Have you ever lost a loved one, and a well meaning yet misguided soul quotes worn out platitudes? i.e. “Time will heal.” “You will get over it.” “He/she is in a better place now.” ….and the list goes on. Obviously, it would have been better if they showed their love simply through their presence and prayer, and left it at that. Doing favors, taking care of needs and preparing meals are also great things to do for those who suffer, since this gives them more time to grieve. There is really nothing to say sometimes and we must learn this. Do you remember Job’s friends? With friends like those, who needs enemies? The following scripture reveals the best thing these men did when they confronted Job. Job 2:13 “So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” (KJV) But they did not quit while they were ahead, and later undid all the good that they did through just listening and suffering with him. The worst cliché people use is “I know how you feel.” Are you sure about that? Even though we may have suffered in a similar way, we never know exactly how anyone else feels. So what should we do? The Holy Spirit will prompt us as always, and He will give us the words to say. The bottom line is to be there for them, display the love of Jesus Christ, and reveal that you do not understand everything yet you simply want to be their friend in their time of need. My father died by accident in 1975. A detective came out to make sure it was an accident and that there was no foul play. My brother was only nine years old and what I remember the most plainly was when the detective placed his arm around my brother’s back and grieved with him. That is what we need to do during times of suffering. Blessings, Pastor Steve
In a day when preachers in the mainstream media posture for “religious correctness,” Franklin Graham stands out as a breath of fresh air. He pulls no punches in all of his post 9/11 remarks and calls Islam exactly what it is. It is too bad that all preachers of the Gospel can not be as forthright. This is a man who helps people around the globe through Samaritan’s Purse and is a chip off the ole’ block, preaching all around the world just like his dad. I greatly admire Franklin Graham who pleases God and not man. Interestingly, the following article comes from the somewhat liberal online Wikipedia, hence there is undoubtably no bias in favor of Franklin:
Graham, a supporter of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, came under criticism for comments he made about Islam in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks when he referred to Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion.” Further criticism came on April 18, 2003, when he preached at a Good Friday service at the Pentagon. Graham has made controversial remarks against Islam saying “True Islam cannot be practiced in this country,” Graham told CNN’s Campbell Brown in December 2009. “You can’t beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they’ve committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries.” On April 22, 2010 after objections from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the Muslim group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Pentagon rescinded his invitation from the Christian conservative National Day of Prayer Task Force to speak at a Pentagon National Day of Prayer event. He still attended the National Day of Prayer meeting at the Pentagon, but outside in the parking lot with about a dozen people.
In the August 30, 2010 issue of the Time magazine, “Does America Hate Islam?” Graham reportedly said that Islam “is a religion of hatred. It’s a religion of war.” Building the cultural center near Ground Zero, he says, means Muslims “will claim now that the World Trade Center property … is Islamic land.”
On Iraq, Graham says he is, “poised and ready” to send representatives of the charity he runs to Iraq as soon as possible. While the purpose is humanitarian aid, Graham also admits, “I believe as we work, God will always give us opportunities to tell others about his Son. … We are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian, I do this in the name of Jesus Christ.”
On August 19, 2010, when asked by CNN correspondent John King if he had doubts that President Barack Obama is a Christian, Graham stated, “I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name.” Franklin continues to say, “Now it’s obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed, and he has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That’s what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn’t. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said.” In a March 2011 interview with the conservative internet publication Newsmax, Graham claimed that Obama had “allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to become part of the US government and influence administration decisions,” asserting that:
The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong and active in our country. It’s infiltrated every level of our government. Right now we have many of these people that are advising the US military and State Department on how to respond in the Middle East, and it’s like asking a fox, like a farmer asking a fox, “How do I protect my henhouse from foxes?” We’ve brought in Muslims to tell us how to make policy toward Muslim countries. And many of these people we’ve brought in, I’m afraid, are under the Muslim Brotherhood.
Graham supported North Carolina Amendment 1, which was passed by a voter referendum on May 8, 2012, prohibiting same-sex marriage and all domestic partnerships. Graham responded to Obama’s May 9, 2012, statement of support for same-sex marriage, saying, “President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more.” Graham defended Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s stance against homosexuality, praising him for “protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda.”
The article below reveals the concerted attack in our nation against God, country and patriotism. When Islam desires to take over a nation, their initial desire is to secularize the nation through erasing patriotism, their national faith [in our case it is Christianity], and love of country. Once their desired blank slate is established, Islam is introduced, since Islam can only enter a vacuum:
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Military Bans Troops from Attending Kids’ Church Function to Honor Them
The military continues its recent trend of making bad decisions based on false Constitutional premises.
A small country church recently centered their Vacation Bible School around our everyday heroes. They honored the Fire Department, they honored paramedics and the police… they also wanted to honor their local National Guard.
But the National Guard was a no-show… in fact, they were the ONLY no show.
Their reasons are pretty sad too…
Bible Baptist Church in Carthage, Missouri is a small country church bursting with American pride. Old Glory is posted in the sanctuary. And every morning at summer youth camp, the teenagers pledge allegiance and sing the national anthem.
Patriotic holidays are big doings at Bible Baptist. On Memorial Day, the church ladies put out quite a spread – fried chicken, potato salad. Veterans would wear their uniforms and the preacher would salute them during the morning worship service.
“We are a very patriotic church,” Pastor Kent Hogan told me. “We love America. We love this country.”
So it was not that big of a surprise when the church decided to honor the military during their annual Vacation Bible School. The theme was “God’s Rescue Squad.” And each day of the week, the church invited local “rescue squads” to visit with the boys and girls.
The paramedics came on Monday and on Tuesday, the fire department showed up. The boys and girls were taught how to stop, drop and roll. On Wednesday, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Dept. brought their K-9 unit..
But our story picks up with what happened on Thursday. That was the day when the church was supposed to honor the National Guard. They had invited troops from the nearby armory to drop by with one of their Humvees.
“We were going to thank them for protecting our religious liberty,” said Pastor Hogan. “It was more of a promotion for the military – to show the kids what the military does.”
But the National Guard did not visit Bible Baptist Church on Thursday night, and the reason why has caused great anger and frustration among church members.
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Below is an entry from the blogsite of Mrs. Knack. It is perfect for “Grandmom’s Bible” because it reveals all of the fallacious froth that people gravitate towards. I love the material on “itching ears” and the picture of the three snakes’ little tongues in the ear. It says it all. You can access her blogsite right here:
Reflections on Life
26Jul2014Leave a comment
2 Timothy 4:3&4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Scratch my itching ears
Tell me what I want to hear
Do not tell me what I need
It might convict me to His will, heed
I want to feel that my sin is okay
That I will not reap the consequences of it one day
That God holds nothing against me
That overlooking my habitual sin is easy
That though I chose to remain bound, I am free
That that which I do but should not, no one sees
Tell me what I want to hear
The fluffy, warm and fuzzy stuff that my flesh holds so dear
Give no regard to my spirit and soul
Tell me that pleasing my flesh, on me will have no toll
My ears they itch so very much
Though they can be wholly healed by the Master’s touch
I refuse to receive it and His easy yoke
Despite the one I have being heavy enough to choke
I want you to tell me that I know what is best
That my choices did not cause all of this turmoil and mess
That the life I choose to live is okay with Him
The He does not see my living according to fleshly whims
So, come on, you can do it, scratch my itching ears
You can do it despite destruction to me drawing near
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Whenever God molds my character in a positive way, it usually comes on the heels of a setback. It is also good to keep in mind that the wicked “temporary winners” will soon stand before the Lord in judgment. Godly people always realize that none of our sins will go unpunished, hence our mutual desire to turn away from rebellion and submit to God in obedience. Here is a beautiful portion of the 94th Psalm that expounds on the aforementioned theme:
12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Jehovah, And teachest out of thy law; 13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit be digged for the wicked. 14 For Jehovah will not cast off his people, Neither will he forsake his inheritance. 15 For judgment shall return unto righteousness; And all the upright in heart shall follow it. 16 Who will rise up for me against the evil-doers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? 17 Unless Jehovah had been my help, My soul had soon dwelt in silence. 18 When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah, held me up. 19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul. 20 Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with thee, Which frameth mischief by statute? 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, And condemn the innocent blood. 22 But Jehovah hath been my high tower, And my God the rock of my refuge. 23 And he hath brought upon them their own iniquity, And will cut them off in their own wickedness; Jehovah our God will cut them off.
Psalms 94:12-23 (ASV)
I just heard today on a Christian radio station that a pastor in North Carolina has memorized thirty five books in the Bible. This story went viral as one would expect. I got to thinking however………. As great a feat as this was, it was God who gave him the ability to do this. What would impress the Lord more? Memorizing many books of the Bible or sharing John 3:16 with the people who God sends our way? Sword drills are great for youngsters to learn the Word of God, but I believe it is even better to continually share Christ with the world, regardless of how much knowledge we have.
This entry is actually more serious than other erroneous conclusions that people come to which have no Biblical substantiation. We are talking about the absolutely incredible assertion, proponed in huge mega churches and even at times on the mission field, that a strategy for spreading the Christian faith is NOT SHARING THE GOSPEL AT ALL. If the “Gospel” is shared, it is often a weak and insipid version that omits the key elements of salvation: namely repentance, conviction, and turning from sin. It must be working rather well, as a great majority of professing Christians have never led a soul to Christ, as they fail to submit to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Most Christians, in fact, never even share their faith. Satan’s favorite tools in the church today are marketing the Gospel, strategizing on how to do it, training on how to share, and emphasizing a new methodology. We do everything in the Christian church today EXCEPT what the Nike commercial says: “Just do it.” Sharing Christ is spontaneous as we listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It comes naturally as we submit to the hand of God. Jesus had the following to say to Christians who lack fervor in Revelation 4:16: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Dwight L. Moody was a converted shoe salesman from Boston who became an evangelist. He planted a world famous ministry in Chicago, Illinois featuring the Pacific Garden Mission and the Moody Bible Institute. He went to an evangelism conference as a younger man and became bored and restless as he listened to hour after hour of strategy concepts and theorizing. So D. L. Moody went out to the streets himself and brought in a group of people to hear the Gospel. I have been in mega churches over the past several years who remove the crosses so as not to offend visitors, and they play secular music by rock groups at the beginning of the service in order to make lost people feel welcome. I have been on the mission field overseas and received a directive [that I disobeyed] to not share the Gospel with the local upper class people we were targeting, lest we scare them away. We were suppose to just invite them to church. When I submit to the Holy Spirit, it will be a cold day in hell when I do not share the Gospel as I feel the Lord open the door. So many people no longer really expect the Holy Spirit to convict sinners. By the way, what happens when people get used to coming to a church with a watered down approach to the Gospel? You have more unsaved church members; they are starched, ironed and pressed but not washed. How much training did the “woman at the well” receive, whose story is in John 4? Zilch, nada, zero, nihil, nothing. She dropped her water bucket and ran into Sychar and brought out the towns’ people to hear Jesus. This is Soul Winning 101. I am aghast that the professing Christian church would strategize growing the church through not sharing the Gospel. That is the church that I will run away from and FAST! I could quote legions of scriptures that command us to do this; such as Acts 1:8 (look it up if you do not know it), or the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20 (look it up if you do not know it). Witnessing is not a gift given to a handful of select Christians; we ALL have a testimony if we are truly born from above, and we understand the saving faith and can share the plan of salvation. If the following verse does not encourage us to be the soul winners that God intends for us to be, then nothing will: John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Does this rattle your cage? I hope so. I have a dream of serving in a church where soul winning becomes contagious. In Christ, Pastor Steve
Perhaps you are wondering whether or not it is the right thing to do by disobeying directives given to us. The Bible even tells us to submit to the authorities over us. The key is that we submit to the authorities UNLESS their orders conflict with the Word and the will of God in our lives. A Biblical illustration can be found in Acts 5:17-33. The high priest and the Sadducees ordered Peter and the apostles to stop sharing the Gospel. The apostles replied that they had to obey the Holy Spirit (vs. 32). The key verse is Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” I read my Bible and because of my faith, it is the priority of my life. If someone gives me directives, whether they are a professing Christian or not, I will submit to them ONLY SO FAR AS THEY SUBMIT TO THE WORD OF GOD. Amen and amen…
“Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple, Google and Twitter are a modern electronic Tower of Babel. Although good uses can be found in them, to be involved means sacrificing privacy, and placing sensitive information on the world stage.” — Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias
Is the following true? Jesus always bore a countenance of happiness with a smile on His face, especially in His interactions with children. Certainly this is the case, since His pictures on the covers of Sunday School literature and Vacation Bible School material usually indicate this. Folks, I do not believe in the pictures that I see of Jesus posing with children as if staging a Kodak moment. I believe that in Jesus’ expressions, He radiated God’s love for ALL of men, women and children, and He was very serious about the plight of all of fallen men as well. What does the Bible say? Let us examine the scriptures: Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” The entire chapter of Isaiah 53 is clearly a prophecy directed at the Son of God. What could be plainer than “He was a man of sorrows”? Consider what the Lord said immediately prior to the Great Flood; that is after the entire human race plunged into rebellion, sin and darkness: Genesis 6:6 “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Obviously, God must feel the same pain now, since “….as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:26) Do not forget that when Jesus used a small innocent child as an object lesson of love, faith and trust, that He knew the eternal destination of that child! Can you and I possibly understand ANY of the burden He carried? Surely the one time Jesus would be “happy” would be when He rode the colt into Jerusalem, correct? He received the “red carpet” treatment as palm branches were placed in His path, and the people “…….began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.” (Luke 19:37b-38) What a happy and joyous moment, eh? Jesus’ response follows in verse 41: “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.” Jesus saw that Jerusalem would be downtrodden until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled. Jesus also foresaw that the Jews would be scattered, sin would dominate for thousands of more years on our fallen planet, and heartache, pain, trials and tribulations would be the plight of all men. Jesus also knew the fickle heart of man, and that in less than a week he would be crucified spread eagle on a stake outside the walls of Jerusalem between two thieves, suffering physically and spiritually in a way that you and I cannot possibly comprehend. We would indeed be remiss if we failed to share the shortest verse in the entire Word of God at this time. It comes on the heels of Lazarus’ death, Luke 11:35 “Jesus wept.” Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus as His most intimate friends and sympathized with their loss; and He understood the frame of all men on this fallen planet who experience death. The lesson of this entry is once again to simply let the Bible speak for itself, and not to make it say what we want it to say. Do not forget that the Word also says: “For my thoughts are NOT your thoughts, NEITHER are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8. We can further make sense of this teaching through our understanding of the blessing of “sadness.” Does not the Bible say in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted?” (Matthew 5:4) If you are melancholy you have a companion in our Lord! Still having trouble with this concept? Carefully meditate on this scripture: Ecclesiastes 7: 2-4 “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart; Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” You think about that. Blessings, Pastor Steve
This new category is based on a joke that we students shared while in Bible school/seminary. There are many things that are assumed to be spiritually true and Biblical, yet in reality they are no where to be found in the Word of God and they are actually unscriptural. We said these teachings came out of grandmom’s Bible. Here are a couple of simple illustrations that you are probably already familiar with. 1)”God helps those who help themselves.” If you and I had a nickel for every time we heard that saying in our lives, we could go out to dinner and leave a reasonable tip as well. The Bible says quite the opposite: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Helping ourselves is the height of human presumption and diametrically opposed to waiting upon the Lord in faith. This saying was made by one, no doubt, in order to justify their actions that probably went AGAINST the will of God. 2)”Cleanliness is Godliness.” It is a well known fact that some misguided people attempt to wash sin from their lives through prolonged showers and baths. This strategy, of course, does not work. Good hygiene and cleanliness is a positive attribute, especially when in a car pool or one who has limited office space and works with a lot of people in close quarters. However, immoral pagans can be clean as a whistle while some blessed saint can lack the knowledge and follow through of good hygiene. The Pharisees, ever diligent in their attempts to trip up our Lord and Savior, accused Jesus and His disciples of eating without washing their hands. Jesus responded that “…it was not that which entered a man that defiled him, but the things which come out of him defile the man.” (read Mark 7:1-15) Boy oh boy, I wish Jesus could have had a good talk with my parents when I was a kid. This would have made our appearances at the dinner table a lot easier. Ha Ha!
……more to follow