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Friday, February 26, 2010

Devotional Friday - "True Tolerance"


Devotional Friday 

"True Tolerance" by Pastor Rick Klueg from The Baptist Church of Northville

60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep. 1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
It seems that the one remaining virtue promoted by our culture is “tolerance.” You can be sexually immoral, materialistic, and a liar and excuses will be made for you, but you certainly cannot be “intolerant”! I believe that this much-touted “tolerance” is actually shallow and self-serving. It is born of apathy (“I don’t care if other men cheat on their wives”) and energized by self-justification (“You excuse my sins, and I’ll excuse yours”). Stephen’s sermon, with its blistering conclusion, would be labeled “intolerant” by popular culture. I would reply that Stephen stands as an example of the true virtue of tolerance, as today’s verse proves.
Genuine tolerance does not involve the sacrifice of truth. Stephen stood firmly on the Word of God and refused to budge from his position. Even when faced with a brutal, painful death, he did not entertain the idea of compromise. The English martyr Thomas Cranmer was at one point intimidated into signing a recantation of his gospel convictions. Later he reaffirmed his faith publicly, and was eventually led to be burned at the stake. To show his remorse at his previous compromise, he declared that the hand that signed the recantation would be the first to burn, and he somehow managed to hold it in the flames before he perished. Examples like those of Stephen and Cranmer ought to shame us for the ways we so easily ease up on biblical convictions in the fact of worldly pressure. That is not tolerance, it is cowardice.
True tolerance is a virtue because it is grounded on a genuine concern for those in error. Stephen is a wonderful example of “hate the sin but love the sinner.” He spoke with passion against the sin of resisting God (Acts 7:51-53). With equal passion, he prays for the Lord to forgive the guilty sinners who were murdering him: Lord, do not hold this sin against them. This reflects the love of Christ when on the cross He prayed Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
Practicing biblical tolerance may be costly. It cost Stephen his life. But it will be blessed of God to bear great fruit. We read that Saul was there, giving approval to his death. Stephen’s prayer was answered in the conversion of at least this one man, who became the apostle Paul.

Biblical Doctrine: Bibliology – Biblical truth is non-negotiable, and may not be compromised for the sake of “tolerance.”

My Responsibility: Hate sin while loving sinners.

Question: Do you ever find yourself justifying weakness and compromise by calling it “tolerance”?

Prayer: Help me to be more like Christ (and like Stephen) in praying for the salvation of those who hate me.
Thursday, February 25, 2010

Teen Thursday - Hosted by Shelby Sharp - "Hurting With Those In A World Of Hurt"

Hey Teen Team!'m a 15 year old Jesus freak and I'm here to host Teen Thursday.

I'm back again with a brand new " Hot Topic" and question.
I know we will have a good time.

Let's get to know Jesus better. You and me.

Verse of the Week: Romans 12:15
When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow.

This week's "Hot Topic" 


The phone ringing in the middle of the night jarred the young pastor awake. " Pastor, our daughter..." the voice on the phone choked. " She was in a bad car accident tonight. She's in sugery and...we're not sure...she'll make it."
The pastor dressed quickly and hurried to the hospital, praying all the way. When he arrived, tear-streaked faces told the story. The girl had died in surgery. He tried to say something to the parents, but he couldn't get the words out. He just sat and sobbed with the heartbroken mom and dad.
Not much later the girl's parents moved away, and the young pastor didn't see them for several years. When the pastor ran into them at a conference, he fumbled for words. " I have and apology to make," he said. " The night your daughter died, I failed you. I just cried. I'm should have read Scripture to you and offer you words of hope. But I didn't. I just cried.  I'm so sorry I let you down that night."
" You didn't let us down, Pastor," the girl's dad said. " What you did brought us great comfort. You felt our hurt and cried with us. You shared more than words with us: you shared your heart. And we will always be grateful."
Deep lesson: The pastor thought he failed. But what he actually did was show the kind of sympathy Jesus showed.
If people slam into sorrow or disappointment, the first thing they need to is someone who feels their pain. When his friend Lazarus died (see John 11), Jesus cried with Lazarus's sisters, Mary and Martha. Why didn't Jesus just say, " Don't cry, ladies. Give me a few minutes and I'll have Lazarus back from the dead."? Because at that exact moment what they needed was someone to cry with them. So Jesus did. Later he performed the miracle that turned sorrow into joy.
If you have family members and friends who hurt, the greatest gift you can give is to sorrow with them. Comfort isn't a pep talk nudging someone to "hang in there." God is in control and everything will be ok. Those things might be helpful later, but they don't deliver what people need most: comfort.
People walloped by hurt find comfot when they know they aren't suffering alone. So when a friend is crushed with sorrow or disappointment, feel crushed too. And it's ok to say something like, " I'm so sad for you" or, " I hurt for you" or, " I'm sorry you are hurting." It's what Jesus would do.
What does comfort look like when you show it to hurting friends?
Pray for your friends who need God's help - and ask God to use you to comfort them.

Start your comments.............NOW!

Also feel free to share any prayer requests with all of us. We need to be prayer warriors for each other.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Truth Wednesday - hosted by Anne Morgan - "The Truth Project" part 6 - "Who Is God?"

Truth Wednesday hosted by
Anne Morgan
"The Truth Project" part 6
"Who Is God?"

Theology is the study of the existence, nature and attributes of God. We are all theologians. Each of us has our own beliefs and ideas about who God is. The problem comes when we base our theology on information that is not true. So, where do we find the truth about who God is?
If you wanted to learn about Abraham Lincoln or George Washington, you would read biographies on them. Yet, rather than going to the Bible, God's own written “biography”, too many people get their theology from the latest charismatic “preacher”. Or read the latest “Christian” best seller.
Colossians 2:2-3 says “Christ Himself in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Did you catch that? ALL the treasures of WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE. When we cut ourselves off from the Bible, and solid biblical teaching, we cannot even begin to understand who God is.
Yet, day after day, our bibles lay unopened; week after week our church pews are empty. And we develop an untruthful, errant, view of God. Then, when God moves according to his nature, we shocked and surprised, even possibly angered; because God acted in a way that was contrary to OUR theology.
The fact is, when we know God, we begin to know ourselves.
So, who is God? A good place to start learning that answer is found in the names of God. There are over 200 names of God/Jesus to be found throughout scripture. Each one gives us more insight into who our great God is. Let's just look at four of them for a minute.

Elohim - God (a plural noun, more than two, used with singular verbs)
I AM – The Self Existent One.
El Shaddai – God All Sufficient
Jehovah Rohi – The Lord Our Shepherd

Just from these four names of God we can learn that our God is in fact a Godhead (reason to believe the trinity). He has always existed by HIS own power (reason enough to believe He is all powerful). He is enough for all our needs (reason to trust Him with everything). He cares for us the was a Shepherd cares for his sheep. Study the relationship between a sheep and it's shepherd. You will gain deeper insight into how great our God loves us. (reason to believe and trust in His care)
Most of us would readily accept, and welcome, these truths about God. But God has other names that some would rather forget:

Jehovah Shammah – The One Who is With Us Everywhere For He Is Omnipresent.
El-Quanna – The Jealous God
Jehovah Makeh – The Lord That Punishes Sin
Esh Okhlah – Consuming Fire

God is omnipresent. He is with us when we are serving Him, and when we are disobedient. God is a jealous God. This is a righteous jealousy, born out of love and a covenant. Like that of a husband and wife. Because He is a jealous God, He will discipline His children when they sin against Him. And He is a consuming fire. His wrath will be poured out on those that reject Him.

These characteristics of God are ones that, sadly, many Christians, and certainly the world, down play. We would rather lean into the God of grace and mercy, than one of holiness and jealousy.
It's easier to neglect our bible, or church attendance when we have a merciful God. It's easy to gossip and be unforgiving if we believe God will understand. We don't have to confront sin if we only serve a God of grace. But the truth is, God is all those things and more. He is merciful, and longsuffering, but He also expects obedience rather than sacrifice. He is gracious and understanding, but He knows the true motives of our hearts, and oft times, they break His.

So, what is it that keeps us from understanding and believing God is who He says He is – in EVERY aspect? Simply put – our sin nature. We want God to be what we want Him to be. We haven't destroyed God but we've cast a shadow over His face, and turned Him into a God of love, and left off His holiness.

God is a God of love. He sent His only Son to pay the price for our sins and give us eternal life with Him. Because God gave all for us, He takes the covenant relationship seriously. And He expects us to do likewise.
Who is God? He is all we've ever imagined and more. Ps. 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Taste Him in all His truth and you will see that who He is, is all you need.

This weeks challenge: Study the names of God.

Next week: Science: What is true?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prayerful Tuesday

Prayerful Tuesday

Justice For All

"Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice." Proverbs 29:26

I want to be heard, Lord.  I always want to tell my side of a situation so an authority can vindicate me.  But it is You, Lord, who should receive my call for justice.  You are the Judge of my soul and my life - why should I seek out any other rulers?  In the same way, help me to resist determining the fate of another.  It is not my right to stand in Your place.  
Lord, guide me in Your ways when there is conflict.  Fill me with wisdom, honesty, and courage, and let me rely on their strength if I am accused.  Keep my blameless so no harm is brought to Your name.  Guard my heart from resentment if I am not treated fairly.  May I live out forgiveness and faith, anticipating the justice of love I will receive when in Your presence.
(from One-Minute Prayers)
Please share your prayer requests, you can do them anonymously, or leave them on the Fan Page on Facebook.  Let's be prayer warriors for each other today!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Music For The Heart Monday

Music For The Heart Monday

Come and share your favorite video with us, you can leave it as a comment on this post, or leave it in a comment on the Fan Page on Facebook.

When I am down, or discouraged, I turn to this song.  It comforts me...I think Bart wrote it for me!  LOL

Noah shares, "I like this song because I know that Jesus died for my sins and this reminds me of that."

Shelby says , "I like this song because I think that with each person you shouldn't judge them for what is on the outside.  That there is so much on the inside that you can't see with your eyes."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Soulful Sunday - "Lies Women Believe" About God part 5


Soulful Sunday "Lies Woman Believe" by Nancy Leigh Demoss
About God- part 5

"God's Ways Are Too Restrictive"

"Over and over again,  the Scripture teaches that God's laws are for our good and protection.  Obedience is the pathway to freedom.  But Satan places in our mind the idea that God's laws are burdensome, unreasonable, and unfair, and that if we obey Him we will be miserable. In the Garden, he caused Eve to focus on the one limitation God had placed on her.  The deceiver's motto is "Have it your way: No one has the right to tell you what you can and can not do."
If we are honest, many of us can identify with "Sarah":

"I felt that putting restrictions on my behavior was depriving me of pleasure and what was good.  I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, and in whatever quantities I wanted because I felt punished by saying no."

I have often wondered why food is such an issue with so many women.  I'm convinced it has something to do with Genesis 3.  After all, what was the very first sin?  It was the sin overeating.  The single restriction God put on her diet was one too many for Eve.  Like "Sarah", she felt that "putting restrictions on her behavior was depriving her of pleasure and what was good."  So what did she do?  (Remember - beliefs determine behavior.)  She "ate whatever she wanted."  So we throw off the restrictions, determined to "have it our way."  We are free to choose our own way just as Eve was free to eat the forbidden fruit.  But there is one thing we are not free to choose, and that is the consequences. 
We have said that believing and acting on a lie will ultimately lead to bondage.  Listen to the rest of "Sarah's" testimony:

" When I understood that true freedom comes from obedience, I was free from bondage of food - I lost 65 pounds as well as the depression I had experienced."

"Sarah" had decided to eat what she wanted, whenever she wanted, and whatever quantity she wanted.  Sounds like freedom, doesn't it?  But wait- according to her testimony, she wasn't free at all.  She thought she would be free, but her freedom was short lived.  Instead of being free, she ended up in "bondage to food, " gained 65 unwanted pounds, and became depressed.  
When this woman discovered the Truth that " true freedom comes from obedience," and when she acted on that truth, her bondage was shattered.

Some things To Think About Until Next Time:

What would our world be like if there were no laws? In what ways are laws beneficial to our society?

What does Deuteronomy 6:24-25 say about the value and blessing of obedience to God's law?

Read James 1:19-27.  What does James mean when he refers to "the perfect law that gives us freedom"?
Think about a time when you decided to do your own thing instead of obeying God.  How did it turn out?

In what ways are God's restrictions actually a benefit or a blessing to His children?  How could you explain the benefits to others?

Are there any biblical demands you have been resisting or hesitating to obey,  thinking you would be better off doing things your way?  "Obedience is the pathway to freedom."  Will you surrender and choose to obey God's way?

Lord, I know that the direction in your Word has been giving to us out of love.  Help me to trust You and to be willing to obey you even when your ways do not make sense to my finite mind.   Amen.

So Far This Week:

I have run across many people who are having a hard time commenting or finding where they are to comment on the posts. They want to share their prayer requests or music videos and can't. I am hoping this will be easier. From now on, I will add the new day and the new day's topic to the home page post. Just click on the word "HERE" and it will take you to the post with the comment box already up and you will be able to see comments other people have shared. I am praying this will be easier for everyone. If not, we can go back to the old way.

Soulful Sunday - "Lies Women Believe" - About Themselves-Part 2- I Need To Learn To Love Myself. To see this post, Click HERE

Music for the Heart and Soul - Come and share your favorite Christan music and listen to others as we worship God! To see this post, click HERE

Prayer Requests - "Shying Away From Greatness". Let's be prayer warriors for each other today. To see this post, click HERE

Let' Talk Truth- Adversity is the topic this week. To see this post, click HERE


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