secular left but more to awaken those who live in the freedom of Christ and to say it’s time to turn around and go back to where we turned off the path. Walk after the spirit (Rom 8:1) on His path, be alert and stand firm and do not become entangled again in the bondage of slavery, (Gal 5:1) be in prayer for our leaders, (1Tim 2:2) be ready to come against the vain philosophies of deceit,(Col 2:8) and be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2) and remember our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in high places. (Eph 6:12) Will we serve an earthly king who will gladly take control over every area of our lives, who is merciless, without truth or grace to whom we yield our freedoms and our conscience in exchange for a false security? Or will we serve a heavenly king who liberates us from personal condemnation, granting mercy and forgiveness and empowers us to practice the virtues of liberty and self-control, personal responsibility and selfless living for our benefit and the benefit of others? Jesus says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt 6:33) We need a king – but to paraphrase and modify the cry of our founders, we need no king but King Jesus! William Penn. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p500 John Adams. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p12 Samuel Adams. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p22 Noah Webster. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p678 WND Joseph Farrah http://www.wnd.com/2001/01/7965/ Billy Graham. https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/bg100?source=embed Further Reading: Francis Schaeffer https://www.the-highway.com/articleOct01.html
  12. What is it about Christmas that eludes me? It is something beyond my grasp, an emotion, a sense of completion or arrival or fulfillment? I know after many years of experience it is not a material thing. Perhaps it’s not an emotional thing either. Emotions can be manipulated. But there are times when the environment is right when I am calm and in peaceful contemplation listening to a touching musical arrangement, those tears swell. In these moments I know that the spirit of Christmas is close to me. I know this feeling is true and yet it is more than a feeling. I seek out these moments because in them I feel closer to something comfortable but beyond understanding. I feel closer to Christmas. Like the biblical country shepherd who is drawn to the warmth of an evening fire. Who among those shepherds shivering in the cold raw darkness of a winter night would not be drawn to the light and warmth of a fire? I am drawn to the comfortable chair in a warm corner of the living room. I am drawn to those earthly things that bring warmth and comfort and joy. Perhaps it is a spiritual warm fire, or comfy chair, or cozy blanket that my spirit seeks out. Yes, I think it is a desire of the spirit to be near that spirit of warmth, comfort and joy. It is in those times of personal comfort and quite that I sense the spiritual peace and reality of hope. The invisible hope beyond what can be seen, a hope for better things material and spiritual. In these short moments of this holy spiritual presence, I sense an overwhelming awareness of hope that this presence will someday be eternal. Until then I will continue to seek opportunities to be in the presence of this spirit. As a Christian, I know the spirit of Christmas is Jesus Christ Himself in the fulfilled promise of the Holy Spirit. I would have never found the spirit of Christmas on my own. I’ve spent years chasing after the spirit of Christmas by searching out the perfect gifts, the grandest plans and parties, the perfect friends, family or circumstance. All this time I had forgotten to open the perfect gift that I had received long ago. In my Christmas disillusion, I left this gift unopened under the Christmas tree year after year. It was not until I read the words of a loving Father “Be still and know that I am God” and the words of a faithful friend “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest” that I realized the spirit of Christmas had found me! This spirit, the Holy Spirit, has found you as well. He is reaching out to you. Take this time to stop, open the gift and listen to His spirit. The child whom we celebrate at Christmas is the Son of promise, of prophecy, the Son of God, Emmanuel, God with us. His life among us miraculously demonstrated His love and compassion for His creation. His death on the cross destroyed the power of death. His rising from the dead is proof that death no longer rules over us. His Holy Spirit moves within all believers to inspire works of love, goodness and faith. This is the spirit of Christmas “Christ in us the hope of glory”. I am encouraged by the verse that calls us to “walk after the spirit, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death”. This Christmas open the gift God has given you. Read the Gospel of John and pray for God to reveal Himself to you. Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas! Psalm 46:10 Matthew 11:28 Collosians 1:27 Romans 8:2
  13. Christmas is a good time to be prepared to answer the skeptics who gladly point out the celebration of the birth of Christ lacks significance if the facts about Him are not true. The faith of many would be futile “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished” 1 Corinthians 15:17 If Christ had not concluded His earthly ministry dying on the cross and being raised from the dead, this celebration would have no foundational substance and no consequence. Skeptics through the ages have tried to disprove the reality of Jesus Christ and many have come away with a more confident faith than most believers. In the recent film “The Case For Christ” Lee Strobel’s journey from skeptic to believer is skillfully portrayed. His story affirms that Christians have a reasonable faith. The film is based on Strobel's book about his investigative journey into the heart of the Christian faith. Setting out to save his wife from what he saw as a cult, Strobel found himself confronted with a reality that changed his life forever. His training and success as an investigative journalist allowed him to pursue evidence in support of the objections raised for the resurrection of Jesus. An associate reminded him that the Christian faith rests upon the fact that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is the glue that holds it all together. With that in mind, Lee Strobel set out to find evidence to bolster these objections. The Gospel accounts are not reliable. Jesus did not die on the cross. Jesus did not appear to people after His death. What he discovered moved him to confront the truth and respond with a decision. Are the Gospel accounts reliable? The closer the account is to the actual event the more reliable it is. https://carm.org/manuscript-evidence The earliest manuscripts of the Gospel account date to within 25 to 40 years of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. In comparison, the earliest copies of Homer’s Illiad are 500 years from the original. There is no doubt among scholars as to the integrity of the Illiad as well as many other works of antiquity. https://carm.org/when-were-gospels-written-and-whom The apostles and countless others have died for their beliefs. It is courageous and noble to die for one’s belief, however, it would seem foolish for anyone to die for something they know to be a lie. Sean McDowell writes “there is the highest possible probability that Peter, Paul, James (the brother of Jesus), and James (the son of Zebedee) died as martyrs.” http://www.equip.org/article/apostles-really-die-martyrs-faith/ In 2014 Christian History Institute published an article summarizing the total number of believers who have died for the Christian faith. “Church statistician David Barrett defined martyrs as “believers in Christ who have lost their lives prematurely, in situations of witness, as a result of human hostility.” He estimated that around 70,000,000 Christians have been martyred since the church began.” https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/father-forgive-them Did Jesus die on the cross? In an article by "The American Journal of Medicine", medical experts reviewed what Jesus had suffered during His crucifixion and have determined that the “Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.” According to the evidence, Jesus suffered severe blood loss and hypovolemic shock from the scourging He received from the Romans. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross and He suffered exhaustion and asphyxia. No one is likely to survive this type of execution. The spear to the side which released blood and water ensured Jesus death. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/403315 http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?article=145 Did Jesus really appear to many people after His death? The first eyewitnesses to testify of the empty tomb were women. It would be foolish for the apostles to use the testimony of women in their fabrication of an incredible story. The testimony of women held no value in the courts at this time in history. Being the first to hear the women's story, Peter and John raced towards the tomb to confirm the fact that Jesus was not there. Shortly after this Jesus appeared to the Apostles and many others and by over 500 hundred believers at once. https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/resurrection/the-sequence-of-christs-post-resurrection-appearances/ Skeptics claim these appearances were the product of hallucinations and or hypnotic suggestion. According to phycologists, group dreams or visions are not possible. [youtube J. Warner Wallace speaks of the numbers of individuals who have seen the risen Christ and concludes that a great number of people seeing the same vision is not likely or reasonable. Some argue that this was a spiritual resurrection and not a physical resurrection. The Gospel accounts point clearly to the fact that Jesus appeared in a physical body. Matthew 28:9 states the Apostles “took hold of His feet and worshipped Him” John 20: 24-28 says that Thomas placed his finger in the nail marks of Jesus' hand and the wound mark at His side. Thomas then declares “My Lord and my God” Luke 24:42-43 details the breakfast they had with Jesus “and they gave Him a piece of broiled fish and He took it and ate before them." John 20:29 describes how Thomas rejoiced when seeing Jesus Christ in the flesh and Jesus responds “Thomas because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/jesus_resurrection.htm A reasonable faith will strengthen your belief The evidence is abundant, the experiences of witnesses and followers through the ages is overwhelming. The blood of confessors, saints, and martyrs cries out to this day. The resurrection of Christ proves there is a loving God who reaches out to us to redeem us to Himself to become the children of God. He is a God of justice and mercy and grace. Our sin and rebellion have separated us from God. God came to us in the flesh as Jesus. He laid down His life for us. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:18 “It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 At one point Lee Strobel is advised that blind faith works both ways. Some will refuse to believe because of a prejudice or bias to one belief system regardless of the evidence presented. In order to believe in the Gospel accounts and have faith in their validity, you must choose to believe the facts presented as a reasonable account of the reality of Christ. Some refuse to believe because it means being accountable to a higher authority. Many have yet to learn that the promise of Christ is a new life of liberty from the emptiness of sin and His spirit is a source of peace, strength, grace, and joy. Lee Strobel was overwhelmed by the evidence answering his objections to belief. He realized he had to make a decision. The Lord calls us to examine the evidence, and to engage our reason. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” The child we celebrate at Christmas is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 He laid down His life and is now risen alive in power to show us the way to a life eternal with Him. I pray that you will receive the gift of Christmas, open it and believe Jesus is the way the truth and the life? [youtube https://carm.org/manuscript-evidence https://carm.org/when-were-gospels-written-and-whom http://www.equip.org/article/apostles-really-die-martyrs-faith/ https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/father-forgive-them https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/403315 http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?article=145 https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/resurrection/the-sequence-of-christs-post-resurrection-appearances/ http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/jesus_resurrection.htm
  14. Following my wife’s suggestion, I have been making the deliberate attempt to taste my food before habitually adding salt to it. Salt has always been a valuable part of our diet and necessary for survival. I have always appreciated the value of both physical and spiritual salt. In biblical times salt was a valuable commodity used mainly to cure and preserve food. Roads were built to provide access to the salt trade, and salt was valued enough to be accepted as payment for labor. The Church has a spiritual understanding of the value of salt. Jesus compared his faithful followers to the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Jesus is calling us to be salt as a preserving agent to keep our society from moral decay. If salt loses its savor it is no longer able to infiltrate and preserve. Losing this quality renders it flavorless lifeless and powerless. The meat and food we would like to preserve is easily infiltrated by bacteria and begins to decay. In the same way, we see a trend towards blandness and powerlessness in the moral influence of the Church. It seems no longer willing or able to infiltrate into the culture as a moral preserving agent. In order to maintain saltiness, the true Church has had to shield itself from the influence of strange teachings and doctrine. However, it is now struggling with an insidious infiltration of anti-Christian teaching spearheaded by a cultural revolution wielding the weapon of political correctness. The Church is losing its salt. Challenge of the Enlightened The Age of Enlightenment brought the Church face to face with scientific and political theories which directly challenged its validity and authority. Gerald Hiestand and Todd A. Wilson authors of “ The Pastor Theologian” point out that “The effect of the Enlightenment on Christian theology cannot be overstated. The Enlightenment reshaped the scholarly and cultural consensus regarding the ontology of the Bible and the place of theology within the wider culture…the Bible was no longer a sacred text and theology was no longer the queen of the sciences” ¹ The intellectual battle over the creation account and Darwin’s theory of evolution was lost. Great institutions of learning formally created to prepare individuals for service in the Church and ministry were now transformed into bastions of liberal scientific and political thought. The Church reacted slowly and only now within the past 50 years or so has there been an advance in apologetic teaching that addresses concerns of reason and science and proposes a defense of the Christian worldview. Great teachers have emerged such as Francis Schaeffer and C.S.Lewis. The list of popular apologist is growing and so is their influence. This is a good thing for the Church and it would behove us all to become acquainted with their work and their reasoning. The Church is now responding to arguments which the Enlightenment brought forth. However postmodern culture and the spirit of anti-Christ continues its infiltration of the Church with false teaching. The division which theistic evolutionary thinking brought about is one of many battlegrounds where truth has lost ground. The Second Wave The Church culture, intimidated by the advancing political correctness movement, has yielded ground to secularisms lies and deception. The Churches on the forefront of engaging the culture with their newly acquired confidence in apologetics are finding many intellectuals are no longer interested in proving the existence of God or Christ. They have moved beyond these foundational arguments advancing their secular cultural agenda, using PC as a weapon to fend off the call to repentance by labeling it as hateful. The strength of the leftist culture is not in its reasoning because engaged in a reasonable debate its principles are soundly refuted. The strength of the left is the weakness of those with whom it engages. Sara Silverman the liberal comedienne has created a new series “I Love You America” in which she reaches out to discover America and to affirm her liberalism. In a recent episode, she meets and dines with a “Christian” family from down south. She attempts to solidify her leftist ideals by asking opinions on gay-marriage and allows a few weak-kneed responses from some of the family members and then declares “I have news for you, you’re really a liberal”. Granted the obvious bias of creator and producer of this series has made it essential to edit any effective rebuttal, I have seen the same weak response from church members regarding this issue and other morally damaging yet culturally acceptable trends. No longer questioning the reality of God and the validity of the Church, the left has infiltrated the Church's domain of influence and hijacked the truth. Redefining the concept of love and grace they seek acceptance and affirmation of a sinful lifestyle. Having successfully reconstructed the immature Christian’s understanding of a calling to a pure life in submission to Gods truth, they are now pursuing and promoting a lifestyle of sin within the church. Any call to repentance from members or the leadership of the Church is met with offense and a repeated misapplication of God’s word. How many have heard the verses “judge not lest you be judged” or “God is love” and other verses misapplied or misappropriated? Yet those who misapply scripture to their advantage reject clear teaching on the need for repentance. Such as found in 1 Cor 6:9 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,” Acts 2:30 Peter replied," Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." J. Warner Wallace says "We are called to live differently so that we can effectively identify and address unbiblical behavior in our culture." 2 http://www.breakpoint.org/2017/12/the-verse-the-culture-misquotes-most-regularly-to-quiet-christians/ No one is without sin, even those who are saved, so our struggle includes not only a daily repentance but a loving supportive outreach to those who are in need as we are. For a daily repentance is only possible in the power of the Holy Spirit. Called to Disciple Darrow Miller of Discipling the Nations has often said “If the church is not discipling the nation, the nation will disciple the church.” There are many reasons that churches are not effective in discipling. In a 2013 presentation to the Disciple Nations Alliance Forum in Brazil, Luis Sena gives one explanation. “Most plans for churches have as their focus the “expansion” of their size (i.e. numbers as indicators of effectiveness). Driven by self-preservation, preachers and teachers don’t touch the hot issues of the culture, because they know they will be persecuted. The privileges they enjoy as organizations will be lost. They will be challenged by the surrounding culture. Church leaders (usually) won’t risk publicly applying truth because it might mean putting the ministry in danger. But, when a church adopts this paradigm, it has inadvertently forsaken the truth.” 3 Until recently the Church has had much influence in forming a strong freedom loving society built upon the foundation of family and morals guided by the authoritative word of God. Yet as always throughout history, the Church is being asked: “hath God really said?” As the Church, our challenge today is and has always been to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that fills us. 1 Peter 3:15 This means being able to explain what and why we believe as well as live out what we believe. We should be able to speak to our culture in defense of the sanctity of life and the sanctity of God ordained marriage. We should be able to speak to our culture about how the pursuit and justification of sin bring destruction to the individual and to society. Many churches have fallen into apostasy resulting in a trend affirming gay-marriage and transgenderism. Unless we see repentance and revival other pathologies will soon follow. 2Timothy 3:1-7 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The Healing Repentance Discipling the lost does not begin by embracing sin it begins by embracing the sinner with a call to godly sorrow and repentance. It is in repentance that the grace of God is found. A doctor sharing bad news with a patient is not offensive, it is a word of compassion that wakens the patient to his need for medicine. Reaching individuals struggling to make sense of their lives and speaking truth to a deceived culture is a compassionate calling of the Church. Laura Perry, a former transgender, shared her testimony with Life Site News explaining that because of the support and care of loving members of her study group “God opened my eyes to the truth….He made me realize that the transgender life was … a dead end.” Many like Laura have been rescued from the snare of transgenderism, homosexuality and adultery and are actively sharing their testimony. They turned to God and sought Him with all their heart soul and mind. Acts 26:20 “that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” To repent means to change your mind and its proof is in a change of action. “Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ….Turning from sin is not the definition of repentance, but it is one of the results of genuine, faith-based repentance towards the Lord Jesus Christ.”4 A sorrow for sin and a desire to be restored, to be made whole, is what is needed. This is the role of the church to preach salvation in the name of Jesus and to make disciples of all nations. Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Jesus offers forgiveness. John 8:11 “go and sin no more” Jesus offers grace and power to live in peace with God. 2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient” Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” We have no idea how much time we have left to save those who are lost to sin. So the call today is to engage with the knowledge we have in apologetics and to clearly stand with conviction and the power of the Holy Spirit upon the word of truth, which God has given us. The Bible speaks with clarity, there are no hidden meanings, mixed messages or private interpretations which allow for sin. Preached in love, God’s word brings conviction. Some will react to their conviction and deem it offensive. If it leads to repentance then it will redeem the once offended. We will hear them declare as Laura Perry has “I am living proof that God’s love is greater than the devil’s lies,” We have no greater duty than to stand for truth in all areas of life and to live it and speak it clearly in love. Pass the salt, please! Source 1 https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=9780310516996 2 http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2013/06/03/luis-sena-why-the-church-is-not-discipling-the-nations 3 http://www.breakpoint.org/2017/12/the-verse-the-culture-misquotes-most-regularly-to-quiet-christians/ 4 https://www.gotquestions.org/repentance.html Other Resources http://www.notthesamelove.com/testimony/testimony-of-an-ex-transgender-ex-gay https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/she-tried-to-change-her-gender-but-spiritial-awakening-brought-her-back-to http://www.apologetics315.com/2009/06/100-christian-apologists.html https://pjmedia.com/faith/2017/01/09/how-gay-marriage-is-infiltrating-evangelicals-reading-of-the-bible/ http://www.disciplenations.org/ http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/balancing-grace-and-truth-on-the-lgbt-issue-interview-with-author-caleb-kaltenbach
  15. A playful and imaginative romp through occupations and situations. This book explores various occupations from Astronaut to Zookeeper. The delightful illustrations by Megan Tennant and the rhyming text will encourage young readers to use their imaginations in forming questions and answers regarding situations they may find themselves in.
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