Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Transformed by Renewing of your Mind

There is a store called C28 at the mall. The "C28" stands for the Bible verse Colossians 2:8. Although there are way to many to count, this is
one of my favorite Bible verses.

Colossians 2:8 - "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

Christian, Bible-based CDs, clothing and jewelry are sold at the store. The owner's story is an interesting one. His former success in the business world has allowed him to now focus on sharing the Gospel of Christ through the employees at the store and the merchandise being sold there.

Among the many Scripture verses, slogans and bumper stickers
available at the store, there is one that says, "Not of this world."
This is taken directly from Scripture:

Jhn 8:23 (KJV) And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am
from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (emphasis mine)

Jhn 18:36 (KJV) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (emphasis mine)

One of the purposes of our lives is to become like Christ. God announced this intention at Creation: "The God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.' " (Gen. 1:26 NCV) (emphasis mine)

You were created to become like Christ!

"God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son... We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him." Romans 8:29 (Msg)

"We look to this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. " Colossians 1:15 (Msg)

This is your destiny. It is a great privilege and gives us dignity which separates us from all the rest of Creation. We may not know all of the implications of this on this side of heaven, however, we can recognize four things.

We are spiritual beings - our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual - we can think, reason,
and solve problems; like God, we are relational - we can give and
receive real love; and we have a moral consciousness - we can discern right from wrong, which make us accountable to God.

But this image is incomplete and has been distorted and damaged by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost.

God wants us to bear his image and likeness. The Bible says, "You were....created to be like God, truly righteous and holy." Please understand that I am NOT SAYING you will ever BECOME God or even a god. That prideful lie is Satan's oldest temptation. Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, "ye shall be as gods." Cult religions and philosophies still promote this lie today.

God doesn't want you to become a god; he wants you to become
godly - taking on his values, attitudes and character.

Ephesians 4:22 (NKJV) - that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

Ephesians 4:22 (NLT) - throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.

What does this tell us? God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. We are to seek out and develop the character described by the beatitudes of Jesus (Matt. 5:1-12) , the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) , Paul's great chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13), and Peter's list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life (2 Peter 1:5-8).

God uses his Word, people, and circumstances to mold us. He wants
us to grow together proclaiming the truth of the Bible, providing the support that we need to grow, and be in and environment to practice Christlikeness.

Of course, becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. At
the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells us, but spiritual maturity is not instantaneous nor automatic. I often say that sanctification lasts our entire lifetime! Paul refers to this process in Ephesians 4:13 (NSAB) - until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Going back to the "Not of this world" comment. The Bible warns,
"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it
without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out...Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:2 Msg)

Here is the NKJV of Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you
may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We are not to isolate ourselves from the culture for then we will not be carrying out the Great Commission to share the Gospel. Don't be
infected by the world, but do infiltrate the world with the love of God. However, it is important to insulate ourselves by always keeping the Lord in front of us and not compromising any portion of His Word.

What does this really mean?

Rick Warren says it well in the book, "The Purpose Driven Life."

"It means that we make a counter-culture decision to focus on
becoming more like Jesus. Otherwise, other forces like peers, parents, co-workers and culture will try to mold you into their image.
Sometimes, sadly, even believers have abandoned living for God's great purposes and settled for personal fulfillment and emotional stability. That is narcissism, not discipleship. Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny."

God wants us to grow up...like Christ in everything. Ephesians 4:15a (Msg)

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Story to Share About Rob


This is AWESOME!

One of the most important things that Christians share are praises....especially when someone comes to the Lord!! He sent this email to me the other day (this was originally posted on my message board about two years ago) and gave me permission to post his
testimony anywhere that I'd like to share it.

Here is Rob's email and story:

This is Rob, the former denizen of the Godless Zone. I had actually
been trying to track you down, and I kind of figured, if I kept checking out the Godless Zone, you would show up eventually. I apologize that it took a few days too e-mail you. I only access e-mail at work, and I am basically typing this out during my lunch break, so if this has the appearance of being written in haste, it's because it is. I noticed in
some of your posts you referenced Greg Koukl from the Stand to
Reason website. That is interesting because that may be the first Christian website that I ever looked at in detail. But I wasn't a
Christian at the time. I ended up following links to opposing views
and ended up at the Atheism Web. After reading about atheism, I decided that's what I was. I thought I was being logical. Looking back now, I think there was a lot of self-deception involved, but at the time
I didn't realize it. I started hanging out at atheist boards, mainly the Godless Zone. Whenever a Christian came on they were often treated with a fair amount of hostility. I'm not proud to say I often joined in on the mocking. I didn't feel good about it but I did it.

So what changed my mind? I don't know that I can point to one particular thing. But there were little things that people had said over
the years that stuck with me, even if I continued to reject Christianity
at the time. I remember something you said once about there being a difference between matter and information. And I remember reading commentaries by Greg Koukl, that stuck with me. I'll admit, I used to refer to him as 'that idiot on the net.' But there was one particular commentary that I remember that stuck with me. It had to do with
the nature of consciousness, and how if consciousness is an emergent property of matter, then how can it make sense to say that we have a
will or a desire. I wish I could reference it right now, so you know what
I am talking about. But after reading that I remember thinking 'he just might be onto something.' I probably still rejected just about everything else he said.

I started going to church semi-regularily a couple of years ago. I considered myself to be an agnostic then rather than an atheist,
although I was leaning towards the notion that there was probably something more out there than meets the eye. I still hadn't gotten into reading the Bible. About a year later I thought, 'why not.' So I picked
up the Bible and started to read it. I started with the Gospel according
to Matthew. I was still kind of skeptical though. I read through the first few chapters, about one chapter a day, with nothing major happening. Then I got to about chapter 6 or 7 (I apologize, I don't have my Bible in front of me, so I can't quote the exact verses). It was where Jesus was talking about those who do all there good deeds to be seen by men, and about how those who do so have been paid in full. While reading that it was like a light had been turned on in my mind. I was thinking 'Wow,
this guy really knows what he is talking about.' I realised how foolish I had been thinking the Bible was just a bunch of silly stories. It really
was an intense experience on an emotional level. I had to restrain
myself from reading too far ahead. I know you are not supposed to
read the Bible like it is a novel. Since then I've managed to keep on a more or less even keel emotionally. I have still only read a small part of the Bible. But I try and read about a chapter a night. I'll admit, I'm still kind of immature and undisciplined when it comes to the faith. But I believe my faith will grow. Some might wonder why I have this faith.
God hasn't appeared to me in a big flash of light, and I am not hearing voices in my head telling me to do things. But I still believe he is working on me. I believe there are more surprises in store for me in the future. God can perform miracles, but I think the typical way he draws people
to him, is by changing their heart, not by performing magic tricks.
There is a lot more I can say, but in the interests of not keeping this e-mail too long, I will wrap this up. I think you are doing a good job representing Christ, and don't be too discouraged if people don't
respond right away. Sometimes when you plant a seed in people's
minds, it can take a while to produce fruit, but it may still happen.

God bless you. (I can say that now.)


My follow up email:

Hi Rob,

Your email brought tears to my eyes! Tears of joy, of course! Thanks
for sharing your story. It is just so awesome to be able to call you my brother in Christ now!! He is a fabulous Lord!! It must have been a
divine appointment that we found each other again. Your story gave
me so much encouragement not to give up on the unsaved. I mean, I always realize that we are not to do that, but I often wonder if Christians are making a difference posting on atheist/agnostic boards. As you had pointed out, they are often very hostile to Christian believers. Don't
worry about the past....it is forgiven and forgotten. As I recall, you
were one of the nicer people posting on that board! Hearing about
you coming to Christ and now studying the Bible reinforces that God's Word does not come back void. We may never know (this side of
heaven) how many people we can influence in a positive way for the Kingdom of God through sharing the gospel of Christ. And...it just NEVER gets old! May I post your story on my message board? The
board doesn't get much action....but I post significant articles,
messages, and contacts with people of faith. I have a blog on there too.
I think I already gave you my website. If you use AOL instant
messenger, my SN is mamasitawjc. When you get time, write again so
we can catch up on the past 3 years!

God bless you, too!

Your sister in Christ,

Another reply from Rob:

Hi Christine. I'll make this quick for now. Yes, you may post my testimonial on any boards you wish. By the way, I saw the Passion of Christ the other day. My quick response to that is that even after
seeing the brutality of how he was treated, I don't think we really
can completely grasp what he went through. His suffering wasn't just physical, it was spiritual as well. He took on the sins of the whole world, and that is almost incomprehensible to my limited mind. I will be
getting back to you later with some more detail. I just thought I would touch base. Take care.



Another letter from Rob:

First to answer your questions. I have not posted at any of the boards.
I only registered on the Godless Zone, and that was only so I could
send you a message. I often wonder how people would react if I came
on and told them of my conversion. Judging by the reactions you are getting, my guess is not too well. Even David B, who I often considered
to be one of the more reasonable posters on there, said he thought God deserved to be spat at. I have read many of your posts on that board.
One that struck me in particular was 'Beware the cross-less gospel.'
My sister has said she will never see 'the Passion' because of the
violence in it. She thinks any movie about Jesus should have been
about his moral teachings, and not the violence of what happened on
the cross. With all due respect to my sister (who I love very much), I think she is mistaken. Jesus was a great moral teacher, the greatest
who ever lived, but that was not his main purpose for being here. He came to save humanity. Without the cross, the only difference between him and any other great thinker of history, like Socrates, for example, would be one of degree. You might be able to say his teachings were better than anyone else's, but there would be no qualitative difference, only quantitative difference. It is interesting what you said about the
Mel Gibson showing the brutality of the cross so people may be
convicted of their sin. Just from a personal point of view, it was pretty sobering to watch. It is a splash of cold water for when you may be thinking 'My sin isn't so bad.' If Jesus took on the sins of the whole
world, then that means every time we sin, we are adding to his suffering. Not a pleasant thought is it? I have a question for you. Since you have referenced a lot of Greg Koukl's works, I was wondering if you knew
him personally. I used to regard him with disdain, but I find myself now agreeing with a lot of his commentaries that he has posted on the
http://www.str.org/ website.

Anyway, I'd better go now. I have to get back to work.

Take care.


My reply:

Hi Rob,

I shared your story last night with my Bible study group that meets in
my home on Monday nights. Everybody was deeply moved!! We were discussing the fact that as Christians, we are made for a mission....and
a big part of that mission is evangelism. It's funny. Lots of people kinda fear that word! But what it means is sharing the Good News. What
could be better than sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ?

I have met Greg Koukl. Over the past few years I attended several "Defending the Faith" lecture series at Biola University in LaMirada,
CA. Greg has often been a guest speaker. The last time I saw him I approached him to chat. He is a really down to earth and likable guy.
I used to post on his "Stand to Reason" board, but haven't visited it
lately. I really learned a lot from him over the years and am grateful
for his guidance in presenting the Christian worldview to non-believers.
I have heard of other Christians who feel the same way your sister does and have refused to see "The Passion" movie. Personally, I think they
are missing out, but we can't force people to see it. My husband doesn't want to see it and I was disappointed, but I had to respect his decision.
I saw the movie with my teen daughter (age 16) and we cried through it together. You are correct. It is a very sobering movie.

[Note: Since this was first written, my husband has seen the "Passion"
on DVD and my son and I saw "The Passion, Recut" together.]

I found myself grateful for the flashbacks inbetween the brutality of
the beatings. I think that Mel did an excellent job of portraying the
main message of the movie...that of ultimate love, the need for repentance, the mercy of God's forgiveness, the grace and freedom salvation provides, the hope that Christ's sacrifice gives the world,
and the promise we have in spending eternity with Christ.

I totally agree with your statement, "It is a splash of cold water for
when you may be thinking 'My sin isn't so bad.' If Jesus took on the
sins of the whole world, then that means every time we sin, we are
adding to his suffering. Not a pleasant thought is it?"

Here's a great quote:

"In my opinion, one of the great achievements of this film is to have shown so effectively both the horror of sin and selfishness, and the redeeming power of love. Seeing this film provokes love and
compassion. It makes the viewer want to love more, to forgive, to be
good and strong no matter what, just as Christ did even in the face of such terrible suffering. The viewer is drawn into a powerful experience
of God’s strong yet gentle love, of his overflowing mercy. It is my belief that if we could understand what Jesus Christ did for us and we could follow his example of love and forgiveness, there would not be hatred
or violence in the world. This film will help to make that possible." - Cardinal D. C. Hoyos

Love in Him,

Friday, June 24, 2005

Loving Our Enemies

Loving our enemies
Christians can face many personal attacks as they engage in any
ministry outreach. Let's look at what Jesus said about loving our enemies:

Matthew 5:43-42 (NLT)

Teaching about Love for Enemies

43 "You have heard that the law of Moses says, `Love your
neighbor'* and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies!*
Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting
as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. 46 If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to
your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans
do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Jesus really challenges us in these verses. He asks, "If you love only those who love you, what good is that?"

Even pagans are kind to their friends, so how does that make us any different from anyone else?I think it shows us that people don't care
how much you know (about Jesus, God and the Bible) until they know how much you care ABOUT THEM. Of course, this can be
misconstrued by others and sometimes there is nothing you can do
about it. Many make a decision about you based on a first impression
or a comment made that may have come across to THEM in a negative way, whereas you were trying to reach them with the Gospel and they were taking offense at this "bad news of sin, Good News of redemption" message you are sharing.

The most difficult thing is that last verse.

Look at it!

Jesus tells us to "be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."What is the underlying message here? Was Jesus telling us
that we CAN be perfect like Him and His Father? Or was he saying this
to get us to strive for it during our lives? I think it means the latter.
Why? Because we can NEVER be perfect this side of heaven.

This is what is meant by, "no one is righteous, no, not one."

It is the reason why Jesus came to be the Perfect sacrifice for our sins
in order to bridge the gap between Holy God and sinful man. We are called to "renew our minds in Christ Jesus" which is another way of saying be involved in sanctification through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But we are still human and will make mistakes. This is a good thing, actually, because it shows our need to humble ourselves and submit to the Lord. This is why we must point towards Christ, not ourselves, for He alone is the Righteous One who covers us.

In Isaiah 64:6, he states: "But we are all as an unclean [thing], and
all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a
leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

Did you read and understand what was said there? The fact that ALL
of our righteousnesses are as FILTHY RAGS. This just reiterates our need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY One who is "perfect, just as the Father in heaven is perfect." He was perfect unto death, in
our place, for our sins. He willingly "laid down his life for his friends"
and had the power to "take it up again" and proved Who He Is in the power of the Resurrection. In Him, we have the unshakable faith of
hope in the Resurrection to life for eternity with God in His Kingdom.

Isn't it amazing that God has chosen us, his imperfect, fallible, sometimes stumbling children to go out into all the world and share
the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to all nations on the

Some may think...well THAT doesn't sound logical. Maybe it ISN'T logical. It's faithful! It is why God said that "Abraham's faith was attributed to him as righteousness." Before the cross of Christ, those faithful to God trusted in the future promise of the Messiah. After the cross of Christ, we HAVE the fulfillment of that promise in Jesus

It is the agape love of God!

How awesome is this Gospel!!


See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition
and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth
to show Himself strong to those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Prayer for You...

Father God. I want to praise your Holy Name tonight. It has been a
busy day today and will also be a busy day tomorrow. I just want to lift up, in prayer, all my friends and aquaintances who have visited this
blog since it has begun. Lord, you love every single one of us! No matter what we have done in the past, we know that one of your greatest desires is to love us and establish a personal relationship with you through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You stand at the door of each of our hearts, knocking, to come in and take up residence there with each of us through the
power of the Holy Spirit. You know the ones who have posted here
who already belong to you, Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you, Lord, for
your forgiveness, mercy, grace and love. I praise you for their salvation as well as my own.

Father God, I want to lift up in prayer those who do not know Jesus Christ yet. I pray that their hearts will be softened and that they will
be willing to open the door of their hearts towards the saving grace of Christ. Your Word tells us that You do not want ANYONE to perish,
but for all to come to repentance. Lord, I pray that Your Holy Spirit
will continue to knock on the door of their hearts and that one day they will open up to know You and experience that unconditional love
afforded to them through Christ.

Father, it has been a busy day and I have not had the time to answer many of the posts here at this blog today. I pray that when I do post
back to them that I will say the words from my soul and spirit. I pray
that I will share the reality of You, from my heart and I pray that your Holy Spirit will give me the words to share that will show Your love for them, rather than anything that I might say in haste or in the flesh.

I ask for traveling mercy and protection over a special brother in
Christ, his ministry, his family and the message he will share with
those he will be speaking to. Use him, Lord, to lift up the name of
Jesus Christ to the hurting people in the audience.

Holy Spirit, touch the lives of people who misunderstand the message
of the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May their hearts be softened and opened and may they find release from any bondage of sin that is currently heavy upon their souls. I pray that they earnestly seek you,
Lord Jesus and come to the understanding of Who You Are and what
you have done for them at the cross of Calvary.

I pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pursue Holiness and Absolute Truth

I have been convinced for a long time now that we are to wage war against wickedness. What we tolerate - little by little - eventually,
sadly, becomes accepted practice. When we find a corporation, social, activist or legal group that so blatantly adheres towards a view that is immoral, Christians must take a stand to urge them not to empower
filth that undercuts biblical morality in our society and degrades the quality of life in America. By the grace of God, opposing evil will
continue to be a regular staple of our work here on this earth. But, at
the heart of any Biblically based ministry is this underlying burden
that never goes away and, with God's help, never will.

It's the matter of holiness.

Just as we must not be ashamed of the Gospel we MUST NOT be ashamed to "pursue holiness without which no man shall see the
Lord." And we need to promote it better than we do.

HOLINESS: "Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according to as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit
of agreeing in God's judgment - hating what He hates, loving what He loves - and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man....He will have a decided bent of mind toward God, a heart desire
to do His will, a greater fear of displeasing Him than of displeasing the world, and a love to all His ways. ..."

The Christian worldview rests on a foundation of absolute truth which
is revealed throughout Scripture (Psalms 25:5; 43:3; 119:30; John
1:17; 14:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 4:15; 1 John 3:19). Therefore, morality is defined by God and immutable because it is inherently
based on God’s immutable character. Humanists believe that morality
is ultimately relative because every person is the final authority for his own views. Such a view is not logically satisfying. God stands against
the moral relativist whose behavior is based on “whatever is right in
his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 12:8; Judges 17:6; 21:25; Proverbs 21:2).

In addition to this, pluralists (e.g. universalists) want all religions to
have credibility. The real question is can all religions ultimately teach
the same truth? No. There are many differences in doctrine in each religion that make this view impossible. Jesus taught that there is one and only one personal God who is triune in nature (Mark 12:29; John 4:24; 5:18,19). Jesus was exclusive in His truth claims and warned: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name claiming, ‘I am the Christ,” and will deceive many” (Matt. 24:4,5,23).

Those who attempt to know God's will and do it will know intuitively
that Jesus was telling the truth about himself. Have you ever listened
to religious speakers and wondered if they were telling the truth? Test them: (1) their words should agree with, not contradict, the Bible; (2) their words should point to God and his will, not just to themselves.
Each of us have our own testimony of salvation to share, and there is nothing wrong with sharing it. However, within their testimoney take note of whether or not the individual is giving the glory to Christ or self. That is a huge indication of who is genuine.

For more about this issue and many others, please visit my website and discussion forum at:


In the end times forum, there are several examples
of the apostasy creeping into many liberal Christian denominations as well as other important issues concerning the true Biblical Christian worldview.

Back to our topic.

Only God who knows all things could know the truth. However, postmodernism says there is no absolute truth anywhere. They believe that all truth is always changing, whether it be spiritual, moral, or political. Trouble is, no matter how hard humanists try, they cannot avoid arriving at the problem of claiming there are no moral absolute values. There is absolute truth in the Word of God (Deut. 32:4). There
is absolute morality in the teachings of Scripture and what constitutes
sin is defined by God (Matt. 15:16-20). And there is the ultimate
absolute behind it all...Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the
life (John 3:18-21).

Who is on the throne in the center of your life? God or self?

Putting yourself on that throne makes one vulnerable to evil and self-deception (John 8:44) by the "thief who comes only to steal and kill
and destroy" into your life.

Contrastly, Christ, "has come that they may have life and have it to
the full," (also, John 8:36).

Christians understand sin, which originates in the heart of man, to
be mankind's core problem (Psalm 14:1), something that humanism
does not have the capacity to solve. But Jesus has "overcome the world" ( John 16:33).

God takes sin very seriously and provided man's way out from its consequences through the sacrifice of His Son. The cross of Christ
shows that God the Father can take the worst thing that ever happened and turn it into good; the salvation of mankind. Without repentance of sin (John 8:34,35) and belief in Jesus (John 8:42), man dies in his sins (John 8:24) and is without hope. That's the truth (John 11:25,26).

However, people will constantly fight against the truth as revealed by
God in the Bible and through the Person of Jesus Christ in the

A while back there was a letter written to our local newspaper and the writer claimed,

"A belief is a dead end - a short circuit of the mind;

" belief would "kill his life;" and

"...spiritual understandings have developed into believing nothing."

How sad!

He reminds me of the religious leaders who, after having their own questions answered, could not answer Jesus' question regarding the Messiah's identity - that he was God in the flesh (see Luke 20:41-44).

The central issue of life is to believe that Jesus is who he said he is. Without this decision, other spiritual questions are irrelevant.

In Matthew 11:25, Jesus mentioned two kinds of people in his prayer:
the "wise" - arrogant in their own knowledge - and the "little children"
- humbly open to receive the truth of God's Word.

Luke 9:18-20 requires us to hold beliefs for ourselves and when Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?"

He wants us to take a stand.

Who do you say Jesus is?

John 12:39-43 discusses how refusing to believe leads to a hardened heart.

Luke 23:39-43 shows that our deeds don't save us - our faith in Christ does.

The believing repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus reveals the ultimate mercy of God; that prior to our own death, it is never too late
to be forgiven and saved.

John 12:44-50 summarizes Jesus message and describes the purpose
of his mission and what will happen to believers and non-believers at
his second coming.

Decide now which side you'll be on, for the consequences of your
decision last forever.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Call To Remain Faithful

I starting blogging as a result of Stephen Bennett's ministry blog. In
one of my first topics back in April I stated:

"Please keep Stephen, his family and his ministry in your prayers. As
I stated in my post, I think that it has to be one of the most difficult ministries because of the fact that it is often attacked from all sides."

One would expect to be attacked by gay activists, but when I read a
blog post from another Christian who rips apart the intentions and motives of a fellow Christian's ministry, it really saddens me. It just reiterates the truth that formerly gay ministries ARE attacked by
people from all sides! Often, sadly, from the liberal left wing of Christendom. This is truly sad. But that is what happens when people take their eyes off of Jesus Christ and His Word in the Bible and focus
on what THEY believe to be 'truth'. Scripture is clear on the issue that homosexual behavior is sin. Period. However, what this individual is missing is that she is to lift up, pray for and not slander another
Christian in their ministry...even if, perhaps, she may not completely agree with it. This is what happens when the truth gets skewed and the individual doing the "skewing" doesn't see her own error!

Friends, you can go to the blogsite and read the message for yourself.
On second thought, I will save you from the rants of the ridiculous
going on over there. Frankly, it's not even worth your time to read ANY
of it. You just may need to take my word on this.

Please note that I am NOT referring to the original poster (b). I refer to
a poster named J&O's comments. She professes to be a Christian, yet , has many derogatory comments about her brother in Christ. What is wrong with this picture?

Please keep in mind that I am NOT referring to a non-believer's views
vs. a Christian's views. These verses are discussing the relationship(s)
of fellow Christians.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 - Dear brothers and sisters, we always thank God
for you, as is right, for we are thankful that your faith is flourishing
and you are all growing in love for each other.

Footnote: Greek Brothers.

I didn't see any Christian brotherly/sisterly love in her words
directed at Stephen...did you?

Philippians 2:1 - Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and

Philippians 2:2 - fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:3 - Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or
conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Did you see any 'consolation in Christ', 'comfort of love', 'fellowship of the Spirit', 'any affection and mercy' in her words?

Scripture tells us to be 'like-minded, having the same love, being of
ONE ACCORD, of one mind.

It is one thing to disagree with a method of ministry or perhaps the target of one's ministry, but this verse tells us to let NOTHING be
done through selfish ambition or conceit and we are to let each esteem others better than himself.

I could find many, many more verses, but perhaps these will suffice
for now.

The truth is that it APPEARS that Jaded doesn't like, approve of, or
even consider ex-gay ministry necessary or legitimate.

Where does she get the idea that she is correct on this? Certainly not
from Scripture.

Therefore, whatever denomination she attends COULD BE, BASED
ON SCRIPTURE IN JUDE, guilty of heresy and apostasy. Take a look
at Jude's warnings on this and any other heresy issue. Read it and then you tell me who is actually following the Will of God and
who is not!

Greetings from Jude
This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who are called to live in the love of God the Father
and the care of Jesus Christ.
2 May you receive more and more of God's mercy, peace, and love.
The Danger of False Teachers
3 Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you
about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News.* God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to
his holy people. 4 I say this because some godless people
have wormed their way in among you, saying that God's forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 I must remind you-and you know it well-that even though the Lord* rescued the whole nation of Israel from Egypt, he later destroyed every one of those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them
but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the day of judgment. 7 And don't forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with sexual immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and are a warning of the eternal fire that
will punish all who are evil.
8 Yet these false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams, live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at the power of the glorious ones.* 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not
dare accuse Satan of blasphemy, but simply said, "The Lord rebuke you." (This took place when Michael was arguing with Satan about Moses' body.) 10 But these people mock and curse the things they do not understand. Like animals, they do whatever
their instincts tell them, and they bring about their own destruction. 11 How terrible it will be for them! For they
follow the evil example of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they will do anything for money. And like Korah,
they will perish because of their rebellion.
12 When these people join you in fellowship meals celebrating the love
of the Lord, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you.*
They are shameless in the way they care only about themselves. They are like clouds blowing over dry land without giving rain, promising much but producing nothing. They are like trees without fruit at harvesttime. They are not only dead but doubly dead, for they have been pulled out by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of
the sea, churning up the dirty foam of their shameful deeds. They are wandering stars, heading for everlasting gloom and darkness.
14 Now Enoch, who lived seven generations after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said,
"Look, the Lord is coming
with thousands of his holy ones.
He will bring the people of the world
to judgment.
He will convict the ungodly of all the evil things
they have done in rebellion
and of all the insults that godless sinners
have spoken against him."*
16 These people are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like. They are loudmouthed braggarts, and they flatter others to get favors in return.
A Call to Remain Faithful
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the
apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you, 18 that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to enjoy themselves in every evil way imaginable. 19 Now they are
here, and they are the ones who are creating divisions
among you. They live by natural instinct because they do
not have God's Spirit living in them.
20 But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed
by the Holy Spirit.* 21 Live in such a way that God's love can bless you
as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. 22 Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the
flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need
to show mercy, but be careful that you aren't contaminated
by their sins.*
A Prayer of Praise
24 And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy. 25
All glory to him, who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the beginning, now, and forevermore. Amen.
Greek to contend for the faith.
Some manuscripts read Jesus.
The glorious ones are probably evil angels.
Or they are contaminants among you, or they are stains.
The quotation comes from the Apocrypha: Enoch 1:9.
The quotation comes from the Apocrypha: Enoch 1:9.
Greek Pray in the Holy Spirit.
Greek mercy, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.

[ bold - mine]

Friday, June 17, 2005

When the Enemy Strikes

That is the title of a new book by Charles Stanley. I just picked it up this morning and started reading it. It's amazing sometimes. I ordered the book a few weeks ago and had it in my "to read" section of my home library. Then, this blog was verbally attacked yesterday by someone
who spewed so much hate towards my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I deleted the posts, then, unfortunately, found them (plus many more REALLY disgusting diatribes) on another blog of a new Christian acquaintance.

I immediately noticed that this happened the day after I posted the previous blog topic and mentioned satan as the "liar who comes to
steal, to kill and to destroy". Those who are under his thumb love to attack Christians.

In fact, Stanley states on the book jacket that, "every Christian experiences satanic attack. When the enemy strikes, he targets the
mind, the seat of the will and emotion. His unrelenting assaults
against the people of God are a fact of life, confirmed by God's Word.
So the question is not how to avoid them but how to overcome them. "

Stanley tells us that the answer is not so much to fight, but to resist.
To STAND. What do we need to stand on? The Lord himself and His Word. The victory begins with trusting the Lord Jesus Christ and
trusting in HIS victory which has already made satan a defeated foe.

God has not left us defenseless. "Greater is He who is in you than he
who is in the world," said Jesus. God has given us everything we need: guidance, wisdom, and insight from the Bible. We also have the armor and weapons in the Spirit. Our main offensive weapon is Scripture! It
is crucial that Christians know what the Bible says about spiritual warfare. Satan will attempt ANYTHING to discourage our walk with Christ, rob our lives and destroy what is good. Though he is a powerful adversary and should never be taken lightly, he is NOT omnipotent.

There are struggles common to every human. Fear, discouragement, loneliness, anger, temptation, to name a few. Some people may think
that such circumstances or negative emotions originate from within or only from others around them. I think this is a huge mistake. They COULD be the result of a willful, coordinated assault of satan. Two of
his best tools are deception and perpetuating the belief that he isn't

Stanley's book lists some of the tactics used by satan to taunt, confuse, slander, and harm. He states, " Your adversary wants to crush your
will, delay your promise, hinder your destiny, destroy your
relationships, and lead you into sin."

Wow. That last one is a big one. Sometimes his deceptions are so
strong that people who are in the throes of a sinful lifestyle completely deny that this is so!

Stanley goes on to say, "The most important component of warfare is
the supremacy of God - both His sovereignty and His power. Practically, this means the battle you face are ultimately allowed by God to bring
you to a place of greater reliance on Him. HIS STRENGTH crushes the enemy.

That is precisely why we need to call on Jesus Christ in times of
spiritual battle. I called on Jesus yesterday after being attacked on this blog. I deleted the blasphemous posts. I pray that the person who did
this is bound up by Christ and sent away! However, if he returns, I will call upon the power of Jesus Christ again.

Stanley states, "This is a world of conflict between good and evil, of powers beyond the merely human. The battle is unavoidable, but take heart! God has given me (and you!) the strength to stand."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I Long for Your Presence

Sometimes I think back to my life before Jesus became my Lord and Savior. The lyrics of the song, "Presence" by the Newsboys tells us the value of longing for Jesus' presence in our lives:

Newsboys - Presence
From the album Devotion
I lift up my voice
To the King, King of Glory
I hold out my hands
To the One who is worthy
I long for Your presence
I long, Lord I need Your touch

Chorus: Come, O Lord, and fill up my life
With the light of Your presence
This is my heart’s desire
Come and let your Spirit abide
long for your presence
This is my heart’s desire
I long to be washed in the well of your mercy
I long to be warmed by the fire of your glory
I long for your presence
I long for your healing touch
Come and let your Spirit abide
I long for your presence
This is my heart’s desire
It’s my desire Lord, you’re my desire
I want to feel your presence (x4)

Before I came to Christ, could I honestly claim that I was longing for Jesus' presence in my life and that it was genuinely my heart's desire?
I would have to confess....no. I recall a scene from Forrest Gump where Lieutenant Dan asks Forrest, " Have you found Jesus yet?" and Forrest replied, "I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for Him." Doesn't that kinda describe each of us at one time before conversion? Then,
when we come to the realization that we need the salvation grace of
Jesus in our lives, isn't it amazing how we then can see the path to this realization through the Christian people He has placed in our lives?

I was caught up in all the things of this world, just like so many other people. Let me say that it is not necessarily an entirely bad thing to
enjoy the gifts God has given us during our dwelling place here on
earth. But the difference is, what comes first in your life?

I remember staring at Jesus on the cross at the front of the Roman Catholic church of my upbringing and wondering why did He have to die? The answer only came to me after studying the Gospel of John in
the Bible. John 3:3 showed me the need to be 'born again'; a phrase
that I had never heard of in all the years I attended church. It changed my life forever!

Going back, I remember so vividly one Sunday morning when I was a backsliding Catholic (in my 20's) I had thought that life is so meaningless. I stared at the Sunday newspaper thinking...OK
another sale at the mall. Ho hum. I can go buy more clothes. I couldn't pinpoint it at the time, but I knew that something was missing in my
life! I felt despair, depression, anxiety and wondered what life was
really all about.

Everything that I was involved in at the time brought some happiness, but my life lacked real joy. What is the difference? Happiness is man-made where joy is God-given. That is what I truly believe.

Jesus said in John 10:10 - The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to
kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

If you are reading this blog and don't believe that Satan is real, you are severely mistaken. Jesus confronted Satan during his three year
ministry on earth and referred to him as a real being. Who do you
think Jesus was referring to when he spoke of the 'thief' in the above verse? Notice what Satan's goal is. To steal, and to kill, and to destroy. Elsewhere, Jesus refers to him as the 'father of lies.' Of course, he is a defeated foe for Jesus broke the plague of sin, evil and death's affect upon those who confess their sin and choose Him as Lord and Savior
of their lives. We have the assurance of eternal life no matter what transpires here on earth. No one can "snatch us out of His hands." Greater is He (Holy Spirit) who is in me (you) than he who is in the world. However, those who die their inevitable death without Christ
will not inherit the kingdom of God! Don't be one of them!! Please visit my website page:
to learn how YOU can become a Christian!

I really love Brian Littrell's song:

Brian Littrell - In Christ Alone
From the album WOW #1's
In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I’ve been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I’ll overcome
Oh, I could stop and count successes like diamonds in my hands
But those trophies could not equal to the grace by which I stand
Chorus:In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone
In Christ alone do I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
For only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need
And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Power of Forgiveness

On another blogspot, a post was made pointing out that life happens
too fast. Boy can I relate to that! Sometimes, a moment in time when
you just sit still and think can bring about the realization of how fast
time flies.

Just last week while we were in Idaho at the NAIA College Baseball
World Series, our soon to be 21 year old son (a relief pitcher for Biola
U.) came up to our hotel room and just collapsed from exhaustion and fell asleep on our bed. My husband commented, "Look at how big he
is!" I know what he meant...he is tall, 6'3" and 170 lbs. I can still recall the times I held him in my arms as an infant, the toddler stage, the
pre-school stage, the K-12 stage and now, as a junior in college who is about to turn 21, it seems as though 21 years went by so very fast!

We looked at him, asleep on that bed and felt such joy for the kind of young man he now is, with faith and hope in the man he is continually growing to become. I welled up with such emotion! My husband and I ARE enjoying these special times with both of our children. I'm so glad that my son is home for the summer months and we are back to our family dinners together every night! This fall, my daughter will be
away at college too. Mom will have to cope with empty nest syndrome!

Sometimes when I see young children, I can still recall my son and daughter at those particular ages. Thank God we took a lot of video.
That helps us to remember them at each stage in their lives. They enjoy seeing themselves at those ages (well, my daughter does). We have been very fortunate that our two have a very good brother/sister relationship.

In my Christian internet friend Stephen's blog, he shared the
admonition that in this life, as Christians, we are to forgive others.
Easily said but sometimes, admittedly, hard to do. This really rings
true for me.

My sister and I have gone through some ups and downs in our relationship over the years, but when she was sick or went through a nasty divorce, we were able to put that aside and talk. I won't go into much detail about all of the past, but recently she called me and was, understandably, very distraught over the death of her horse, Sassy.
She doesn't have children and as she said, crying on the phone, Sassy
was "her life". She has another horse named Louie, but Sassy was the
one (if I recall correctly) that won ribbons years ago in many horse
shows in and around Cape Cod. It was like the death of a child to her.
She just needed to grieve and talk about her Sassy and I listened and cried with her.

Suddenly, she felt ill and had to get off the phone. I called the next day from the laudromat (our dryer broke down) and left her a message
which included prayer asking God for strength in coping with her loss. She called me on Sat. and said how much that message meant to her.
In our conversation, we reminisced about old times. She asked me if I remember the time that I told mom it was her turn to vacuum, and
she got mad at me, vacuumed my long hair and it got caught in the vacuum rollers. Honestly, I didn't remember that incident. I just laughed. But I remembered another one where she was quite cruel to me...funny but she didn't remember that! She finally said, "I guess
that's why you hate me." I was hurt and sad. I had thought I hid those feelings of 'dislike' in the past, but apparently she saw right through it.
Of course I told her that is not true. Of course I don't hate my sister!!
We have had our differences and spats, but we must forgive each other for past hurts. Years ago, I had forgiven her for many things that she
had done to me in the past (perhaps unknown to her) and my husband and I visited her at the Cape with our two children. This was shortly
after my dad had passed away in 1995. Because I live in California and she live on Cape Cod, it was the first time she had seen my children.
They were ages 10 and 7 then. My daughter, brother, his son and our mom recently took a road trip from Virginia to Cape Cod to visit her again last summer. We met her friend Glenn who is very nice and has helped her cope with and get through her divorce. It was good to see
her healthy and happy again.

I guess what I am trying to convey about forgiveness is that what
Stephen suggested in his blog; about forgiving others first, even if you perceive that they should have been the one to ask for forgiveness first,
is often necessary to bring about reconciliation. Letting it go back then was truly liberating to me and we now have a much better relationship than we ever had before. I would have missed out on that joy of reconciliation with my sister if I had let pride, anger, hurt, sadness,
fault-finding etc. eat away at me in my life. That is the power of forgiveness. It is truly liberating.

The cross of Christ is the ultimate power of forgiveness that is available
to us all. How could I not forgive my sister when God showed me the power of forgiveness by offering up his Son to cover all of my sins,
which led me to repentance, forgiveness, mercy, grace and the ultimate agape love of God? It is truly liberating and I know that forgiveness is a huge part of what Jesus meant when he said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

Friday, June 03, 2005

Trip to Idaho

My son's college baseball team made it to the NAIA College Baseball World Series (YAY!) so my husband and I followed the team up there to cheer them on. It was quite a trip...to say the least. First, my husband made the mistake of getting into the Alaska Airlines First Class/
Frequent Flyer line at the airport baggage check-in. You see, he wasn't
a Gold Card passenger...just Silver Card (according to their records) plus, he didn't have his frequent flyer card with him...which means that he couldn't use this "privileged" line anyway...so we got quite a tongue-lashing from the lady at the counter. Next thing we know...we got "chosen" for body and baggage search at the airport screening area!
She sure punished us!! At least I got the prize from the screeners for
the "neatest purse" that day. Some consolation and comfort.

Meanwhile, we were hungry and the line at Starbucks at the gate was long! Got a coffee and egg bagel at the pizza place there...they knew
what they were doing!

We get on the plane and reach Seattle on time. Our connecting flight
on a prop job plane was in 2 1/2 hours...so my husband checked if
their was availability on an earlier flight. We got onto the flight which stopped in Pullman. At Pullman, they overbooked and needed 3 people
to take a taxi (45 min. ride. vs. 9 min. plane ride) to Lewiston. The reward was 2 round trip tickets anywhere Alaska flies in the
continental U.S.! We jumped on that!

Our taxi ride was...interesting. The "cab" was a van...which looked
like it hadn't been cleaned or washed in months!! Ugh!! Oh well...we thought...still worth it for the free plane flights. Next, my husband noticed the taxi driver appeared to be getting drowsy. He shook his
head a few times while at the wheel! Charlie asked him, "Hey buddy...
you falling asleep?" He said, "no, just squinting from the sun in his
eyes." I thought...ever hear of sunglasses?? The guy was obviously
falling asleep so for the entire 35 minutes left to drive, my husband talked to the guy constantly to keep him awake! We heard his life

Anyway, we stayed at the Red Lion Inn. Same hotel that the team was staying in. It was nice...had a small refrigerator and microwave. The people in Lewiston were all very nice and very welcoming. It was nice
not to deal with any traffic (unlike CA), no freeway and no lines...anywhere!! We enjoyed great meals at several different restaurants and people serving us were always kind and talkative about baseball!! We went to the first Lewis-Clark night game and the stands were packed! I think the stadium holds 6,000!!

The first game for Biola was on Friday, May 27th against the 5th seed Cumberland team. Biola (our team) was seeded 4th. We had a good showing of Biola parents and fans. I would estimate about 30-40
people? And we were LOUD, too! heh heh

The game was a pitcher's dual and was close up until the 8th inning.
That is when our starter was showing fatigue (understandable...he
threw over 130 pitches!) The game had been tied up, then, Cumberland scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth. Guess who came in to pitch to get the last out? My son. Unfortunately, he pitched a fast ball
and the guy got a base hit. Later, he lamented that he should have
thrown the curve! The video broadcast the next day showed his warm-ups and his curve was awesome...hindsight is always 20/20. He often listened to his catcher's recommendations...but this time he says he should have gone with his instincts. Oh well. As it turned out, two more relief pitchers later, Cumberland scored 6 more runs...including a
grand slam. We lost 11-4. The team was so down and devastated!!

We were now in the losers bracket and had to work our way up to the final. We won the next two games defeating Briar Cliff 4-1 and Ohio Dominican 9-0. They were awesome games to watch!! Biola was

Then, we went up against the first seed of the tournament, Embry-Riddle. We lost our second game against Embry-Riddle (Fla.) by a
score of 6-3. I hate to sound like a typical disgruntled parent fan, but
the umpire at the plate was terrible!! Even other teams coaches who
were there to scout both teams made comments about his
inconsistency in ball/strike calls! Our pitcher couldn't even pitch his usual game because the strike zone kept moving!! The umpires in the field weren't great either...one called interference on our shortstop
when he was catching the ball to tag the base where a runner was attempting to come back from his progress to third because the fly ball was caught in shallow left field!! It was a terrible call! Because it was a judgment, and not a rule call, there was nothing we could do to protest
it. That would have been the third out. The next batter drove in that run along with a second run.

The worst call, however, was in the 9th inning. We had one out, a man
on first, and our leadoff hitter lined it towards the third base area. The ball was caught and our man on first went back the base. He was so obviously safe, even a fan from Embry-Riddle said so!! She said, "What
a terrible call. How awful for your team to have to end the game that way."

Everyone in the stands erupted, of course, because that ended the
game handing Embry-Riddle the win and the loss ended the series for

That's baseball...

We were SO VERY PROUD of our Biola team. This was the furthest
any baseball team from Biola ever progressed in the NAIA World
Series! They were GSAC Champs, Regional Champs, and
Super-Regional Champs! Their record for the season was 45-12-1
overall, 27-3 conference! SO PROUD OF OUR EAGLES! So proud of
my son! As a relief pitcher, he was 2-1-2 (saves). He pitched in 18
innings over the season and did well most of the time.

It was kinda sad to pack up that night and fly out 3 days earlier than
we would have if we were in the tournament up until the final. But the young men can be proud of their accomplishments...that's for sure!

The next day we arrived early for our flight out of the small Lewiston airport. And guess what? I got chosen for body and baggage extra screening...AGAIN! LOL!

It was good to be home again. Missed my daughter and was glad to be back home!