Monthly Archives: October 2011

Unrealistic expectations of women's appearance and behavior

IN RECENT YEARS, a number of psychologists and sociologists have joined the chorus of religious and political opponents in warning about the impact of pervasive pornography…

They argue that porn is transforming sexuality and relationships — for the worse. Experts say men who frequently view porn may develop unrealistic expectations of women’s appearance and behavior, and have difficulty forming and sustaining relationships and feeling sexually satisfied. Fueled by a combination of access, anonymity and affordability, online porn has catapulted overall pornography consumption — bringing in new viewers, encouraging more use from existing fans and escalating consumers from soft-core to harder-core material. Cyberporn is even giving rise to a new form of sexual compulsiveness. According to Alvin Cooper, who conducts seminars on cybersex addiction, 15% of online-porn habitues develop sexual behavior that disrupts their lives. “The internet is the crack cocaine of sexual addiction,” says Jennifer Schneider, co-author of Cybersex Exposed: Simple Fantasy or Obsession? (Tim McLaughlin)

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8; cf. 2 Tim. 2:2).

–Mike Benson

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Threatened by a ten foot monster

“And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:9).

There is an old African legend about a ten year-old boy named Fungai who was threatened by a ten foot monster with a lion’s body and a human head. The monster declared that he would eat Fungai, his two little sisters, and his mother. Because he was the man of the house (his father had died several years before), it was up to him to protect his family.

That evening as the sun set, he gathered up his father’s assegai (or spear), and walked out into the bush to face the monster, trying mightily to control his shaking hands and quavering voice.

He could hear the terrifying growls of the monster in the undergrowth coming toward him when suddenly he heard a grunt of surprise, then the sound of a rapid retreat, the crashing and snapping of branches and twigs as the great monster fled the little boy!

What had happened? Who had come to rescue Fungai in his dire straights? He looked around to see who his benefactor was. Then his eyes fell on the ground in front of him. The late afternoon sun had cast a giant shadow before him, making a slightly built ten year-old appear to be a huge man! The monster had run from Fungai’s shadow, believing the shadow represented an uncommonly big man carrying a spear as long as a tree trunk!

When we face life with its problems, we don’t have to face it alone. We can do it with the help of God. We do so with a “righteousness” that is “not our own”. If we will allow him, Christ will stand in our place.

And he casts a very big shadow!

Stan Mitchell @ http://www.forthright.net

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Over five hundred people died

One of the worst train disasters in history occurred in the El Toro Tunnel in Leon, Spain, on January 3, 1944. Over five hundred people died.

The train was a long passenger train with an engine on both ends. As the train entered the El Toro Tunnel, the engine on the front end stalled. When the front engine stopped, the engineer on the back engine started up his engine to back the train out of the tunnel. As he proceeded, however, the front engineer managed to get the front engine started again and attempted to continue the journey in the opposing direction. Neither engineer had any way of communicating with the other. Both engineers thought they simply needed more power. They continued to pull in opposite directions for several minutes. Hundreds of passengers on the train in the tunnel died of carbon monoxide poisoning because the train was stuck in the tunnel because it was being pulled in two different directions! *

This tragic incident illustrates what can happen in our lives when we are pulled in different directions, following the lead of different “engineers”…

Many of US struggle as to which way to go with our lives. We often give in to different “engineers” like our friends, our society, our families, and our selves, even though they may be pulling in opposite directions!

Long ago, the inspired prophet Jeremiah said, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). In other words, we need direction – we need a wise engineer – to help direct our steps.

In short, we need Jesus to be our Savior AND our Lord (Master, Ruler, “Engineer”). In fact, Jesus cannot be our SAVIOR unless He is our LORD!

Hank Hanegraaff has written: “Christ died to be our Savior and lives to be our Lord.”

Christ died on the cross to pay the price for our sins (Ephesians 1:7). We are saved from our past sins when we believe and trust Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). We continue to be cleansed from our sins as we continue to acknowledge Him as the Lord of our lives through our trusting obedience to His Word (1 John 1:7). Jesus asked, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

There are MANY engineers in the world that desire to control our lives, but there is only ONE Loving Lord.

Won’t YOU submit your life to Him so He can lead you to an eternal home?

David A. Sargent, Minister

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Whose name do you wear?

Several months ago the church I serve began urging members to wear name tags. Each time we gather I’m careful to pin my name tag onto my jacket so others will be able to identify me. But I’ve been wearing that name since shortly after my birth. I’m glad to tell others that the meaning of Timothy is “honoring God”.

We don’t often consider the meaning of the names we give our children. Perhaps we should. A story carried by Reuters on November 17, 2009 tells about a company in London, England that will help parents-to-be avoid hanging undesirable monikers on their children. One example given was the name Suri, given by a celebrity couple to their newborn daughter. Would they have named her that if they had known it means “pickpocket” in Japanese, or “turned sour” in French? (For a hefty price, the company will give you the meaning of a name in 100 languages.)

To an extent we already avoid giving our children names that stir up negative images. When was the last time you heard of a girl being named Jezebel, or of a son named Judas? There are many such names that most people would never dream of calling their little ones. We also tend to avoid names that point to the opposite gender. Johnny Cash’s popular song, “A Boy Named Sue”, reminded us that such names can lead to unfortunate consequences.

In the Bible we commonly find names being given because of some quality seen in that child. Esau, the older twin born to Isaac and Rebekah, was so named because he was hairy (Genesis 25:25). God chose the names for each of the prophet Hosea’s three children, with each name saying something about the future of God’s people (Hosea 1:3-11).

Another prophet, Isaiah, spoke of a new name that God would bestow upon His people: “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name” (Isaiah 62:2). The immediate application of that promise was to Israel. God would restore the fortunes of His people after a time of punishment. But was there another meaning, a more enduring one, behind that prophecy?

Many point to Acts 11:26 as the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “… And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” It may be, as some suggest, that “Christian” was first meant as a slur by the enemies of Christ’s followers. Nonetheless, the name certainly caught on. Years later Peter would acknowledge the nobility of this name: “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16).

I’m glad to have been given the name Timothy. But I’m far more joyful for the privilege of being called “Christian”. No one lived a more compassionate, powerful and victorious life than Jesus Christ. By wearing His name, I and millions of others have dedicated ourselves to being more like the Master. More than just wearing the name, it is incentive to rise above what we have been to become a blessing as He is.

The Preacher long ago observed that “A good name is better than precious ointment.” You’ll find no better name than that of Christ. Will you take His name as your own and become a blessing to others?

–Timothy D. Hall

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Dear IRS:

The story is told of a man who computed his taxes for 1998 and discovered that he owed $3407. He packaged up his payment and included this letter:

Dear IRS:

Enclosed is my 1998 Tax Return & payment. Please take note of the attached article from the USA Today newspaper. In the article, you will see that the Pentagon is paying $171.50 for hammers and NASA has paid $600.00 for a toilet seat.

Please find enclosed four toilet seats (value $2400) and six hammers (value $1029). This brings my total payment to $3429.00. Please note the overpayment of $22.00 and apply it to the “Presidential Election Fund,” as noted on my return. Might I suggest you send the above mentioned fund a “1.5 inch screw.” (See attached article…HUD paid $22.00 for a 1.5 inch Phillips Head Screw.)

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.

Sincerely,
A satisfied taxpayer

I don’t recommend trying this at home without adult supervision! 🙂 Is a toilet seat worth $600? Not to me! (and I suspect not to the IRS either). Ultimately, though, what determines the “worth” of a toilet seat, or anything else, is how much someone is willing to pay for it.

How much is a Beanie Baby worth? In terms of the material involved, only a few cents. But, if someone is willing to pay several hundred dollars for it, that’s what it’s worth!

Several years ago, someone calculated the “worth” of a human being by figuring out how much it would cost to buy the elements that compose our body and came up with an amount of several dollars. But our true worth is determined by how much someone was willing to pay for us.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

If you’re questioning your “worth,” consider that Jesus Christ regarded you as valuable enough to die on the cross for you. You’re priceless!

Have a great day!

Alan Smith

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Common faith, common salvation, common good

The word “common” has become a bad word among us. We speak of a common criminal, probably one of those dumb kind who writes his bank threat on the back of his checkbook deposit slip, with his name and address.

The elites speak of the common man with a sneer. And the ESV, NKJV and NASB translate Ezekiel’s phrase describing the lustful drunkards as “men of the common sort” (23:42).

The common soldier has no rank. The common woman has no virtue.

We even want our cookies to be “uncommonly good.”

In the Old Testament, common was not good either. The word served as the opposite of holy. “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean” (Leviticus 10:10 ESV). When faced with a sheet full of animals, Peter, you’ll remember, objected to the Lord that he had never eaten anything “common or unclean” (Acts 10:14).

In the New Testament, however, that which is common gets its due.

Paul writes to Titus as his “true child in a common faith” (Titus 1:4). This commonality makes the faith superior and attractive. It is common because the Christian faith is for all and accessible to all. All draw upon the same powerful grace. The heavenly Father hears all as he inclines from his throne to see his family upon earth. Be he an apostle, a new convert or a co-laborer, the faith is common to all, shared among the obedient.

It’s a common faith, also, because it is the one faith. To God, faith has no name brand nor grades of quality; the faith that is not common to all is no faith at all, because God rejects it as his.

Then there is the “common salvation” which Jude so wanted to write about (v. 3). What a wonderful treatise that subject would have made!

Much of what was said about the common faith can be said about the common salvation. No one has special privileges or knowledge. Conditioned upon obedience, all can know the Lord as Savior, for he is “Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).

This common salvation is why saints are sent into the world, so that all may share in its blessings (cp. 1 Corinthians 9:23). Just as the salvation is common, or for all, so also the mission is common, for every disciple.

And let’s not miss the “common good” which Paul insists on as he appeals to the selfish Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:7). Though the word “common” doesn’t actually appear in the text, the larger context requires the idea, since Paul had written in chapter 10 that what really profited spiritually was helping and edifying others.

In 10:23 he wrote: “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.” In this parallel phrasing, what is helpful (or profitable, from the verb “sumphero”, also in 1 Corinthians 12:7), is equated with what builds others up.

In verse 33, the profit or benefit for others is even clearer when Paul declared, “I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved” (NET).

So when Paul declares in 12:7 that the Spirit gives gifts “for benefiting,” he means “for benefiting others.” For the common good.

That idea, then, throws out Kingdom work for self- benefit or self-promotion. As Maclaren wrote,

You get the life, not in order that you may plume yourself on its possession, nor in order that you may ostentatiously display it, still less in order that you may shut it up and do nothing with it; but you get the life in order that it may spread through you to others.

Common faith, common salvation, common good.

All in all, the gospel is, to adapt Keebler’s phrase, commonly good.

J. Randal Matheny @ http://www.forthright.net

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A 106 year old light bulb

Hanging from the ceiling of a firehouse in Livermore, California is a light bulb.  This light bulb has become very popular recently, and it has stirred up much attention.  It even has its own web-site.  From this web-site you can read all sorts of information about the light bulb, and you can actually watch it 24 hours a day.

So why has this light bulb been given so much attention?  It is because this particular light bulb has been functioning for over 106 years.  I do not think I have to tell you, but that is a long time for a light bulb to be functioning.  This makes me wonder how many people this particular light bulb has effected.  How many people would have been lost in a dark room if it were not for this light bulb showing them the way?

This makes me think of what Jesus once said when He told His disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).  How many people have you effected in your life?  How many people would be lost in a dark world if not for your light showing them the way to the Father?  I will probably never live to be 106 years old.  Most (if not all) of you will never live to see 106 years, but while you are here, let your light shine.

–Source unknown

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