Monthly Archives: September 2011

What is the very worst thing you have suffered as a result of your faith in God?

“Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 14:19-20 NKJV).

What is the very worst thing you have suffered as a result of your faith in God? That question is something of an embarrassment to most Christians, including I freely admit, myself.

The truth is that I have a very difficult time thinking of any experience in my life related to Christianity that I could describe as suffering (boring, hours long sermons not excluded).

I have had conversations with many non-Christians and indifferent Christians (there’s an oxymoron for you) over the years in which they discussed the difficulty of living the Christian life.

“I would have to give up too much” is a frequent excuse for disobedience. When it comes to difficult decisions, like remaining faithful in a no longer exciting marriage, they claim, “I know God wants me to be happy.” I always respond, “I cannot find that in the Bible.”

God wants us to be righteous. If so, he will provide happiness for us (Philippians 4:4-7).

But many Christians have and do suffer.

Real, martyrdom type suffering. Paul was stoned in Lystra, his attackers intending to kill him and believing they had done so. But God spared his life. What did he do in response? He got up and went back into the city where his attackers were. Then he went on to the next city and continued to preach the Gospel.

Did he reason, “God would surely not want me to risk my life any further.” Did he believe he had done enough, suffered enough? Not Paul.

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). “… Woe is me if I preach not the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

Years ago in a South American country, I studied with a woman whose livelihood, and that of her mother, depended upon her Muslim brother. She said she wanted to become a Christian but if she did her brother would cut off their support and they would be in the street with nothing to eat. That is suffering in the name of Christ.

Another woman was being blackmailed into an adulterous affair and would be exposed to her husband if she stopped. Conversion depends upon repentance and turning from sin. Had she obeyed the gospel (sadly she did not at that time at least), she likely would have suffered greatly.

One has some understanding and sympathy for those in such difficult situations. But the truth is not changed. Outside of Christ, they are lost eternally (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Compared to these examples, and innumerable others exist, giving up one’s only day to rest and do what one pleases in order to serve the Lord is hardly a sacrifice. Working until 5:00, then rushing to get the family fed and to Bible study on Wednesday night does not constitute suffering.

by Michael E. Brooks via forthright.net

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Pontius Pilate http://ping.fm/86wGz

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The Town of Liberal, Missouri

About a century ago, a group of atheists decided to show the world what a fine civilization could be built if only the superstitions of Christianity were excluded. They founded the little community of Liberal, Missouri, and boastingly advertised  that it was the only town of its kind in the United States.  It was without a preacher, priests, church, God, Christ, hell or the devil.  Some months later the St. Louis Post Dispatch carried a lengthy story about the town of Liberal, in which it was pictured as the seat of the Devil and a den of iniquity.  Its hotels were brothels, and vice had become a virtue.  Gambling, stealing, drunkenness and brawls were the usual occurrence of the day. The story was so frightening that the men of Liberal had Clark Braken, author of the story, arrested for criminal libel and sued the Post Dispatch for $25,000.  In the trial, the evidence of wickedness was so overwhelming that the jury took but a few seconds to render a verdict in favor of the  defendants.  The suit was dismissed and the town of Liberal paid all the court costs.  The town of Liberal was an absolute failure. It wasn’t long until lifelong atheists, who had moved into the town to enjoy its advantages, left in complete disgust.  They found living in an atheistic town intolerable.  One of their number confessed that “An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists was too horrible to contemplate.”

No wonder the Psalmist wrote, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.”

–by Tom Wacaster

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Adam and Eve: Tempted by the devil http://ping.fm/yXy1e

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What is true love?

Love is one of the most misunderstood and abused words in the English language.  Some of the more unloving things are done in its name.  It is confused with lust, neglect, abuse, ignorance, and encouragement of evil.  Even in religion, love is the banner of everything from hatred and terrorism to gross immorality and perversion.  It is helpful to remind ourselves what constitutes love.

LOVE DOES NOT ENABLE WEAKNESS.  Pretending that a loved one does not have a sin problem or character flaw is not loving.  Protecting someone in a compulsive, addictive behavior from the consequences of their sin is extremely unloving.  This is nurturing negative behavior.

LOVE DOES NOT EXCUSE SIN.  Giving someone an out for sinful lifestyles may seem like the warm and fuzzy way to go, but God strongly condemns such validating (Rom. 1:32).  We can go to incredible lengths to legitimize what transgresses God’s law.

LOVE DOES NOT ENCOURAGE PERVERSION.  Jesus condemns sexual relationships that fall outside the original marriage grid (Matt. 19:4-5).  Whether we are speaking of “shacking up,” “open marriages,” “gay marriages,” “alternative lifestyles,” or the like, we are referencing things which condemn the soul.  That some would even push and promote such things in the name of love certainly disgusts our God (Hab. 1:13).

LOVE DOES NOT ENDORSE A LIE.  Lies are of Satan (John 8:44).  God is love (1 John 4:8).  Therefore, lying and love are incongruous.  They are from opposite sources.  Telling someone who is not right with God that they are is a lie rather than an act of love.  Leaving the impression that moral decadence is acceptable is disingenuous and thus unloving.

LOVE DOES NOT EXPECT PERFECTION.  In fact, Paul says that love “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Cor. 13:5).  It “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).  In other words, love is not something we offer only on stringent conditions and unrealistic expectations.  That is manipulation and not love.  Thankfully, our loving God does not expect perfection from us.  He knows we are incapable of it.  If we, imperfect beings, cannot give a perfect God perfection, how could imperfect human beings give us, imperfect human beings, perfection?  Think about it!

LOVE DOES NOT END RESPONSIBILITY.  Love is not a substitute for performance.  The abuser hopes that profuse profession of love will make his wife forget that he has beaten her.  The liar hopes that verbal affirmation of love is enough to negate the hurt and anger of the one harmed by his or her dishonesty.  The person who has yet to obey the gospel will freely confess, “I love the Lord.”  That may well be, but it is an inadequate love that does not respond to God’s great love in humble obedience.

The world will never get love “right.”  It is up to us to demonstrate it to them.  We do this by loving one another (John 13:34-35).  We do this by loving God enough to do His will (John 14:15).  We do this by loving the world enough to show them the Light (Matt. 5:46; 28:19).

–Neal Pollard

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Greek word study app for droid phones

If you would like to know a little more about the more than 5,400 original words in the New Testament but have never studied New Testament Greek, this FREE droid smartphone app may interest you.  This Bible study app offers a very basic overview of all the words used in the Greek New Testament.

I am no Greek scholar, Bible professor, or language expert.  I do, however, allow others to share in some of the fruits of my daily Bible study through things like this new app.

If you search the app market for *Greek word studies* this app should be the first one to appear.  You may also send an e-mail to your phone with this link – https://market.android.com/details?id=com.new.testament.greek.word.studies – to download this app directly from the market.

May God richly bless your study of His Word!

Brad Price
www.abiblecommentary.com

 


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The importance of inference in Bible study http://ping.fm/nQbNq

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Are there contradictions in the Bible? http://ping.fm/0ffL0

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Stealing 7 cents made someone a felon!

“For 7 cents, now you’re making someone a felon for the rest of his life,” Anthony Stewart’s lawyer exclaimed after the sentencing was passed.  Anthony, a 15-year-old, was going to be facing 2-6 years in juvenile detention for stealing a whopping 7 cents.  Stewart’s lawyer pleaded for the judge to treat her client as a youthful offender so he wouldn’t have this felony hanging over his head the rest of his life.  The judge was not willing to make such a compromise.

Like Anthony Stewart’s lawyer, this sentencing seemed to make several people upset.  However, here is the full story.  Anthony Stewart and his friend took BB guns that looked like real pistols for the sole purpose of robbery.  These two young men later came upon a 73-year-old man.  They knocked him to the ground and Anthony proceeded to punch the old man in the face.  Then they stole every solitary cent the man had on him, a staggering 7 cents.  While some might be upset with Anthony’s punishment over such an insignificant amount, an important question must be asked.  What if the old man had been carrying three thousand dollars or more?  There is no doubt that the young teen boys would have taken all of it.  The felony has nothing to do with the amount the boys stole.  It has to do with the crime itself and their malicious intent.

This story reminds me of a very common mindset in our culture.  Christians and non-Christians alike are constantly trying to justify sins by labeling them as “little” and “insignificant.”  We talk about “little white lies,” “small mistakes,” and tag certain failings as “no big deal.”  The problem is, Scripture makes no such distinction.  The Bible condemns all lying (Colossians 3:9; Leviticus 19:11; Jeremiah 9:3; etc), all stealing (Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 19:11; Matthew 19:18; Romans 13:9; etc), and all sins (Isaiah 59:1-3; 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:23; etc).

While we may label some sin as a “small” and “trivial,” the Lord doesn’t.  The consequences of sin can be significantly different, but all sins can separate us from the Lord, even the “little” ones.  Let’s not get caught up in the flawed mindset about “little sins.”  All sins are serious.  All sins need to be addressed in our lives.

–Brett Petrillo

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s your service to God motivated by Law or Love?

The story is told of a woman who lived with a perfectionist husband who always criticized her.  She never kept the house clean enough nor did she dress up to his unrealistic expectations.  He even gave her a list of rules to be obeyed if she was to keep him happy.  When she failed in any area, he quickly responded with verbal abuse.  Eventually, he died and as time went by she fell in love with another man who was kind and loving.  Her heart’s desire was to please him in any way she could.  His patience and encouragement restored her self esteem and enriched her life.

One day while going through some old papers, she came across the list of duties from her first husband.  To her amazement she was now choosing to do, out of love, the very things her former husband had demanded her to perform as a part of duty.  The rules had produced resentment on her part toward her former husband; the love she had for her present husband brought joyful submission.  In both cases the same duties were performed; but the motivation in each case was quite different.   Is your service to God motivated by Law or Love?

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