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#245142 Persecution of Christians

Posted by Shirley on 03 March 2015 - 07:56 PM

Freedom of Religion is what a democracy is all about.  We are free to have no Religion.  It is good because Jesus never forced anyone!!!!!!!

     Father in Heaven, Please protect the Christians Please Strengthen them.   Please protect the Muslims that are being killed in the name of Religion,  please let the soldiers of ISIS see the error of their ways!  You know what is best.  May your will be done but please don't have us send the best of our young men to be slaughtered!   In Jesus name I pray for your will for the whole world!!!!!


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#151369 What About the Rapture?

Posted by HammerStone on 22 May 2012 - 05:42 PM

What about the Rapture?
When you hear the term rapture, what exactly comes to mind? Chances are you either picture images of total chaos, destruction and death or you just became a little bit nervous and possibly even completely uncomfortable. You don’t have to look any further than cable television and Hollywood to see that we are obsessed when it comes to our fate and the end of the world.

There are a million different ways that humanity will supposedly be extinguished and theories and predictions are not just limited to the religious groups of the world.
Unfortunately, popular opinions pretty much took over the discussion, and we are left with total confusion. A large portion of the Christian sphere led this charge and cashed in on the craze as much as Hollywood.

Instead of shying away from the reality that Jesus will one day return, why don’t we simply trash the opinions and popular culture mythology and look at what the Bible has to say? Let’s start right now with a prayer for wisdom, patience, and a little bit of understanding when it comes to the return of Jesus.
Before I dive into the Bible, let’s clear something up. I’m not a fan of the term rapture. As many correctly note, the word is not in the Bible. This is mostly true because this word is Latin and it was used in place of the Greek word harpazo. It literally means to be caught up. About a century or more ago, this word meant to be totally caught up in something like music. A modern equivalent might be what we mean when we say that he or she “got lost” in the music. Unfortunately, this was a term which evolved from meaning a general caching away to a very specific catching away at a very specific time.

Rapture came to be shorthand for Pre-Tribulational Rapture. It’s a big-boy-word term that means we are taken away before the trouble starts (tribulation = big trouble). As the Rapture grew in prominence and became more evil, the assurance that we would escape it seemed to become stronger. But again, what does the Bible actually say?


Matthew 16:17 ESV And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
This verse is crucial to the understanding of all books in the Bible, but this seems to be forgotten when it comes to books dealing with the end of the world like Ezekiel, Daniel, Thessalonians and Revelation. One thing that needs to get hammered into your head is this is all about Jesus and not about time, places, or battles.



Brief [Pre-Tribulational] Rapture History
It is history lesson time. The Rapture hit new levels of popularity in late 19th century America. It was based on teachings by a man named John Darby. Another man, William Eugene Blackstone, took the idea even further and further popularized the idea. You can do a search to read more on these men, but I wanted to include their names. Eventually this would lead to a Bible called the Scofield Reference Bible which you can still purchase to this day. However, if we back up to Darby, we will find that another minister by the name of Edward Irving influenced Mr. Darby – Irving himself took the idea from a young sickly woman named Margaret Macdonald. Miss Macdonald lay sick on her bed as she claimed the revelation of new prophecy regarding two returns of Jesus. The reality is this event is not openly discussed by any scholar, historian, or early Christians.

The Return of Jesus in the Bible
Now we come to the important part. The Bible has many references to what will happen when Jesus returns to the earth. You may hear this term called the second advent from time to time, and advent is simply another word for coming. Rapture pundits love this verse:

I Thessalonians 4:16 ESV For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.


Rapture believers talk about a moment when good Christians simply (and randomly) disappear. One popular film portrays planes without pilots and all manner of sudden chaos. How about we take a quick step back and look at the verse, though? Notice how the trumpet of God is played, and trumpets just aren’t very quiet instruments. In addition to this not-so-quiet appearance, there is only a one-time appearance between Jesus appearing and the dead in Christi raising.

I Thessalonians 4:17 ESV Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.


Not too complicated here, is it? See, the English word “then” indicates that whatever is stated after “then” takes place after whatever comes before “then.” The Lord (Jesus) returns, the dead rise first, and then living Christians will be caught up with Jesus.

Paul, the guy who wrote the first letter we like to call I Thessalonians, actually ended up writing another letter we originally called II Thessalonians. The great irony is that Paul wrote the second letter to clarify the first letter because the Thessalonians had trouble with their end time views:

II Thessalonians 2:1-15 ESV Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.


The emphasis in the passage is mine. Verse three says don’t let any man deceive you. You will see that there is a very strong focus on deception. Keep in mind that Paul wrote this letter to early Christians.

The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible does a great job of rendering the word rebellion. This rebellion comes first – that is to say clearly that it comes prior to the return of Jesus. Now I realize there have been a number of rebellions in history and this term might seem vague. However, if you look at the Strong’s Concordance, the word means defection from the truth, as in a revolt or rebellion. This is not a generic verse about nonChristians rebelling against God. In order to rebel, you have to be subject to what you are rebelling against.

I stop short of saying that Christians will knowingly and willingly rebel against God, but the warnings about deception indicate that those involved can fool Christians. The involved people or groups at least appear to be Christian in nature.

The next clue in the passage comes in II Thessalonians 2:3. The son of destruction/man of lawlessness is important. The Greek for this term is apoleia (Strong’s #G0684) and it means ruin or loss. Many theories abound on this person, but a common view is that this person is Judas. This view was merely created to make the Rapture theory work. This man is Satan, and in other passages in the Bible, Satan was condemned to death. Unlike us, he has nowhere to go and no way to repent.

While Satan’s condemnation is another study for another time, II Thessalonians 2:9-11 cannot be overlooked. Fortunately, the ESV is almost crystal clear at this point. The person will operate with all of the power of Satan – meaning he can perform miracles and appears quite powerful. Does that sound like anyone else you might have heard about? (Hint: Use the Sunday school answer. It’s Jesus.) Jesus is described as having power and performing miracles. Might this tie into the deception? Does the plot thicken when I mention that all major religions of the world have some form of savior that performs miracles and saves the world?

Matthew 24:3-14 ESV As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.


Please read all of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. One of the clear messages of this passage (and the others) is that there will be deception going down all over the place. The passage says that the one who endures to the end (Matthew 24:13) will be saved. We are in it for the long haul – there’s simply no room for an early rapture exit.
Matthew 24:15 talks about the abomination of desolation in the Old Testament. I won’t jump into Daniel here, but you can find the reference in Daniel 12:11. If you link this passage with II Thessalonians 2:4 – it becomes obvious who the abomination is at this time. This guy claims that he is God. Sound familiar at all? If your answer is Satan – ding, ding, we have a winner!

So many people are focused on a physical rebuilding of the temple you read about in the Bible, but the passage in II Thessalonians 2:4 uses an interesting word for temple. The word is Greek naos (Strong’s #G3485). The word certainly means temple, but I’ll let you read for yourself as to what temple it might refer to:

I Corinthians 6:19 ESV Or do you not know that your body is a temple [naos] of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own…

Ephesians 2:20-21 ESV …built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple [naos] in the Lord.


Temple doesn’t always mean just a building. However, if a false Christ – an anti-Christ – shows up and sets himself up as god in the hearts and minds of the world the danger is obvious and the reports of deception make sense.

Matthew 24:26-28 ESV So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
We are presented with more warnings about deception. If someone shows up as Jesus here or there and makes the claim – don’t follow them. The last phrase is always treated as some sort of enigma or riddle even. However, it simply means that where there is death, then vultures will gather. Think of it this way where people do not understand Jesus, there is spiritual death and so those who look to benefit from death (like vultures that consume dead meat) will show up to take advantage.
But that’s enough sadness, because look at the finish:


Matthew 24:39-47 ESV and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
Just before this, in Matthew 24:30-31 it talks about a trumpet blowing. The sound of the trumpet will herald the return of Jesus for his people. This passage affirms that his people will not be found sitting around waiting on the master to return. Instead, the good servants will be found to be working and not simply waiting to be taken away.
Rapture believers take this verse and say you want to be taken – but the ones taken are not taken by Jesus. Jesus desires to return and find his servants doing the work of a Christian. We are to be on guard for deception – in the days of the Bible it was not uncommon for servants to be snatched in a raid on the master’s household. You simply don’t want to be the servant that got fooled and left the field of work.


There are many other verses in the Bible that help clear things up, but this study is already long. Let’s wrap up with one final Rapture believer favorite:

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.


“Behold!” is the old-school way of saying pay attention here. Note the word last right before trumpet and let the previous passages put that in perspective for you. There is no Rapture in the Pre-Tribulational sense of the word. I’ll let Scripture close out and confirm this argument:

Revelation 8:1-13 ESV When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.
The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

Revelation 9:1-3 ESV And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

Revelation 9:20-21 ESV The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Revelation 10:1-11 ESV Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”


I realize that was a good bit of material – but do you see that there are seven trumpets in Revelation? Do you also see how at the seventh how the mystery of God is finished? Recall the earlier passages once again and see how they agree with the seventh trumpet here. It is a really awesome time of joy and peace at the end of a rough and trying period.

In closing, I simply want to point out that I did not cover the majority of verses on the subject. Verses were selected which are often misused or misquoted in popular mythology. However, if applied with other Bible verses – suddenly all of the imagery from these supposedly difficult to understand books make more sense.

Take this to God, but examine the passages that I pointed out (as well as other passages) and talk to Him about it. Even if you walk away from this lesson with a still solid belief in the Rapture, please do one thing for yourself. Simply know the signs and know the Bible when it talks about these things.

God Bless!

Study by: Denver, http://www.christianityboard.com/
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#205934 LOVING MUSLIMS

Posted by Mellerd on 05 August 2013 - 11:18 AM

I would say that at least half of the refugees whom we work with are Muslim. They come from all over Africa, Burma, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Muslims have become a huge part of our life. We love Muslims. They are some of the most hospitable and generous people that I have ever met. I know many Americans simply just do not understand them because most Americans are not in relationship with Muslims. And after 9/11, I am sure Americans are a little weary of them. I understand this, but we should still try to make more of an effort to befriend Muslims.

 

In the media, you are only seeing a fraction of the Muslim population in this world. You are only hearing the bad stories about Muslims. But most are like you and me; just people trying to take care of their families and make it through life. And just like in our culture, there are some people who do really bad things. Turning on our local news could make you fear walking out the door in Dallas. Am I right? Don’t get sucked in by the media. Create your own perception of the world by engaging in it and with people. Do we have the right to judge a world or people we do not truly know?

Our experience is very different from what you see in the media. They treat us with great respect. Again, they are so generous and hospitable. If you go to their home, you will be treated as an honored guest.

 

Muslims love to talk about spiritual things. They don’t separate the spiritual and the practical like many of us do; I know I do sometimes. So, they are very open to spiritual conversations. I know most people think it is difficult to talk with Muslims about God, but that’s just not the case. They love to talk about God. God is the most important thing to most of them.

When we talk about Jesus, they do not kick us out. When we offer prayer, they never reject it. In fact, some Muslim families heard about how our team prayed over a family who had been in an accident. Next thing you know, all those Muslim families are calling our team and asking us to pray for them. When someone got sick and went to the hospital, who did they call? Us! Followers of Jesus. So let’s not be afraid of Muslims. They are open. They want our friendship and our love just like anyone else. These are beautiful people and God loves them so much. I think that is the most important thing. We should love who God loves!

 

One of the best parts of being friends with Muslims is the food! I added some pics of the food. Also, I should explain the pics below because some people might start to get a little worried about me:) Muslims love to teach you about their culture. They may even dress you up like a Muslim. They may even dress your baby up as a Muslim too!


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#146302 Do You Pray And Sing In Tongues ?

Posted by Shep on 17 March 2012 - 07:39 PM

It is amazing that a little georgia redneck came to Australia and found a church filled with the Spirit of God and all of a sudden started to praying in tongues....mercy...Some are just scared of what they don't understand...Since when has God changed? Since when did tongues and other gifts stop? At Pentacost? mercy people read the Word and see that is when they started...I was taught in the good ole Baptist church that tongues were of the devil....Mercy come visit me and see God at Work...Truthseeker...you live in Sydney right? I live on the Central Coast...Come visit me and then tell me I am speaking for mr darkness...I dare ya to arrange to spend one day with me in the presence of God in my outreach ministry....Come on...spend a day with me or I can arrange for you to spend a day right there in Sydney with a ministry that will blow your socks off...talk about God supporting this ministry with a 10 million dollar ministry yearly and only giving them change to work with..and they pray in tongues and are a Jewish...Who do you think supplies the things to do His work...you ...me...church...Mercy...I received 7 thousand last year to run on...I gave out 1.3 million dollars worth of things...do you think satan can do that...he can only imitate..he can't give tongues to God's children...he sure does like to make others think they are from him so as to stop you from finding the voice needed to do battle in the spirit world....satan loves to make people think that if they speak in tongues they are speaking for him...LOL...Read the Word of God...Find the TRUTH..ask God...He will show you the Truth....
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#145906 Do You Pray And Sing In Tongues ?

Posted by Foreigner on 12 March 2012 - 05:52 PM

Talk about someone needing to "humbly admit their error and repent." ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

You are trying to make a complete claim with but a fraction of the information.

You are not qualified to say that 100% of the tongues spoken in Pentacostal churches is false.

The Bible says nothing of the sort.

I cannot begin to share with you just what you are missing out on. How wonderfully it has impacted my relationship with Jesus.

Sadly, a closed mind can only be opened from the inside.
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#296153 Discipleship and John 15~

Posted by Wormwood on 09 March 2017 - 09:39 PM

The call of discipleship is prevalent in the teaching of Jesus.  Perhaps one of the most intriguing passages related to discipleship is John 15. Lets take a moment to examine the metaphors in this teaching to explore what Jesus wants to share with us about what it means to be his disciple.  

 

THE TRUE VINE

Jesus declares that he is "the true vine."  This is the last of the  seven "I am" statements found in John's Gospel.  So what does Jesus mean that he is the true vine?  Throughout Israel's history, a vine or vineyard was a regular metaphor used to describe the people of God.  Although it may make little sense to us in the 21st century, in the ancient near east, vineyards and wine making was a central economic mainstay for farmers.  God often uses this normal farming practice as an illustration of his interaction with his people.  Consider Isaiah 5 as a key example:

 

 

 

  “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.” The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.” (Isaiah 5:1–7, NIV84)  

 

 

Many other examples could be listed.  So, Jesus' statement here is startling.  He declares he is the "true" vine.  This is a very bold statement that clearly indicates that one must find their identity in Christ if they want to be a part of the "true" people of God.  Jesus is clearly teaching here that belonging to God and his people starts and ends with him.  

 

THE BRANCHES

Jesus teaches that "you" are the branches.  The disciple is the branch that is connected to the vine.  There are only two types of branches:  connected branches (living & fruitful) and disconnected branches (dead and burned).  The clear teaching here is that because Jesus is the "true" vine, a person MUST be connected to him if they are to produce any fruit for God.  The fruit God is looking for in our lives can only come through identification with His Messiah.  To not be connected with or fail to "remain" in Christ can only result in a dead and fruitless life that produces nothing meaningful to God.  There are two key concepts to focus on here.

 

First, the word "remain."  Jesus uses this word (Gk: meno) 7 times in these first eight verses.  Jesus goes to great lengths to emphasize the importance of "remaining" in him.  To me, this suggests that some can connect to Christ for a time, but ultimately fall away.  Remember, Jesus is talking to his core disciples.  He is warning THEM not to fall away, but to "remain" in him.  We cannot produce fruit to God if we are not connected to Jesus Christ.

 

Second, Jesus teaches how we remain in him.  Jesus calls his disciples to 1) remain in him and 2) let his words remain in them.  This, in my opinion speaks to two key elements those who seek to be a disciple:  faith and obedience.  We are called to continue in a trusting relationship with Jesus.  We remain in him through prayer and walking in faith.  In fact, Jesus says, if we remain in him, we can ask "whatever you wish" and it will be done.  This is a powerful declaration that shows vibrant relationship Jesus seeks with his disciples that is fused and regulated through a continual walk of faith and communication with God.  God desires a relationship with us...to be our "friend."  Also, it shows the importance of obedience.  The words of Jesus are to remain in us.  Many today claim to love Jesus and be his disciple, but refuse to submit their lives to his authority and commands.  They want to claim "salvation" and moral authority with the label Christian, but do not want to obey his desires when it comes to issues like drunkenness, divorce, sexual immorality, honesty, integrity, etc.  A disciple should not try to strain out love for Jesus with obedience to Jesus.  Jesus clearly teaches that the two are one.  if you love him, you will obey him.  More specifically, Jesus points to a key command related to "love one another as I have loved you."  The most impoartant command Christ gives us is that Christians love one another sacrificially.  If we are not willing to humble ourselves before one another and show kindness and respect to each other on this board, we are not following the most basic command of Jesus that he claims is central to being one of his disciples.  Just some food for thought.  

 

Finally, the good news here is that our "fruit" will naturally take place.  We do not have to "work" to create the fruit God desires.  If we trust in Jesus and follow his word, our lives will naturally produce the fruit God seeks.  Jesus says, "You WILL produce fruit, fruit that will last."  This is not a conditional statement.  It is a statement of fact.  Those who are connected to Christ and allow his words to guide their lives WILL produce the fruit God seeks (Perhaps in the comments we can discuss the nature of this fruit).

 

THE GARDNER

Finally, God is declared to be the gardener.  The gardener does two things:  1) prunes the branches and 2) gathers the dead branches to be burned.  In order to understand this illustration, it is important to understand the process of cultivating a vineyard.  Grape-producing vines do two things 1) they expand rapidly 2) they produce grapes.  Farmers learned early on that based on the way they prune their vines, they can maximize the grape-producing branches.  First, the gardener will trim back the dead branches from the stump of the vine prior to the growing season.  These branches would be gathered and burned to prevent from interfering with the new growth.  Next, when the vine began to grow, the gardener would regularly trim back the vine so that rather than the sap and the energy of the vine being used to expand its territory, that focus could be directed to the fruit-producing branches.  This would cause the vine to yield the maximum amount of produce.  

 

The point here is that God is at work in his people's lives.  If you are walking in faith and prayer in Christ and seeking to be obedient to his teaching, God promises to be at work in your life to make your life fruitful.  God DESIRES you to live a fruitful life, just like a farmer desires his vines to produce a LOT of grapes.  God is not distant, waiting for us to produce for him.  God is at work in us and through us, shaping our circumstances and situations to make us more like Jesus Christ.  How encouraging!  What if that challenge you are currently facing is not a bad situation, but one in which God has pruned so that your energy can be focused on something where you can be more fruitful for him!?  We all get frustrated when our plans fail and our expectations are not met.  Yet this verse gives us encouragement that it is very likely that these obstacles are a means by which God can direct our energy toward the things that will end in our greatest good and most fruitful lives.  This is part of what it means to "trust" and believe that God truly does care and is working all things for the good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose!


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#253571 Belief Systems or JESUS?

Posted by Axehead on 19 June 2015 - 06:23 AM

Christianity appeals to all nations, races and creeds, but you have made it so ecclesiastical that it appeals to nobody. -Rabindranath Tagore
 
The story is told that when Ghatama Buddha was dying ... some of his disciples asked how they could best remember him. He told them not to bother; that it was his teaching, not his person, that mattered. Such is the basis of religion — ideological, philosophical, educative belief-systems. Such is not the case with Jesus Christ and Christianity. Everything centers in Him. Everything is inherent in Jesus, His Person and His continuing activity. Everything functions only by the dynamic of the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ. - James A. Fowler
 
People are battling each other with their belief systems as a weapon. Most Christianity that one sees today is dedication to a system of rules or of thought. But Christianity, in the Early Church was a dedication to a Person. 
 
Christians should be loyal to a Person, not a doctrine and love all men as Jesus and the Apostles did. We are not called to brawl in debates or at worst defend Christ with the spilling of blood and terrorism. How very confused is the one that believes Jesus Christ needs to be defended. 
 
The New Testament Church did not go around saying, "We have a brand new religion that is better than anything that ever was. We have teachings and doctrine that can win any debate. We have morality and ethics that are far superior than anything known." No, they went forth preaching the Good News that Jesus Christ is risen. He is ALIVE!! And He will forgive you of your sins and change your heart, filling you with His holy Spirit to love all men as He did.  
 
Mark_11:26  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. 
 
1Jn_4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

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#243462 Where I have been.....

Posted by Born_Again on 18 January 2015 - 07:57 AM

Hello brothers and sisters in Christ..

 

Well, some of you may recall I was in great tribulation. I came to the point where the Lord told me it was going to be the hardest time. And it was not only the hardest but it was the darkest. And, I'll tell ya, it takes a mountain of faith to not doubt during these times. But I hung in there even when my world was falling down around me. Everything caved in on me around Christmas. This is about where I disappeared from Cyb. I was faced with a lot of emotions and decisions. I was getting sick from not eating, I lost 10 pounds in about two weeks, maybe less. It seemed the harder I fought to trust God, the harder the enemy tried to invade my heart. I shut myself in the dark and away from everyone. But I never lost faith.....

 

The Lord sent a couple of people to me that were very godly and helped pick me back up. I soon realized what I needed to do. I took an entire week to myself and spent it with God. Long story short, by the end of the week I was eating regularly, laughing, and letting the light in. The best part was, I was able to forgive, both myself, and those who had hurt me. I even called them and told them I had moved past and I forgive.

 

The story is really more detailed but the short is, God will carry you!!  Things are so wonderful for me and my kids now and God kept His promise and I am better now than I was before the trial!!!! Praise Him!!!

 

I would also like to thank all of you for your prayers at the start of this whole mess. God heard you all and led me where His will was.

 

 


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#219003 Does God Hate?

Posted by Poppin on 01 February 2014 - 06:36 AM


 

I have trouble with this scripture and not to doubt God's Word would like some insight into why this scripture was written and if God truly does hate, prior to one even being born.  Does He hate all sinners that He does not approve or disapprove prior to conception or birth?

 

Romans 9:13 (KJV)
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
 

 

Hi BornAgain.

It might be that the sentiment has been translated incorrectly. Context determies the use of 

 

miseó: to hate
Original Word: μισέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: miseó
Phonetic Spelling: (mis-eh'-o)
Short Definition: I hate, detest
Definition: I hate, detest, love less, esteem less.

3404 miséō – properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another.

 

Lk 14:26: "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate (3404 /miséō, 'love less' than the Lord) his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple" (NASU).

[Note the comparative meaning of 3404 (miséō) which centers in moral choice, elevating one value over another.]

 

I don't believe Jesus commanded us to break the Law here " - “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you."...rather some translations have chosen the wrong use of miseó (but I may be wrong) - you decide.

Poppin.


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#216762 i am worried

Posted by HammerStone on 13 January 2014 - 07:37 AM

You see this in the worship wars and other such battles within the church as well.

 

There are some very clear delineations where a believer must draw the line when self-pronounced Christians begin to teaching doctrines that question major tenets of Christianity such as the deity of Christ or another core issue. However, many of the battles are fought over what I call open-handed issues. This is just another way of saying that the issues are not central to salvation. Christians will shoot their own more quickly than almost any other group of people!

 

For instance, it's okay that I worship one way or another. As long as God remains the subject of worship, regardless of medium, then I am worshipping God. However, I see threads, blogs, and conversations devolve into knock-down-drag-outs over this topic.

 

There are a number of warnings in Scripture about going down the rabbit hole of personal interpretation, preference and itching ears. We do well to heed those and pick the hills to die on.


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#210676 Can you tell who is holy?

Posted by BiggAndyy on 12 October 2013 - 07:03 PM

Are YOU Holy?


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#177720 A petition to allow access to other sections of the forum.

Posted by InquisitiveAgnostic on 15 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

I think a suitable condition for non-believers to be allowed to post on other sections of the board could be as simple as having 100 or 200 posts on the forum without displaying harmful or combative intent. Then they would be elligable for approval.

 

This would ensure that idle trolls or people who only have negative things to say would either have to log WAY too many hours and/or prove their malicious intent before reaching the goal number.

 

I know I'm not even close to there yet, but I see it as a fair possibility that I would have no problem working towards.


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#161517 Sinless Perfection?

Posted by Hepzibah on 14 August 2012 - 11:19 AM

I see it as a salvation issue.

A Christian and a sinner are incompatible. However, a believer that is, one who has come to Christ for forgiveness, will still commit sins until he is given revelation by God that it is not acceptable and he is not in the ark of safety unless he is saved from sin - this is the reason Christ died for us. Until he has been brought to that point, which is any time after he comes to Christ, and can be immediately after as we see by the thief on the cross, and given the full revelation and knowledge of the full salvation Christ gained for us, he will claim that he is positionally holy and acceptable. He is fooling himself. The day the Lord shows him this truth, he is undone and has come tot he end of himself and cries out with Paul - oh wretched man.


This allows Christ to carry out His full work in the man and he is delivered from the sin nature. Sadly this is not happening too much today. We are in dark times indeed when most oppose this most holy truth.
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#141189 Ten Reasons Why Most Believers Don't Seriously Question Their Faith

Posted by BiggAndyy on 23 January 2012 - 08:35 AM

The line of thinking of the author is flawed on several fronts. One, it makes the rather absurd assumption that all Christians do not question their faith. But even more to the point, the author presupposes himself to the sole arbitor of what makes a question a "serious question" or a non-serious question. He actually wonders why no Christian thinks about Christianity they way he does, because, obviously, there is no other way to think about Christianity apart from adopting his formula of "serious questioning".

Everything else that followed was merely crass skepticism, the lowest of the lowest forms of thought rather uninspiringly masquarading as critical examination.

To paraphrase the above, "The author is a tool."
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#110202 Another fact about salvation that people should be very fearful about is...

Posted by Joshua David on 09 May 2011 - 07:23 AM


Haha, the reason why i typed in large fonts is because i am afraid people would miss reading things i added later on. Because this forum does not allow us to edit our posts. So i am afraid if someone just read my first post then did not read things i added later then i might mislead them into just knowing half of what i wrote.


Lastsecman,

I have a question, in your opinion, what does it mean to be sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the Day of redemption? ( Eph 4:30)

second question.. What are you trusting in for your Salvation? Are you trusting in the free gift of Jesus Christ's sacrificial work on the cross, or once being made clean by the cross, you are trusting in your own ability not to sin?

Joshua David


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#101581 Why do you guys fight on here? and I have a proposal for you...

Posted by tomwebster on 20 February 2011 - 11:01 PM

Hi, I am a 23 year old newbie to this forum. I am a follower of Christ and would love to grow in his word here. However, everywhere I look I find where people are doing nothing but arguing with one another. Don't we want to bring people to Christ? Don't people already NOT want to go to church because they feel like they will be judged and that Christians are nothing but a bunch of fakers that argue all the time? I know this isn't technically a church but I would say this is a place for people to worship and grow in his word. As far as people who come to this forum that are not Christians, they probably laugh and say to themselves "I'm right about those Christians". I'm not trying to say that Christians are perfect... all Christians are FAR from perfect, but shouldn't this forum be about bringing people to Christ rather than arguing all the time? To be honest I don't see how this forum can go on if people do nothing but argue...

Just think about how many people we could bring to Christ if we were focused on reaching the unreached instead of arguing with one another. I have to tell you it's not about YOU or ME... It's about Jesus... the one who died for us. So... why don't we come together as a community on this forum and come up with some ideas to put aside our differences and reach people? Think about how many people come by this forum daily... It could change their LIFE AND the WORLD we could be apart of God's wonderful work!

So what do you say Christianity Board? Would you like to put the arguing to the side and come together to make this a place of worship and reaching the lost? Or would you rather this place continue to be a place where the lost say they are right about Christians?



Findinghispath, you have had three members answer your post, which one told you the truth? Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, maybe it does. Maybe you don’t know. Your id here is about a path, are you looking for just any path or would you prefer the correct path? I don’t know anything about you but you seem to be interested in helping people come to faith in Christ. If you had a friend or acquaintance that was going to start attending a church that you knew did not teach the truth, would you tell them, “Ya, go ahead and got the false church.” Or would you warn them and say no go to this other church instead?

If someone was directing you down a wrong path would you know it? Would you want to know they were leading you the wrong way? Christ talks about two paths, you know.



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#247713 Change to the Christianity Board Rules

Posted by HammerStone on 12 April 2015 - 06:53 AM

With it being the spring time here in the United States, we thought it worthwhile to begin to take another look at our Christianity Board forum rules to see what we can do to help bring clarity and God-honoring conduct to the community.

 

The team, myself included, noted that we had one area in particular where yours truly did not fully understand what rules were needed to ensure a robust yet fun and safe environment for our forum members. With that in mind, I would like to submit a change to the Christianity Board forum rules that will seek to clarify team member thoughts and actions. In particular, we are addressing the sometimes nasty spirit of insults and goading that takes place from time to time on this forum.

 

Without further adieu, here is the change to the rules:

 

========================================

No Flaming, Goading or Harassment

  • All members should be treated with the utmost respect and courtesy at all times following the rules of civil discourse, this includes heated debate discussions or even in daily discussion in the shoutbox.
  • No insults are allowed.
    • Included in this are all forms of flaming, harassment, and trolling/goading as determined at the discretion of the Christianity Board Team. Trolling/Goading is defined as repeated attempts through the use of images, cartoons, smileys or text that is designed to be explicitly demeaning, patronizing, embarrassing, or otherwise upsetting to a member or group of members in the community. 
    • This further includes making false statements or accusations about a member.
    • Sarcasm is not included under this rule.
  • Do not attack another member's character in any way. Address the post content, not the member's character, family, denominational affiliation or any other subject that may be perceived as a personal attack by the Christianity Board team and is not germane to the topic or post at hand.
  • Do not state or imply that another member or group of members who have identified themselves as Christian are not Christians. If there is an issue where a member seems to have circumvented the basic tenants of the faith in order to join the community, please privately contact the Christianity Board Team to voice your concern.
  • If a member requests the cessation of all personal contact, then please respect that member's wish.

========================================

 

This will replace these current rules:

 

========================================

  • No insults allowed. This rule will be strictly enforced. This community has a core set of beliefs that we clearly state at multiple locations on this website. However, we recognize that unity is Christ is the ultimate aim and this can be achieved even when there is disagreement on doctrinal issues. A good way to avoid this issue is to focus on the doctrine and not the person. This, of course, includes any kind of insults based on race or beliefs.
  • No flaming, harassing, or trolling. We recognize that these terms may be unfamiliar to some, but they are a virtual extension of the insults prohibition. Flaming is when a member or members follow another member around the forum by making rude and inflammatory posts verbally attacking another member. Harassment is similar to flaming, but may be carried out through other means such as private message (PM) or email. Last but not least, trolling is the practice of making posts only meant to annoy, offend, or simply disrupt. Simply do not do any of them.

========================================

 

In all honesty, these rule changes will not affect the vast majority of current members one bit. However, upon examining past encounters, we feel that these new rules will address some cracks that certain previous members were able to slip through. Team members will no longer be in a position where they must wait for a rowdy member to break an existing rule, all the while acting or posting in ways that damage the great atmosphere here in the forums. 

 

Obviously, this grows the rules a good bit, as we are replacing two bullet points with five plus two sub-bullets. We hope the added words seek to clarify what constitutes a violation of the rules a bit more clearly. As always, I expect questions, so please feel free to drop me a PM or respond here if you need further understanding.

 

30 Day Grace Period

In light of such a substantial change to the rules, we will be enacting a 30 day grace period for all violations of the new rules. What this means is that we will add an additional written warning prior to a violation resulting in warning points or any sort of ban. We know change can be a little touchy at times, so we are ready to forgive a slip up because we do believe in the grace of a loving God!

 

Again, if you have any questions, please feel free to direct them to me or a team member. We hope the rule change will clarify things for our members and help to further foster an environment of friendly yet serious discussions. We look forward to the future here at Christianity Board, and I am personally of the mindset that our best days are in front of us!

 

We give God the glory and praise him for what he's given us already!


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#204991 A Classic - The Homeless Preacher

Posted by lforrest on 27 July 2013 - 08:49 PM

Let the con-artist panhandlers degrade themselves begging on the streets.  My God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and he can afford some theft.  But woe to us if we allow these tricks to harden our hearts to the truly needy.  

 

Give to honor the Lord, and you will be rewarded in heaven, even if your gift is stolen away.  Let them heap judgement upon themselves for the sake of a few dollars.  When they stand before the judgement seat of Christ he can point to each and every gift and say, "look what I have given you and what did you do for me in return?"  I would not envy them on that day.


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#142849 The Seven Churches

Posted by veteran on 05 February 2012 - 04:46 PM

I do not fit into any of the 4 “categories” either; I simply asked you to state your position and why you believe it, not rave senselessly about subjects that do not say anything.

I would imagine you would find it hard to fit in with most Christians due to your belief in a “billions of years creation” (just as Evolutionist believe), and your belief in an ancient civilization before Adam (see 6 Days Of 15 Billion Years?). While you claim to stick to the bible and follow orthodoxy; you hold to fringe beliefs that are heretical.


I focused on who the seven Churches represent and who those seven Messages were for today, which is what you asked. But you claim that was some senseless rave?

You'd be surprised at how many Christian Pastors that are studied in God's Word understand the Gap idea that's written in Genesis 1. Lot of them simply do not cover it to their congregations. It's a strong meat teaching; not a milk teaching that most believers are on.

And it has absolutely nothing... to do with the theories of evolution; doesn't even propose any ideas of evolution. What it does propose is how God once destroyed the surface of this earth before, a time Apostle Peter called "the world that then was" which perished (2 Pet.3). Without understanding it, Paul's teaching in Romans 8 of how God placed His creation in a state of "bondage of corruption" for this present world will not be understood.

But, nice try to paint me as an evolutionist in order to try and group me with those who disagree with God's creation, something I'm not a part of, nor have I ever been.


The view you believe in, since you were unwilling to state it yourself, is Gap Creationism. Gap creationism was popularized by Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847). I asked this question about “category” for simplification. Obviously you fit into a different category, and you simply could have said so. I also asked the question because the readers have a right to know whether or not you are teaching a form of heresy. I believe you are teaching heresy.



What I see as heresy taught from Genesis 1 is how some force a creation of "dry land" into the Scripture where it does not belong, when the Scripture is simply describing existing waters being moved upon the earth to make dry land appear that was already underneath those waters, created back at Gen.1:1. God even said in Isaiah 45:18 that He did not create the earth in "vain" (tohuw), which is the same Hebrew word mistranslated to "without form" in the KJV of Gen.1:2. Jeremiah 4:23-28 is a comparative Scripture that tohuw is not pointing to some nothingness state of water vapor gas like you and many others try to insert into the Scripture, just so you can follow your own tradition.

As a matter of fact, it's a lot of scientists and evolutionists that DO... tend to agree with your nothingness gas vapor state interpretation of Gen.1:2. So you're a lot closer to men's theories of evolution by that than you probably realize.


I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia …to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings.” (1 Timothy 1:3)

If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, those of our Lord Jesus Christ) and with the teaching that accords with godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in controversies and verbal disputes.” (1 Timothy 6:3)

These men are dangerous reefs at your love feasts, feasting without reverence, feeding only themselves. They are waterless clouds, carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit – twice dead, uprooted; wild sea waves, spewing out the foam of their shame; wayward stars for whom the utter depths of eternal darkness have been reserved.” (Jude 1:12)


You have yet to prove Biblically what I stated about the Genesis creation being false, and have already let loose your own judgments, misusing God's Word to do that.


I believe that the Genesis Gap Theory is a heresy. I do not wish to debate heresy. It opens up the flood gates for evolutionist, and creates doubt in our creator. It also promotes doctrines of Alien Civilisations. Certain ones creep into Christian love feasts in order to spread their heretical teachings amongst those who are unaware. Like the other Seventh Day Adventists that I have encountered here, false teachers conspire among themselves to join in and hide their true agendas. They do this so that they can spread their lies without being detected. Heretics have this in common. Although I believe in multi-denominations, I also believe Christians need to repent of their heresies, agendas and "the teachings of the Nicolaitans", which Christ hates (Rev 2:6, 15).

Steve


The Gap idea that's in Genesis 1 is not a heresy, nor is it against God's Holy Writ. I could just as well use those Scriptures above towards you for wrongly believing the Genesis 1:2 verse is about some ether vapor state of nothingness hanging in outer space. Instead per the Hebrew, Gen.1:2 is about the earth in a state of vanity and waste. But you won't address the Hebrew of that Scripture, nor comparative Scripture that God gave about it in other places like Jer.4, because you'd obviously rather hold to the old tradition that the creation is only around 6,000 years old.

The 6,000 year-old Young Earth earth theory (which you've preached on another thread) actually shot off the strongest with Ussher's 17th century Bible chronology. He couldn't go any farther back in history than Adam, and placed God's creation of Adam at 4004 B.C. And later many in the Church began 'assuming' it meant that's also when God created the earth. The early Church didn't know about the fossil record. So that tradition just kept going. And thus Young Earth creationists try to include eveyone else into the same group of evolutionists and such, including those who are 'given' to understand about the Gap idea in Genesis.

What is really ironic is how Young Earth creationists try to put God's creation of dinosaurs within that 6,000 years time-span, with some of them even trying to prove that dinosaurs STILL EXIST AMONG US TODAY! Both those and evolution theorists represent extremism and are heeding heritical doctrines of men, and not what God's Word states as written.
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