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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Holy Spirit is God, also!
ConnectWithHolySpirit.jpgHoly Spirit is God, also!

“... self-control is not control by oneself through one's own willpower but rather control of oneself through the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Jerry Bridges

There is a misconception in some places that Holy Spirit is part of God but not God.

This is simply not true! Holy Spirit is God!


When we think of Jesus, God as man, it is easier for us to understand because we all walk, talk, and do people type things. It’s not difficult to understand Jesus being God because we can reason that there is something in us that makes us distinct from a corpse, and that is life, and that life is us even if unseen. It is relatively easy to see that Jesus and God the Father can have a relationship similar in some (rather simplistic) way to us and our life force.

 Okay even this is confusing and not exactly right, but we do have some feeling for this, don’t we?

Holy Spirit is another aspect altogether and sometimes people who hear the Christian understanding of Holy Spirit think we have simply gone crazy and lost it.

God within US?

That’s almost a crazy notion isn’t it?

Not really!



Here’s how it works out…

Jesus said

John 14:16-18 (NIRV)

16 I will ask the Father. And he will give you another Friend to help you and to be with you forever. 17 The Friend is the Spirit of truth. The world can’t accept him. That is because the world does not see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you.

Jesus actually said people who don’t have a relationship with God (the world) can’t accept Holy Spirit, mainly because he is not visible and provable.

That means Holy Spirit is with Christians every moment of every day once we have accepted God in our life
. Everything we do is experienced and known by Him.

God in every one of his believers in a special way!

Now the sin of blasphemy is one uniquely focused on God himself.

This means that when the bible says …Luke 12:10 ““Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But anyone who speaks evil things against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”… that Holy Spirit has a direct link to being GOD.

We can review 2 Corinthians 3:17  Now the Lord is the Holy Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is also there.” …which says the Lord and Holy Spirit are one.

Holy Spirit IS God!


Now Holy Spirit is within us, but in some way this is Jesus in us as well! Paul says to Corinthians after Jesus had died and risen and gone to heaven…

2 Corinthians 13:5

Take a good look at yourselves to see if you are really believers. Test yourselves. Don’t you realize that Christ Jesus is in you? Unless, of course, you fail the test!

Holy Spirit is in us and this means Jesus is in us, because God is in us!

So we are never alone! Never! God is with us all the time, always.

 Our problem is that we don’t allow God to function in our lives. We block him with deliberate and accidental sin. We fail to use prayer to communicate and we almost never get quiet and listen to God’s Spirits gentle guidance in our thoughts and feelings.

God the creator choses to live through us in this world! We so often chose to block him. Why? Sin? Incorrect beliefs? Rebellion?

By releasing Holy Spirit we can grow!

The bible says…

So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s power. Then you will not do what your sinful nature wants you to do. Galatians 5:16 NIRV

Isn’t that great!

Let’s let God work in us today!
Thu, January 16, 2014 | link          Comments

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Entrapment, the Christian way
agape.jpg“Enter freely and of your own free will!” ~ Bram Stoker

Reading the news on google related to the Christian community you would think this is a group of crazy, cannibals.

Some people in Central Africa who have aligned themselves with the word “Christian”, went on the rampage against Muslims and apparently killed them. One man is reported to have eaten part of the person killed.

That this is labelled as Christian activity shows how little the reporting world knows of true Christianity.

Christ would never accept such a believer. That man has sinned and sinned badly. He has disobeyed the two greatest commands given to Christians. That command of loving God first and loving our neighbour as our self, second.

This person has also not followed God’s way of forgiveness. He should NOT be labeled as a Christian.

Yet our media loves to point fingers at what Christians do wrong.

The same media however never point to the millions upon millions of dollars spent by Christians in supporting the children of the world with food and education. The time spent helping prostitutes out of the sex trade. The time spent in orphanages or HIV clinics. This is conveniently forgotten isn’t it?

It’s hard for us as Christians to not respond against these selected minor reporting attacks with anger.

Yet, we are asked to respond in truth and love, to warn these reporters that they are setting up trouble for themselves.

Psalm 57 (NIRV) explains what happens to people who lay traps for Christians. (True Christians that is)

Show me your favor, God. Show me your favor.
I go to you for safety.
I will find safety in the shadow of your wings.
There I will stay until the danger is gone.

2 I cry out to God Most High.
I cry out to God, and he carries out his plan for me.
3 He answers from heaven and saves me.
He puts to shame those who chase me. Selah
He shows me his love and his truth.

4 Men who are like lions are all around me.
I am lying down among hungry animals.
Their teeth are like spears and arrows.
Their tongues are like sharp swords.

5 God, may you be honored above the heavens.
Let your glory be over the whole earth.

6 My enemies spread a net to catch me by the feet.
I felt helpless.
They dug a pit in my path.
But they fell into it themselves. Selah

7 God, my heart feels secure.
My heart feels secure.
I will sing and make music to you.
8 My spirit, wake up!
Harp and lyre, wake up!
I want to sing and make music before the sun rises.

9 Lord, I will praise you among the nations.
I will sing about you among the people of the earth.
10 Great is your love. It reaches to the heavens.
Your truth reaches to the skies.

11 God, may you be honored above the heavens.
Let your glory be over the whole earth.

We are not to pull out machetes to protect ourselves. We are to sing praises to God.

We are to focus on truth and love.

That is how the Christians protect themselves.

We are to be in among those who target Christians and would take us down. We need to trust God for our deliverance and it will come. The tongues of these journalists who want get fame and fortune for themselves at the expense of putting the truth in context will lead them into dark places.

After a while these Christ haters will find they are depressed and can only see the negative of life.

Sleeping will become difficult. The purpose for living will leave them in despair. They will fall into the pit of despair which they have attempted to dig for the true Christian world.

This will happens, but those true Christians  they persecute will still be singing praises in love. No matter what people do, they cannot suppress the Spirit of God. That is what powers the true believer and sets them free despite horrific circumstances.

To God be the Glory, His will be done!
Wed, January 15, 2014 | link          Comments

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Did you know the Christians are the largest persecuted minority in the world?
BreakBounds.jpg
Did you know the Christians are the largest persecuted minority in the world?

“A steady recognition that the evils which prevent the fullness of moral development are precisely the elements which are also the source of the power that gives existence to whatever moral accomplishments we see about us may eventually lead us to a tolerance we grant to the internal-combustion engine: it is noisy and smelly, and occasionally, it refuses to start, but it is what gets us to wherever we get.

We must somehow learn to understand and so to tolerate- not destroy- the free society.” ~ Michael Polanyi

Freedom: Having the power to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or constraint.

Persecution: hostility and ill-treatment, esp. because of race or political or religious beliefs.

Christians are persecuted today. Believe it! Here is the statistics of the 10 worst countries in the world to be a Christian provided by http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/08/the-10-absolute-worst-places-in-the-world-to-be-a-christian/ and established by Open Doors USA.

CountryRank2013
North Korea11
Somalia25
Syria311
Iraq44
Afghanistan53
Saudi Arabia62
Maldives76
Pakistan814
Iran98
Yemen109
 

Our governments by not speaking out about religious freedom are allowing freedom in this world to decrease.

Today as Christians lets devote some time in prayer for those people in these countries that need our prayer, support and love.

Let us also pray that our governments would stop the persecution of religious freedom.

It should be permissible to wear religious clothing and not be something outlawed. In Canada that freedom is currently being undermined. Britain seems to have similar problems as people are discriminated against in the workplace.

Let’s demand our freedom of religion worldwide.

Let’s pray it into existence.

 Have a great day!
Tue, January 14, 2014 | link          Comments

Monday, January 13, 2014

Did Jesus exist?

Did Jesus exist?

“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” ~ Christopher Hitchens

The University of Toronto[1] makes the following comments on critical thinking…

WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?
      Critical thinking is a higher order of thinking: it is the practice of using a number of different advanced thinking skills in a variety of complex ways.
      Critical thinking focuses on thought: it looks at how facts are proven, arguments are formed, conclusions are reached, not just what the facts, argument or conclusion may be.
      Critical thinking is self-reflexive: it involves reflecting on, questioning and testing your own thinking processes.
      Critical thinking is discipline-specific: it engages in particular forms of reasoning, such as mathematical reasoning, historical analysis or literary interpretation, which are specific to a particular discipline.

 So how do we deal with people who ask us “Did Jesus really exist?”

In many cases we as Christians often give inappropriate responses. Many Christians have responses that include; Ignoring, switching the subject, feeling hurt or resentful, complaining, locking down onto things told to them that they cannot defend, failing to answer the question.

Again the University of Toronto suggests

The Right Approach
Reason: We base our thinking in logic, not feelings.
Self-Awareness: We pay attention to our own and others’ assumptions, biases and perspectives.
Integrity: We care about doing our intellectual work honestly and accurately rather than about being right.
Discipline: We put effort into doing our work comprehensively and precisely.
Open-mindedness: We consider alternatives and other points of view.
 We need to consider is it logical to reason that Jesus existed and answer the challenge that we as Christians only assume Jesus existed. We need to be honest and accurate in our review of the facts. We must be willing to openly investigate arguments that perhaps go against our beliefs. We should live as if we believe Jesus exists, because that is true proof of our confidence in the fact.

That said we need to ask ourselves questions. Is the bible the only evidence for Jesus’ existence? The answer to this is No, but how many know what the other evidence is and whether it is as reliable as the bible. If we state there is and it has reliability, why would we say this? Would everyone agree? Why should people agree?

 Normally people who ask us if Jesus existed tend to also be asking about non-biblical evidence for this.

Is it right to discount biblical evidence for Jesus if you are not a Christian?

Let’s consider the facts. A web site http://www.freebeginning.com/new_testament_dates has a listing of the earliest, latest and most likely dates when the New Testament books were written. This are good estimates and further investigation will show them to be approximately correct. I have reproduced the information from that site below for you to review more easily.

N.T. BookAuthorEarliestLatestMost Likely
GalatiansApostle PaulA.D. 48A.D. 50A.D. 48
1 ThessaloniansApostle PaulA.D. 50A.D. 52A.D. 51
2 ThessaloniansApostle PaulA.D. 50A.D. 52A.D. 51
MarkMarkA.D. 45
John Wenham / John A. T. Robinson
A.D. 60
A. Harnack
A.D. 48-55
1 CorinthiansApostle PaulA.D. 55A.D. 55A.D. 55
2 CorinthiansApostle PaulA.D. 56A.D. 56A.D. 56
RomansApostle PaulA.D. 57A.D. 57A.D. 57
JamesJames
(half-brother of Jesus)
A.D. 38A.D. 62A.D. 50-60
LukeLukeA.D. 57-62A.D. 57-62A.D. 57-62
EphesiansApostle PaulA.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62
PhilippiansApostle PaulA.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62
ColossiansApostle PaulA.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62
PhilemonApostle PaulA.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62A.D. 60-62
ActsLukeA.D. 62-63A.D. 62-63A.D. 62-63
TitusApostle PaulA.D. 62A.D. 63A.D. 63
1 TimothyApostle PaulA.D. 62A.D. 64A.D. 63
2 TimothyApostle PaulA.D. 64A.D. 64A.D. 64
1 PeterApostle PeterA.D. 63A.D. 68A.D. 64-67
2 PeterApostle PeterA.D. 64A.D. 68A.D. 65-68
HebrewsUnknownA.D. 40A.D. 69A.D. 50-68
MatthewApostle MatthewA.D. 40
John Wenham / John A. T. Robinson
A.D. 110
Paul Minear
A.D. 65-70
JudeJude
(half-brother of Jesus)
A.D. 60A.D. 85A.D. 65-80
JohnApostle JohnA.D. 60's
F. Lamar Cribbs
A.D. 90'sA.D. 90's
1 JohnApostle JohnUnknownA.D. 98A.D. 90's
2 JohnApostle JohnUnknownA.D. 98A.D 90's
3 JohnApostle JohnUnknownA.D. 98A.D. 90's
RevelationApostle JohnA.D. 68A.D. 97A.D. 95-97


Notice that based on Jesus dying around 30-33 A.D. the time since his death to the last of these writings is

95A.D. – 33A.D = 62years.

Consider that World War 2      

1945 A.D. – 2014A.D. = 69 years

Can we trust our information about the world war from 69 years ago?

If so… why can we not trust biblical accounts written 62years after the event?

I think we can state, based on these facts, that the New Testaments writings are valid for reviewing if Jesus existed.

But what about non-biblical information about Jesus? Again I found a very useful site that has information I am using and paraphrasing [2] to describe the non-biblical sources.

Tacitus – Roman Historian (A.D.56 to A.D 117)
Mentioned superstitious “Christians” (from Christus, which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius.

 Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian (A.D.69-A.D.122)
Wrote that there was a man named Chrestus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44).

Flavius Josephus – Jewish historian (A.D.36 to A.D.100)
In his Antiquities he refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” There is a controversial verse (18:3) that says, “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats....He was [the] Christ...he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.”
One version reads, “At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”

Julius Africanus - celebrated orator in the reign of Nero condemned by Tiberius in 32 AD
Quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).

 Pliny the Younger – (A.D.61 to A.D.112)
in Letters 10:96, recorded early Christian worship practices including the fact that Christians worshiped Jesus as God and were very ethical, and he includes a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper.

 The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) A.D.200 to A.D.500
confirms Jesus' crucifixion on the eve of Passover and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.

Lucian of Samosata was a second-century Greek writer (A.D 125 – A.D.180)
Admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them. He said that Jesus' teachings included the brotherhood of believers, the importance of conversion, and the importance of denying other gods. Christians lived according to Jesus’ laws, believed themselves to be immortal, and were characterized by contempt for death, voluntary self-devotion, and renunciation of material goods.

 Mara Bar-Serapion - Stoic philosopher in the Roman province of Syria-Letter A.D.73
Confirms that Jesus was thought to be a wise and virtuous man, was considered by many to be the king of Israel, was put to death by the Jews, and lived on in the teachings of His followers.

GNOSTIC MANUSCRIPTS
Discovered at Nag Hammadi are generally dated to the 4th century
There is some debate regarding the original composition of the texts.

 A wide range and the majority of scholars date authorship of the Gnostic gospel of Nag Hammadi to the 2nd and 3rd century. Scholars with a focus on Christianity tend to date the gospels mentioned by Irenaeus to the 2nd century, and the gospels mentioned solely by Jerome to the 4th century

 I think this is sufficient evidence to prove Jesus existed!

In fact using non-biblical sources we can construct the following story about Jesus.

Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did “magic,” led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed, worshipping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).


And using biblical sources the same story is

Jesus was called the Christ (Romans 1) did “miracles”(Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) led Israel into new teachings(Luke 11), and was hanged on Passover (John19, Matthew 27, Luke 23, Mark 15) for them in Judea.

Jesus claimed to be God (John1:1, John 10:33,Col 2:9) and would return (Rev 20) which his followers believed, worshipping Him as God.




A very early writing Nicene Creed A.D.325 formally adopted this truthful statement about Jesus. This was written and agreed by a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. The known Christian world gathered to agree on this statement (of which the below is one English translation)

 We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten), not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost.

 And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion—all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them. [3]        

 This is who Jesus is, but what did he want?

 The bible has an incident of people with Jesus which explains this in Mark 12….

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard the Sadducees arguing. He noticed that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer. So he asked him, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?”
29 Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one.
Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 And here is the second one.
                        ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
There is no commandment more important than these.”
32 “You have spoken well, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one. There is no other God but him. 33 To love God with all your heart and mind and strength is very important. So is loving your neighbor as you love yourself. These things are more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 Jesus saw that the man had answered wisely. He said to him, “You are not far from God’s kingdom.”

From then on, no one dared to ask Jesus any more questions.


 Jesus wanted us to love God, others and ourselves. This is a good message. But notice when you read the above that Jesus said “You are not far from God’s kingdom.” Not that the man would be in it.

 Why?

 Well there was one other thing…the man had to see that Jesus was God. Then he would have the complete set of facts.

 Do you have the complete set of facts?

     [1] http://ctl.utsc.utoronto.ca/twc/sites/default/files/CriticalThinking.pdf[2] http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html#ixzz2q8Scif4N[3] http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed
Mon, January 13, 2014 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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