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Is gentleness a mark and part of the character of a follower of Jesus?

Gentleness

Gentleness is a mark and a part of the character of a follower of Jesus. We know from Galatians 5:22 that gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

How do others know I am following Jesus? They see my gentleness. Jesus himself, in His Manifesto, said “Happy are those who are gentle (meek) for they will inherit the earth.”

The Greek word is πραΰτης praëtēs, prah-oo´-tace meaning mildness, humility or meekness. Jesus himself said we would be happy if we are gentle.(meek). The benefit is we will inherit the earth.

Responses to the assertion that the Bible condones slavery

Frequently, atheists and agnostics point to the Bibles support of slavery as a reason not to believe in God. In this article, we’re offered “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “The Bible condones slavery.”

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

Response #1: “What do you mean by ‘slavery’? Are you referring to the kind of ‘new world’ slavery that is part of our history as Americans? That form of slavery was very different than the ‘ancient near-eastern’ servitude described in the Bible. Slaves in America were taken so that their masters would benefit economically, but biblical ‘slavery’ was often focused on the economic relief of the servant. American slaves were taken into captivity against their will, but in biblical times, the path into ‘slavery’ was varied and, in many cases, voluntary. American slaves were often treated as property, but biblical ‘slaves’ were treated as humans and protected by biblical law. American slaves had little recourse if they wanted to be free of their master, but biblical ‘slaves’ were offered severalpaths to freedom. Have you considered the fact that the servitude described in the Bible is nothing like the slavery you might have in mind?”

OR

Response #2: “The slavery described in the Bible is nothing like the kind of slavery known to the modern world. In most cases it was far closer to ‘indentured servitude,’ and involved people who were either accused of a crime or were working to pay off a debt. Despite this reality, many modern-era Christians misinterpreted biblical descriptions of ‘slavery’ to advance their own selfish subjugation of American and European slaves. This doesn’t mean they were properly interpreting what the Bible says about slaves, however. In fact, the abolition movement in America and abroad was formed (and eventually implemented) by Christians like William Wilberforce, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley and the entire Quaker movement. They cited the authority of the Bible when arguing against American and European slavery. How could such a movement refer to the Bible to make its case if the Bible condones slavery?”

Read more here:

Quick Shot: “The Bible condones slavery” | Cold Case Christianity

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God has a plan for us. What is it? Healing and restoration.

Crutches

Crutches

Jesus didnt cause anyone to be lame. It was never about character building. There was no lesson to be learned. No patience needed.

People came to Jesus. All the time. Jesus always healed them.

Jesus didnt give crutches to the lame. Jesus commanded them to stand.

They did at His word. Now that is stunning.

His goal for us is that we be whole and complete. He wants us to walk. He doesn’t give us crutches and wheelchairs. 

What an amazing God we serve. He makes us whole again. God is great. 

 …    the lame came to Him in the temple , and He healed them.  | Matthew 21:14

God has a plan for us. What is it? Healing and restoration.

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Hebrews 12:12-13

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Are We Allowing God to Break Our Chains? 

Ian Deboer shares an Appeal to Heaven Devotional on God’s forgiveness.

Scripture

Jeremiah 33:8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

I will purify them from all the iniquity they have committed against me,and I will forgive all the iniquities they have committed against me, rebelling against me.



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What Does the Bible Say about Freedom?

“Biblical freedom has a theological component which sets it apart. In the Bible, people are made free for a specific purpose: to serve God.”

Freedom as a Biblical Theme

What is the central theme of the entire Bible? What is the key narrative that stretches throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament? A number of words might come to mind: love, grace, transformation.

Consider the following: Freedom from slavery. In fact, one can make a compelling argument that freedom from slavery is the primary theme and message of the Bible.

They can take our lives but can they take our freedom?

In Jesus, we have true freedom. Jesus has set us free and we are free indeed.

On May 24, 1995, five days after its official premiere in Los Angeles, Braveheart was released to theaters nationwide in the USA. The movie starred Mel Gibson as the 13th century Scottish rebel leader William Wallace. He also directed it. And, as you probably know, it was a huge success.

Today, almost everyone is aware of the famous (and oft-parodied) line Gibson shouts to his men, just before they fight the much larger English army at what is known historically as the Battle of Stirling Bridge:

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”

What does Jesus have to say?

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John  8:32

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed.” Luke 4:18

This line is part of the response Gibson gives after one nervous Scottish soldier suggests it might be better to retreat and live to fight another day. Gibson says:

“Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And, dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!?! Alba gu bra!” *

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen Braveheart, you can view a clip of this scene online.

The inspiring speech Mel gives in it is fictional, but Braveheart is based on true historic events. We have men and women in the United States who echo these words daily. They fight for our freedom. They fight for others freedom and liberation from tyranny. They do it freely knowing they may die. Some do. They do it for us and they do it for others.

William Wallace was a key leader of the Scottish rebellion against the English in the 13th century. And, at the bloody Battle of Stirling Bridge, fought on September 11, 1297, his outnumbered followers did indeed defeat a larger English army.

That battle and the legends that developed about Wallace inspired Scots to continue and ultimately achieve the goal of Scottish independence. Unfortunately, Wallace was caught, tortured, disemboweled and beheaded before that came to pass, as is graphically depicted in Braveheart.

History buffs have noted that some things in Braveheart stray more than a wee bit from the facts.

For example, the Lowland Scots that Wallace led didn’t wear kilts, like they do in the movie.

And, the bridge that played a major role in the Battle of Stirling Bridge — by creating a bottleneck that prevented English troops from overwhelming the Scots — was nowhere to be seen in the movie.

But somehow, as I rewatch Mel’s rousing speech on this anniversary of the release of Braveheart, those seem like nitpicks. Alba gu bra!

* In Scottish Gaelic, “Alba gu bra” means “Scotland forever!”

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What is Christian freedom?

The Bible states emphatically  that believers are free in the Messiah Jesus:

“It is for freedom that the Messiah has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

Before Jesus died on a cross, God’s people lived under a detailed system of laws that served as a moral compass to guide their lives. The Law, while powerless to grant salvation or produce true freedom, nevertheless pointed the way to Jesus.

Through His sacrificial death, Jesus fulfilled the Law, setting believers free from the law of missing God’s goal [aka sin] and death. God’s laws are now written in our hearts through the Spirit of God, and we are free to follow and serve Jesus in ways that please and glorify Him. In a nutshell, this is the definition of Christian freedom.

An important aspect of Christian freedom is our responsibility not to return to living under the Law. The apostle Paul compared this to slavery:

“Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)

Continuing to live under the Law after salvation is merely a legalistic form of religion. We cannot earn righteousness through the Law; rather, the Law’s purpose was to define our sin and show our need of a Savior.

Christian freedom involves living not under the burdensome obligations of the Law but under God’s grace:

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14)

In the Messiah, we are free from the Law’s oppressive system, we are free from the penalty of sin, and we are free from the power of sin.

Christian freedom is not a license to sin. We are free in the Messiah but not free to live however we want, indulging the flesh:

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13, NLT)

Believers aren’t free to sin, but free to live holy lives in the Messiah.

Christian freedom is one of the many paradoxes of the Christian faith. True freedom means willingly becoming a slave to Christ, and this happens through relationship with Him.

In Romans 6, Paul explains that, when a believer accepts Jesus, he or she is baptized by the Spirit into the Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection. At that moment, the believer ceases to be a slave to sin and becomes a slave of righteousness:

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17–18, ESV)

Only Christians know true freedom:

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36)

  • But what does Christian freedom look like in a practical sense?
  • What are we free to do and not do?
  • What can we watch on TV?
  • What can we eat and drink?
  • What can we wear to the beach?
  • What about smoking and drinking?
  • Are there limits to Christian freedom?

In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul gives a practical illustration of Christian freedom:

“‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:23–24, NIV).

In writing to the church in Corinth, Paul mentions members who were attending meals in pagan temples, just as they had done before receiving Jesus as the Messiah. They felt free to continue participating because they thought these festivals were merely a normal part of the social culture. They didn’t see their actions as pagan worship.

Paul laid out several warnings, reminding the Corinthians of Israel’s dangerous flirtation with idolatry in the Old Testament. Then he handled the practical concern of eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

“Everything is permissible,” the Corinthians were saying. True, Paul says; Christians have a great deal of freedom in the Messiah. However, not everything is beneficial or constructive. Our freedom in Jesus must be balanced by a desire to build up and benefit others. When deciding how to exercise our Christian freedom, we ought to seek the good of others before our own good.

In Judaism, restrictions were placed on purchasing meats in the market. Jews could only buy and eat kosher meats. Paul said believers were free in Christ to buy and eat any meat. However, if the issue of meat sacrificed to idols came up, believers were to follow a higher law. Love is what limits Christian freedom.

A little later in the chapter, Paul wrote about eating meat as a guest in someone’s home. Christians are free to eat whatever they are served without questions of conscience. But, if someone brings up that the meat has been offered to an idol, it is better not to eat it for the sake of the person who raised the issue of conscience. While believers have freedom to eat the meat, they are compelled to consider what’s best for those who are observing their behavior.

Romans 14:1–13 raises a key determiner in understanding the limits of Christian freedom. In the passage, Paul again brings up the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols and also observing certain holy days. Some of the believers felt freedom in the Messiah in these areas while others did not. Their differing perspectives were causing quarrels and disunity. Paul emphasized that unity and love in the body of Jesus are more important than anyone’s personal convictions or Christian liberty:

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:13)

Essentially, Paul’s message to the New Testament believers and to us today is this: even if we believe we are right and have Christian freedom in an area, if our actions will cause another brother or sister to stumble in his or her faith, we are to refrain out of love.

Paul spoke again of the matter in 1 Corinthians 8:7–9:

“Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”

The issue in New Testament times was eating meat offered to idols; today there are other “gray areas” that arise in our Christian walk. Romans 14:1 calls these “disputable matters,” areas where the Bible does not give clear-cut guidelines on whether a behavior is sin. When we are faced with gray areas, we can rely on two guiding principles to regulate our Christian freedom: let love for others compel us not to cause anyone to stumble, and let our desire to glorify God be our all-encompassing motive.

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Why is freedom so important to the Christian life?

Susan Pons talks about why freedom is so very important to the Christian life and to families. Susan grew up in Valdese, North Carolina. Prior to her marriage, she performed professionally on stage and dinner theaters. The mother of four and grandmother of eight, she and her husband, Larry, direct Christian Training Center, International, a ministry dedicated to the restoration of families. She has loved her life.

Check out Susan’s book here.

 

“Whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

2 Corinthians 3:16 — Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack.

Throughout the year, we welcome individuals, couples, and families from around the world who are seeking to strengthen their relationships – with God, within their own families, and with their fellow believers. Every session, individuals, couples, and families from around the world are transformed, healed, and renewed.

Barriers to forgiveness, personal growth, and hope are overcome in a supportive and intimate environment. Join us in this safe and holy place where painful and complex situations can be worked through – a place of hope and healing.

Learn more and register

Teaching topics include:

  • The Plan of God for Family
  • Duty vs Intimacy
  • Fatherhood
  • Communication
  • Covering
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Defeating Parenting Fears
  • Discipline
  • …and more!


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Is God’s justice impartial?

Image result for justice mercy faithfulnessJustice is a term used for what is right or “as it should be.” Justice is one of God’s attributes and flows out of His holiness. Justice and righteousness are often used synonymously in the Bible.

Since righteousness is the quality or character of being right or just, it is another attribute of God and incorporates both His justice and holiness.

Is God fair? Yes. God’s justice is without any partiality. I can trust God completely.

God calls on me to act justly. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23)

The moral righteousness of God is revealed in his laws and expressed in his judicial acts. God’s commands and judgments meet perfect standards of justice, and his apportioning of punishments and rewards is also perfectly just. God’s justice is impartial. God is God. God’s justice will be done.

A major aspect of justice is impartiality. A God who did not care about the difference between right and wrong and did not judge me for acting one way or the other would not be an admirable being worthy of my love or trust. The fact that God is just and will judge between right and wrong gives ultimate moral significance to my life and makes me accountable for my actions.

Special praise goes to Jesus for vindicating the penitent and the needy who have no human champions. Ultimately, all God’s ways will be seen as just and equitable.

  • 1 Peter 1:17 (NASB) — If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
  • Deuteronomy 10:17 (NASB) — “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.”
  • Acts 10:34 (NASB) — Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality.”
  • 2 Chronicles 19:7 (NASB) — “Now then let the fear of the Lord be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe.”
  • Romans 2:11 (NASB) — For there is no partiality with God.
  • Job 34:19 (NASB) — Who shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, For they all are the work of His hands?
  • Galatians 2:6 (NASB) — But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.
  • Daniel 5:27 (NASB) — “ ‘TEKĒL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient.
  • Romans 2:5 (NASB) — But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
  • Ephesians 6:9 (NASB) — And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
  • Colossians 3:25 (NASB) — For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

Image result for justice mercy faithfulness

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The Deadly Deception of Sexual Atheism in the Church

Below is an article on The Deadly Deception of Sexual Atheism in the Church by Kenny Luck, founder of Every Man Ministries, men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, and ChristianMingle.com advisory board member, provides biblically oriented teaching and leadership for men and pastors seeking relevant, timely material that battle cultural, worldly concepts threatening men and God’s men. Go to everymanministries.com for more information.

The guy sitting across from me is a professing and practicing Christian. He drops by my office unannounced today to talk to me about his new online-dating life. Specifically, he wants to talk about the over willingness of Christian women he has encountered on several of his dates who want to jump right from a very public conversation and vanilla latte at Starbucks to very private whispers and physical exchanges between the sheets back at his place.

Usually this gender scenario is reversed, but the sex, love and dating landscape continues to move in a progressively liberal direction among Christians without any solid indicators that it will change anytime soon. Both genders today, across all ages and Christian demographics, are prone to compartmentalize their faith away from their sexual life.

While Christian singles report that praying and church attendance are highly desirable qualities in the dating matrix, a troubling and confusing dichotomy arises when the issue of sex before marriage presents itself. Specifically, single Christians enter a sexual fog. That fog clouds and hides the reality that an identity rooted in Christ should manifest itself in intelligent and hope-filled sexual restraint based on God’s promises and instead replaces it with fear and pride-filled choices based on some other promise they believe more.

Read More Here:

Charisma Magazine

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Has Jesus finished everything He came to do?

John 19:30 - It is complete

John 19:30 – It is complete

Jesus had been thirsty. They gave him some sour wine.

Jesus knew everything God had sent him here to accomplish was done. This was the next to last thing he said from the cross.

Imagine knowing that you had finished it all. Nothing left undone. Every prophecy fulfilled.

All the suffering was over. Every single goal, plan and detail completed with never missing a thing. Only the Son of God could do this.

And Jesus, our Master and the Messiah did it.

Everything complete.

Well done Master Jesus.

Well done our Savior.

Well done our Redeemer.

The Scripture

A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth.

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. | John 19:29-30 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

 

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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What does it mean to free? 

Larry Pons is the chief executive of the Christian Training Center International. Larry lays out the importance of the freedom we have in Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:17  (CSB)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

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Is love optional?

Is love optional? Yes, I get to decide whether to love or not. So do you. I often am not loving. I can be mean and cruel. I have no defense. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

There is good news in that the Word of God and Jesus offers an understanding of the source, character, requirement and value of love, based on the nature and actions of God our Father. Jesus sums up God’s goal (command) for us as one of loving God and our neighbors.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Jesus | Matthew 22:37

I must confess that I am not the best at this. I am challenged many days. Let’s dig in. There is much to learn on how to love.

The Greek word here is ἀγάπη agape. The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament.

How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word loveagape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love.

It does not refer to close friendship or brotherly love”, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13 (see below).

Is love optional?

This is where I have to get clear with what it means to be a servant in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is King (in complete charge) and Jesus has given me a command. This is not like at work where you can minimize a weakness or even just ignore it. Jesus compels me to love. I must break through.

God is love! God is in a good mood! Love is the main thing that demonstrates our relationship with God and Jesus. Loving is not optional.

If I don’t love, I don’t know God. This is absolute and not relative. There is no questioning it at all. Again, Jesus is clear. If I don’t love, I don’t know God at all.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. | 1 John 4:7–8 (NASB)

How do we define love?

What does it look like? The Apostle Paul gave it a shot in 1 Corinthians 13. It is the classic definition. Mainly he defines it by saying what it isn’t.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. | 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 (NASB)

Much has been written on these verses. I tend to think they speak for themself.

The real question is, how can I love? It doesn’t seem to be in my grasp.

Here is key!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love … Galatians 5:22 (NASB)

Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 (NASB)

God has given us the power to love through His Holy Spirit. So even thought I can’t do it on my own, God is good to give me the power of His Holy Spirit who enables what I can’t do by myself sometimes.

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God’s Love

Is Cursing Really That Big of a Sin? 

Here is a great article on a very important question.  Is it okay to curse and swear?

Are we missing God’s goal for our lives (aka sin) when we do?

“It’s only when I’m in the moment;” “Some situations you just have to say it;” “My parents cursed in front of me all the time and they were okay with it.”

We all will justify our words when it comes to cursing, cussing, speaking profanity, letting zingers go, whatever it is you call the use of words when we are angry, sad, trying to be funny, or just speaking in regular conversation.

However, what seems like inconsequential words are actually sins, creating gateways for further, more dangerous sins to be committed. From Jesus to the apostles to Moses, cursing is conveyed in the Scriptures as a big deal to God and an indicator of a carnal-minded person.

But how big of a sin is cursing?

Read More Here:

Is Cursing Really That Big of a Sin? – Topical Studies

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Are my prayers just monologues?

Prayer

Prayer

I am hoping that God doesn’t feel this way when I pray. I have heard lots of prayers (including my own) that feel like a monologue.

It has me thinking for sure. I am wondering.

God’s goal for us is for us to pray in a way that is a conversation. God also wants us to listen to Him.

What is God saying?

Do I hear Him?

Is my focus on understanding what God wants?

May my prayers be a conversation (not a monologue) with my Father!!!

“Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses.”  ~Margaret Millar

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Has God Forsaken Us? 

Long time friend of the Inn, Judy Ward, blesses us with her wisdom during our 2019 Appeal to Heaven Conference.

Scripture

Isaiah 49:13-16 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Shout for joy, you heavens!
Earth, rejoice!
Mountains break into joyful shouts!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

Zion says, “The Lord has abandoned me;
the Lord has forgotten me!”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or lack compassion for the child of her womb?
Even if these forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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God has a plan. He uses it for His glory. He uses it for our redemption.

Palm SundayJesus was performing many signs and wonders. The raising of Lazarus from the dead capped it off. That had everyone talking. Hopes of the Messiah were running deep in the crowds.

Six days before Passover Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey with a massive crowd putting palm branches on the ground and hailing him as King of Israel. This sent the religious leaders over the edge. They were going to do something about Jesus. They would kill him. That would take care of it they reasoned. Little did they know.

Jesus is King (i.e., He is  in control of God’s government and God’s world). The people recognized it. They shouted it out at the top of their lungs.  The leaders wanted him dead. We know who got their way in the short run.

God has a plan. He uses if for His glory. He uses it for our redemption. Now that is some good news. No longer are we slaves to missing God’s goal for our lives. Jesus has set us free.

God had a plan to bring us to Him even though we miss His goal (sin) for our life. He still does. Jesus would die to reconcile the difference between our missing God’s goal and living out His plan.

  • Jesus died for us.
  • Jesus was resurrected.
  • Jesus ascended into heaven where He is now King (in charge of God’s government).

The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Yes! The King of Israel!

Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it: No fear, Daughter Zion: See how your king comes, riding a donkey’s colt.

The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to him.

The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.” | via John 12:12-19 (The Message Bible)

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Is patience important in enduring life’s circumstances and sufferings?

Patience

I hate pain. I try to avoid suffering, I hate being poor and I don’t go out of my way to look for affliction. But pain, suffering, poverty and affliction find me. They find all of us.

If you are free of these things, brace yourself and be patient. All you have to do is live long enough. Suffering and affliction are human conditions. And when suffering and affliction come, be patient, remembering that God is God and in a good mood. There is a reason!

Patience is a gift of God in enduring life’s circumstances and sufferings. We know that in this world we will have trouble and suffer. Jesus promised that would be true. Persecution will come our way when we follow Jesus. Again, Jesus promised that.

Our patience finds favor with God even in the middle of suffering. Our patience moves God and Jesus shows us great compassion.

Patience is an attitude of the heart. It is because of the patience of Jesus suffering on my behalf that I have salvation. With the strength of the Holy Spirit, I can endure suffering with patience. I can persevere. I can finish the race. w00t!

The Greek word here is ὑπομένω hupŏmĕnō, hoop-om-en´-o. It means to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere:— abide, endure, (take) patient (-ly), suffer, tarry behind.

1 Peter 2:20–23 (NASB) — For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.

Now this is interesting. I should be joyful when I encounter trials and my faith is tested. Really? Yup!

James 1:2–4 (NASB) — Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

And here is much more! 

  • Luke 8:15 (NASB) — “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
  • Luke 21:19 (NASB) — “By your endurance you will gain your lives.” ~Jesus
  • Romans 5:3–4 (NASB) — And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.
  • Romans 8:25 (NASB) — But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
  • Romans 12:12 (NASB) — Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.
  • Colossians 1:11 (NASB) — Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously.
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NASB) — Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus the Messiah in the presence of our God and Father.
  • Titus 2:2 (NASB) — Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
  • Hebrews 12:1–3 (NASB) — Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
  • James 5:8 (NASB) — You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
  • 1 Peter 5:8–10 (NASB) — 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.
  • Revelation 1:9 (NASB) — I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
  • Revelation 13:10 (NASB) — If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
  • Revelation 14:12 (NASB) — Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

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Will God lead us in a direction that he won’t give us strength to endure?

GlorySome people don’t get what God is doing. They see His powerful Spirit working in us and are confused about what it means.

They ridicule, scoff, mock and minimize His mighty work. When that happens, we are fortunate. Nothing like some abuse heaped on us because of Him.

God has a goal for us. It may require that to bring glory to God we must suffer. Others may mock us because of what God is doing. We should consider ourselves fortunate.

How Much Does God Love Israel? 

Kiara shares a Appeal to Heaven devotional. How much does God love Israel?

Kiara gives a great explanation.

Scripture

Genesis 13:14-15 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Lord said to Abram, “Look from the place where you are. Look north and south, east and west, for I will give you and your offspring forever all the land that you see.

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan? 

Ron Rhodes, president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, is heard regularly on nationwide radio and is the author of  Christianity According to the Bible and The 10 Things You Need to Know About Islam. He holds Th.M. and Th.D. degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary. Visit his website at ronrhodes.org.

Lucifer became so impressed with his own beauty, intelligence, power, and position that he began to desire for himself the honor and glory that belonged to God alone. This pride represents the actual beginning of sin in the universe—preceding the fall of the human Adam by an indeterminate time.

How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?

The story of Lucifer’s fall is described in two key Old Testament chapters—Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. Let’s briefly look at both of these.

It would seem from the context of Ezekiel 28 that the first ten verses of this chapter are dealing with a human leader. Then, starting in verse 11 and on through verse 19, Lucifer is the focus of discussion.

Read more here:

How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan? by Ron Rhodes

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A Prayer for Supernatural Protection

Are you feeling exposed today? Seeking the kind of shelter described in Psalm 91? Run to the Father’s fortress with these words on your lips and in your heart, knowing that God will stand guard over any area of your life you surrender to Him. Will you pray with me now for his divine protection?

Lord Jesus,

The world is changing so fast. Every day the media relays tales of those who disregard law, devise evil, and destroy both people and property. And because of what’s happening, fear sometimes rises up in my heart—for me, for those I love, and for people everywhere. Yet I know you are in control.

Am I working for myself? Who am I working for?

God's Work, our hands

God’s Work, our hands

My work is not for myself. My work is for our God. I am a slave to my Master Jesus. My service is to God and not to my employer.

That allows me to have an amazing attitude and smile when others might not. It allows me to go beyond what others might do since my mission is to please Jesus.

And so, with Joshua I say “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

God has a goal for me. It is not my goal. No matter what, I am really serving God.

It is that simple. That makes all the difference in everything I do.

Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as you would the Messiah. Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of the Messiah, do God’s will from your heart. Serve with a good attitude, as to the Master and not to people, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Master. | Ephesians 6:5-8



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What is the biggest challenge? Zac’s Semester Testimony at our Heroes Program

Zac Girard was a student with us for the Heroes Semester program in Spring 2019. Here he shares with us about his time here and what has impacted him to go home different than he came.

 

CTCI’s Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! Emphasizing the biblical truths of relationships, family, servanthood, and personal discipline, young men and women are challenged to live a faith that reaches beyond the four walls of the church and affects everyday life.

God is Good – Would that explain why God is in a good mood and does good? God is good y’all!

Image result for god is goodAll God’s perfect qualities are made freely available to all for the benefit of the whole world. God is good.

Jesus alerts us that God alone is good. God is good, kind, thoughtful, compassionate and loving. God is good, kind, thoughtful, compassionate and loving.

God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us. God is good y’all.

Because God is good, God is in a good mood. It is a myth that the old testament (aka covenant) is all about an angry God. As James alerts us “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

God never varies from being good. At all. Ever!

A fetus is a person!

“A fetus is not a person; it’s a clump of cells.” You’ve heard abortion advocates make this argument before. But what happens when we deny a group of people their personhood? The Holocaust, enslavement of African Americans, and the oppression of women, to name a few atrocities.

Dr. Christopher Kaczor, Professor of Philosophy and author of the book, “The Ethics of Abortion: Women’s Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice,” digs into the moral and literal meaning of personhood and details exactly why it applies to preborn children.

Join the fight for the preborn. https://liveaction.org/

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Did Jesus finish it? Is it complete?

Complete the law and prophets

Complete the law and prophets Matthew 5:17

Jesus, God’s Son, shows how He completes what was started in the Old Covenant (Testament). Jesus is the completer in chief. He does it all. Nothing is left undone. Every goal accomplished. The mission of God is fulfilled.

Nothing, not a single thing, is left incomplete and undone.

Everything in the Old Covenant pointed to Jesus. He completed everything through His life and death for us. Having missed God’s goal for our life, His glorious resurrection and ascension brings the rule of Kingdom with God to our lives.

As He said on the cross, “It is finished”.

God loves us. He sent His son Jesus for us. Jesus reached the goal that God has in mind for all of us.

Jesus shows us the way.

“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures— either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. ” ~Jesus (Matthew 5:17-18 The Message)

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The Power Of God’s Covenant 

Jaedon shares a devotional before our Appeal to Heaven Conference. What is the power of God’s covenant with Israel?

Genesis 17:7 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

I will confirm my covenant that is between me and you and your future offspring throughout their generations. It is a permanent covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you.

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Let’s dig deeper

God is loyal. God is faithful. That is just who God is. It is His very nature. When God says something, I can count on it. Jesus is The Truth.

God has an agreement with me. God is good for His word. This agreement is sealed with the blood of my Master Jesus. It doesn’t get any better than that.

My lovingkindness I will keep for him [Jesus] forever, and My covenant shall be confirmed to him. | Psalm 89:28

A covenant is an agreement between two parties. In the scriptures, it is between God and His people or certain specific individuals. The fulfilment of God’s purposes of salvation expressed in the covenants of the scriptures, mediated by Jesus the Messiah and sealed in his blood. It is a covenant of grace, the benefits of which include forgiveness, a renewed relationship with God and, through the Holy Spirit, an inward transformation that enables obedience to its demands and so ensures that it will not again be broken.

The New Covenant (or New Testament) is the promise that God makes with humanity that He will forgive sin and restore fellowship with those whose hearts are turned toward Him. Jesus the Messiah is the mediator of the New Covenant, and His death on the cross is the basis of the promise. The New Covenant was predicted while the Old Covenant was still in effect — the prophets Moses, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel all allude to the New Covenant.



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“All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall!” ~ Edward Perronet

I love this song. I think it is my all time favorite. I grew up hearing it in church and then sang it in choir. It gets me going for King Jesus.

I woke up singing it this morning. Now that is the start of a wonderful day in paradise.

The hymn is often called the “National Anthem of Christendom”. The lyrics, written by Edward Perronet while he served as a missionary in India, first appeared in the November, 1779 issue of the Gospel Magazine, which was edited by the author of “Rock of Ages”, Augustus Toplady.

Is my grandeur to forgive and forget?

Hold your tongue

Hold your tongue

I need to learn how to hold my tongue.

Easier said than done some days. Someone says something and off I go.

I react.

I speak.

I regret it.

God’s wisdom teaches me to pause. I should forgive what they say. I should forget what they say.

Many times we forgive but we don’t forget. If we can forget it, we are truly liberated and free. The good news is we are new creations in Jesus. Jesus sets us free to forgive and forget.

His wisdom teaches me to pause.

God’s goal for me is that I know how to hold my tongue.

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. ~King Solomon | Proverbs 19:11

Are there any “ifs” among the followers of Jesus? Can anything happen?

If

No “ifs” among believers

Jesus summons us to a new level of belief. There are no “ifs” in His world. The new plan he inaugurated makes it so. Can anything happen?

Simple answer. Yes. God can and will do anything.

God’s goal for us is to believe that He is in a good mood and can do anything.

God wants to see His plan come to fruition. Nothing will be able to stop it. Our goal is to understand what God wants to have happen.

When God speaks to us, we must believe. We do need help with our doubts. God is good to help. That is just His way.

 He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?”

“Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” | Mark 9:22-24 The Message (MSG)

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How Deep Is God’s Love? 

Summer intern Marcy dives into the book of Hosea and how deep God’s love is for her.

Scripture

Hosea 11:8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
I have had a change of heart;
my compassion is stirred!



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Is God strong?

Strong in the Lord

Strong in the Lord

Some things are amazingly simple with God. Here is one of them.

God is strong. Nothing weak about him at all.

Like the energizer bunny he just keeps going and going.

  • He is always strong.
  • He never sleeps.
  • He doesn’t grow tired.
  • He has always been strong and always will be.

His desire for us  is that we will always be strong as well. He sent Jesus to die for us and to share in the power of His resurrection.

He gave His mighty Spirit so we could be strong. He has given us all the weapons we need to be victorious.

So there it is!!!

God is strong, and he wants you strong. Ephesians 6:10

May we always be strong, just as He is.



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What Does the Bible Say about Poverty and the Poor? 

Jesus wants us to help the poor. Want to go deeper into this subject? Check out John D. Barry’s new book, Jesus’ Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change. Shane Claiborne calls it, “a beautiful vision for a world where everyone has enough.” Robert D. Lupton says it is “a fine handbook for practical mission work.”

John D. Barry is a Bible scholar, pastor, and the CEO of Jesus’ Economy, a nonprofit creating jobs and churches in the developing world. On JesusEconomy.org, people can shop fair trade and give directly to a cause they’re passionate about. John’s new book is Jesus’ Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change.

The poor are near and dear to God’s heart. How we treat the impoverished is a major concern throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. You simply cannot have the gospel of Jesus and neglect the call to care for impoverished, marginalized, and outcast — those on the underside of power.

But what does the “whole counsel of God” have to say about the poor, poverty, and how we address it (Acts 20:27)? It’s impossible in an article format to cover comprehensively what the Bible says about poverty, but here are seven major themes that have emerged from my research on poverty for my recent book, Jesus’ Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change.

Read more here:

What Does the Bible Say about Poverty and the Poor? – Topical Studies



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Why is Jesus thirsty?

Jesus is ThirstyHanging from the cross. He will die for us. The agony is unbearable. He didn’t say a lot. It was too painful. In His suffering, He has an unquenchable thirst.

He cries out in pain: “I am thirsty!”

Everything is almost done. God’s goal will be complete soon. A few last things to do.

It is not the first time he has expressed he is thirsty. He did it on his visit to Samaria.

An outcast woman helped that day. Jesus said to her, “Would you give me a drink of water?”  They had a long conversation. It wasn’t as much about the need for water as it was a chance to bring her to God. 

Jesus gives opportunities to help. Sometimes it is just with something simple like helping to quench thirst.

Do we hear Jesus? Will we answer? Will we help?

Jesus is on a mission. He knows what is ahead.

And yet, he is thirsty. They give him some wine.

Jesus is talking. He is thirsty.

Will we help?

Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, “I’m thirsty.”

A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After he took the wine, Jesus said, “It’s done . . . complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit. | John 19:28-30

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Sacrifice for family, is it worth it? 

Claire and Alvin, from England, talk about the importance of the Train to Reign program for their family.

The Train to Reign Program is all about strengthening & restoring family relationships. Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God at our Train to Reign program.

Teaching topics include:

  • The Plan of God for Family
  • Duty vs Intimacy
  • Fatherhood
  • Communication
  • Covering
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Defeating Parenting Fears
  • Discipline
  • …and more!

http://ow.ly/l5SU30oS5pQ



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Some things smell pretty bad

The stench of a wicked life

The stench of a wicked life

Some things smell pretty bad.

And then, there is a rotten stench. Just a plain putrid smell.

It is disgusting. We gag. We puke. None of this is good.

That is the way of a wicked life.

God’s goal for us is that we live a good and honest life. God wants us to serve Him with honor. He wants us to be in right standing with Him in all we know and do.

An honest life is important in all we do.

How do we want to be remembered? What will our memorial look like? What will it say?

A good and honest life is a blessed memorial; a wicked life leaves a rotten stench. ~King Solomon | (Proverbs 10:7)



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How do the miracles of Jesus reveal and confirm his Messianic credentials and the coming of God’s Kingdom?

Image result for miracle jesusThere are so many stunning, amazing and supernatural acts of Jesus. They reveal and confirm his Messianic credentials. They announce the coming of God’s kingdom. The miracles of the Messiah are to be seen as an integral part of his ministry and are signs that point to the power of God.

We tend to think of the dramatic miracles where Jesus heals the sick. Jesus also casts out demons with evil obeying Him. Most amazing of all, Jesus raises the dead. Jesus also had authority of nature and natural forces. Jesus establishes that “nothing is impossible with God”.

John tells us that “many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

The Greek word for miracle is δύναμις dunamis, doo´-nam-is. Think of the power of dynamite. It is stunning and amazing power, i.e. the power of the Holy Spirit from God the Father. It is the power that raised Jesus from the dead, never to die again. 

Am I a loafer and lazybone?

Work

Work

This is a stunning insight from Solomon. God’s goal for us is that we work. Work is Godly. Work is important. We are not to be lazy. We need to learn how to work and to work hard.

God has a goal for us. Sin is missing God’s goal. There is good news. God has given me a new life in Jesus. I can work and I can work hard. That is the real deal.

The work He has given us is good and noble. I am working for God. I am passionate about working for God.

If we won’t work, there are consequences.

  • Our life will collapse.
  • We will go hungry.
  • Nothing good comes from being lazy.

Let’s get with it. There is a huge harvest out there for Jesus and we need more workers.

“Life collapses on loafers; lazybones go hungry.” ~King Solomon (Proverbs 19:15 The Message)



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What are the blessings of acknowledgement?

Susan Pons grew up in Valdese, North Carolina. Prior to her marriage, she performed professionally on stage and dinner theaters. The mother of four and grandmother of six, she and her husband, Larry, direct Christian Training Center, International, a ministry dedicated to the restoration of families. She has loved her life.

Susan ends our Train to Reign Devotionals with some final words.

Check our Susan’s book here.

Will Jesus remember us?

Theif on the crossThree men  had been condemned.  Three men were hanging on crosses facing agonizing deaths. This is a horrific way to die. The Romans really knew how inflict the maximum amount of pain and agony. It wasn’t pretty.

One of the criminals hanging alongside our Master cursed Jesus: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!”  

But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him — he did nothing to deserve this.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”

“Today you will join me in paradise.” ~Jesus on the cross | Luke 23:43

The criminal seemed to think this would be sometime in the future. Jesus was clear it would happen that day. Jesus remembered him. Jesus will remember us. Our names are written in the book of life. We are remembered. 

Jesus has become victorious.

Why Young Adults Need Mentors 

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

For anyone about to make the jump from youth to adulthood, it can be hard trying to pave a path towards success. With all the colleges, employment, and volunteer opportunities out there to explore, many young people today feel overwhelmed with choices—it can be hard to weigh options and ultimately make informed decisions.

I’ve often heard the popular verse from Jeremiah 29:11 recited during times of transition. Many high schoolers going off to college or starting a new job find comfort in its message: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Guidance from God is a wonderful thing—that’s what we all want. We long to know what we should do and how to go about doing it. Believe it or not, many students and young adults feel the same way.

But what many young adults are missing out on is the reality that words of wisdom from the Lord often come through the mouths of others.

Particularly, through the mentorship relationships God has placed in their lives…

Read more here:

Why Young Adults Need Mentors | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer

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Will there be a day of judgement?

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Tyre and Sidon were well known pagan cities in Jesus time. It might be like saying Las Vegas and New Orleans will have it easy on Judgement Day compared to Atlanta that has a church on every corner.

Jesus is in our midst performing amazing miracles. Do we see Him? Do we hear Him? Do we believe Him?

It is easy to judge places like Las Vegas and miss what He is doing in Dallas. May I see Jesus in the here and now. May I respond to Him.

God is God. There will be a day of judgement.

We may like to believe that a loving God won’t judge us. That would be a mistake.

“Tyre and Sidon will have it easy on Judgment Day compared to you.” ~Jesus (Luke 10:13-14 The Message Bible)



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Why does Jesus want us to reign for our families?

Bill Eubank is a member of the Christian Training Center International Board of Directors. Bill has been involved with training center for 40 years and has a great perspective on our work.

Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God.

Throughout the year, we welcome individuals, couples, and families from around the world who are seeking to strengthen their relationships – with God, within their own families, and with their fellow believers.

Every session, individuals, couples, and families from around the world are transformed, healed, and renewed. Barriers to forgiveness, personal growth, and hope are overcome in a supportive and intimate environment.

Join us in this safe and holy place where painful and complex situations can be worked through – a place of hope and healing.

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Teaching topics include:

  • The Plan of God for Family
  • Duty vs Intimacy
  • Fatherhood
  • Communication
  • Covering
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Defeating Parenting Fears
  • Discipline
  • …and more!

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

 

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

 

 

What does Jesus know about forgiveness?

Forgiveness Luke 23Jesus’ mission from God our Father was to bring forgiveness to the world. On the cross, Jesus accomplished the mission. Hanging on the cross, he was mocked by the religious leaders and the Roman soldiers.

They gambled to see who would get his clothes. His Holy attitude was they didn’t know what they were doing by killing him.

And they didn’t. And neither do we most days. Our missing God’s goal (aka sin) for our life put Him on that cross.

Jesus is all about forgiveness. He knows love like no other. God is in a good mood.

“Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” ~~Jesus on the cross Luke 23:34 | (The Message Bible)

Forgiveness in the Bible is a “release” or a “dismissal” of something. The forgiveness I have in the Messiah involves the release of sinners like me from God’s just penalty and the complete dismissal of all charges against me.

  • Consider this from the Apostle Paul. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in the Messiah Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1).
  • Colossians 1:14 says that in God’s beloved Son “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” The Amplified Bible translates the last phrase like this: “the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].”
  • God’s gracious forgiveness of our sin is to be the measure of our gracious forgiveness of others.

Jesus the Messiah’s ministry of forgiveness was foretold. God has a plan. God executes it in His son Jesus. Jesus paid the penalty for me. Amazing!

  • But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Master appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” | Matthew 1:20–21
  • Now here is some good news!  The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! | John 1:29

If you would like to donate to CTCI please click here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

What is peace, how do we make peacemaking real and what is the promise of Jesus?

Image result for peacemaker jesusJesus says:

“Happy [blessed] are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

The commendation of peacemakers – It is one thing to keep the peace and it is quite another to make peace. In the one case it already exists, in the other we are calling it into existence since it is lacking. Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. That is a huge challenge. Jesus gives us the power! We are to seek peace. We are to pursue peace. We are not to let up until we achieve it. Jesus challenges us to be tenacious.

How is peace made? Where does it come from? Consider this from Paul in Colossians (1:20). “Through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

Will Jesus complete God’s mission and goals?

Crucifixion and darknessIt was a dark day as Jesus hung from the cross. Figuratively and literally. The sun disappeared. Jesus was alone.

Jesus just hung there. Waiting for death to come. Waiting for His mission to be completed.

And where is God?

What is God doing?

God is just letting it happen. Imagine the pain of seeing your Son suffer so. God did it. Jesus did it. The goal was achieved. The mission is completed. It is over.

But God has a plan. Both God and Jesus know that death will accomplish the reconciliation that is needed.

They both know death will be defeated.

They both know that Jesus will be resurrected to reign with God forever.

For the joy that was before him, Jesus suffered the abandonment. Victory would come but first must come the death.

God had a goal in mind. Jesus knew what it was. He would be abandoned and suffer death for us. It must be done. He and he alone could do it.

Jesus never missed God’s goal. Never ever. Jesus would suffer and die for us.

Completely abandoned.

Alone.

No one to help.

From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” | Matthew 27:46 (The Message Bible)

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

 

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

How do we restore ruins in our lives?

Jesse Wahl shares on day 8 of our Train to Reign devotional. Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. http://ow.ly/l5SU30oS5pQ

Does the Origin of Life Point to the Existence of God?

This video, excerpted from J. Warner Wallace’s presentation of the evidence for God (from his book, God’s Crime Scene), summarizes the case for Gods existence from the origin of life.

  • Has science answered the question of life’s origin?
  • How do philosophically natural scientists tackle the “chicken and egg” problems related to the origin of life?
  • What is the best explanation for the information found in the genetic code?

For a robust review of the collective case for God’s existence from eight pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the natural universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. (For more information, visit www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)

If you would like to donate to CTCI please click here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.