The following op-ed by Senator Cornyn was published in the Houston Chronicle, and can also be accessed here.
The oil-and-gas industry helps power the U.S. economy, especially here in Texas. More than 300,000 Texans work in the industry. They generate nearly 7 percent of the wages in our state, despite being only a little more than 3 percent of our workforce.
More than 90 percent of the wells in our country are operated by small and independent businesses, and even the major energy companies rely on small businesses as suppliers and contractors. Together these workers and businesses help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and contribute to the diversity of energy resources that we will need for decades to come.
Domestic oil and gas production is part of America's energy solution, but many in Washington see the industry as part of the problem. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I heard the Obama administration testify this month that our domestic oil-and-gas industry actually reduces our long-term energy security. In their view, our industry is guilty of overproduction, at a time when 60 percent of our oil comes from foreign sources.
To attack overproduction, the White House wants to repeal nine oil and gas incentives that encourage our entrepreneurs to develop America's natural resources and create new jobs. By doing so, the administration would impose more than $30 billion in new taxes over 10 years.
Texans would pay the biggest share of that bill, and some might pay by going out of business. For example, independent refineries must make the same large capital investments as their global competitors, while operating on much thinner profit margins. Raising taxes now could end their ability to compete and send more Texans to the unemployment line.
Higher taxes would cost jobs here in Texas and weaken our nation's strategic position overseas. The less oil and gas we produce here, the more dependent we are on foreign suppliers. And no matter which suppliers we choose, unfriendly regimes like Iran and Venezuela would claim a larger share of the global energy market.
In addition, U.S. private businesses would be further disadvantaged compared to their state-owned competitors, such as Russia's Gazprom and Brazil's Petrobras.
The White House has ignored strategic and economic reality and elevated liberal ideology. Despite identifying a goal we all share — the diversification of America's energy supplies — they have pursued a more statist agenda in pursuit of “the greatest social return.” But raising taxes on our oil and gas producers won't produce the return we want. Instead, we would only weaken our energy security, force many businesses to close or lay off workers and lengthen the longest and deepest recession in a generation.
Texans understand that we must develop all potential sources of energy, and we also understand the right way to do it. Thanks to economic incentives and private investment, Texas now has more than 8,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity, more than twice that of any other state.
We've also strongly supported the construction of new nuclear power plants, which emit zero greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. The entrepreneurial spirit, rather than government command and control, remains the key to technological innovation, as well as greater job growth for all of us.
Infamous author Anne Rice ('Interview With The Vampire') is a former atheist who turned her life back to God and now writes novels for Christ. In this video message to her fans she talks about her past work including the Vampire Chronicles, the Mayfair Witches, and her recent series on Christ the Lord.
Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers.
Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag.
Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine.
Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves.
All of them love bribes and demand payoffs,
but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.
Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
the Mighty One of Israel, says,
“I will take revenge on my enemies
and pay back my foes!
I will raise my fist against you.
I will melt you down and skim off your slag.
I will remove all your impurities.
Then I will give you good judges again
and wise counselors like you used to have.
Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice
and the Faithful City.”
Zion will be restored by justice;
those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed,
and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.
You will be ashamed of your idol worship
in groves of sacred oaks.
in gardens dedicated to idols.
You will be like a great tree with withered leaves,
like a garden without water.
The strongest among you will disappear like straw;
their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire.
They and their evil works will burn up together,
and no one will be able to put out the fire. ~Isaiah 1:1-31
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
~ Kirk Cameron
“The history of nations shows that the cycle of the body politic slowly but surely undergoes change . . .
It progresses –
From bondage to spiritual faith
From spiritual faith to courage
From courage to freedom
From freedom to abundance
From abundance to selfishness
From selfishness to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to fear
From fear to dependency
From dependency to bondage.”
1) The number one form of birth control for black America is: abortion.
2) Planned Parenthood is America's largest provider for abortions. It's original name: The Solution To The Negro Problem.
3) According to Planned Parenthood, almost half of all American women have an abortion at some point during their fertile years.
4) According to Planned Parenthood, a major reason why many women want to have an abortion is because "they really want to be the best parent they can be." ????????????. Also, if the reason why so many women get abortions is so that they can be the best parent they can be then why is it that we have so many bad parents and so many messed up kids these days?
5) I also noticed that on Planned Parenthood's website they never ever mention the baby when speaking about abortion. They only use the word "pregnancy" and they use it very cautiously and slowly, as if they are trying to be very careful with the terminology they use. One spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood described the procedure of abortion as "a straw being inserted into the cervix and the straw is used with some vacuum-type of pressure to remove both the lining of the uterus...and then inside that lining is...(slowly and almost choking to say it) 'the pregnancy.'" Um, what? What are you sucking out with the straw? Oh yeah, the baby...or "the pregnancy."
6) Most people say they are not in favor of abortion, yet they support "a woman's right to choose." ??????. Also, I guess the baby doesn't have a say in the matter. ?????
7) Some people say they only support abortion if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, yet most abortions performed are not due to those factors. ??????
8) Apparently the law of the land doesn't consider a person to be a human being until they are birthed. This is why if a baby is birthed it is illegal to kill it. However, so long as it's still in the womb it is, legally, not a human being and can therefore be killed...or "terminated."
The truth is that no matter what your reasons for abortion or supporting abortion, it doesn't change the fact that a "fetus" or a "pregnancy" is still a human being. It doesn't become a human being once it's born. It is a human being from the moment of conception, not unless you got an alien in there, but the last time I checked this is reality and that most likely isn't the case. Almost anyone if they saw a baby in danger of its life, they would rescue to save it. But, sadly, just because the baby is so tiny and because it's in the mother's womb, many people do not consider it at all and they don't even want to classify it as a human being. What kind of sicko would look at a baby being abused, beaten or killed in some way and just sit there and not do or say anything about it? Since abortion has been made legal, society has been conditioned to accept abortion as a normal part of life and an acceptable procedure. Using certain, careful terminology such as "fetus" makes it seem like the baby isn't even a baby, but just a "thing" that needs to be "aborted" or "terminated" if that person feels like it needs to be done. The truth is that fetus (Latin for offspring, bringing forth, hatching of young) is a real human baby and he/she is alive and you are killing it. Doesn't that mean anything to you?
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."
2 Timothy 1:12-13
"When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence, And the humble person He will save."
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man."
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
"But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ."
2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
"Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, 'Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.' Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah."
"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
"I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord; I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, "You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. Give heed to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are too strong for me. Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, For You will deal bountifully with me."
"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed."
1 Timothy 6:17-19
"This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing."
"But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you."
"Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity."
"He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."
"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."
1 Peter 5:8-10
"If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face."
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
"So the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, and everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me."
"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me."
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
"Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised."
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."
"Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord."
By Charles F. Stanley
When I was a little boy, I sustained my share of scraped knees and stubbed toes. After my mother had evaluated the seriousness of each injury, she would bring a bottle of medicine, which I hated. When the cut was deep enough, my mother would apply iodine, which stung like crazy. No matter how much I begged for her not to, she knew best. My crying did not acknowledge her wisdom.
After the tiny applicator was rubbed on my wound—and while I was still loudly protesting—my mother did a wonderful thing. I can still picture it. She would gently blow on the stinging spot. My cries subsided as she soothed my body and, most of all, my heart.
This is perhaps one of the sweetest pictures to me of the God of all comfort. He, by the Holy Spirit, breathes comfort into the scrapes and wounds of life. The deeper the hurt, the more gentle the blowing.
My mother didn’t prevent the pain, though she tried to warn me to be careful. Hurts are a part of a little boy’s life.
Hurts are a part of a believer’s life as well.
Comfort is found not in the absence of pain but in the midst of it. So many hurting Christians believe their walk with the Lord is not as it should be because of their intense pain. They don’t feel comfortable. Yet feeling comfortable and being comforted are two different things. The first is a nice feeling but tends to come and go, as feelings do. The second is a fact based on the Comforter, not on circumstances—and He does not come and go: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
Those who have suffered with pain know that it gets tiring after a while. The weary saint cries out with Paul to remove the thorn (2 Cor. 12:7-8). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself prayed for His cup of suffering to be removed. He was so physically and emotionally weary that an angel was sent to strengthen Him (Luke 22:42-43).
Often, however, the child of God hears nothing from heaven. These are particularly difficult times, especially if the agony has persisted. And it is precisely at these times the Comforter is the most precious: the Shepherd in the valley; the Father to His child; the Rock of ages; the Shelter in time of storm.
Peace is not the absence of pain. We wouldn’t be promised a Comforter—much less need One—if the Christian life was a life of unending bliss.
The Comforter soothes in various ways—through Scripture, through hymns, through other saints (who have probably been hurt), or through myriad ways that that He custom designs to suit particular hurts. He is wonderfully creative, perfectly matching the comfort with the sorrow.
We have this assurance: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” (Isa. 66:13). This side of His comfort indicates His tenderness and gentleness, just as my mother cared for my hurts. As a comforting Father, He gives strength to go on in the midst of pain. As the perfect Parent, He knows exactly how to balance the two.
Here’s the most wonderful thing: As God blows gently on the stinging wound, He remains close to His child. One can almost hear Him saying, “My hurting child, you are so special to Me. I hurt with you. I’m staying right here to take good care of you.” The Father’s tender care can be summed up by the slogan of a billboard that was advertising a local hospital: “The most critical moments demand exceptional care.”
“Blessed be the God . . . of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3–4).
We understand that although suffering is not eradicated, we have Someone who soothes us in the midst of it. Often we cry for even temporary pain relief, but the God of all comfort gives permanent consolation in the midst of excruciating pain. In our text, Paul makes it clear that the comfort from God is not only for our benefit but also for sharing with other hurting people.
Adapted from “Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living” (2008).
© 2009 In Touch Ministries® All Rights Reserved.
By Charles F. Stanley
"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." - 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Have you ever had the experience of closing your eyes as you listened to some brilliant piece of music and later remarked that you were carried away by its beauty? Well, that’s what it means to be raptured—to be carried away. Whereas in the realm of music we talk of being carried away in figurative terms, Paul talked literally of the church being carried away in the air. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians give us just a glimpse of what that day will be like for those living when Christ returns for the church.
There is considerable discussion today among believers and unbelievers concerning this topic. When will it happen? Who will go? Is this the second coming of Christ that Scripture speaks of? Paul takes great effort to educate the Thessalonians concerning these matters. Earlier in this same chapter, Paul speaks of the resurrection of those who have died “in Christ,” indicating that immediately prior to the rapture of the living believers, believers who had died during the New Testament period and afterward would be resurrected.
Tom Constable explained these verses well in The Bible Knowledge Commentary. He wrote:
Then the dead in Christ will be resurrected, that is, believers of this dispensation will be raised. Old Testament saints, it seems, will be raised at the end of the Great Tribulation (Dan. 12:2), for the phrase “in Christ” usually refers exclusively to Church-Age saints. The bodies of the dead in Christ will rise before the living Christians are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
The basic idea of the Rapture is drawn from the Latin term for “caught up”—rapturo. It means that the church of Jesus Christ, those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, will literally be transported from earth to heaven in an instant. There will be no death for those who are raptured. They will be taken—caught up—in the air to be with Jesus! Paul believed that Jesus’ return was imminent, and that brought great comfort to him in his daily struggles. It is not difficult to understand Paul’s longing for this to occur when faced with the trials we are confronted with daily. However, no one knows when this will happen. We do know that we are given His Word as the assurance that it will happen.
A Closer Look
If you have made any attempt to study scriptural references to what the future holds, you know that the major discussion among believers today concerns the point of time that the Rapture will take place in relation to the Tribulation. There are several theories, but two dominate. The first is the pretribulation view. This is the belief that the church will be raptured prior to the Tribulation. I believe this is the view Scripture supports. The second is the posttribulation view, which is the belief that the church will not be raptured until the very end of Tribulation; that the Rapture and the second coming of Christ are a single event rather than two separate events as held to by those who adhere to the pretribulation Rapture.
In his book What You Should Know About the Rapture, Dr. Charles Ryrie compares these two theories concerning the Rapture. But he also asks a very important question for anyone who is about to study the end times. He asks, “Does it really make any difference when the Lord will come? Is it not His coming that is important? If His coming should be pretribulational, then we will praise Him for the fact that we missed that terrible time. If it is posttribulational, then we will gladly suffer for His sake. Either way, we still have the blessed hope of His coming.”
The fact that God has chosen to reveal some things regarding the timing of the Rapture is significant. Additionally, the time factor is important as it relates to the power and motivation of an impending event or events that are soon to come.
If the Rapture is to occur prior to the Tribulation, it could happen at any time, and that adds anticipation to the thought of being raptured into the heavens with Jesus. On the other hand, if the Rapture is not to occur until the very end of the Tribulation—after all the prophecy concerning the events of the Tribulation has transpired—we certainly won’t find ourselves living as if He could appear at any moment. The two views have different effects. Clearly, the question of when is important in light of what we can expect and the revelation of God to the church.
The fact that Revelation 3:10 promises to keep us from the hour of temptation is the basis for my belief that the church will be raptured prior to the Tribulation: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
The only way to keep us from the hour of the temptation is to eliminate our presence, and the means of doing that is the rapture of the church into the air to meet Jesus! Others argue the point. There is nothing wrong with debate, and questions have never changed the truth. Whatever you believe about when it will happen, rest assured, the time will come.
What is the Rapture?
In addition to what you believe about when the Rapture will happen, there is much to be gleaned concerning exactly what the rapture is. From the definition, we have determined that it means the church will be caught up or carried away into the air to be with the Lord, but exactly what does that mean? Well, I believe it covers a number of things.
First, Christ will return. That this event will be one of great drama is vividly portrayed in Scripture. His coming will be accompanied with a loud command from what will sound like the voice of an archangel. This will be accompanied by the trumpet call of God. The implication is that these sounds will be heard all around the world.
The second thing we can know about the Rapture is that there will be a resurrection of those who have died “in Christ.” The dead will be raised even before those who are living will be changed. And yet both groups will experience their respective changes “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52). Neither will be a process occurring over a period of time. It will be as Scripture describes it—instantaneous.
Third, there will be a rapture of living believers who will be caught up to be with Jesus without experiencing death. Although we have used the word rapture to encompass the entire experience, the Rapture specifically refers to the transformation of living believers into immortal bodies without the event of physical death. Paul calls it a mystery, and I can add nothing beyond that description. Whatever happens in that instant is a mystery, but what a glorious one to consider!
The fourth aspect of the Rapture relates to the reunion with loved ones who have died and our union with Christ. Can you imagine what that will be like? Perhaps you never met your father or grandmother because each died before you were born. Many children born during times of war lost their fathers without knowing them. Just think about what kind of reunion that day will entail! And yet, it holds no comparison at all to what it will be like when we see Jesus. The very thought makes my heart long for the day.
There is one more truth regarding the Rapture we need to take a look at. This is the most practical of the five. The doctrine of the Rapture is to be a source of comfort and encouragement. Paul writes, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18).
It is not difficult for me to find comfort in Paul’s words. I never knew my father. The knowledge that we will be united in heaven is encouraging to me. Several years ago my mom died. To know that one day we will be reunited is comforting.
Application: There will be questions about future events. However, the fact that Jesus is coming back is the bottom line and the source of comfort for me as a believer, as I hope it is for you. Whether you believe that the Rapture will happen prior to the Tribulation or at the very end, the fact that it’s going to happen should encourage your heart as you look to the future with great hope.
© 2009 In Touch Ministries® All Rights Reserved.
The Canvas logo can be used to share the Gospel! Each color has a special meaning:
#1 (Purple): God's Glory
First, we have to know who God is. The Bible, God's word, shows us his character: He is the creator of the world, He knows all, He is perfect, He is good, He is pure, He is love, but He is also just! He will judge every wrong. He is the true God!...
#2 (Black): Our Sin
If you think you don't sin. Then you're lying...and that's a sin! We have all sinned at some point in our life. The punishment for sin is separation from God for eternity! That's right, hell. No good work can cover the wrongs. The price is too high...
#3 (Red): Blood Of Jesus
When someone does something wrong, justice is required. God came to the earth as Jesus. Perfect, He took all of our sins and paid the price on the cross. He died and rose again, like The Bible said would happen. How can we accept this gift?...
#4 (White): Forgiven
In order to be forgiven we have to humble ourselves and admit we did wrong. Admit you are a sinner and accept what He did on the cross for you. Believe in Him and let Him wash you clean. Praise God for forgiveness! It doesn't stop there...
#5 (Blue): Faith
Where is your faith? Is it in the world, or in God? What the world promises only lets us down. Everything God promises we can hope in! As you read the Bible, believe and act on His promises. Live-out your faith in everyday life asking God what to do!
#6 (Green): New Life
We have a fresh start and a relationship with God. We were once dead in our sins, but now we are alive in Christ Jesus, "born again." Sin no longer has power over our lives. He will sanctify us everyday making us more like Him. Rest in His grace...
#7 (Yellow): Heaven
Just like with our homes, God will only let the ones He knows personally into His "home." We are only able to have a relationship with Him because we are forgiven. Share this great news with others and bring them to Heaven with you!
Are you living by rules and regulations, or are you really enjoying your relationship with the Father? Discover how you can have the deep, personal, intimate relationship with God that you were created for, and enjoy it.
You can reach new heights of intimacy with God! Learn how to drop your religious baggage and grow closer to Christ. He wants to be your best friend.
Do you struggle with what to wear to church, what songs to sing, or have a hard time with change? You might be caught in a legalistic mentality. Discover the many characteristics of this type of person and how to change.
Posted: September 21, 2009
9:37 pm Eastern
Â© 2009 WorldNetDaily
NEW YORK â You can see most anything at Times Square in Manhattan.
But 60,000 people praying? That's an unusual sight in the heart of Broadway.
Yet, that's just what happened there yesterday for one hour â from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in a Christian rally called Prayer in the Square.
Event organizers from Time Square Church had expected some 15,000. But their expectations were far exceeded at the third event of its kind in the last three years.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who helped the church cut through the red tape necessary to hold such an event, addressed the crowd.
"It's a little strange for me to be up here," he said. "I'm a Jew. But I just celebrated Rosh Hoshana, our new year. So I guess it's appropriate for me to wish you all a happy new year."
Despite the magnitude of the event, no major media covered it â even in the center of the media world on a slow news day.
More than 200 churches joined with the Times Square Church in promoting the rally to pray for the city and the nation.
A 180-voice choir sang worship songs and the entire event was simulcast on the News Astrovision screen at One Times Square and on several radio stations. Carter Conlon, pastor of the Times Square Church, said preceding the event that this Prayer in the Square might be the last.
"The Lord called us to host, fund and organize this event for the last three years," he said. "He told us that the first year would establish credibility with the city, and we have received positive feedback from various city agencies, including the office of the Mayor himself, commending us for honesty, order, and keeping our word. The second year confirmed to local churches that this was not the beginning of some new ministry but rather a gathering for the sole purpose of one hour of prayer, in humility, with all denominations represented and no personalities or ministry showcased. Those who have attended can attest to the fact that this has been so. Everything has unfolded exactly as the Lord impressed upon our hearts it would."
One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr.Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours proving the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.
After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. 'Docta Tillich, I got one question,' he said as all eyes turned toward him.
He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. 'Docta Tillich... CRUNCH, MUNCH 'My question is a simple question... CRUNCH, MUNCH... 'Now, I ain't never read them books you read... CRUNCH, MUNCH...' and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek... CRUNCH, MUNCH...' I don't know nothin' about Niebuhr and Heidegger... CRUNCH, MUNCH...
He finished the apple. 'All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate. . . Was it sour or sweet?
Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: 'I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple.'
The old white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly,
'Neither have you tasted my Jesus'
The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers.
Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.
HAVE YOU TASTED JESUS?
Please pass this on Saints! Jesus has risen... And He's coming back one day soon!!
''O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him "
The Wooden Bowl
I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now,
a year from now.
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson.
The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered
The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.
When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.
'We must do something about father,' said the son.
'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.'
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.
There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.
When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.
Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.
He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?' Just as sweetly, the boy responded,
'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.
' The four-year -old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.
That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason,
neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:
a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life..'
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You nee d to be able to throw something back sometimes.
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you
But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others,
your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you
I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one...
I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
One peaceful afternoon I picked up from my mailbox the strangest looking letter I'd ever seen, a chilling little envelope bordered with flying bats, and eerie serpents whose eyes were tinted green. The letter was addressed to me so as I opened it I froze. What I read turned my complexion three shades of blue. It said, 'My name is Isaac Horowitz. I'm a male witch, a warlock and I feel I need to spend some time with you.'
Now as a Christian from a little church with God's call on my life, a man of faith and power with a challenge to grow I did what any saint would do in my situation. I tore it up said, 'Lord, no way I'm gonna go.' Then gently and methodically the Holy Spirit spoke and reminded me we're God's voice to our nation. It's the church's responsibility to witness, so reluctantly I accepted this witch's invitation.
He had the house you'd expect, the old English cottage, a 'Nightmare on Elm Street' special right to the core, the overgrown ivy, the gate that creaked when opened, somehow you'd expect Freddy to answer this door. The doorbell rang, a hollow gong, the knob twisted then opened, and Isaac stood before me with a grin. His jet black hair and well trimmed beard flowed with his black silk clothes. My skin crawled as he said, 'Please come on in.'
His house was filled with every occultic symbol you could fathom; Hanging pentagrams and horoscope signs, a Ouija board and dungeons and dragons game set on the table, a crystal ball with an incandescent shine. Then graciously he handed me some steaming herbal tea. Its presence caused my memory to jog...I thought of every horror flick I'd seen when I was a kid and thought 'man if you drink this stuff next day you'll be a frog.'
Then he led me to a high backed chair as he meticulously began to unfold his scenario with evil patience. I was given a giant leather bound book jammed with newspaper clippings, thus the reason for this witch's invitation. With eagerness he pointed to each article with pride. He said, 'I healed this woman through a Babylonian chant; You see this man, I cured him while performing druid worship; I was paid to curse this man with AIDS by his aunt.'
On and on, page after page, delightfully he flaunted each incident for an hour without a breath. He said, 'Do you realize through my understanding of the dark regions that I can make you rich or even curse someone to death?' I sat literally intimidated by his immensity in demon power while his face shone with a satanic arrogant bliss. Then placing his hands on the arms of my chair and leaning into my face he said, 'What can your God do to compete with this?'
I knew then how Moses felt, when his rod turned to a serpent and the three Egyptian magicians did the same. It's as if you're sitting there in that stunned moment while your faith gets violated and all you feel is weak, powerless and lame. I desperately and deeply prayed saying, 'Jesus give me wisdom - I don't want to put you through some foolish test. Then a shaft of light shot through my soul igniting my eyes with fire. God stood me up and I threw the book back in his chest.
I said 'Isaac, I'll not compare God's miracles versus Satan's - the issue's not God's kingdom and Satan's lair. The real comparison is the condition of your soul and the condition of mine, and you puppet of the devil, that I will compare. I said, My friend, one day they're coming for you - the soft associates in your incantations - the friendly demons you think you now control. The time will come when you'll be lying in bed wheezing like a dying animal and those spirits lay claim to the rights they own to your soul.'
'Then the room will grow dark, and the most hideous evil faces you ever seen will come flaming out of the floor with a yell! The vile informants that promised reincarnation will claw your spirit and victoriously drag your soul to hell!'
Then I grabbed the book and said, 'In that moment which mantra, which incantation you gonna chant to tell them to leave you alone? I said, My friend, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what I would say...'I'm bought with the blood of Jesus! Let me go!' '
I said, 'Isaac, when you tossed that book in my lap, you gloated with a sinister victory. You rejoiced when you saw your name in black and white. Now I rejoice, but not that your counsel of demons are subject to Jesus, but that my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life!' Then Isaac jumped up from his chair and screamed, 'You must leave now!' I said, 'I will, but one last obligation - Next time think twice before you rumble with a man of God!!! And by the way thanks for your.. uhh... witch's invitation.
I thought this came only once in a person's life, but I think it comes through every major period of tribulation in a person's life. Just when I thought I've seen it all, I find myself getting put through it over and over again. Why has my life always been so full of such extreme challenges and tribulations? Oddly enough, I think there is something special about that. I used to think it was a curse, but now I see it as a blessing in disguise. What the devil wants to use in order to hurt me, God takes it and turns it into a blessing. Wow, so amazing really. It still doesn't change the fact that it's very scary and painful to go through. Why would anyone want to go through a dark tunnel not knowing what's going to happen? But, the result is a major blessing. You will get through it and you will come out on top. So, here I go again through the valley of troubles so that I will again claim victory on that mountain-top. Only God working through me can enable me to be able to say all that.
1. Our intimacy with God - His highest priority for our lives - determines the impact of our lives.
2. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.
3. God's Word is an immovable anchor in times of storm.
4. The awareness of God's presence energizes us for our work.
5. God does not require us to understand His will, just to obey it, even if it seems unreasonable.
6. You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.
7. The dark moments of our life will last only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose in us.
8. Fight all your battles on your knees and you win every time.
9. Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees.
10. If necessary, God will move heaven and earth to show us His will.
11. God assumes full responsibility for our needs when we obey Him.
12. Peace with God is the fruit of oneness with God.
13. Listening to God is essential to walking with God.
14. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
15. Brokenness is God's requirement for maximum usefulness.
16. Whatever you acquire outside of God's will eventually turns to ashes.
17. We stand tallest and strongest on our knees.
18. As children of a sovereign God, we are never victims of our circumstances.
19. Anything you hold too tightly, you will lose.
20. Disappointments are inevitable, discouragement is a choice.
21. Obedience always brings blessing.
22. To walk in the Spirit is to obey the initial promptings of the Spirit.
23. You can never out give God.
24. To live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live His Life in and through us.
25. God blesses us so that we might bless others.
26. Adversity is a bridge to a deeper relationship with God.
27. Prayer is life's greatest time saver.
28. No Christian has ever been called to "go it alone" in his or her walk of faith.
29. We learn more in our valley experiences than on our mountaintops.
30. An eager anticipation of the Lord's return keeps us living productively.
© 2009 In Touch Ministries® All Rights Reserved.
We also want to share with you today some mighty promises of God's Word. Our faith is greatly increased as we listen to the Word of God and confess the truth that we hear. And our hearts find rest as we realize how very much the Lord loves us.
In Deuteronomy, we hear Moses speaking to the children of God saying, "Know, therefore, that the Lord your God IS God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands" (Deuteronomy 7:9). Later Moses blessed God's people and said, "He is your shield and your helper and your glorious sword" (Deuteronomy 33:29).
Throughout II Chronicles we hear of God's great love for us and how His love endures forever. Psalm 32:10 declares the Lord's love surrounds the man who trusts in Him, and Psalm 33:5 tells us God loves righteousness and justice.
We stand in agreement with you on these promises: God is loving, faithful, just, and righteous. He will defend us and protect us as we live for Him. May you begin each day with Lamentations 3:22-24: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'"
If you would like a CBN prayer partner to pray with you, please call our 24-hour prayer line at 1-800-759-0700. We care about you and are always here for you. God bless you!
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Website - www.cbn.com
The 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center - 1-800-759-0700
Walk blindly to the light and reach out for his hand
Don't ask any questions and don't try to understand
Open up your mind and then open up your heart
And you will see that you and me aren't very far apart
'Cause I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
Violence is spread worldwide and there are families on the street
And we sell drugs to children now oh why can't we just see
That all we do is eliminate our future with the things we do today
Money is our incentive now so that makes it okay
But I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
I've been seeing Lisa now for a little over a year
She said she's never been so happy but Lisa lives in fear
That one day daddy's gonna find out she's in love
With a nigger from the streets
Oh how he would lose it then but she's still here with me
'Cause she believes that love will see it through
And one day he'll understand
And he'll see me as a person not just a black man
'Cause I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
I believe I believe I believe I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
Love will find the way
Love will find the way
Love will find the way
Please love find the way
Please love find the way
These are the first ten generations of male human beings: Adam, Seth, Enos, Canaan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. These men of the Bible, over 4000 years ago, knew a prophecy of God coming down to earth to save mankind. Most people assume that the story of salvation is only told in the New Testament. But, actually, the story of salvation was revealed from the very beginning. Even the meaning of the names of the first ten generations of men in the Bible reveals the ultimate redemption of mankind through God and how it would happen:
Haadam (Adam) - the first man; ruddy/human; to show blood (in the face)/red
Sheth (Seth) - put, place, set up, appointed
Enosh (Enos) - son of Sheth, a mortal, to be frail/feeble, melancholy
Kenan (Canaan) - fixed, a nest, to erect, habitation, dwelling place
Mahalaleel - Praise of God, blessed God, fame, strength/mighty, be strong, be clear/shine, make a show, rave
Yered (Jared) - a descent, to descend, he shall come down
Chanok (Enoch) - initiated, trained, initiate, narrow, dedicate, consecrate, train up
Methushelach (Methuselah) - man of a dart, an adult, extent, when, missile of attack, to send away/send for/send out
Lemek (Lamech) - son of Methusael/Methuselah; a cative, someone who is ruled
Noach (Noah) - rest, quiet, comfort
Man (Is) Appointed Mortal Sorrow (But) The Blessed God Shall Come Down Teaching (And) His Death Shall Bring The Captives Rest
This is exactly what God did thousands of years later in Jesus. Human beings are appointed mortal sorrow, but the Blessed God came down teaching (Jesus) and His death brought the captives (fallen human beings) rest. It amazes me how deep and rich the Bible really is to see a prophecy like this in something so simple as a name.
Priest stabbed in May recovers in body, mind
By Jaime Powell
Saturday, September 12, 2009
SINTON — Kicked, beaten and stabbed nearly 20 times. Last rites twice in a single day. Still, Father Shaji Varghese harbors no anger toward his attacker.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church could have been the scene of his death four months ago. Instead it’s where he is living one of the most important lessons in the Bible — forgiveness.
“I don’t take this incident as something very bad because this incident taught me so many things,” Varghese said. “It made my vocation more stronger, my loyalty toward God more stronger. I was made more sure that my God is such a caring one. We are not perfect. It made me know that God answers to the prayers and God supports.”
That May 8 morning, David Rodriguez approached Varghese, 42, following Mass asking him to hear his confession. Rodriguez, who has a mentally troubled past, didn’t say anything that led Varghese to believe anything was amiss, the priest said. Varghese listened to the confession.
Minutes later, Varghese was found about 100 yards from the side doorway of the church soaked in his own blood. Rodriguez was arrested about an hour later.
“I was thinking my time was almost over,” Varghese said. “I went to sleep, but on the third day I started seeing people. It was a glad thing to come back to that.”
Rodriguez has remained in the San Patricio County Jail since the stabbing, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is undergoing psychiatric evaluations to determine whether he is competent to stand trial, his attorney David Stith said.
The response from Varghese’s parishioners was immediate — prayer.
“They were stunned,” Varghese said. “And they were scared. I started knowing the community when it happened. This is an incident that brought the community together to pray for a special cause — that is my life. They started working together.”
Guadalupe Aguilar, 71, who attends Mass daily at the church, remembers praying for the priest in front of the church.
When Varghese, a native of Kerala, India, started at the church, about 1½ years before the stabbing, some parishioners in the predominantly Hispanic congregation had a little trouble understanding him, Aguilar said. After Varghese was stabbed, the membership was all behind the priest, he said.
“The faith is the same no matter what language you speak or what country you are from,” Aguilar said. “It’s about adoring and praising God.”
Varghese believes their prayers saved his life.
“So many thought I was going to die because of the serious wounds,” Varghese said. “The kidney, both sides of my artery, my neck, my cheek, my chest. It was prayer. I believe prayers saved me.”
While Varghese has been on the mend, on Saturdays and Sundays parishioners have had regular get-togethers with their priest to give thanks that Varghese survived, Aguilar said.
“We need to let him know how much we would have missed him and how thankful we are,” he said.
The stabbing left its imprint on the small town church.
Altar boys Anthony Sanchez, 14, and Andrew Sanchez, 12, recalled that their grandfather was one of the first on the scene following the stabbing. As they huddled in the doorway Friday watching the rain after Mass, they said it was their first glimpse of real violence.
Altar boy Joseph Mejias, 8, standing in the shadow of his father Mike Mejias’ legs, nodded solemnly when asked if he remembered that day.
Mejias said his son was inconsolable after the stabbing.
“He took it so hard,” Mejias said. “He loves Father Shaji. He cried a lot.”
While Varghese was in the hospital, Mejias and his son visited, though the boy did not get to see the priest because he was still in bad shape.
Other priests who gathered at the hospital took the boy, who had been crying nonstop for three days, under their wing, Mejias said. After they spoke to him, Joseph quit crying, Mejias said.
Explaining the stabbing to a third-grader was tough, he said.
“I just explained life to him,” Mejias said. “I told him that some people do bad things in the world.”
While Joseph avoids talking about what happened to Father Shaji, he lights up over the priest’s recovery.
“He makes me feel happy,” Joseph said.
Joseph’s father hasn’t yet found forgiveness for Varghese’s attacker or the stabbing’s impact on his son.
“It’s human nature not to, but of course I’m going to try because it is the right thing to do.”
Varghese chalks up his capacity for forgiveness to his upbringing and more importantly his faith.
He went home to India in August for a month and spent time with his mother, seven brothers and sisters and 14 nieces and nephews. During a visit to his brother’s house, Varghese noticed a picture of Rodriguez in the family’s prayer room.
“I asked, ‘Why do you keep it here,’ and my sister-in-law told me, ‘While we were praying for you, we were praying for him also,’” Varghese said.
His long trip back to Sinton left plenty of time for reflection. He thought about things such as his parish, his vegetable garden and the drought. He doesn’t think about the attack all the time.
But day-to-day actions such as shaving, which irritates the scars on his neck, or stretching, which pulls the scars on his torso, are reminders.
“I have pain here and there,” he said, pointing at knife scars on his neck.
“But here,” he said, pointing to his heart, “I’m not angry at him. In my heart there is nothing other than forgiveness. There is still a scary event in my mind. And it may be months or years before it goes away. But I’m not angry.”
Varghese has not visited Rodriguez in jail, though he said he may as he heals more. He regularly asks parishioners who work at the jail how Rodriguez is doing.
“I pray for him,” Varghese said. “God bless, God forgive David.”
I see the different ways that people evangelize and sometimes I think they are doing it right and other times I think they are doing it wrong. It's not really about the result of the person getting saved or not that determines whether or not you witnessed correctly, but how the witness is witnessing. I've compiled a list of bad ways to witness and good ways to witness just based on my own personal experiences, thoughts and of course examples from the Bible.
Bad Ways To Witnessing
1. For example, when someone notices someone doing something immoral and they suddenly go up to that person and say that they are going to hell, that is a really bad way of witnessing. You are not witnessing properly at all because for 1) you are leaving out half of the Gospel message, 2) you are not being loving and 3) you are not being wise. That other person most likely isn't going to get anything good out what you just told them. This is like those people that hold up those signs on the side of the road that say "God doesn't love fags" or something like that. That is horrible because 1) it's not true and 2) you're not telling them the Gospel, 3) it's deragatory, name-calling and 4) no one is going to get anything good out of that.
2) Another type of bad witnessing is involving yourself in the sins of others, such as getting high on drugs or getting drunk, in an attempt to "buddy up" with the unbelievers so that they will like you and want to be like you, the Christian. That is really foolish because 1) you are being a bad influence on them, not a good one, sending them the message that it's alright to do immoral things and 2) they can see right through you, they know that being a Christian means being "goodie-goodie" and if they see you doing these things they will either think you're a hypocrite or just a fool or a drag, they won't have as much respect for you. When Jesus "ate with sinners" he didn't commit their sins, He simply chose to be around them in order to reach out to them. That is the correct way to hang around unbelievers.
3) Trying to force someone to go along with Christianity. Even God doesn't do this. He offers a loving hand. If people reject Him they will go to hell as a natural result of dying in their sins with no savior, but He doesn't force anyone to believe in Him. That is love.
Good Ways To Witness
1) Telling people your "testimony" (story of how you got saved).
2) Showing them the law (10 Commandments) so they can realize their sin and then showing them the Gospel so that they know how to receive forgiveness for their sins.
3) "Street-style" preaching where you stand on the street or go to a mall or store parking lot, for example, and pass out Gospel tracts and talk to people. A lot of "street-style" preachers stand someone and just start raising their voice loud enough for others to hear and they go on with a message that ultimately points towards a need for a savior.
4) Through a story, such as a parable, or art. Revealing the Gospel through artistic expressions. Telling stories to people where the ultimately message is the Gospel.
5) Answering any peoples questions about religion, spiritual issues, life after death, the Bible, etc. etc. that you come across wherever.
6) The kind where you try to build up a relationship. Say you know someone or you get to know someone. You pray for them. You try to be a good influence around them. You might invite them to church. You might have discussions with them about the Christian faith. You drop hints sometimes, but not too often so that you don't come off as pushy. For example, you might give them a Christian book or DVD that you have and tell them how good you think it is or send them a card for their birthday or if they tell you about some difficulty in their life you try to encourage them and say that you will pray for them or you offer them a ride home if they need it. In other words, the unbeliever seeing your Christianity through your good works. Witnessing through your life. At some point this person will become more and more open to the Light until, hopefully, they become open enough for you to deliver the Gospel message.
7) Where people go up to someone and just start talking about random things and then cleverly swerve the conversation into a discussion of spiritual matters. This ultimately can lead to you being able to deliver the Gospel message.
Theyre gonna eat me alive
If I stumble
Theyre gonna eat me alive
Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer
Help, Im alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Hard to be soft, tough to be tender
Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train
Help, Im alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer
If youre still alive
My regrets are few.
If my life is mine,
what shouldnt I do?
I get wherever Im going,
I get whatever I need
while my bloods still flowing
and my heart still beats.
Help, Im alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Hard to be soft, tough to be tender
Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train
Help, Im alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer
Help, Im alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15,16)
"And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9)
"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves . Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." (Acts 20:29-31)
"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
"But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed." (2 Peter 2:1-3)
"This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:15-18)
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
"Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned." (Titus 3:10-11)
I warn you in love. I pray for a hedge of God's divine protection around you, and that you will see the truth and that the truth will set you free. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
The first year I became a Christian I started to evangelize to my Grandpa. I wasn't sure if he believed or not, but he was a very stubborn person when it came to certain things and very set in his ways. He wasn't the kind to show his love through hugs and saying i love you, but he we knew that he loved us very much. I tried to be very loving and respectful when speaking. I tried to talk to him about the Gospel over the phone, but he never liked talking about his personal beliefs. He said that his worldview was fine. That was my first attempt. Later on, I tried to write to him using the style of evangelization that I saw Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron do where they start off with the 10 Commandments. But, my grandpa wouldn't read the whole thing. He said that he had his own religion. Then, I tried doing it over the phone again, and this time he really didn't like it. He felt offended like as if I thought he was a bad person and he was worried that I would try talking to him about it again.
So then I didn't speak to him about it for a long time. I did try to drop hints here and there, like I left a Gospel track at his house one time. A couple of times I invited him to church. A few times I said that I would pray for someone he was talking about who had a lot of health problems. He seemed to appreciate that. He was becoming more and more physically weak and frail. Eventually, he became so bad that he couldn't hardly walk or eat anything. He went into the hospital and then a rehab hospital. My family and I visited him in the hospital and we felt like this might be our last opportunity to reach out to him with the Gospel. We had a lot of distractions, like doctors coming in and out of the room and stuff like that. There was a chaplain that previously tried to talk to my grandpa and he said some very un-Christian things that I don't remember. All of this seemed like the devil's way of trying to prevent what my family was trying to do.
Anyway, over a few hours we were able to speak to him about the Gospel and he had a couple of questions that we tried to answer, but it was really like not important in terms of salvation and we were trying to steer it back to the main focus on him and salvation. We told him how we felt. My dad was like in tears telling my Grandpa that he wanted to see him in Heaven and stuff. He talked about Jesus. I told my grandpa the Gospel message. Then, we asked him if he would like to accept. He said that being in the hospital near death made him think about his life and some of the things he felt bad about his character that he regretted and stuff. I knew God had been working on his heart and I had been praying for Him too for a long time. My grandpa accepted Jesus. Later he told us that he had already done that and was baptized in a church when he was 12, but he was 92 at this point and had fallen away for so many years. So, if he really was saved then this was a re-dedication. Praise God.
This occurred in october 2008 and he passed away about two weeks later. It was very hard because he was really the head of our very small family. But, he was in so much pain physically from being so weak and frail at this point in his life that in a way it was good for him to go and we know that he's in Heaven with Jesus. He was 92 and so he lived a long life and he was very healthy up until the last few years of his life, so considering that he did really well being elderly. My Dad had to take care of all the arrangements and everything and it was like a huge thing because he went up to just go take care of some things where my grandpa lived and suddenly the next morning he passed away. On the way home my Dad was listening to the radio and he heard a song called "Come To Jesus" by Chris Rice. At one point in the song the lyrics go "so fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus." And it was like God had given that song to my Dad just for that very time.
Shane And Shane
Before The Throne Of God Above lyrics
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!
Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
The King of glory and of grace!
One in himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God
It is a group of Bible verses from the book of Romans in the New Testament. If you walk down this road you will end up understanding how to be saved.
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin.
We were born under the power of sin's control.
- Admit that you are a sinner.
Romans 6:23a "...The wages of sin is death..."
Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity. The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever. It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain.
- Understand that you deserve death for your sin.
Romans 6:23b "...But the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Salvation is a free gift from God to you! You can't
earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it.
- Ask God to forgive you and save you.
Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates His own love for us, in
that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!"
When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin's penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life. He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us!
- Give your life to God... His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change. His love bought you out of being a slave to sin. His love is what saves you -- not religion, or church membership. God loves you!
Romans 10:13 "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!"
- Call out to God in the name of Jesus!
Romans 10:9,10 "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
- If you know that God is knocking on your heart's door,
ask Him to come into your heart.
I also look at it like sometimes they won't accept at first, it comes in little bits like a mustard seed and then God can take that and it can grow and grow and that person can start to become more softened for the Gospel. So I pray for the conviction of the Holy Spirit and for God to help the seed to grow and to soften their hearts for the Gospel and that everything in their life will somehow bring them closer to Him.
Also, for a non-believer my point is to help them realize the Gospel message first, not get into arguments about certain issues within Christianity or whatever. Because to me that is like beating around the bush. I'm trying to avoid foolish controversies and stuff like that (Titus 3:9-11). I try to refrain from that as much as I can when reaching out to non-believers. I also try to think of what I was like before I became a Christian, which wasn't that long ago. I needed to hear the Gospel in love, not someone going around and nitpicking at a particular sin I was doing. That would have just angered and isolated me, not helped me to realize the Gospel message of salvation.
Someone out there on the Internet cared enough to explain the Gospel message on their website. Somehow I was led to that website and that's when I first knew and understood the Gospel message. God had been working on my heart for a long time and I had finally prayed to God to show me the truth, what to believe in. When I came upon that website (which I forgot the name of it a very long time ago) that's when I came to know the truth and the truth set me free. I gave my life to Jesus that night. It wasn't prayer and it was even just being sorry for my sins that saved me. I had already done that and nothing changed. That was just part of it. The thing that saved me was Jesus. When I accepted Jesus that is what changed my life. It is a literal miraculous power transformation and renewal that happens inside of you. It's something supernatural. I've never looked back since. This is why I care so much now about using the Internet as a way to reach out to people. For some people it's their only solid connection to the Gospel message.
The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
INDIA — Church burned in Andhra Pradesh — VOM Sources
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
On Aug. 20, The Best Friends Church building in the village of Mahasamudram in Andhra Pradesh, India, was burned to the ground by suspected Hindu extremists, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. A dedication service for the newly constructed church building had been scheduled for Aug. 30. The pastor constructed the building on his property after hosting the services in his home for seven years. Ask God to protect the pastor’s family who live near the burned church. Pray that the believers of this church will continue to gather together for worship. Pray that those responsible will experience repentance and salvation, just as Paul did.
SOMALIA — Christian Convert Murdered by Extremists — Compass Direct News
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Compass Direct News reports that on Aug. 18, a Christian convert from Islam was shot dead in Bulahawa, Somalia, by members of al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist group. In early 2009, Ahmed Matan began facing harassment from Muslim extremists who demanded to know why he had expanded his trading business to Mandera, a town in neighboring Kenya. Two weeks before his death, Matan informed the former leader of the underground church he had attended since 2001 that extremists were monitoring his activities and preventing him from working in Kenya. Matan is survived by a wife and three children, ages 7, 4 and 3 months. Pray for those grieving the loss of Matan. Pray that Somali believers will remain faithful even upon threat of death.
BELARUS — Church Evicted — Forum 18 News
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
On Aug. 20, New Life Full Gospel Church in Minsk, Moscow, was issued an eviction notice by government officials, forcing them to abandon their church building purchased in 2002, according to Forum 18 News. The church is adamant they do not fear the government’s threats. “We’re here praying and believe God will protect us,” Sergei Lukanin, the church’s lawyer told Forum 18 News. “As a lawyer I believe the state could do anything, including the use of force. But as a believer I rely on God.” Government authorities have not disclosed why the church is being evicted, but have repeatedly refused to grant the church’s application for registration. In 2002, Belarus passed a restrictive religion law that made all unregistered religious activity illegal. New Life Full Gospel Church is one of many churches in Belarus facing increased restrictions by the government. Forum 18 News said the government has fined two other churches since July in the western town of Baranovichi. Ask God to encourage members of New Life Full Gospel Church and for their testimony to draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Christ.
Add the PrisonerAlert.com application on Facebook by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/prisoneralert/
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
By: Charles F. Stanley
In the 105 verses in 1 John, love is mentioned more than forty times. That’s a lot of verses in such a short epistle about love. With seven words, however, the apostle John summarizes his teaching on this important topic, “We love, because He first loved us.” We love Him because He first loved us, and we love others because He first loved us.
Love starts and stops with God. He is the Author. He created it out of His very nature, and He desires that we share and experience this wonderful gift to humankind.
When you think about it, our similarities to God are few. We are not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. But God is love, and He wants us to share that attribute with Him and with others. What a marvelous privilege! We are most like God when we love.
I think it is interesting to compare the most familiar verse in the Bible with another verse that John wrote. Most people can quote John 3:16, but look at 1 John 3:16: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
I understand that the numbers or references on the verses are not in the original, but the two 3:16 verses have a complementary message: love gives sacrificially. The world knows little about sacrificial love.
In defining love, I needed to provide three different definitions to give the full scope. That, in itself, shows how complex the subject is.
Agape is the highest form of love. Of the many times love is referred to in the New Testament, most of the references are to agape love. This is what John 3:16 speaks about. This love is totally sacrificial and committed to the well-being of another. This is God’s kind of love. It is a fruit of the Spirit who indwells us (Gal. 5:22). When we look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, we can look at it like this:
1. Joy is love enjoying.
2. Peace is love resting.
3. Patience (or longsuffering) is love waiting.
4. Kindness is love reacting.
5. Goodness is love choosing.
6. Faithfulness is love keeping its word.
7. Gentleness is love being able to empathize.
8. Self control is love being in charge.
This kind of love is not something we can work up on our own; it is an outflow of the Holy Spirit.
The second kind of love mentioned is phileo. This is a brotherly kind of love. The Bible says to “be kindly affectionate to one to another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Rom. 12:10). Furthermore, we are admonished to “let brotherly love continue” (Heb. 13:1), implying that it can diminish if not watched over and cultivated. This healthy form of love should saturate the body of Christ.
The third type of love is eros. This is sensual or sexual love. Though this word is not used specifically in Scripture, it is certainly implied through the admonitions concerning marriage. Although the world has tried its best to distort this—and this seems to be the type of love that is written about, sung about, and acted out the most—God invented eros love for the most intimate part of marriage.
I think that sums up the definitions and also gives us the background that John was setting for us. It is amazing that love is so complex we cannot define it easily, and yet John, “that apostle whom Jesus loved,” summarizes it so beautifully by saying, “We love, because He first loved us.”
Adapted from "Charles Stanley's Handbook for Christian Living" (2008).
© 2009 In Touch Ministries® All Rights Reserved.
By Charles F. Stanley
Have you ever wondered if your life has a purpose? The Word of God says it does—one that is both noble and desirable: Every believer was created by God to love and be loved.
God loves you personally and individually, without limit or qualification. He desires to shower you with His love. Let me assure you of several things regarding His affection for you:
God’s love is the most important thing we can know about Him.
The very essence of God’s being—in other words, His personality and nature—is love (1 John 4:8). It is the reason Jesus came to earth, lived a victorious life, and then died to restore man’s relationship with God (John 3:16). The most important decision we can ever make is to receive God’s love.
The Lord’s affection is absolute, unwavering, and sacrificial. Moreover, God’s love is not subject to favoritism. He loves the sinner as much as He loves the saint. In our human pride or our desire to be “somebody special,” we may find that fact difficult to swallow. But God loves each person with the same quantity and quality of love.
The Bible tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and the sun shines on the righteous and the wicked (Matt. 5:45). This means that with or without faith in God, everyone experiences certain benefits and blessings from Him. But the person who receives Jesus as Savior is in a position to reap the blessings that accompany an outpouring of love into his or her life.
The Lord’s love is not based upon what we do, what we have, or what we achieve. He gives it to us simply because we are His creation. You cannot win or earn more of God’s favor—His unconditional love has nothing to do with performance. Accept and delight in that truth.
The most important response we can make is to reciprocate God’s love.
John said it simply and eloquently: “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19, NKJV). And Jesus said the first and foremost commandment was this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). The only acceptable response to God’s great outpouring of love toward you is to love Him back.
We can choose to rebel. And while this doesn’t affect the nature of God’s feelings, it will change us. Those who refuse to acknowledge and receive divine love cut themselves off from great blessing. Not only that, but such individuals typically yield to anger, hatred, and bitterness. To harden the heart against God’s love is the supreme act of rebellion—in doing so, a person hurts himself far more than he hurts others. Loving God, on the other hand, brings good into one’s life.
Satan constantly tries to convince us that if we follow Jesus, we will have to give up personal freedom, identity, and pleasure. But those who live apart from God’s love inevitably discover they are not any freer because of their rebellion. If they don’t go to jail, they end up in emotional or psychological prisons—caught in addiction or trapped by feelings of resentment. The longer they live separated from the Lord’s love and mercy, the less pleasure they find in life. In that situation, it is easy to become cynical, jaded, critical, and in the end, apathetic to nearly everything.
But those who embrace and reciprocate God’s love enjoy inner freedom they never imagined. They develop as individuals, discovering hidden talents and abilities. They experience true delight in God’s creation and know the joy of perpetual discovery.
When we choose to love and obey God, we can be sure He will guide us toward doing what will bring about the greatest fulfillment in life.
God’s love is our ultimate reason to hope.
If we know with certainty that God loves us and desires good for our lives, what is there to fear? Hope in Christ is for everyone. It compels us not to remain in a state of dread, doubt, or worry but to seek transformation by the Holy Spirit’s power. Trust encourages us to to anticipate God’s best and look for the dawning of a new day.
Our heavenly Father is generous—even extravagant—in His love. Open your heart and let the Lord shower more of His love and good gifts upon you. You won’t regret yielding your life to Him.
Adapted from “Discover Your Destiny” (1997).
© 2009 In Touch Ministries® All Rights Reserved.