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Never honor a lie that perverts God’s truth.
Okay, where to start? I do not conduct what is known as a “discernment” ministry. I teach the truth, but I have no particular calling to chase down and confront untruth, nor to call it out constantly. If it comes my way, I will gladly punch it in the nose, but I don’t go running after it. Blessings to you that do, as that ministry is very important.
It seems, however, that my favorite super-smiley Houston mega “pastor” has done it again. He probably did it a long time ago, but it was not till I came of my cave and went to a bookstore that I found out.
My friend has written a book entitled: “The Power of I am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today.” Sigh.
Some things are NOT what they seem.
I didn’t buy the book, but I did sort of skim it really…
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WHAT YOU DO VS WHAT YOU SAY
Parson to Person
Personal conduct most often speaks more loudly, and certainly more forcefully than words. A personal experience underscores this statement. Allow me to share it with you.
A number of years ago, Laura and I were sent to Australia to assist the first missionary of the churches of the American Baptist Association to that continent. Fellowship, preaching, encouragement, and help in locating and securing property for a permanent site all made up the objectives of the trip.
Initial excitement was soon turned into some disappointment as the change of airplanes in Los Angeles did not go smoothly. An announcement by the airline that the intended aircraft had a cracked windshield, grounding it for repairs, was not greeted kindly by some of the passengers. News that it may be six or more hours before substitution by another craft made it worse.
A public relations move by the airline emerged. Everyone would be bussed to a fine hotel for a meal, leisure time, and drinks. There, Laura and I were the only ones not soaking up the liquor. In fact, hotel personnel had to be argued with briefly to produce a simple Coca-Cola.
Later, all the passengers were aboard the substituted aircraft, when an announcement was made of an apologetic sort. It concluded by saying passengers could have as many drinks as they wanted without charge. Soon, the entire cabin was filled with inebriated folks. One lady unsteadily made her way to our row of seats and stated somewhat slurringly, “You must be a padre!” When asked why she would think such a thing she stated that we were the only two people on the plane not drinking. I did confess to being a Christian, a minister of the gospel, but not a padre! Sure enough, when the plane landed in Honolulu, we were about the only couple who could get off the plane unassisted.
But the point is the power of our testimony projected itself in quiet deportment. This point, noted by philosophers and statesmen recently flashed again boldly on a tee shirt which put it this way, “How can I believe what you say when I see what you do!” How important it is that words and actions coincide. How unfortunate it is when they do not. It is reminiscent of a statement made by Jesus regarding the hypocrisy so prevalent in His day, “ This people draw nigh unto me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Blessed indeed is that one who controls his tongue, and whose deportment empowers his words to the glory of God. James 3:2 call such a self-controlled individual a perfect man.
What does it mean to “follow hard” after the Lord? “My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me” (Psalm 63:8)
I am afraid we don’t do this. The word used in this verse is referenced in Strong’s as #1692: dabaq (pronounced daw-bak’) a primitive root; properly, to impinge, i.e. cling or adhere; figuratively, to catch by pursuit:–abide fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard after), be joined (together), keep (fast), overtake, pursue hard, stick, take.”
If we were to follow hard after the Lord, we would always be conscious of His presence no matter what we were doing, saying, or where we were going.
Can you imagine having something attached to you? It would go everywhere you go. To follow hard after the Lord implies being attached to Him. I like the word mentioned above “pursue hard”. How may times do we pursue hard after sports, money, entertainment, material things, fame, or to get higher and higher up the career ladder? Do we pursue the Lord before we go to worship and as we worship?
Hmmmm…… If we pursued the Lord like that, imagine where HE would take us. Imagine the peace we would have. Imagine the intimacy we would experience. Imagine the confidence we would have in being who He wants us to be. Imagine the power we would experience in our prayer life. Imagine the strength we would have to resist the Devil. Hey! Guess what? We CAN have all of this not only because the Lord wants us to, but because we are His children. Just WOW!
A Blessing awaits those who watch!
William Andrew Dillard
A DEADLY SIN
Parson to Person
Warning the church of the Living God at Corinth, the beloved Apostle Paul called attention to the terrible failures of Israel in the wilderness wanderings. In I Cor. 10:4, he recalls a most intriguing and interesting phenomenon. A certain Rock appeared wherever the Hebrews made camp, as though it were (because it was) following them. Now this was not an ordinary rock. Paul calls it a spiritual rock. Doubtless it appeared as a large hunk of stone to the Hebrews, but something was very different about this rock. It’s story begins early in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. It is first mentioned in Exodus 17:5-7. Moses was instructed to smite the rock which would produce water in abundance for the people.
Since that spiritual rock followed them, it is not known how many appearances it made or how many times the Hebrews took special note of it, or how many times they may have depended upon it for life sustaining water. But, it comes into significant play some forty years later as water was desperately needed, and the Hebrews were complaining because there was none. God’s instruction to Moses now was different: “Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.” Num. 20:8.
Most who are passingly familiar with the Bible know Moses and Aaron did not follow God’s instructions, but in frustration with the people smote the rock twice. Yes, life giving water flowed, but God was not sanctified in the eyes of the people, and it cost Aaron and Moses their life.
That rock was not Jesus, but it was anointed (Christ is a Greek word that means anointed in English) of God to typify mighty things about Jesus. It showed among other things, God’s protection, solidarity, presence, and sustainment of life. What God has to give mankind is freely offered in Jesus, the Christ. He willingly died to give to all the water of everlasting life. He is with His people and will never forsake them: He is there! He never changes! Either He is one’s life into the age of the ages, or that life shall be forfeited. Being once smitten, He will not be smitten again, but forgives all who call upon Him in repentance and faith.
The recipients of His righteous blood’s cleansing that flowed from the smitten Anointed One commit a similar sin as Moses and Aaron when they claim they have become lost, and now must return to the Rock for a washing in His blood the second time. He will not be smitten again, but he may be spoken to in prayer and….”if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 Hallelujah! What a Rock is our Savior!
By: Tony Hansen
This morning I began reading in the book of Daniel 1: 3-21
He was taken away from his home to live the rest of his life in a pagan, ungodly society. Among people who lived so different. Daniel did not protest, throw a fit, insist that they change for him. They were not going to change for him, yet he did not change for them either. He maintained his testimony, live a Godly life, influenced some people for good and served God and kings. God took care of him and blessed him in the midst of it all.
As I thought about we as children of God, we live in a sinful and ungodly society. Most are so because they are unsaved, some are saved but living according to the flesh and not the spirit.
Our society, world as a whole is not going to change for us. It is going to continue to be as it is and has been. No, I’m not being pessimistic but real. Yes, I do believe one should vote, speak up, stand for what is right and so on but not protest etc. and insist that the world change for us.
Instead, let us live Godly in the midst of it all. Be kind, caring, loving and compassionate Some will take notice, ask questions, doors will open to speak of our faith. Lives, people, famlies, will be changed, souls saved, The Lord will do the changing. And… let us be reminded …that He has us… in the midst of it all.
Have a great weekend! Happy Mother’s Day to all.
THIS IS THE ARTICLE FROM BROTHER TONY HANSEN.
Point to Ponder
Christian Ladies and Cultural Dress
I know this won’t be very popular, but it is on my heart as it was part of my morning bible study today. I’m not perfect, but a work in progress. It seems that everywhere I go, I see women who feel the need to show too much of their bodies. I personally do not like to see down a woman’s shirt while I am in a restaurant or anywhere for that matter. Or, some woman wearing leggings that show everything and refuse to wear a shirt long enough to cover what needs to be covered. If they want to be attractive, that is not the way to do it. They have no godly pride whatsoever. Either the women don’t know better, or they do and just don’t care because it is all about them, or, they are trying to get attention and acceptance from someone…or anyone. Here are a few examples of why I feel the way I do about this issue.
When God was looking for a King to lead Israel, he turned down everyone who was focused on the outward appearance. God looks to see what is in our heart. (1 Samuel 16:7). Another example is 2 Timothy 2:9. The word modest means “well-ordered in a modest sense”. One of the main reasons this bothers me is the fact that Jesus said “If a man looks upon a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery already in his heart”. (Matthew 5:28). Ladies, is the way we are dressing causing men to lust after us? You might say, well, if they do, that’s their problem. But, God is going to hold us responsible for our part as well.
We need to dress in a God honoring way that would reflect HIS character in us and we need to be examples to the younger generations. Our adornment should be humility, love, and grace, just to name a few. Beauty is on the inside. Right after Peter writes about wives submitting to their husbands, he says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. ”(I Peter 3:3-4)
Wow. “In the sight of God of great price”. That ladies, should give us solid confidence to the point we don’t need to go out half-dressed just to get looks or comments or silent lusts. We don’t have to be of our culture. We are to be separate, and different. God has accepted me by His grace and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We who are Christians, need to accept that love from God and be secure in who we are in Him.
By W.A. Dillard
THE RAINBOW OF
How beautiful is the Rainbow! Moreover, its importance is far greater than simply esoteric. It calls to mind gigantic, divine promises: promises in covenantal terms of God dealing with man, and man dealing with man. Here are most interesting concepts, parts of which have been willfully ignored and forgotten. Think with me for a moment!
In the destruction of the ungodly antediluvian world, eight humans were saved from the worldwide cataclysm of water. It was then up to Noah and his family to repopulate the earth, and in doing so rebuild society on a more stable foundation, humanly speaking.
So, to give all ensuing generations unequivocal assurances that a hydraulic cataclysm would never be repeated, God put a rainbow in the cloud. Men still rejoice at the sight of this sign of God’s unconditional covenant. The rainbow remains, and it matters!
But, that is not all there is to the Noahic Covenant. Read about it in Genesis Chapter Nine. God established a fear and dread of mankind upon the animal, fowl, and fish kingdoms. That fear and dread largely remains!
Additionally, God gave every living thing that moves upon the earth as a dietary selection for mankind, including herbs, too. Much to the emphatic disdain heaped upon this concept by P.E.T.A. and others of their stripe, this dietary selection remains.
But there is more. God placed a societal corner stone enabling the progress of civilization, and preventing its total corruption as before. That cornerstone is capital punishment. It is now a repugnant concept to modern society which prefers to wallow in continuous deterioration while calling it progress. Hear the words of that cornerstone: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Genesis 9:5-6. Some will protest this; saying that we are no longer under the old law. But, friends, this was before the law by hundreds of years. It remains in effect as surely as does the promise of the rainbow. Every bleeding heart that says capital punishment is no deterrent to crime labels “Lie” to God’s Word. You see, the rainbow of God’s covenant is a coalition of the tenants mentioned in Genesis Nine. Every one of them is in force today as they were then. Men may ignore them, but the judge of all the earth will call each man, state, and nation in every governmental form into judgment on the premise (among other things) of this rainbow covenant of remembrance that matters.
If you have ever been involved in religious discussion on Facebook or Twitter, you have probably come across some version of the comment below:
I just think it’s interesting that the only book that even talks about Jesus is the Bible! I’m not even sure we can prove he actually existed.
Although this assertion is largely rejected by scholars in all spheres of historical and biblical studies, it tends to pop back up on social media like a never-ending game of digital whack-a-mole. The truth is that Jesus is not only documented in the eye-witness testimony compiled in the New Testament, but He is mentioned as a historical person by several non-Christian sources within 150 years of His life. From those sources, we can learn 10 things about Jesus without even opening a Bible:
1. He was known to be wise and virtuous.
This fact was reported by Jewish Historian Josephus, who was born around AD 37. In his Antiquities of the Jews, he reports:
At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. (1)
2. He had a brother named James.
In recounting the stoning of James, Josephus records:
So he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned. (2)
3. He was known to perform miracles.
Celsus was a 2nd-century Greek philosopher and a fierce opponent of Christianity. In what is known to be the first comprehensive intellectual attack on Christianity, he tried to resolve why Jesus was able to perform miracles. The story is wild—but the main point is that by trying to explain away the miracles of Jesus, he is actually affirming that they happened:
Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god.(3)
4. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
This fact comes to us from one of the most trusted historians of the ancient world. Cornelius Tacitus was born in AD 56 and served as a respected senator and proconsul of Asia under Emperor Vespasian. He wrote a history of the first century Roman Empire, which many historians consider to be the “pinnacle of Roman historical writing.”(4) He notes:
Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus. (5)
Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die.(6)
5. His crucifixion was accompanied by darkness and an earthquake.
This fact was originally recorded by a Samaritan historian named Thallus, who was alive at the same time Jesus was (AD 5-60). He wrote a 3-volume history of the 1st-century Mediterranean world, which unfortunately no longer exists. But before his writings were lost, he was cited by another ancient historian, Julius Africanus, in AD 221. Africanus described Thallus’ account of what happened during Jesus’ crucifixion:
On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. (7)
6. He had many Jewish and Gentile disciples.
And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon discipleship.(8)
7. He lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar.
Julius Africanus also reported that another ancient historian, Phlegon, confirmed the darkness at the time of Jesus’ death and that Jesus was alive “in the time of” Tiberius Caesar:
Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth. (9)
8. His disciples believed that He rose from the dead.
In his commentary regarding the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ death, Josephus recorded:
[Jesus’ disciples] reported that He had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion; and that he was alive…. (10)
9. His disciples believed He was God, and they met regularly to worship Him.
Pliny the Younger lived from AD 61-113 and was an influential lawyer and magistrate of ancient Rome. In a letter to Emperor Trajan he wrote:
They [Christians] were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up. (11)
Lucian of Samosata was a 2nd-century Greek satirist known for his wit and sarcasm. Even though Christians were the object of his snark, he affirmed certain details about them:
The Christians, you know worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rights, and was crucified on that account….it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. (12)
10. His disciples were willing to suffer and die for their beliefs.
The persecution and suffering of early Christians was recorded by Suetonius, the official secretary of the Roman Emperor Hadrian around AD 121. He documented that they were expelled from Rome in AD 49 by Claudius:
Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he expelled them from Rome. (13)
Nero inflicted punishment on the Christians, a sect given to a new and mischievous religious belief. (14)
Tacitus also confirmed Nero’s persecution of early Christians:
Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. (15)
From non-Christian and even anti-Christian sources, we can be sure that Jesus in fact existed, was crucified, was believed to be resurrected from the dead, and His many followers were willing to suffer and die for that belief.
The next time someone claims that there is no evidence for Jesus outside the Bible, be sure to share these 10 facts with them!
(1)Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 18.3.3 (There are more specific, fantastical, and supernatural versions of this quote in antiquity that are believed to have been interpolated. The quote I cite in this article is the one that most scholars agree is authentic. See Shlomo Pines, An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and Its Implications, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Jerusalem, 1971, cited in J. Warner Wallace, Cold Case Christianity)
(2) Josephus, 20.9.1
(3) Origen, Contra Celsum, 1.28
(4) Ronald Mellor, Tacitus’ Annals, p. 23
(5) Tacitus, Annals, 15.44
(6) Josephus, 18.3.3
(7) Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, vol. 9, Irenaeus, Vol. II— Hippolytus, Vol. II— Fragments of Third Century (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1870), 188. (Cited in J. Warner Wallace, Cold Case Christianity.)
(8) Josephus, 18.3.3
(9) Ante-Nicene Christian Library, eds. Roberts and Donaldson, vol. 9, 188. (Cited in J. Warner Wallace, Cold Case Christianity.)
(10) Josephus, 18.3.3
(11) Pliny the Younger, Book 10, Letter 96
(12)Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, 11-13
(13) C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Divus Claudius, 25.4
(14) Suetonius, The 12 Caesars, Nero Claudius Ceasar, XVI
(15) Tacitus, Annals, 15.44