What Are You Hiding?

After successfully defeating Jericho, the children of Israel carried their invasion of Canaan to the city of Ai.  Because Ai was a less populous city than Jericho, Joshua committed only three thousand soldiers to the fight.  Surprisingly, Israel was thoroughly routed.  Confounded by Israel’s failure, Joshua asked God why He brought Israel across the Jordan only to be defeated by the land’s inhabitants.  God offers a simple reason:  you lost because there is sin in the camp.  As the seventh chapter of Joshua unfolds, we learn about Achan, an Israelite who grew a little too greedy in Jericho.  Achan ignored God’s explicit instructions and took for himself a beautiful Babylonian cloak as well as silver and gold.  He buried these treasures underneath his tent, hiding his transgression from everyone except God.

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Doomsdays

I knew a man who was living with a debilitating, mortal disease for many years.  In his own words, he stood on death's doorstep for a long time.  For over a decade, he was in and out of the hospital and in a number of instances he nearly died.  Time and again he would return home, defying the odds defined by conventional human wisdom. 

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Did You Receive the Holy Spirit?

Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? (Acts 19:2).

Paul encountered in Ephesus a group of disciples who believed in Jesus, but they had not received the Holy Spirit.  Today’s conventional teaching on the reception of the Holy Spirit and salvation in Jesus’s name rests on the assumption that both are bestowed when one believes in Jesus.  

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Influence & Control

A Christian's loyalty ultimately rests in God. A Christian recognizes God's sovereignty in their lives over human governments, administrations, organizations, or any other form of authority. Throughout history this has placed God's followers at odds with many of man's institution. Worldly men are always striving for influence over other men. Whether it is through social status, governmental institutions, or religious authority men are always placing themselves in a position where they are able to exert influence and control over others. 

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The Spiritual Demeanor

It is safe to say we are living through a period of time where men are malcontent. Every city seems to be facing challenges both politically and fiscally. Some individuals are going to work wondering whether or not that will be their last hour of pay before they are let go. Thus, society appears to be in a constant state of turbulence, seeking to find the one entity to blame for all their problems. There is very little peace, and even less patience.

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The Fear of the Lord

Psalm 89: 6-7 “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” The Lord is Greatly to be feared! Luke tells us in Acts 9:31 that the New Testament church walked in the fear of the Lord. “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”

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Rituals

Something about human nature loves rituals. A ritual is to step from the symbols ofalphabetical characters (which convey words unto ideas) to fabricating symbols out of gestures, designs (in fabric, glass, works of art, etc), set phrases, and any other sensual stimulus to support an idea being communicated. It is called a ceremony for civil activities. In the religious world there are a number of terms describing the same: liturgy, ceremony, and rite.

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Need a Hero?

The germ of any great idea, machination or agenda is necessity; without a need the scheme is frivolous and the greater the need, the more highly esteemed the solution to the need is. Mickey Mantle was a hero of sorts in his day and he satisfied millions of peoples' entertainment 'needs', but Dr. Jonas Salk was THE hero of the day and Mantle's flame was very dim to the blaze of Salk's stardom. The reason is simple: people valued the polio vaccine even more than they did Mantle's baseball exploits.

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Five Forgotten Facts About Christianity

You’ve heard the gospel, but have you heard all of it? Maybe not.  In fact, many people have never heard the whole truth about Jesus. Time has certainly taken its toll on the truth. Not that the truth can be changed, but it can be forgotten. This article explores some of the most important facts about the Christian faith that are often overlooked or ignored.  

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Infanticide

Infanticide has been a custom of human societies for thousands of years. Infanticide simply put is the killing of an infant. There are records of infanticide dating far back in the historical record. We have records of the practice in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. The practice is known to have continued into the middle ages, and even into the modern day but is no longer a commonly accepted practice throughout the majority of the world.

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Lessons from the Recorded Temptations of Christ

In Matthew 4, Mark 1, and Luke 4 an event from Christ's life is recorded which details three temptations that He endured directly from Satan. While there are other places within the Scriptures that seem to imply temptations were prevalent in His life (Luke 22:42), only this occasion directly shows Christ interacting with Satan one on one. It is a very intriguing passage, because it proves to us without doubt that Christ went through the same hardships, trials, and temptations that we go through each and every day. Christ also shows us that with God's help we can avoid sin. No one forces us into sin, and God's precepts give us guidance in how to overcome temptation. Therefore, we are left with no excuse for sin. There are many such lessons we could draw from this account. I want to notice five important points that I hope will cause us to think about temptations and trials in our own life.

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Bread from heaven - Water from a rock

In this post I would like to take a few moments to consider the role that we, as servants of the Lord, play in our own salvation. There is a particular scripture in the Old Testament that has brought this thought to the fore of my thoughts over the past few days. If we look at Numbers 20:8-12 we find a notable event in the course of  biblical events. In this account the children of Israel have "assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron." This story is particularly interesting because the children of Israel are angry with Moses and Aaron because they are without water. If taken in isolation, their complaint would seem justified. For, who can live without water?

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Last Battle

We are warned of a day when "Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. ." (Rev.20:7-9) This prophecy appears to be a more focused view of  ". . .the battle of that great day of God Almighty" - Armageddon. The religious world has a degree of  interest in this. The range goes from active planning  as to what and when Armageddon will be, to a belief that is it way in the past.

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The Tempter

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

"The devil" is known by various names in scripture -- the tempter, the accuser, Belial, Beelzebub, the prince of this world, etc.  All of these refer to the same being who is best known as the serpent or Devil or Satan (Revelation 12:9).  

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God the Father

Throughout inspired scripture, we find that God reveals Himself to mankind in a variety of ways. The first chapter of Romans tells us “for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:20 – NKJV). This passage tells us that the very creation of God educates us on His nature and power. 

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Jews and Gentiles

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..." 1Pe 2:9 With Christ's triumphal ascension to the right hand of God and the establishment of the Church there was, no later than this, a change that took place in the way of access to the Father. Since no one may come to the Father but through Jesus (by His own words) and "there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved", there is no ambiguity in the NT regarding the covenant and the 'covenant people'; who they are, how they came to be, etc.

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The Boasting of Paul

We find in 2 Corinthians 10 that in Paul's absence there were those who spoke against his authority, and against him as a person. These attacks seem to have come only in his absence, not in his presence. Verses 8-10 shed light on the nature of the attacks:

“For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.“

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Love Christ, not the Church???

Not too many years ago, while walking through a college campus, I saw a group of individuals holding up placards encouraging individuals to, “Love Christ, not the Church.” The church is seen as unforgiving, unloving, and un-Christlike. Scandals reverberate through various organizations claiming to be the church. Venomous words of hatred spew out of those claiming to speak in the name of Christ. It is understandable why many would be skeptical of those who claim to be the church. Consider a few passages of scripture which detail God's design for the church, God's feelings towards the church, and our responsibilities to the church.

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Christ's Coming

I do not know every detail concerning the second coming of Christ. I only know what the Bible has to say about that event. In this post I will try to lay out the major tenants of Christ's coming that I believe can be supported by the scriptures. If I have missed something please let me know.

Christ Is Coming

In my mind one of the most important aspects of Christ's coming is its certainty. That he is coming again is backed up by four major witnesses.

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The Party of God?

There is a belief which maintains God has given sanction to govern mankind in His name. Not to to be confused with governing in acknowledgement of His name, but His personal representation empowered for the sake of peace, prosperity, etc. Such a party of God may identify with Jesus Christ, or, the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, or Mohammed. Types like this do exist, don’t they? Or perhaps the party might be a Gaia type, blending eco-awareness with hope for the earth. 

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