Posts belonging to Category Insights For Today



The Eternal God…

The Eternal God“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. Deuteronomy 4:19

“He (God) is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, Job 9:32-33

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth for I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 1 Timothy 2:5-6

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38

For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25

AMEN!!!

Nuggets of Wisdom … spread the Word

Firstborn Son

The mighty hand of God brought Israel out of Egypt so that they could worship God in the desert. The miraculous signs and wonders that God did in Egypt foretell what God will do in the future with His people Israel. The Lord says in His word in Exodus 13 to remember what I did for you and tell your children.

Remember your slavery….remember that you cried out to God….remember that I sent a man called Moses to help…remember the signs and wonders I did…remember the last plague of the killing of the firstborn son and animal…remember it was by the mighty hand of God that brought you out…

Now, imagine that you were this son who was given to God. What do you think your life would entail?

Maybe the firstborn son would learn the scriptures/meditate day and night (Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8)

∻The firstborn son would pray with others/pray without ceasing (Philemon 1:6; 1Thessalonians 5:17)

∻The firstborn son serves others (Luke 22:27; Romans 14:8; 1Peter 4:11)

∻The firstborn son sings songs and hymns to God/sing psalms (Nehemiah 12:24; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12)

∻The firstborn son writes God’s words and miracles for remembrance (Psalm 87:6; Romans 10:5; 2Peter 3:16)

∻The firstborn son reflects God’s glory (1Corinthians 11:7)

Does this firstborn son sound familiar? If you call yourself a Christian you are that firstborn son separated and set apart for God. This is your life in Christ to be that firstborn son. We are sons and daughters to the King and because of that we are heirs to the throne of God.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when God set you free from slavery to a life of a firstborn son?

I remember the room and my single bed and that I was on my knees giving up my control. How about you do you remember what God has done for you?

God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) God did this so that we could all be firstborn Sons. We all could inherit everlasting life.

But you say how can I be a firstborn Son am a girl? Son just means children of a parent so either male or female are a Son. (In some cases Man is also refer to as human but not in all cases.)

First, realize you can’t make it on your own…your life is not your own and there is a higher power…realize you do not like the life your living …you think there is more to this life than this…you realize you have this heavy burden on your heart and you do not nowhere to turn…and then you sense something…someone calling your name…he is beckoning you to turn around…to come home…because He is missing His firstborn Son…so you turn and  walk boldly into the throne room of God…and you find yourselves in the arms of Jesus Christ and you are crying how sorry you are that you ever thought you could live apart from Him…you repent and believe that Jesus Christ came to live and die for your sins and you ask Jesus Christ to come and live inside of you. You surrender your life for His life of a Firstborn Son of a King, Jesus Christ.

Remember and write it down and tell your children how Jesus Christ by His mighty hand took you out of Egypt and set you free. Now, live for Christ and be that firstborn Son so that you will reflect the glory of God. So, others will see and turn back and find Christ.

Thank you, Lord that you made me a firstborn Son for I am not worthy but you are the worthy one. Thank you, Father that you came and died so that I could have an everlasting life with you. Thank you, Lord that you are the one and only one I love and that you do not give up on us but continue to work in us to get the best out of us. Thank you.

Father, I come before you now to pray in all earnestness for your people who are called by your name that they will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways so that they will be called firstborn Son of righteousness. I pray for every family in heaven and on earth that derives its name from Jesus Christ. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:15-21) In Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen.

Love One Another…

Love one anotherJesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples (followers), if you  love one another.” John 13:34-35

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

And this is his (God’s) command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3:23-24

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

AMEN!!!

Success is Knowing and Obeying God, Even When We Suffer

As Christians, we need not be dismayed when we suffer in this life. Those who love the Lord are the enemies of the evil one and his demons. Because the real battle is unseen, we can be blind to the oppression inflicted against us. Satan often prefers that we do not know that it is him who is attacking us. He wants non-believers to be oblivious to the help and hope available to them through Jesus Christ. He wants us who believe in the Lord Jesus to see ourselves as undeserving victims of God, or as foolish and doomed martyrs in the cause of Christ. He assigns the demons to attack us in the ways that we are most vulnerable. The evil one even uses people who, with or without knowing it, are controlled and manipulated by him to hurt us. He tries to convince us that unpleasant or painful dilemmas are evidence that the Lord does not really love us and is not really good.

Especially when we do not have the answers about why we are suffering, the evil one attempts to convince us that God is punishing us. His accusations, of course, are filled with deception. He will do anything in his power to try to stop us from using every situation for the glory of God—even what appears, in human wisdom, to be failure. Satan wants us to blame ourselves or blame God for what we experience as painful because he knows that God’s plan is good for each who believes in Him through Jesus Christ. Each and every circumstance that God allows, whether we perceive it as good or bad, and as a success or a failure, has an eternal, good purpose.

If you are in a painful situation, Satan is either hoping to keep you from knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, or he is maneuvering to impede you as you serve God. Jesus is our only protection from the evil one and his demons. They are in fact terrified of Jesus. Jesus Christ has authority over everything in heaven and on earth. Satan does not want you to know this and remember this as you are suffering. He wants you to focus on yourself through what you think and how you feel about circumstances. He wants to distract your attention away from our Lord so you will not seek and receive the strength, power, courage, and wisdom that is in Jesus Christ and revealed by Him to us through the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes, when we suffer, we do not understand that the reason for the difficulty is to bring glory to God. We can become discouraged by struggles, and see ourselves as failures when we forget to trust the Word of God rather than how we feel, the perceptible challenges that face us, or what we are thinking. Everything God allows is to be used to further His Kingdom. We do not fail as long as we obey Him.

Our Lord is faithful. At the right time, He will reveal the specific reason that He has allowed oppression by the evil one. Perhaps God is speaking to you through these words you are reading. Maybe He is calling you to Him through Jesus Christ. Maybe He is confirming that what you are experiencing is to draw you near to Him so that you can fully know His purpose for allowing your circumstances. Listen to His whisper to your heart. God wastes nothing. He will make known to you what you are to do with your situation.

If you are suffering for the Lord, what can you do? Praise Him for the opportunity to serve Him. Be diligent in reading His Word and dwelling on it. Ask God what you are to know and to do for Him. Ask God what the evil one is trying to accomplish or prevent. We can persist, overcome, and succeed by obeying what God tells us to do with whatever we face. Suffering for the Kingdom of God is a tremendous honor from our Lord. The works to which He calls us, as the result of serving Him through difficulties, are more important than anything we could treasure in this world. Suffering for the Lord brings us closer to Him. It gives us a greater appreciation of what He has done for us. It permeates us with reverent awe of His love and provision for us. And, one day, when we see Jesus face to face, we will know that persisting with faith and through obedience, when we suffer in His will, is the epitome of success. Further, what we do for the Lord, in and through suffering, is success that lasts forevermore.

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17, NLT

New Atheism’s age old question

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Professor Richard Dawkins best-selling book The God Delusion (2006) proved to be one of the drivers for the emergence of the New Atheist Movement. New Atheism takes an aggressive stance against all faiths, arguing that rational thinking and science render religion at best unnecessary and at worst fraudulent. The movement has sparked some very healthy debates between New Atheists and Christians. On the one side Richard Dawkins, and others including the hostile “anti-theist” the late Christopher Hitchens, and on the other side, Christian speakers such as William Lane Craig and Oxford Professor John Lennox.

Across these debates in the Universities and City Halls of America, Europe and Australia one question that occurs is the question of Science and Faith – often posed as Science Versus Faith. And perhaps the …

Great question: How did it all begin?

The question of how everything began, how did it all start, is one which scientists address – we have all come across the Big Bang concept. However, how does a Big Bang result in an ordered universe? After a big bang you don’t expect order, you expect chaos. As someone pointed out, if you took a stick of dynamite and inserted it into rocks or a building to make a big bang, you don’t get order, you get a mess.

Laying that simplistic analogy aside, the idea that we live in a highly ordered universe and not chaos is important. An ordered universe is evidence of purpose, intelligence and therefore of an intelligent designer. Enter the so-called “Fine Tuning Argument”. This states that there are many aspects of our universe, many “physical constants” which are extremely finely-tuned to enable life and the universe as we experience it. For example the precise distance of the earth from the sun, the tilt of the earth’s axis, the precise percentage of oxygen in water. If any of these varied by even a fraction, we would freeze/burn, there would be no seasons, or all sea-life would be impossible etc. You could go on, eg if gravity was reduced by only a tiny fraction, molecules could not form, if it were greater nothing could physically move.

Fine Tuning

This surprising precision of constants in nature comprises the Fine Tuning Argument and points to a Designer. If any of the constants were to vary by even a small percentage all life would be unviable. In fact some authors say that if the ratio of gravitational force to electromagnetic force was changed by an absolutely miniscule amount (1 part in 10 to power 40) stellar matter would not form, stars and planets could not evolve and the universe itself would be unsustainable. That is incredibly fine tuning.

However Christian speaker John Lennox states that the “how” question is not the fundamental question. He says the starting question is not a “how question” but a “why question”: ie …

Even better question: Why is there anything at all?

Why should there be anything compared to nothing?

Lennox argues that the very fact that there is a Universe in the first place points to a purposeful creator and this is no way contradicts science. He has an effective analogy for demonstrating that science and faith do not conflict but answer different questions. He points to a Ford car engine. The engine, he says can be explained scientifically using laws of internal combustion and mechanics. That’s all we need right? But there is a second equally complete explanation for the same engine, and that is … the man, Henry Ford. Henry Ford conceived of the engine, was its prime mover, and was responsible for its design. Lennox’s point is that neither explanation is contradictory. Explanations can be made in different dimensions. There is more than one type of truth. How and Why are different questions.

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Dawkins attempts to force us to choose between science and God, but that is a false separation created by new atheism. The point is that science and faith answer different questions. Science is crucial for answering certain questions, for one type of truth. But those with faith understand that there are truths that lie outside our conceptual framework (what I know or can imagine). As well as scientific truth, there is experiential truth, moral truth, there is truth as metaphor, truths that in fact are simply not amenable to scientific investigation. I remember once listening to a talk by J John who humorously attempted to explain a kiss scientifically. His scientific explanation was something like ….”the lips of two people approaching and engaging in contact, for finite periods of time, and involving exchange of micro bacteria”. Well that is completely true and yet it is not at all the truth. It can only partly describe the enactment of a kiss. And of course it cannot start to answer the question …. why kiss? Clearly there are many types of truth and they go beyond the scientific.

There is no squabble between science and faith

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On his website Saints and Sceptics David Glass points to the complementary nature of science and faith. He says “Science presents us with some of the most persuasive reasons FOR a belief in God……. It would be much more probable if there were a God, that constants would be finely-tuned, and life would exist”. Of course many great scientists have also had great faith eg Kepler who calculated the laws of planetary motion said he was merely: “following in God’s thoughts after him”, while Isaac Newton on discovering the force of gravity stated “what a wonderful God to do it that way!” John Lennox adds to this: “… The more science reveals to me, the more I worship the God who chose to do it that way!

In the end, new atheists criticise what they call “blind faith”: the belief in a designer-God, but they are happy to believe in blind atheism: sightless, purposeless energy. Well that is a great step of faith indeed!

Chris Goswami March 2014

Chris Goswami is Director or Marketing for a Silicon Valley based company and a Minister In Training in the UK Baptist Church. His personal site is www.7minutes.net

Useful Links

MP3 Debate: Science the Universe and the God Question – John Lennox V Lawrence Krauss, from Unbelievable,Premier Christian Radio

Videos – Science and Christian Belief – David Glass from Saints and Sceptics website

Video – Is God Relevant? – John Lennox from John Lennox blog / website

Worship Sounds

Worship Sounds

 

I miss the days when all the best and most widely used worship songs were actually about God. How powerful He is, His knowledge, His love, His wisdom, His mercy, and there was more God-based music.

You know what I mean? “Worthy is the lamb who was slain. Holy, holy is He.” “Indescribe, uncontainable, You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.” “God of all days, glorious in all of Your ways, the majesty, the wonder and grace in the light of Your name.”

Lately, worship music has taken a different spin. A spin toward “me me me me me.” It’s all  about what we get out of it. Everything on the radio and everything played in churches is about the things God has done for us. Don’t get me wrong, we need songs like that. But in the mainstream, I’m not hearing anything new that’s just about God. I mean entirely about God. Where we people hardly need to be mentioned.

There’s also been a sudden rise in “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs. You know, feel good songs that are basically love songs for Jesus written as if they were for a living person. There is an issue with this if you ask me. The love we have for God should be far deeper and far more intimate than the kind of love these songs sing about. “I love the way you hold me. You take each and every day, make it special in some way.” That’s not it. That’s not the point. His love is more accurate in “He loves like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.” God’s love is tough. It doesn’t give me butterflies in my stomach. It makes me fall to my knees and cry out. And it’s exactly the kind of love we need.

I wish worship services weren’t leaning toward radio music. There’s so many deep worshipful songs coming out now. Bethel, United Pursuit, Hillsong, all of these groups, though less popular, have such an obvious heart for God and such their music reflects it. God moves through biblical truth, not a good feeling in your heart. Just something to think about.

Washing Feet?

I think John 13 has a message that is ignored by Christians in today’s church. No, I’m not referring to the concept of servant leadership. That one’s hit right on the head by many pastors.

Allow me to add some context. John 13 is an account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. As he does this, Peter says Jesus shouldn’t be washing his feet. But Jesus says that He must wash Peter’s feet or Peter is not His. Then Peter asks Jesus to wash his entire body, but Jesus says that one who is clean does not need to bathe again, he only needs his feet washed.

This goes right over our heads, as it seems like just another story of Peter misinterpreting Jesus’ words. And maybe that’s the case. But have you ever thought about what Jesus ACTUALLY meant when he said that?

When we are covered by the blood of Christ, we are made new. We are made clean. We will occasionally stumble, however. We will develop dirty feet. It’s our job to make sure they are washed. And it’s also our job to wash the feet of others. We need to help each other on the path to sanctification. That may have been another goal Jesus had in mind for that image.

And it makes sense that he would need to. It’s so easy for us to sit back and not tell anyone about our sin, about our dirty feet. A lot of Christians, when they see another Christian with dirty feet, only think, “Hey! Look at this guy’s dirty feet! He’s not really clean throughout his body because his feet are dirty! Let’s kick him out of the church!”

But those people aren’t taking a Biblical approach to Christianity. You have the chance to. It’s our job to build each other up, keep each other accountable, pray with each other, rejoice with each other, weep with each other. Wash each other’s feet. Don’t be afraid of what someone will say when they see your dirty feet. We all have dirty feet. Let’s wash each others’.

 

Just something to think about.

Pressing on Toward the Goal…

Pressing toward the goalYour word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding. Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Psalm 119:32-33

Great peace have those who love your law, (word) and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165

In the way of righteousness (being right with God, through Christ) there is life; along that path is immortality. Proverbs 12:28

Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’  Isaiah 54:13

Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.   John 6:44-45

Paul writes, I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:10-14

AMEN!!!

Nuggets of Wisdom … spread the Word

Let it Go

Here’s a fact that goes beyond just the scope of Christianity: we will never be able to do anything perfectly.

Yes, unfortunately, from the time in Genesis when sin entered the world, perfection has become an impossibility for humans. This means perfection in remaining sinless as well as perfection in…well…anything else.

The hardest thing for me to learn lately is that I set massive expectations for myself that I’ll never meet. Don’t get me wrong, we should expect a lot out of ourselves, but I was trying to be the perfect worship leader, the perfect boyfriend and the perfect Christian.

And that was terrible. I’d beat myself every time I screwed up a set list, every time I had a not-so-fun date with my girlfriend, every time I sinned. And that’s no way to live, and that’s not how God has called us to live.

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 3:10-14)

There. I know that’s a lot to take in. But I can break it down for you. We all are going to fail. We will never be perfect. But we have to live a life “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” We can’t beat ourselves over our lack of perfection in the past. All that does is prevents us from becoming more and more like Christ in the future. And this doesn’t just apply to mirroring the image of Christ, but to any particular skill in life. We’re going to fail sometimes. The point is to try more and more to become more and more perfect. We may never get there, but we’ll certainly be in a better place than we are now.

A Life Not Worthy To Be Lived?

When does life become not worth living and who decides? Euthanasia and assisted dying.

I am in pain every single hour of every single day”.

Paul Lamb, severely injured in a car accident in the UK in 1990, has made this statement repeatedly. He has almost zero movement, needs 24 hour care and states that his life consists of “being fed and watered”.

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In the latest hearing (Summer 2013) the Appeal Court ruled unanimously against the lamb and one other man in similar circumstances. Judges said the men had “permanent and catastrophic physical disabilities” but the issue of euthanasia “raises profoundly sensitive questions about the nature of our society.” The judges wrote that “Parliament represents the conscience of the nation” and law courts had no jurisdiction to challenge the UK ban on euthanasia.

Of course this is not an issue restricted to the UK – all over the developed world we see similar cases.

But – Is there such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived?

This single question formed the agenda for a small discussion group which came together to discuss the ethics and the draw of euthanasia and assisted dying. Sadly cases such as Paul Lamb and Tony Nicklinson are becoming more common driven by advances in medical technology, and what was once a discussion restricted to the fringes of society is becoming a mainstream topic in our developed and aging populations.

The terms most often used are “assisted dying” and voluntary euthanasia. In this article both terms are used interchangeably. Currently the vast majority of countries do not provide a legal framework for enabling people to end their lives. Notable exceptions include The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the state of Oregon – which we will return to.

Stats and Facts For Mercy Killing

A couple of initial statistics are useful to consider. The following findings are reflected in many developed economies. They strongly support a case for legalised euthanasia.

Between 1991 and 2001 life expectancy increased by 2.2 years. Sounds great. However in the same period, healthy life expectancy increased by only 0.6 years. Thus the enduring effect of technological innovation seems to be a longer and longer period at the end of our lives during which we can expect to be chronically ill.

In many surveys over 80% of the general population state that they are in favour off assisted dying / voluntary euthanasia.

So what happened during the discussion?  The group included a medic who had dealt with people requesting end of life procedures, a member of a pain-management group where end of life discussion is not unusual, a church pastor accustomed to ministering to the chronically sick, and others who had lost loved ones prematurely, as well as several of us who simply wanted help thinking through these issues.Capture

In general there were very strong arguments against legalised euthanasia. One important argument that many Christians (and people of other faiths) tend to present focuses on the “sanctity of life” – that life is given to us by God and essentially it is not for us to play at God. However, as one person said: it cannot simply be length of life that is sacred, what about quality of life? Why is that not also sacred?

A second, very practical point made was around the fact that in some cases people requesting end of life procedures later changed their views, having somehow learnt to manage their situation. This process may have taken many months but is a powerful argument, although it is difficult to state unequivocally that, based on this, nobody should have the right to determine their time of death.

One person went so far as to say that people who take the euthanasia route are doing great damage to the lives of others facing similar situations by asserting that such a life, in fact, is not worth living.

Licence to Kill = Duty To Die

However the most often quoted argument against assisted dying is that of procedural deterioration – known to most of us as “the slippery slope”. Here the case is made that it is all very well for the “chattering classes”, the educated, articulate, and established middle classes, to appreciate the discussion on assisted dying and make their own decision; but what about those in vulnerable situations who, perhaps to relieve perceived stress on family,  genuinely feel a “duty to die”? Or in fact what about those who are not ill at all but neglected to the point where this becomes the least evil option?

Against this, evidence from studies performed in Oregon and The Netherlands (see reference below) appears to be definitive. In the ten plus years of these states passing laws for legalised euthanasia there has been no discernible slippery slope. There is no evidence of people being pressured into end of life decisions that were not theirs. On the contrary there is evidence of families actually persuading loved ones who wanted to end their lives, not to do so. Importantly also, it seems that people in the awful position of prolonged pain who proceed down this path in most cases do not actually want to die. They want the option to die if at some later point their suffering exceeded their desire to continue. In most cases the right to die is not actually exercised.

Other arguments for euthanasia / assisted dying focused on free will, and of course on compassion and the good that can be brought by removing suffering.

Any Conclusion?

There are strong principles on either side of this debate. They may be Christian / faith based or they may arise from a pro-choice / humanist basis, or often a mixture of the two. Principles are important. We use them to build our framework of ethics and moral decisions. But there are also individuals. Individuals can and should make us question and sometimes refine our ethical position. Certainly as a Christian I believe that Jesus had a habit of probing and questioning the moral practices of his day. He regularly exposed the contradiction between principle and individual. And in almost every case he came down in favour of the individual. It is good to have a moral or faith-based ethical framework, but I believe there will always be exceptions that require us to think and act with loving consideration, outside of that framework.

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So was there any conclusion?  Not really. My own view is that UK law is in a difficult place but it may be the right place at least at this time. Assisted dying is not legal but nobody to date has been prosecuted if, acting in that person’s interest, they assisted a loved one to travel to a clinic to end their life.

Would you agree?

This article draws from Paul Badham’s excellent book “Is there a Christian Case for Assisted Dying”.

Chris Goswami February 2014

Chris Goswami is Director or Marketing for a Silicon Valley based company and a Minister In Training in the UK Baptist Church. His personal site is www.7minutes.net

You Can’t Make the Holy Spirit

When the Holy Spirit is present, you know.

While this photo is obviously severely edited, I think it might paint a picture of what it feels like for the Holy Spirit to be covering us.

When the Holy Spirit moves in worship, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s delightful, it’s breathtaking, it’s relieving, and it’s completely and totally out of our own control.

I recently talked about the issue of desiring to FEEL rather than know in Christianity. Well this problem that plagues individuals within the body has also plagued whole individual church bodies as well.

I’ve been to conferences and churches where the speaker didn’t even say a single word because worship kept going on and on and on and on and on. I’ve seen things like healings and revivals scheduled months ahead of time. When did we get the impression that God worked around our own schedules?

Many churches plan their services around healing and revival when it’s just not called for. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe healing happens and I’ve experienced it in my own life. But I know enough from my experience to know that it’s not on a schedule.

Many churches think to bring people to Christ, it has to begin with miraculous signs and wonders. If people are healing or speaking in tongues, it may create a sense of reverential awe. This awe will lead to prayer, fellowship and teaching. And then people will accept the message, be saved and be baptized.

Now let’s take a look at what Acts had to say about the early church service in Chapter 2:

“So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.  They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles.  (Acts 2:41-47)”

It’s in the exact opposite order. And I know that Greek grammar doesn’t call for anyone to list things chronologically, but by order of importance. But that’s exactly my point. Some churches find the miraculous signs and wonders being performed in their own building to be more important than the people who are being saved.

This leads to a dangerous thing. You see, the thing that causes the Holy Spirit to move is believers coming into a place and being transformed by the message of the Gospel. Since these churches don’t start like this, but they want to get straight to the signs and wonders, which they know can only be done through the Holy Spirit, they try really hard to force the Holy Spirit in. And then nothing happens and churches dwindle. Because the Holy Spirit doesn’t just come when we think He should come. He comes when we need Him to.

So instead of trying way too hard to create the Holy Spirit in a room, let’s trust that He will move in His own time and do things we could never imagine.

 

 

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For He is good; His love endures forever

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ∽Psalm 106:1

Matt Redman sings this song “Lord, let your glory fall”. Lord, let your glory fall| as on that ancient day| Songs of enduring love| and then Your glory came| And as a sign to You| That we would love the same| Our hearts will sing that song| God, let Your glory come| Then the chorus would play: You are good, you are good| and your love endures| you are good, you are good| and your love endures| Today

Psalm 106 starts out Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. Why is God good; because His love endures forever. God’s people Israel saw God’s love first hand when they left Egypt. God worked through Moses and Aaron to do multiple miracles so that Israel could go into the wilderness to worship their God, Yeshua. God’s love was shown through each plague that the Egyptians endured for holding onto the Israelites. God said ‘let my people go’ but Pharaoh continue to hold the Israelites. The Psalmist knows these miracles first hand and is giving God honor in his Praise the Lord. Let us all ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.’ We also have stories we can tell of God’s love for us. Recently, the Lord has blessed me with furniture but it was somewhere else and I needed to pick it up. So, I call my church and arranged the getting rid of one couch and picking up another couch. We have a plan and then the Lord has a plan; well, I like the Lord’s plan better. My plan wasn’t going anywhere and it was snowing each of my plan days so I gave up and God came through and I just opened doors for two guys. Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ∽Psalm 106:1

God’s love endures forever. God’s love endures, withstands, suffers, stands, bears, perseveres, remains, carry on these are some of the adjectives for endure. God love is not short live for when I am good but forever. Israelites had a history of forgetting what God had done and did not wait for his counsel. ᶦ⁴In the desert they gave in to their cravings; in the wasteland they put God to the test. ᶦ⁵So He gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them. (Psalm 106:14-15) Sometimes the Lord’s love will give us what we most want but it will be a cost to our freedom or life. For example eating too much caffeine for some of us could cause debilitating illness now or later on in our life; giving us a man or woman that is not right for us because we want them could cause misery for years on end; the job of a lifetime that is within reach but still unavailable we want it and in the end it’s not what you thought and it destroys your family life; and finances are in the red and you don’t want to give up that house even though the Lord says too and you want it. Sometimes, we need to go through the valley so that we can have the mountain views with the Lord. We think we know better than the Lord and we fall like the Israelites because we want control at any cost; the cost of your spouse, children, finances, health, and relationship to God.

When you become blind and deaf you have made an idol for your selves like the Israelites. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. ²⁰They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. We also exchange our Glory (God’s visible presence) for designer clothes, sports teams- TV programs (when we arrange our day around our TV), money, credit cards, electronics, toys, and etc…They become our gods and we exchange them for God. God says bulls eat grass. In Romans 1:22-25 says: Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools ²³and exchanged the glory of the immoral God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. ²⁴Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. ²⁵They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator ⎯ who is forever praised. Amen. God is forever praised but gods are not.

We forget God and the miracles He did at the Red Sea where He parted the water and let Israel walk on dry land. So He said He would destroy them ⎯ had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to keep His wrath from destroying them. Moses stood in the breach to take the wrath on behalf of the Israelites and saved them. Who is standing in your breach before God?

But the people continue to complain and despise the pleasant land. God’s wrath burned again…²⁶He swore to them with uplifted hand that He would make them fall in the desert, ²⁷make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. ²⁸They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they provoked the Lord to anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. ³⁰But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked (stopped). ³ᶦThis was credited to him righteousness for endless generations to come. (Psalm 106:26-31) Who is standing in to intervene for you?

One of the commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Horeb was “You shall not have no other gods before me.”  (Exodus 20:3) Israel was to serve God only and we are commanded to obey the same command. We are to worship God alone…There will be no seeking, praying, worshiping any spirits, the dead or ‘other gods’ but worshiping the true God. (Lev.17:7; Duet. 6:4; 32:17; Ps. 106:37; 1Cor. 10:19-20)

Israelites mingled with their neighbors and adopted their ways. ³⁶They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. ³⁷They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. ³⁸They shred innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. ³⁹They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. (Psalm 106:35-39)

We also mingle with our neighbors (world) and want what they have. We buy the best homes and cars and go on better vacations. We marry our children off to pagan spouses and fellowship with pagan friends. We adapt to their pagan holidays and begin to worship their gods of fun. We forget that God is a jealous God and that He desires a relationship with you and that church is not enough to breach the gap in your relationship. Who will stand and intervene for you?

God became angry because His chosen people were out of control and He had to bring them back so He handed them over to the nations to be oppressed. Many times the Lord wanted to deliver them but they were bent on rebellion. Does that sound familiar to you? We are like the Israelites that we want our way. The Lord will hand us over to our self and we will destroy ourselves. Or like the Israelites we will call out “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 106:47-48)

Who will intervene for you? Are you calling out to God to save me?

God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Believe on Jesus Christ for He carried our sins and pay the price on the cross…Repent of your idols…surrender your control and ask Jesus Christ to come live inside you so you can reflect God’s glory.

Thank you, Jesus that you stand in the gap so that the wrath of God is extinguished. Thank you, Father that your grace is efficient for us.

Lord Jesus you who carried our infirmities and carried our sorrows to the cross let us laid our burdens down and pick them up no more. I pray that you will be our all and all that we will not have other gods before you but cling to the desires of your heart. Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord. In Jesus Christ name I pray. Amen.

I’m forever grateful

You did not wait for me⃒ To draw near to You⃒ But You clothed Yourself ⃒ With frail humanity⃒ You did not wait for me⃒ To cry out to You⃒ But You let me⃒ Hear Your voice calling me⃒ And I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ For the cross⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ That You came⃒ To seek and save the lostᶦ

We don’t realize all that Jesus Christ has done for us. We take Jesus for granted for His birth, His ministry on this earth, His walk of shame, His death and then His resurrection from the dead to be seated on the right hand of God. We don’t see the whole picture of His sacrifice for us. We go to church on Saturday/Sunday and we play this part in a show called ‘Church’. We take our position in the seats as the Pastor/Priest/Preacher/Reverend play their part in your life. We perform our part with finesse and as leading lady/man we excel perfectly in our role but we are lacking the conviction that there is more to this life with Christ then church.

But, you say you are a ‘Christian’ that you go every week or at least once a month to church. Just, because you are filling up the seats at church doesn’t make you a believer in Jesus Christ. It’s what you do when you are not at church that shows who you really are. The word says ‘you will know them by their fruits’. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.  (Matthew 7:16, 19-20) Fruit is a visible sign of the power of the Holy Spirit working in you. When you have a relationship with Jesus Christ it will show in your life as the ‘fruit of the Spirit’. (John 15:2-8, 16) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance.  Against such things there is no law. ²⁴Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22)

When Christians come to know the Lord through their conversions we still have our sinful nature even though we are now forgiven. (Romans 8:6-8) We have a struggle with that sin whenever we come in contact with the thing we love more than God. Are we going to submit to that sin to God or allow the sin to continue in your life? That is why so many people say we have a battle field in our being for good or bad. The word says therefore, since we are surrounded by such a ‘great cloud of witnesses,’ let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, ²fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ³Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff shall comfort me. (Psalm 23:4) We walk through the valley of the shadow of death everyday but if you fix your eyes on Jesus as your Lord and Savior and we throw off all that entangles us (our sinful nature) and run the race with perseverance the Lord says in His word ‘I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me’. (Psalm 23:4) If you have allowed the Holy Spirit access in your life you have a valuable asset; for the Holy Spirit will make known to you the sins you hold in your heart. Now, if you say you are a Christian you will allow the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in your heart; and when He convicts your heart of sin then you will repent and give the Lord your sin. We have a lot to be thankful for that Jesus Christ was born and came to die. I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ For the cross⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ That You came⃒ To seek and save the lostᶦ

Recently, my prayer was that there was something hindering my closeness with ‘my Lord’. The Holy Spirit took me on a journey through my past pain and we came to a door I couldn’t open. The Lord opened that door and it has brought some major pain in my heart and it has caused me to stop writing. Even though my writing stops for a time I continue to read my Bible and pray. The Lord says in His word “a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” their is a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:3-4) A believer though they walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, they will fear no evil, for Jesus Christ is with us. We will persevere and throw off what entangles us and fix our eyes on the Lord for He is our prize; and we’ll be forever grateful to the Lord and to the cross.

You did not wait for me⃒ To draw near to You⃒ But You clothed Yourself ⃒ With frail humanity⃒ You did not wait for me⃒ To cry out to You⃒ But You let me⃒ Hear Your voice calling me⃒ And I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ For the cross⃒ I’m forever grateful⃒ To You⃒ That You came⃒ To seek and save the lostᶦ

The Lord doesn’t wait for us; but draws us near. The Lord wants all to know Him because His heart is HUGE. The Lord is seeking you…His purpose is to save the lost…a relationship with Jesus Christ gives you Salvation and a free ticket to live forever with Him…you become His son/daughter…first you need to repent of our sinful nature and the following others gods…second believe that Jesus Christ was born, died and risen…surrender your life and ask Jesus Christ to come and live inside you… Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Thank you, Father when I was lost you came after me. Thank you, Father that when I repented you made your home in my heart. Thank you, Lord that after I surrendered my life to you that I wasn’t ever alone, again.

Dear Lord, You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and you reign on this earth. I’m forever grateful that you do not stop but continue in your work in our lives. I’m forever grateful that you saw my weakness and pain and you bound up my wounds. I’m forever grateful that your sacrifice on the cross brought healing in my life. I pray that others will repent and believe and find safety in your arms of grace. I pray that you will heal them and continue to work in and through their lives until completion. I pray that they will be rooted and established in your love, that they may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that they would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19) In Jesus Christ name I pray. Amen.

 

ᶦ Don Moen, “Forever Grateful” Forever Grateful, Integrity/Hosanna 1988

Grace of God

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. ᶦ²It teaches us say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, ᶦ³while we wait for the blessed hopethe glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, ᶦwho gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. ∽Titus 2:11-14

Our salvation comes at a price which God gifts us as grace, but it can only happen when we step out in faith. So, grace needs faith to work; we need to continually move forward in our salvation, faith is that action that keeps us going. The definition of faith is belief and trust. We need to believe and trust in the crucified and risen Christ as our Lord and Savior to be saved. The word says for in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. (Romans 1:17) A person who does right and continues to walk in faith will grow into a mature believer that will reflect God’s glory.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But, when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7) For this reason we say “No” to ungodliness, lying, cheating, blame calling, adulterous living, and worldly passions. We say “Yes” to self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Lately, I have been spending time in praise and prayer before the Lord and old songs keep popping up in my head. One old time favorite is sung by Don Moen and the song is “Think about His love”.ᶦ

Let us clear the clutter from our mind and remember when Jesus first appeared in your life. Now:

Think about His love, think about His goodness| Think about His grace that’s brought us through| For as high as the heavens above| So great is the measure of our Father’s love | Great is the measure of our Father’s love| So great is the measure of our Father’s love|

How could I forget His love| And how could I forget His mercies| He satisfies, He satisfies, He satisfies my desiresᶦ

Now, how can we even think about going back to our old life and its desires and pleasures? When we have the love of a Father who gave up His life so that we can experience His grace? How could we forget His love? Those pleasures and unforgiveness will eat you up inside and make you feel guilty afterwards. But, the love of the Father offers you grace that will end your cravings of sinful pleasures that will lead to death but grace leads to eternal life in Christ Jesus. Think about His love, think about His goodness, and think about His grace that will bring you through. Do you think Satan cares about you after he is through with you? “No”. Satan is here to destroy you that is his mission in life but Jesus Christ’s mission is to save. Satan means enemy and Jesus means Savior who do you wish to serve?

  1. We know faith means believing and trusting in Jesus Christ death and resurrection.
  2. We know that God gives us the gift of grace. (1Corinthians 1:4)
  3. Faith includes repentance, a turning away from sin. God commands everyone to repent. (Acts 17:30)
  4. We know that God gives grace to set me free from sin. (Romans 8:2)
  5. Faith includes being obedient to the word of God. (Romans 1:5)
  6. We know God’s grace must be sought in our reading of the word, hearing the word, praying, worshipping in Spirit and in truth, fasting, and having Communion. (2Tim. 3:15; Rom. 1:16; Jude 20; Matt. 6:16-18; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:42)
  7. Faith includes a new relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
  8. We know God’s grace can be resisted (Hebrews 12:15), cast off by the believer (Gal.5:4), received in vain (2Col. 6:1), put out (1Thess. 5:19), and set away (Gal. 2:21).
  9. Faith in Jesus Christ is the act of believing and then receiving the gift of grace.

 

Think about His love, think about His goodness, think about His grace that’s brought us through… Great is the measure of our Father’s love.ᶦ

While we live this self-controlled and upright life; let us wait for the blessed hope the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:12-14)

Our Father’s love…devised a plan so that we could live a life free from sin…so He sent His one and only Son to be born…His Son grew and when he was 30 he began his ministry…many people opposed him and wanted him dead…one of his own betrayed him for a handful of coins…before the judge he was silent…he was whipped until he was unrecognizable…but still he was silent…they handed him a cross and he walked through crowds of people who mocked him…but still he was silent…the nails went into his hands and feet…the pounding the splitting of the skin…the oozing of the blood…think about his love, think about his goodness, think about his grace that’s brought us through…stretched across a wooded cross our Lord cried out… “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus died and 3 days rose to be with His Father God and is reigning and interceding for us…we are redeemed through Jesus Christ blood…all you have to do.

Repent of your sins…Jesus is waiting for you to turn and believe on Jesus Christ who was born…who died and rose on the third day and is seated at the right hand of the Father…so that you can have eternal life …surrender your will and ask Jesus Christ to come and live in you…

Thank you, Father for your grace that brings us salvation. Thank you, Father that you teach in your word to say “No” to ungodliness and personal pleasures that satisfies our desires and does nothing to build your kingdom. Thank you, Lord that you give us hope for a new future in you. Thank you!

Lord Jesus we come before you with hearts that are humble seeking the Great I AM, the Great Shepherd, Jehovah-Jireh our provided. I pray for your lost people that they will see your grace and repent of their sins. I pray they will turn to you and away from their sins entering into a new life of hope. Open their eyes so they can see and unstop their ears so they can hear; so that their hearts will open wide for your love. In Jesus Christ name, I pray; Amen.

ᶦ   “Think about his love”, Don Moen, WoW Worship, 2001

Do Christians Downplay Wisdom?

Christian resource books.

Reading, reading, reading. It can make all the difference in the world.

As a worship leader, I understand how important it is to fall on your face before the presence of the LORD. I know how beneficial it is to truly feel the Holy Spirit surround you in an intimate moment of worship. It’s truly an awesome and awe-inspiring experience.

That being said, one of the problems the church as a whole faces today is putting too large a focus on that intimate feeling. Many Christians believe that the personal and intimate feelings they receive when they encounter the Lord in worship make their relationship with Him closer.

But that’s simply not the case. It helps, but it’s not everything. The Bible, especially in the Psalms, when a reference is made to a close encounter with God, the result is usually knowledge or wisdom rather than a feeling. We begin to admire, respect and love the Lord more when we know Him and accept His knowledge and wisdom. Proverbs 2 says:

“Yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.”

And, of course, that’s just one passage. You can find plenty of others for yourself.

Basically, if you really love the Lord, it’s crucial for you to go through the Word and learn about who He is. Otherwise, it’s like you’re investing in a long term relationship with someone just to hug, hold hands and kiss, but without any desire to learn anything about your significant other.

I don’t know why so many people have embraced such a lazy theology. Maybe it’s because our pastors tell us to be content not knowing everything, and we take it a step further and are content not knowing anything. Maybe our society based on instant gratification has spoiled us a little bit.

It’s time to break free from that. Because knowledge of the Lord is the best, no, the only way to grow closer to Him, and to become more like Christ. If the objective of a Christian is to grow more into the image of Christ, then we should strive to know Him and His Father who sent Him.

And if that isn’t enough, think about this. At some point in all of our lives, someone is going to come to us and ask us about our beliefs. A coworker, family member or friend will ask about Jesus, or something in the Bible, or they may even challenge us. How can we explain or defend our beliefs if we don’t even know what we believe.

That’s why getting into the Word and getting a deeper knowledge of Christ is just as important as, if not more important than, getting a spiritual high once a week in a worship service or during quiet time. The LORD desires to know us on a personal level. We should desire the same thing from Him.

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http://theneedlewgur.wordpress.com