Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is the gospel spelled out in the stars?

It has long been suggested that the constellations are God-given illustrations of gospel truths. Indeed, constellation names go far back into mankind's history. The Jewish historian Josephus says they were named by Seth, the third son of Adam, but perhaps even Adam had a part, since he named the animal world (Genesis 2:19). The Bible says that God assigns His own names to the stars (Psalms 147:4). If so, He may have revealed them to early people.
Of special interest are the twelve zodiac constellations. This band of stars lies in the plane of the solar system. They appear high in the night sky, roughly along the same path traveled by the sun during the day. During the course of each year the zodiac constellations take turns in appearing: for example, Scorpius in summer, Gemini in winter. Job 38:32 makes reference to the bringing forth of these constellations (or "Mazzaroth" in the King James Version) in their season.
The idea of seeing the gospel message in the stars was popularized by the writings of E.W. Bullinger and J.A. Seiss during the 1800s. Here is a brief outline of the usual zodiac interpretations:

Zodiac Interpretations
Constellation Picture Interpretations
Virgo Virgin Virgin Mary
Libra Scales Sin must be paid for
Scorpius Scorpion Sin brings death
Sagittarius archer Demonism
Capricorn Goat-fish Earth corruption
Aquarius Water pourer Living water or Noah's flood
Pisces Fish God's remnant
Aries Ram Sacrifice
Taurus Bull Resurrection
Gemini Twins Christ's dual nature
Cancer Crab Gathering of redeemed
Leo Lion The King

Early writings on this subject went into great detail regarding different parts of the constellations, so that practically every star was assigned a special meaning.
The gospel message may well have been purposely written in the skies by the Lord. In that case, perhaps the star signs served as memory aids before Scripture was available.
Today, of course, the Bible provides a clear message about the plan of God. Although stars continue to "declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1) and are useful in our calendar system (Genesis 1:14), the Bible does not tell us to search the stars for detailed messages. On the contrary, warnings are given against trusting in the stars. Caution is needed when searching for the gospel in the stars, since constellation symbols can have many possible interpretations. Since Babylonian times, Satan has counterfeited the zodiac with astrology.
Many people still claim to see symbols of the gospel in unusual places: crosses on flower petals, Christmas stars on sand dollars, and even religious images on rusty water towers! God certainly designed all things, but we must beware of building our doctrine on the details of nature. We can be thankful that the Bible presents the gospel to us so clearly that we have no need for additional evidence of its truths.

Taken from: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c019.html


Monday, February 27, 2012

Itching Ears

 The following link is about 2 Timothy 4:3- "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

Check it out:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Body, Soul, And Spirit

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews. 4:12-13)

Some people view the soul and body interchangeably, while others think the soul and spirit are the same. But it’s more accurate to think of them as separate components.  Our soul is the conscious part of us, composed of mind (intellect), will, and emotions.   It makes choices and controls our behavior by giving orders to the body. Our spirit is the subconscious part, an internal adviser to the conscious soul.  It’s  our conscience.

Both our soul and our spirit are intangible and eternal and are housed in our body which is tangible and temporal. Our body is designed for use in this life, and when we die we leave it behind. Paul described our body as our earthly dwelling and spoke of how we long to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.  Believers don’t desire so much to be rid of our earthly bodies, he said, as to receive our heavenly ones. He said receiving our heavenly body is the very purpose for which we were created, and that’s why God gave us the Holy Spirit at the first moment of our belief. He’s a deposit guaranteeing what is to come, which is the exchange of our earthly dwelling for our heavenly one. (2 Cor. 5:1-5)

It Wasn’t Always Like That

I believe Adam and Eve were created with a heavenly alignment of body, soul, and spirit.  Their body was submissive to their soul which was submissive to their spirit which was one with the Spirit of God.  But at the fall this alignment was perverted and through Satan’s influence the soul began to assert itself over the spirit. Both were contaminated by sin and the direct link to God was broken. In the time after the fall the soul became more assertive as man entered the period between Adam and Noah that some call the Dispensation of Conscience. Man was left to decide for himself what was right but because of the misalignment that came with the fall,  things got progressively worse until God had to wipe the slate clean and start over. This experience has been repeated again and again . Even the time of Israel’s dominance in the world, when the communication link with God was formally re-opened, ended in failure. During that period Prophets were appointed to speak to the people for God and Priests to speak to God for the people. But it wasn’t enough.

The problem was that the spirit of unsaved man is confused and uncertain because of the effects of sin and often gives bad advice to his soul, which is also contaminated by sin, making it impossible for him to please God.

The cross changed all that. Now, when we are born again our spirit becomes one with the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 6:17) and the confusion and uncertainty clears up. Our spirit again knows right and wrong as absolutes, and as our conscience it begins to serve as a reliable guide to our soul, which is still sin infested.

The difference that being born again makes in us is so profound that we can only understand God’s word after we become believers. The natural man cannot comprehend it. (1 Cor 2:14) This explains why the Lord’s disciples were often confused about His teaching, and failed to understand much of it. They didn’t receive the Holy Spirit until the night of His resurrection. (John 20:22)

This is also why Jesus told us that our righteousness has to surpass that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.  Not being born again, their efforts at keeping the law were acts of will and were often in conflict with what their spirits were advising them to do. In other words, it was still a matter of their soul asserting itself over their spirit. They just knew the law well enough to know when their spirits were giving them bad advice.  In Isaiah 29:13 the Lord had said, “These people come near to me with their lips (governed by the soul), but their hearts (spirits) are far from me.” Jesus accused them of looking like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, but inside full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean (Matt. 23:27) Their obedience to the law was only intellectual assent backed up by will power. Their spirit was still infested with sin.

Back To Hebrews 4

But the Lord pays special attention to the motives of our heart and judges us on our intentions, not our actions. This is what the writer to the Hebrews meant when he said that the word of God can divide soul (behavior) and spirit (motive). He’s not fooled by man’s attempts at good behavior. He knows the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Commenting on ceremonial cleanliness He said that it’s not what goes into us that makes us unclean, but what comes out of us. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matt. 15:17-19) Jeremiah wrote that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. (Jere. 17:9) After sinning with Bathsheba, David prayed that God would create in him a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within him. (Psalm 51:10)  This is what happens when we’re born again and the Holy Spirit unites with our spirit. It renews a steadfast spirit with in us.  It’s what David longed for, but it couldn’t happen before the cross. (John 7:39)

In effect, the Holy Spirit works through our spirit to repossess our soul from its bondage to sin. But since it’s not the conscious part of us, our spirit can only work to influence our decisions. Our soul must choose to heed the advice of our spirit, in whose “ear” the Holy Spirit is whispering. This is what Paul meant when he told us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (soul) (Romans 12:2).  This transformation consists of consciously choosing to allow the Holy Spirit to become the primary influence in determining our actions. This is the heavenly alignment again. God’s Spirit to our spirit, to our soul, and to our body. This is why the Pharisees were criticized. God’s Spirit was not within them, and so their obedience was a product of their intellect, their soul. Their spirit remained unregenerate. It looked good on the outside, but inside it was all out of order. It was form without substance, and it produced self righteousness, not humility.

The biggest problem we have is that our soul is still struggling with its bondage to sin, and therefore must constantly choose to submit to our renewed spirit. Remember the soul is where our behavioral decisions are made. Our spirit is one with the Spirit of God, but can only advise. Paul described our dilemma poignantly in Romans 7:14-25, saying that he had the desire to do good but could not carry it out. His spirit was one with God, but his soul sometimes rebelled. Inwardly he could delight in God’s Law, but outwardly he would sometimes conform to the law of sin and death.

It’s actually the opposite of the Pharisees’ problem. They looked good on the outside but were full of evil thoughts and intentions. While the Lord condemned them, he directs no condemnation toward us (Romans 8:1) because although our soul often betrays us, our spirit is one with God. He goes so far as to separate the behavior from the believer saying that it’s not we who sin, but the sin nature that dwells within us. (Romans 7:20)

Will This Ever End?

When we die or are raptured, our transformation will be complete, and the Holy Spirit’s work of repossessing our soul will be finished. The heavenly alignment will be permanently restored, our regenerated soul in perpetual submission to our spirit which is one with God. Only then will we be ready for our resurrection bodies. It will no longer occur to us to behave in a manner contrary to God’s will, and we’ll finally be fit to dwell with Him forever.

The new body we receive will compare to the old one only in physical characteristics. The old one is corrupt and doomed to perish. The new one will be incorruptible and will never perish. (1 Cor. 15:53) We’ll recognize each other and will know God as we are known by Him. (1 Cor.13:12) No longer will things be hidden from our understanding or beyond our comprehension because our soul, where understanding and comprehension take place, will finally be freed from the bondage of sin. The immeasurable creative capacity with which the human mind was created will finally be unleashed for our eternal use and enjoyment. The tiny nuggets of talent and ability in the arts and sciences that we can only faintly glimpse now will become rich veins to be mined for all eternity.

And best of all, we’ll finally achieve our heart’s true desire, to be one with our Creator, body, soul, and spirit. Selah 02-18-12

By Jack Kelley

Friday, February 24, 2012

Middle East archaeologists are hoping to save the ruins of the Biblical tower of Babel

Following the years of devastation under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and the ensuing American invasion of Iraq archaeologists are beginning to work on ancient Babylonian sites and hope to save the ruins of the biblical Tower of Babylon and learn how it was built before it crumbled under the weight of confusion.

As a first step, experts are working on a plan to prevent further deterioration of the mud-bricked ruins which were damaged by Saddam's personal building projects.

Jimmy's Prophetic Prospective on the News

The meticulous work by archaeologists to preserve the mud-bricked Tower of Babel in Iraq is evidence that Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

For several decades, the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein worked to restore the site of biblical Babylon which included the mud-bricked building of the Tower of Babel. Since the war torn nation of Iraq is working to restore its country to the glory days of this Middle Eastern state in many areas, they have arranged for archaeologists to work to save the ruins of the ancient biblical site.

The Bible records the destruction of the Tower of Babel when the people of the world at that time who only spoke one language were confronted by a heavenly visitor and the tower was destroyed by the confusion of one language becoming many languages, Genesis 11. This account of Babylon's beginnings found in Genesis 11 is only the start of a significant history for this city. Babylon is where the Jews were held captive for 70 years, II Chronicles 36. Babylon was the city where Alexander the Great became the leader of the known world. Babylon is also the city where the Apostle Peter traveled to start a church to reach that part of the world, I Peter 5:13. Babylon will also be the headquarters for a world economic center and its leader, the Antichrist, Revelation 18. Babylon is the city that will be destroyed in one hour, Revelation 18:10, 17, 19.
This will be a total destruction and forever, Isaiah 13,14, Jeremiah 50, 51, and Revelation 16:17-21.

Archaeologists working to preserve the city of Babylon is indeed setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

By Jimmy DeYoung

February 21, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Nonnegotiable Gospel

The Gospel’s Three Elements
excerpts from The Nonnegotiable Gospel
The one true “gospel of God’s grace,” which God offers as our only salvation, has three basic elements: 1) who Christ is—fully God and perfect, sinless man in one Person (were He less, He could not be our Savior); 2) who we are—hopeless sinners already condemned to eternal death (or we wouldn’t need to be saved); and 3) what Christ’s death accomplished—the payment of the full penalty for our sins (any attempt by us to pay in any way rejects the Cross).
Christ has commanded us to “preach the gospel [good news!] to every creature [person]” (Mark:16:15). What response is required? Both the desperate question and uncomplicated answer are given to us: “What must I do to be saved?... Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts:16:30, 31). Neither religion, ritual, nor good works will avail. God calls us to simply believe . “For by grace are ye saved through faith ” (Ephesians:2:8)—whosoever believes in him will not perish, but has eternal life (John:3:16).
It is the gospel alone that saves those who believe it. Nothing else will save. Therefore we must preach the gospel. Paul said, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Corinthians:9:16). Sentimental appeals to “come to Jesus” or “make a decision for Christ” avail nothing if the gospel is not clearly explained and believed.
Many are attracted to Christ because of His admirable character, noble martyrdom, or because He changes lives. Such converts have not believed the gospel and thus are not saved. This is the solemn teaching of Scripture (John:3:36)!
Paul said that “the gospel of Christ...is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans:1:16). He also called it “the gospel...by which also ye are saved ” (1 Corinthians:15:1, 2); and “the gospel of your salvation ” (Ephesians:1:13). Clearly, from these and other scriptures, salvation comes only through believing the gospel . Christ told His disciples to go into “all the world, and preach the gospel” (Mark:16:15), a gospel which the Bible precisely defines.
Salvation comes on God’s terms and by His grace, and we negotiate the gospel neither with God nor with one another. “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John:4:14). Salvation is a work of God and His Son. We either believe it or reject it. We don’t “dialogue” about it.
It is also called the “gospel of Christ” (Mark:1:1; Romans:1:16; 15:19; 1 Corinthians:9:12, 18; 2 Corinthians:4:4; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians:1:7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians:3:2; 2 Thessalonians:1:8). He is the Savior, and salvation is His work, not ours, as the angels said: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke:2:11).
Paul specifies the gospel that saves: “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians:15:3, 4). “I am the door,” said Christ: “by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John:10:9).
The gospel contains nothing about baptism, church membership or attendance, tithing, sacraments or rituals, diet or clothing. If we add anything to the gospel, we have perverted it and thus come under Paul’s anathema in Galatians:1:8, 9!
The gospel is all about what Christ has done. It says nothing about what Christ must yet do because the work of our redemption is finished. “Christ died for our sins.” His was a past act, never to be repeated, for Christ triumphantly declared, “It is finished ” (John:19:30)!
Nor does it say anything about what we must do, because we can do nothing. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus:3:5); “for by grace are ye saved through faith...the gift of God (is) not of works, lest any man should boast...” (Ephesians:2:8, 9).
Instead of works, the gospel requires faith. It is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe . “But to him that worketh not , but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans:4:5)...“that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John:3:16).
The gospel is a two-edged sword. It declares, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” The same verse also says, “and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John:3:36).

The Difficult Part
Right here we come to the most difficult part of the gospel to accept—that those who do not believe it are eternally lost, no matter what good works they do.
The reasons for that fact are grounded in both God’s love and His justice. God’s justice requires that the infinite penalty for sin must be paid. In payment we would be separated from God forever, so He became a man through the virgin birth to pay the penalty for us. No one can complain against God. He has proved His love by doing all He could for our salvation. He has himself paid the penalty and on that basis can be both “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans:3:26).
Christ pleaded in the Garden, “if it be possible (i.e., if there is any other way mankind can be saved), let this cup pass from me” (Matthew:26:39). We know that there is no other way or God would not have required His beloved Son to bear the full brunt of His wrath against sin. The fact that men nailed Christ to the cross would only condemn us. But on the cross, when man was doing his worst to his Creator, Christ paid the penalty for our sins in full.
Only if we accept that payment on our behalf can we be saved. “[T]here is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts:4:12); “what must I do to be saved?...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts:16:30, 31).
To “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” includes who He is and what He has done .
Jesus said, “...Ye are from beneath; I am from above...if ye believe not that I AM [this is God’s name, Yahweh], ye shall die in your sins” (John:8:23, 24). Jesus himself says we must believe that He is God, for He is; and no one less than God could save us. We must believe that the sinless One “died for our sins,” and was buried; and that He rose bodily from the grave. Only by believing this gospel are we saved. So says God’s Word.
Why could not even a Mother Teresa get to heaven by good works? Because we are all sinners; and because once we have broken one of God’s commandments we “[are] guilty of all” (James:2:10); and “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans:3:20). Keeping the law perfectly from now on could never make up for having already broken it.
For God to grant salvation by any other means than faith in Christ alone would be an insult to the One whom the Father insisted had to endure His wrath as the sacrifice for sin. Furthermore, God would be breaking His own code of justice and going back on His Word. No, even God himself could not save earth’s most notable “saint.” Christ’s blood avails only for repentant sinners.
Oswald Chambers warned lest, in our zeal to get people to accept the gospel, we manufacture a gospel acceptable to people and produce “converts” who are not saved. Today’s most popular perversion is the “positive” gospel, which is designed to offend no one with truth. One of our most popular televangelists, for example, has said that it is demeaning to call anyone a sinner and that Christ died to restore human dignity and self-esteem. He claims to win many to Christ with that seductive message—but such a gospel does not save sinners .
Evangelistic appeals are often made to “come to Christ” for the wrong reasons: in order to be healthy, happy, successful, to restore a marriage, or to handle stress. Others preach a gospel that is so diluted or perverted that it deceives many into thinking they are saved. No fraud could be worse, for the consequences are eternal!
Religion, not atheism, is Satan’s main weapon. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians:4:4). To combat “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts:20:24), the great deceiver has many false gospels, but they all have two subtle rejections of grace in common: ritual and/or self-effort.
Ritual makes redemption an ongoing process performed by a special priesthood; and self-effort gives man a part to play in earning his salvation. The one denies the finality of the Cross. The other denies its sufficiency. Either one robs God of the uniqueness of the gift He wishes to bestow upon fallen man: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans:6:23).

By Dave Hunt

Monday, February 20, 2012

Demons: Servants of Satan

Although science strides confidently across the opening decade of the twenty-first century, interest in the occult remains powerfully pervasive. Although one of those so-called “skunk words” (one given many different and often mutually exclusive meanings), “occult” is based on the Latin occultare (“secret, covered over”) and The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the adjective as “involving or relating to mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices or phenomena.”
It is obvious that our subject fits right into this sphere. Countless volumes have been written on the subject in the past fifty years or so, ranging from those that paint fancifully lurid pictures lacking any credible basis to those that encourage people to plunge headlong into the unknown in order to add exciting new dimensions to their lives. My brief here is to steer a strictly biblical course, and this will be best done by answering seven questions, beginning with the most fundamental of all.
Do demons exist? 
Although there is a mass of anecdotal evidence going all the way back to ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Greek and Roman histories, we must answer the question by a direct appeal to Scripture. When we do, the answer is clear and unanimous. In the Old Testament we are told of those who “sacrificed to demons that were no gods” (Deut. 32:17) and others who “sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons” (Ps. 106:37). Demons are mentioned in nineteen out of the twenty-seven New Testament books, and Jesus frequently claimed to “cast out demons” (Matt. 12:27). Demons are not the product of hyperactive religious imagination, nor the disembodied spirits of a prehistoric race, nor the long-existent result of antediluvian sex between angels and human women (all these theories have been advanced). The Bible never questions their existence.
What is their origin?
God created all reality outside of Himself, from time to titanium — from space to stem cells; there is no wriggle room in the statement: “All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Yet as God cannot be directly involved in the creation of evil, reason agrees with Scripture that while all angels were created holy some fell from their original state. 
The first to rebel was Satan, who was promptly thrown out of heaven along with myriads of angels who followed his lead. The Bible says they “did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling” (Jude 6) in contrast to “the elect angels” (1 Tim. 5:21) who were given grace to remain sinless. We should note that in contrast to humanity, which fell in its representative head (Adam), each apostate angel fell by his own personal choice.
What do we know about Satan?
A great deal! He is mentioned more often in Scripture than all other evil angels combined, and of twenty-nine references in the Gospels, Jesus spoke of him twenty-five times. 
He is “the prince of demons” (Matt. 12:24), the undisputed ruler of a host of evil spirits that inhabit the cosmos as surely as humanity inhabits planet earth.
He is “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), exercising massive authority in the ordered system of things opposed to God.
He is “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), which includes all unregenerate humanity and all fallen angels.
He is “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), the whole world order that rejects the Creator and substitutes the creature.
The Bible refers to him fifty-two times as “Satan” (“adversary” or “opposer”) and thirty-five times as the “Devil” (“accuser” or “slanderer”), while other titles include “the evil one” (John 17:15), “a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8), “Abaddon” (“destroyer,” Rev. 9:11), “a great red dragon” (Rev. 12:3) and “that ancient serpent” (Rev. 12:9). Pulling all of these together, we have a truly terrifying picture not merely of some of kind of vague influence but of an immensely powerful, amazingly clever, intrinsically evil and destructive person, the ruler and leader of a host of lesser spirits utterly under his control.
Where do demons rank?
Most references to them are in the New Testament, where four major words are used to describe them. The most frequent one is “demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Some versions translate the Greek word daimonion as “devils,” but this is both wrong and misleading; there are many demons but only one Devil. Another word frequently used is “spirits,” but it is easy to see from Luke 10:17–22 that there is no essential difference in meaning between this and “demons.” Another key word used is “angels” (Matt. 25:41), a clear indication that Satan rules a vast kingdom of evil beings carrying his orders.
How are the demons organized?
The Bible says that Christians are in a fight against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Some Christian authors and speakers have seen this as evidence of demons forming a highly-structured hierarchy, and this kind of thinking developed into the idea of “territorial spirits,” with continents, countries, cities and localities under their command. Others have gone even further and see demons in an organized conspiracy to take over government, banks, schools and the media. This in turn has led to concepts such as praying or marching around certain places or buildings to “reclaim lost ground for God,” but there is no biblical basis for this last kind of thing. Although the Bible gives some twelve titles to fallen angels or demons, and there are some hints at structure, it is impossible to be dogmatic about this.
What of their activities?
Simply put, demons are involved in every part of Satan’s program — opposing God, preventing people understanding the Gospel, opposing God’s people, attacking the church, tempting people to sin and thwarting the spread of the Gospel. Much is made of their part in causing sickness, but although there is an example in the Bible of a woman who had “a disabling spirit for eighteen years,” Jesus describing her as someone “Satan bound for eighteen years” (Luke 13:11, 16), we have no warrant for directly attributing all physical illness to satanic or demonic activity. There are those who have claimed that demons are responsible for every affliction, disease, or aberration, but the American theologian Augustus Strong was on safer ground when we wrote, “We are to attribute disease and natural calamity to their agency only when this is a matter of special revelation.”
What of demon possession?
There are several New Testament instances of this (for example, Mark 1:23). Liberals have suggested that the Bible was merely reflecting contemporary ideas, or that Jesus was indulgently accommodating people’s beliefs, while others have assumed that demon possession was limited to biblical times, and especially to the time when Jesus was on earth, directly opposing the work of Satan. But all these ideas fly in the face of facts. There is no evidence that the work of Satan or his agents has lessened in intensity as the centuries have passed; in fact, a case could be made for saying the opposite.
In cases of demon possession, the personality of the person concerned is eclipsed by the demon, so that demonic personality is what is revealed. Can a Christian be demon-possessed? There is limited anecdotal evidence that in certain circumstances Christians have been subject to intense demonic attack, but we need to give full weight to the Bible’s assurance that as far as the believer is concerned “the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). The word translated “touch” here means “grasp, so as to detain,” and it is matched by Jesus’ assurance that as far as believers are concerned “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29). When our doctrine is determined by Scripture rather than by mere emotions, experiences, or clinical case studies, it is clear that a true believer cannot be possessed by the forces of evil.
We must also beware of what Martyn Lloyd-Jones called “capitulation to phenomena,” especially in the area of exorcism, when it is clear from Matthew 7:22–23 that even the casting out of evil spirits does not guarantee the person doing so a place in heaven! The need, as in all our living, preaching, and counselling, is to focus on Christ.
Even this whirlwind overview of the subject is inevitably sobering, but when viewed through the lens of Scripture, we can be assured of two things. Firstly, neither the Devil nor his demons are independent, omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. Their power and influence, in time and extent, is limited by the permissive will of God, who “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11). Secondly, Jesus made it clear that their ultimate fate is to be cast into “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Poem on Philippians 4:4-6

“Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you to conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself as to others. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration, just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God.”  –Fenelon


Monday, February 13, 2012

19 Facts About Abortion In America That Should Make You Very Sick

Every single day, a silent horror kills more Americans than were killed on 9/11. Every single year, this silent horror kills about as many Americans as have been killed on all the battlefields in all of the wars in U.S. history combined. This silent horror is called abortion, and it is a national disgrace. Overall, more than 50 million babies have been slaughtered since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. We have become a nation with so little regard for human life that nobody even really talks that much about this issue anymore. But the truth is that it is at the very core of what is wrong with America. As I have written about previously, we have become a nation that is obsessed with population control, and we have been exporting this sick philosophy all over the globe. As you read this, there are workers from U.S. organizations and UN organizations (both funded by your tax dollars) that are on the other side of the world setting up "family planning services" for women in poor countries. The goal of these organizations (just like we see in the United States) is to reduce the number of poor children being born. The sick control freaks that run things have decided that overpopulation is a plague that must be eradicated and that mass murder is the answer. Unfortunately, there are very few people that are still willing to speak out strongly against abortion in America. So the carnage is just going to go on and on and on.
What will the history books say about a nation that murdered 50 million of its own babies?
The following are 19 facts about abortion in America that should make you very sick....

#1 There have been more than 53 million abortions performed in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided back in 1973.
#2 When you total up all forms of abortion, including those caused by the abortion drug RU 486, the grand total comes to more than a million abortions performed in the United States every single year.
#3 The number of American babies killed by abortion each year is roughly equal to the number of U.S. military deaths that have occurred in all of the wars that the United States has ever been involved in combined.
#4 Approximately 3,000 Americans lost their lives as a result of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. Every single day, more than 3,000 American babies are killed by abortion.
#5 It has been reported that a staggering 41 percent of all New York City pregnancies end in abortion.
#6 According to Pastor Clenard Childress, approximately 52 percent of all African-American pregnancies now end in abortion.
#7 One very shocking study found that 86 percent of all abortions are done for the sake of convenience.
#8 According to the Guttmacher Institute, the average cost of a first trimester abortion at the ten week mark is $451.
#9 The average cost of a vaginal birth with no complications in the United States is now over $9,000.
#10 A Department of Homeland Security report that was released in January 2012 says that if you are "anti-abortion", you are a potential terrorist. Unfortunately, there have also been other government reports that have also identified "anti-abortion" protesters as potential threats.
#11 A while back one Philadelphia abortionist was charged with killing seven babies that were born alive, but witnesses claim that he actually slaughtered hundreds "of living, breathing newborn children by severing their spinal cords or slitting their necks."
#12 Some abortion clinics have been caught selling aborted baby parts to medical researchers.
#13 Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger once said the following....
"The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."
#14 In a 1922 book entitled "Woman, Morality, and Birth Control", Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger wrote the following....
"Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race."
#15 Planned Parenthood performs more than 300,000 abortions every single year.
#16 Planned Parenthood specifically targets the poor. A staggering 72 percent of Planned Parenthood's "customers" have incomes that are either equal to or beneath 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
#17 There are 30 Planned Parenthood executives that make more than $200,000 a year. A few of them make more than $300,000 a year.
#18 Planned Parenthood received more than 487 million dollars from the federal government during 2010.
#19 The following is one description of the five steps of a partial birth abortion....
1) Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's legs with forceps.
2) The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
3) The abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head.
4) The abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the skull.
5) The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.
How can we murder our own children?
Unfortunately, there are organizations out there such as Planned Parenthood that spend millions upon millions of dollars trying to convince the American people that abortion is okay. Just check out this jaw dropping propaganda video.
And every single year, politicians from both political parties continue to vote to give hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to Planned Parenthood.
Our politicians talk about how we need to spread our values to the rest of the world, but what kind of "values" do we really have when we have such little respect for human life?
There is no hope for America as long as this mass slaughter of innocent children continues to go on all across the United States.
Please share this list of facts about abortion in America with as many people as you can. We need to wake the American people up. Most Americans spend their days in an entertainment-induced haze and take very little time to think about the issues that really matter.
And if you think that the issue of abortion does not matter, then you are dead wrong.
The mass murder of more than 50 million American babies is something that cannot be ignored.
Their blood is crying out to us from the ground where it has been spilled.
Yes, this article is going to make a lot of people uncomfortable, but it is the truth.
Isn't it time that someone started telling the truth in America?

source: http://endoftheamericandream.com/

Monday, February 6, 2012

How to Begin a Relationship with God

The world is filled with competing theories about God, religion, and salvation. Alternate views of Jesus vie for our attention at every turn. Different paths to different gods market themselves in the ever-changing desert of ideas. Yet in the midst of this world of contradictory claims, Jesus Christ made a bold assertion: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
In a confusing world filled with signs pointing us down different roads of philosophies and religions, can we be sure we’ve placed our feet on the right path? The answer to this question comes from the all-time bestselling book, translated into more languages and read by more people than any other book in human history. The Bible alone clearly marks the way of truth and salvation with four vital markers.

1.  Our Spiritual Condition: Totally Depraved
The first marker is rather personal. One look in the mirror of Scripture, and our human condition becomes painfully clear:

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one. (Romans 3:10-12)

 We are all sinners through and through—totally depraved, completely corrupt. Now, that doesn’t mean we’ve committed every atrocity known to humankind. We’re not as bad as we can be, just as bad off as we can be. Sin colors all our thoughts, motives, words, and actions. 
You still don’t believe it? Look around. Everything in this broken world bears the smudge marks of our sinful nature. Despite our best efforts to create a paradise on earth, crime statistics continue to soar, divorce rates keep climbing, and families keep crumbling.
Something has gone terribly wrong in our society and in ourselves, something deadly. Contrary to how the world would repackage it, “me first” living doesn’t equal rugged individuality and freedom; it equals death. As Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)—our emotional and physical death through sin’s destructiveness, and our spiritual death from God’s righteous judgment of our sin. This brings us to the second marker: God’s character.  

2. God’s Character: Infinitely Holy
When he observed the condition of the world and the people in it, the wise King Solomon concluded, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 12:8). The fact that we know things are not as they should be points us to a standard of goodness beyond ourselves. Our sense of injustice in life implies a perfect standard of justice. That standard and source is God Himself. And God’s standard of holiness contrasts starkly with our sinful condition. 
Scripture says that “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). He is absolutely holy—which creates a problem for us. If He is so pure, how can we who are so impure relate to Him?
Perhaps we could try being better people, try to tilt the balance in favor of our good deeds, or seek out wisdom and knowledge for self-improvement. Throughout history, people have attempted to live up to God’s standard by keeping the Ten Commandments or by living out their own code of ethics. Unfortunately, no one can come close to satisfying the demands of God’s law. Romans 3:20 says, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” 

3. Our Need: A Substitute
So here we are, sinners by nature, sinners by choice, trying to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and attain a relationship with our holy Creator. But every time we try, we fall flat on our faces. We can’t live a good enough life to make up for our sin, because God’s standard isn’t “good enough”—it’s perfection. And we can’t make amends for the offense our sin has created without dying for it.
Who can get us out of this mess?
If someone could live perfectly, honoring God’s law, and would bear sin’s death penalty for us—in our place—then we would be saved from our predicament. But is there such a person?  Thankfully, yes!
Meet your substitute—Jesus Christ. He is the One who took death’s place for you!

[God] made [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 4. God’s Provision: A Savior
God rescued us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). Jesus was fully human and fully divine (John 1:1, 14), a truth that ensures His understanding of our weaknesses, His power to forgive, and His ability to bridge the gap between God and us (Romans 5:6-11). In short, we are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Two words in this verse bear further explanation:  justified and redemption.
Justification is God’s act of mercy, in which He declares righteous the believing sinners while we are still in our sinning state. Justification doesn’t mean that God makes us righteous, so that we never sin again, rather that He declares us righteous—much like a judge pardons a guilty criminal. Because Jesus took our sin upon Himself and suffered our judgment on the cross, God forgives our debt and proclaims us PARDONED.
Redemption is Christ’s act of paying the complete price to release us from sin’s bondage.  God sent His Son to bear His wrath for all of our sins—past, present, and future (Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21). In humble obedience, Christ willingly endured the shame of the cross for our sake (Mark 10:45; Romans 5:6-8; Philippians 2:8). Christ’s death satisfied God’s righteous demands. He no longer holds our sins against us, because His own Son paid the penalty for them. We are freed from the slave market of sin, never to be enslaved again!

Placing Your Faith in Christ
These four markers pointing us to the way of truth describe how God has provided a way to Himself through Jesus Christ. Since the price has been paid in full by God, we must respond to His free gift of eternal life in total faith and confidence in Him to save us. We must step forward into the relationship with God that He has prepared for us—not by doing good works or being a good person but by coming to Him just as we are and accepting His justification and redemption by faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 We accept God’s gift of salvation simply by placing our faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins. Would you like to enter a relationship with your Creator by trusting in Christ as your Savior? If so, here’s a simple prayer you can use to express your faith:

Dear God,I know that my sin has put a barrier between You and me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die in my place. I trust in Jesus alone to forgive my sins, and I accept His gift of eternal life. I ask Jesus to be my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Thank You. In Jesus’s name, amen.

By Insight for Living