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Discussion in 'Discussions about Religion.' started by beensetfree, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    How can you fight off lust in a world where there’s so much sexually explicit images?

    Turn
    Jesus said “that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:48), so how can we possibly do that in a world where there’s sexually explicit images just about everywhere you look? It’s in public in the way people dress, on the Internet, TV, magazines, newspapers, and just about any place human eyes can see, so how can we keep our hearts from lusting after the images we see in the world?

    Job gave me an idea how to deal with the lusting eye, and for him, it was turn your heard, or don’t look. When we look at something that might make us lust, the best thing to do is to quickly look the other way. For me, it was Job’s covenantal eyes, saying, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin” (Job 31:1)? Solomon’s wisdom tells us, “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life” (Prov 6:25-26), so if we don’t want to desire such beauty to the point of lusting, we should choose to look away. It is just not worth the grief it will bring in ruined or destroyed relationships if we allow ourselves to act on that lust. What enters the eye gate enters the heart.

    Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness” (Matt 6:22-23)! Just as what goes into the mouth, enters the body, whatever enters they eye gate, enters the heart…and often, finds a home.


    i

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    Run
    God’s will is clearly defined in Scripture, where the Apostle Paul writes, “by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:1-2), so “this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor” (1 Thess 4:3-4).

    Sometimes that abstaining comes in the form of leaving the place or situation where you’re tempted. That means we should “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim 2:22). Several times the Bible says our response to avoiding sin is to run or to flee. For example, Paul writes that we must “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18).

    Don’t think you can’t be tempted, because “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). This is partly why the Apostle Peter wrote, “I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Pet 2:11), and sometimes why it’s best to run when you’re tempted.

    Read
    After a believer has put their trust in Christ, they have just begun the battle…the battle against the flesh. That’s something the Apostle Paul was clearly aware of, writing, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19). Even after conversion, we all still sin (1 John 1:8, 10), so we must “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col 3:5), but what can help us do that, besides run from temptation and turn our eyes away?

    How can you turn away from or run from your imagination? The psalmist gives us sage advice by writing, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). In effect, the psalmist is saying he memorized Scripture so that he might not sin against God. The seemingly insignificant word “that” in this verse, is the hinge on which the door of the Word of God turns and slams the door on temptation shut. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts gives us ammo for times when we need to resist temptation.

    For Job, it was turning his eyes away when he looked at a woman. For others, it was running as fast as they can, but the Word of God has power (Isaiah 55:11; Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18), and we need God’s power, which are found in His Spirit and in His Word. That’s because, “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).

    Conclusion
    The best way to avoid lusting and temptation, which can carry us away into sin, is to immediately look away from anything that tempts you; remove yourself from a tempting situation; and hide God’s Word in your heart, because God’s Word has power where we do not (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18), and we need to tap that power in order to fight the temptation to lust, which could lead to a sin of sexual immorality.
     
  2. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The wise men followed a bright star

    That led them from afar

    Until it reached its destination

    Above He who came for our salvation.

    Lord, let me like those magi be;

    And to Christ’s side,

    Please guide thou me.

    The way where I would go is clear,

    But life’s journey there I sorely fear.

    Lord, show me signs like that star bright

    To keep me ever in the right

    And lead me safely home at last

    With a clear conscience

    In my past.

    Amen.
     
  3. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    All that I am belongs to him
    everything outside as well
    as within.

    All that I have I’ll give to him
    I’ll exchange it all to be
    washed clean of sin.

    All that I say I’ll say for him
    so other will let him in.

    All that I want I’ll seek in him
    In him, for with God I know I
    can win.
     
  4. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    When it happened first I was about seven yes, that’s when it happened I heard the call of God into heaven

    My most glorious moment I accepted Christ into my life professed my sins and started to repent I felt sick and I couldn’t stop crying

    No one knew what was wrong we just sat and decided to wait it out A few days later I had forgotten remembered not even a pout.

    The years of my life passed by and suddenly one day I just started to cry All of what happened before returned too

    I talked to my pastor and soon had no fear what he told filled me with such joy I relized that Jesus was quite near.

    I was sick and depressed on the outside While Jesus was fighting for me on the inside Comfort came over me as a great tide. It proved Jesus is always right by my side.
     
  5. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Spring

    Through so many winters nights.
    I sat withering
    Too tired to Love
    Too afraid to speak
    Too fed up to pray
    I was dieing!
    Snow covered me.
    I was bound for the ground.

    You sent me a buoy
    Light that directed me
    I was still afraid
    I stayed blind
    I stayed lost
    Still bound for the ground

    You called for me once again
    This time I listened
    This time I forgave
    This time I cried
    This time I cared!

    Now I sit in your spring air!
    The green grass tickles my legs
    The clouds wisp past
    My dreamy eyes watching
    My hair sparkling in sunlight
    My love growing each day
    My praise shouting your name!!

    It is time
    You have told me Lord
    That I become a buoy of Light
    To share Your wonderful Spring and Might!
    To save others from the cold ground!
     
  6. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you, woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you.

    Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects man’s life. I chose the rib, which protects his heart and lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you. I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully.

    Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart. His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life.

    The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. Support man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side.

    You are my perfect angel. You are my beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes – don’t change them. Your lips how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose, so perfect in form, your hands so gentle to touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I’ve held your heart close to mine. Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like me. Adam walked with me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see me or touch me. He could only feel me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with me, I fashioned in you: my holiness, my strength, my purity, my love, my protection and support.

    You are special because you are the extension of me. Man represents my image – woman, my emotions. Together, you represent the totality of God.

    So man – treat woman well. Love her, respect her, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt me. What you do to her, you do to me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father, and the heart of her Father.

    Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.

    Did you not know that WOMAN was so special in God’s eyes? Now we really know! Hallelujah!!
     
  7. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    I Refuse

    I refuse to be discouraged, To be sad, or to cry;
    I refuse to be downhearted, and here’s the reason why:

    I have a God who’s mighty, Who’s sovereign and supreme;
    I have a God who loves me, and I am on His team.

    He is all-wise and powerful. Jesus is His name;
    Though everything is changeable, My God remains the same.

    My God knows all that’s happening; Beginning to the end;
    His presence is my comfort; He is my dearest Friend.

    When sickness comes to weaken me, To bring my head down low,
    I call upon my mighty God; Into His arms I go.

    When circumstances threaten to rob me of my peace;
    He draws me close unto His breast, Where all my strivings cease.

    When my heart melts within me, and weakness takes control;
    He gathers me into His arms, He soothes my heart and soul.

    The great “I AM” is with me. My life is in His hand.
    The “Son of the Lord” is my hope. It’s in His strength I stand.

    I refuse to be defeated. My eyes are on my God;
    He has promised to be with me, As through this life I trod.

    I’m looking past all my circumstances, To Heaven’s throne above;
    My prayers have reached the heart of God I’m resting in His love.

    I give God thanks in everything. My eyes are on His face;
    The battle’s His, the victory mine; He’ll help me win the race.

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!!!!
    Pass it on!
    “Vision is not seeing things as they are, but as they will be…”
     
  8. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    5 Crowns in the Bible.

    The Bible speaks about casting our crowns before the Lord, but what are these crowns and who gets them?

    Crowns for Believers
    The Bible mentions crowns that believers will receive at Christ’s return, but what are the crowns mentioned in the Bible, and what crowns are given to each believer, and for what reason? Of course, we are not seeking the kingdom for crowns, but for His righteousness, so we do not seek the crown but the King of the kingdom, and pursue His righteousness first and foremost (Matt 6:33), so His righteousness must come first. It is not their own righteousness, or self-righteousness, because God will not accept that, and besides, none are righteous outside of Christ.

    The righteousness of Christ is given to those who have trusted in Christ. The Apostle Paul says it was “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21), so unless you have Jesus’ very own righteousness, you cannot even be in the presence of God after death, or at Christ’s return, however, the invitation to eternal life is open to all.

    The free gift of eternal life (Eph 2:8-9) comes with Jesus’ own reassuring words: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26)? Everyone must ask themselves that question. Do you believe? Your answer determines your eternal state.

    The Imperishable Crown
    Most scholars believe there is a crown called, “the imperishable crown,” and one that the Apostle Paul mentioned to the church at Corinth, asking, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Cor 9:24-25).

    Paul and most of his Corinth audience understood what a perishable crown was, having seen or heard of the crown given to athletes in the ancient Olympic Games. These were perishable wreaths that would only last a day or so before they withered away, but the crown for those who have trusted in Christ will be imperishable.

    Today, everything in this universe is subject to decay, and someday will perish. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (1 Pet 3:11-13). The new heavens and the new earth come just prior to the coming of the New Jerusalem out of heaven (Rev 21:1-3). Like the kingdom itself, the imperishable crown is eternal.



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    The Crown of Rejoicing
    The crown of rejoicing is another crown that is given to believers, and the reference is 1 Thessalonians 2:19 where the Apostle Paul wrote, “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?” Later, in the Book of Philippians, Paul also writes that we are to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4), and why shouldn’t we?

    We’ve been redeemed, and so, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Psalm 107:2). Undoubtedly, the “twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads” (Rev 4:4) would be rejoicing at the appearance of the Lord of Glory as they fell at His feet to worship Him (Rev 4:9-12).

    The Crown of Righteousness
    The so-called crown of righteousness is taken from Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, where Paul wrote at the time of his impending death, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim 4:8).

    If you are one of those who long for his appearing, then this crown may be given to you. Not all believers will be filled with joy at His appearing. The Apostle John wrote “that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:28-29), so some indeed may shrink back in shame at His appearance in shame for dereliction of duty (Matt 25:35-36; 28:19-20; James 1:27). Whoever shrinks back from him at His appearing, obviously doesn’t love His appearing in the same way that the Apostle Paul described it in 2 Timothy 4:8.

    “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim 4:8).

    The Crown of Glory
    Today, it’s possible today for believers in Christ to have the Spirt of glory abide on them. Let me explain. The Apostle Peter wrote, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Pet 4:14), and who wouldn’t want that!? In the very next chapter, Peter writes, “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4).

    Even though this was written to the elders, there is good reason to believe that those who serve in the church will also receive this crown, possibly even those who serve in the nursery who have the next generation under their care. In fact, the faithful ones who most people don’t’ notice, may outstrip us all at the judgment seat of Christ, but all can receive the Spirit of glory today.

    Most of us will never face severe persecution like our brothers and sisters around the world do, but that suffering does generally make a person long for Jesus’ appearing even more, however, the better we have it here, the less likely we might be to be living with eager expectation at the revelation of the Son of God.

    The Crown of Life
    Some believe the crown of life is for those who have been martyred for their faith, but this may not always be the case. The reference to the crown of life comes partly from the Book of Revelation, where the Apostle John wrote, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer.

    Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” This crown is for martyrs, however, it may also be for those who have lost family, friends, jobs, home, and just about everything else in life, for their faith.

    That still happens around the world, but most of us have never experienced that kind of persecution. If you’ve been publically ridiculed for your faith, been called just about every name you can think of, and the things people say or write about you are intentionally cruel, you may not be a martyr, but you are being tested. James also mentions the crown of life in James 1:12, writing, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

    Conclusion
    At the end of this age, “the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.

    They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created’”
    (Rev 4:10-11). They may cast their crowns before the Lord because all credit is given to Him (John 15:5), but they will have to pick them up again, because someday it will be said of the children of God, God has “made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev 1:16).

    Others will have authority over five cities, some ten (or more) (Luke 19:17-19), but “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan 12:3), and “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2).
     
  9. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Ideals.

    Remember that ideals
    are like stars up in the sky,
    You can never really reach them,
    hanging in the heavens high …

    But like the mighty mariner
    who sailed the storm-tossed sea,
    And used the stars to chart his course
    with skill and certainty,

    You too can chart your course in life
    with high ideals and love,
    For high ideals are like the stars
    that light the sky above …

    You cannot ever reach them,
    but lift your heart up high
    And your life will be as shining
    as the stars up in the sky.
     
  10. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Whereas the Lord was there.”

    Ezekiel 35:10

    Edom's princes saw the whole country left desolate, and counted upon its easy conquest; but there was one great difficulty in their way — quite unknown to them — “The Lord was there”; and in his presence lay the special security of the chosen land. Whatever may be the machinations and devices of the enemies of God's people, there is still the same effectual barrier to thwart their design. The saints are God's heritage, and he is in the midst of them, and will protect his own.

    What comfort this assurance yields us in our troubles and spiritual conflicts! We are constantly opposed, and yet perpetually preserved! How often Satan shoots his arrows against our faith, but our faith defies the power of hell's fiery darts; they are not only turned aside, but they are quenched upon its shield, for “the Lord is there.” Our good works are the subjects of Satan's attacks.

    A saint never yet had a virtue or a grace which was not the target for hellish bullets: whether it was hope bright and sparkling, or love warm and fervent, or patience all-enduring, or zeal flaming like coals of fire, the old enemy of everything that is good has tried to destroy it. The only reason why anything virtuous or lovely survives in us is this, “the Lord is there.”

    If the Lord be with us through life, we need not fear for our dying confidence; for when we come to die, we shall find that “the Lord is there”; where the billows are most tempestuous, and the water is most chill, we shall feel the bottom, and know that it is good: our feet shall stand upon the Rock of Ages when time is passing away.

    Beloved, from the first of a Christian's life to the last, the only reason why he does not perish is because “the Lord is there.” When the God of everlasting love shall change and leave his elect to perish, then may the Church of God be destroyed; but not till then, because it is written, Jehovah Shammah , “The Lord is there.”
     
  11. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Helping a moth.

    A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon.

    On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck.

    Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

    Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

    What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

    Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, He would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.

    How true this is! How many times have we wanted to take the quick way out of struggles and difficulties, to take those scissors and snip off the remaining bits in an attempt to be free. We need to remember that our loving Father will never give us more than we can bear and through our trials and struggles we are strengthened as gold is refined in the fire. May we never let the things we can’t have, or don’t have, or shouldn’t have, spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have.

    Don’t focus on the things you DON’T have, enjoy each moment of everyday God has given you.
     
  12. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Tell me ... where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.”

    Song of Solomon 1:7

    These words express the desire of the believer after Christ, and his longing for present communion with him. Where doest thou feed thy flock? In thy house? I will go, if I may find thee there. In private prayer? Then I will pray without ceasing. In the Word? Then I will read it diligently. In thine ordinances? Then I will walk in them with all my heart. Tell me where thou feedest, for wherever thou standest as the Shepherd, there will I lie down as a sheep; for none but thyself can supply my need.

    I cannot be satisfied to be apart from thee. My soul hungers and thirsts for the refreshment of thy presence. “Where dost thou make thy flock to rest at noon?” for whether at dawn or at noon, my only rest must be where thou art and thy beloved flock. My soul's rest must be a grace-given rest, and can only be found in thee. Where is the shadow of that rock? Why should I not repose beneath it? “Why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” Thou hast companions — why should I not be one? Satan tells me I am unworthy; but I always was unworthy, and yet thou hast long loved me; and therefore my unworthiness cannot be a bar to my having fellowship with thee now.

    It is true I am weak in faith, and prone to fall, but my very feebleness is the reason why I should always be where thou feedest thy flock, that I may be strengthened, and preserved in safety beside the still waters. Why should I turn aside? There is no reason why I should, but there are a thousand reasons why I should not, for Jesus beckons me to come. If he withdrew himself a little, it is but to make me prize his presence more. Now that I am grieved and distressed at being away from him, he will lead me yet again to that sheltered nook where the lambs of his fold are sheltered from the burning sun.
     
  13. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.

    Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building.

    Now, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired life-boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a symbolic life-boat in the room where the club initiations were held.

    About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

    At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

    As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown
     
  14. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “He first findeth his own brother Simon.”

    John 1:41

    This case is an excellent pattern of all cases where spiritual life is vigorous. As soon as a man has found Christ, he begins to find others. I will not believe that thou hast tasted of the honey of the gospel if thou canst eat it all thyself. True grace puts an end to all spiritual monopoly. Andrew first found his own brother Simon, and then others. Relationship has a very strong demand upon our first individual efforts. Andrew, thou didst well to begin with Simon.

    I doubt whether there are not some Christians giving away tracts at other people's houses who would do well to give away a tract at their own — whether there are not some engaged in works of usefulness abroad who are neglecting their special sphere of usefulness at home. Thou mayst or thou mayst not be called to evangelize the people in any particular locality, but certainly thou art called to see after thine own servants, thine own kinsfolk and acquaintance. Let thy religion begin at home.

    Many tradesmen export their best commodities — the Christian should not. He should have all his conversation everywhere of the best savour; but let him have a care to put forth the sweetest fruit of spiritual life and testimony in his own family. When Andrew went to find his brother, he little imagined how eminent Simon would become. Simon Peter was worth ten Andrews so far as we can gather from sacred history, and yet Andrew was instrumental in bringing him to Jesus. You may be very deficient in talent yourself, and yet you may be the means of drawing to Christ one who shall become eminent in grace and service.

    Ah! dear friend, you little know the possibilities which are in you. You may but speak a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian church in years to come. Andrew has only two talents, but he finds Peter. Go thou and do likewise.
     
  15. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    God gave us each our own music
    and the world to be our stage
    but most of us are living
    with our music still unplayed

    This gift that we are given
    is ours to use if we dare
    it is our greatest tool
    to show how much we care

    “Martin” shared his music
    gave us all a dream
    his message was very simple
    “Let Freedom Ring”

    “John” stood up and played his music
    the song he shared was true
    “Don’t ask your country to make things right
    ask instead what YOU can do”

    A diminutive committed lady
    so fragile and so weak
    “Teresa” touched every nation
    each time that she would speak

    A simple comic and actor
    he shared his special song
    “Bob” lifted up our spirits
    from World War II to Vietnam

    One song was sung so long ago
    that’s been shared throughout the years
    a “Carpenter” gave his music
    that will save all those who hear

    Your music has the power
    our futures in our hands
    never doubt that words can change the world
    it’s the only thing that ever has
     
  16. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Narrow Gate To Life And The Broad Path To Destruction

    The Bible says a lot about salvation, mostly that it’s only through Christ that we can be saved, so here are Bible verses about salvation that reveal it’s open to all, but it’s not the broad path many people think it is.

    Repentance and Faith
    Jesus best described the gospel of the Kingdom of God in Mark 1:15 when He began His earthly ministry and said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled,” meaning the age of grace had come but it comes only through trust in Christ. Today, if you hear His voice, or the Spirit’s call, don’t harden your heart (2 Cor 6:2), because if you were to die or Christ returns before trusting in Him, there is no time left to repent and believe.

    This is no time to sit on the fence and think about it because those who wait on the fence will be judged along with those who openly reject Christ today, so “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Why not “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead [and] you will be saved” (Rom 10:9)?

    The Narrow Road
    Years ago, when I briefly lived in Arkansas, there was an old winding dirt road that went up Bernie Mountain in northwest Arkansas. The road was dangerously steep and curvy but there was no other way up the mountain, at least by car, so as hard, narrow, and steep as that road was, we had no choice but to take it. It was the only way.

    We didn’t’ really complain about the road because we knew it was the only way up to our home, so in similar fashion, Jesus says, quite specifically, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). God offers the free gift of eternal life, but it’s not just any way but Jesus is “the way,” just as the Apostle Paul wrote, that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith.

    And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”
    (Eph 2:8-9). Obviously, this means “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5), so finding the narrow path to eternal life is not by works, but by what Christ did in His life and His death and His resurrection.




    The Broad Path
    Since the Bible states, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), this rules out any other human source or power by which we can be saved to eternal life.

    Tragically, Jesus says that not everyone who “says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21), but “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Jesus says to all that we must “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matt 7:13).

    If you look around the world, it doesn’t appear that most of the world has trusted in Christ, so naturally, the path that leads away from Christ and toward destruction is broad. If only few, comparatively, have trusted in Christ, the path or road doesn’t have to be as broad. You don’t build four-lane highways where a county road is because there’s not that much traffic. The narrow path or gate to eternal life is passed through, single-file, and no one gets in on the coattails of another, however, the path or gate to destruction is wide. That’s why many will say, “Lord, Lord,” and not a few, and those same “many” will be turned away at the time of their judgment (Matt 7:21-23).

    For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many (Matt 7:13).
    The Man of Salvation
    There is not really a plan of salvation as much as there is a Man of Salvation, and that is Jesus Christ. When the jailer spoke to the Apostle Peter and Silas about being saved, he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

    And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family”
    (Acts 16:30-31). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowd “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38), so even though the way is narrow, and it only goes through Jesus Christ (John 6:44), it is still open to all (John 3:16). Jesus says, whoever comes to Him, He will “give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

    The psalmist puts it well in writing “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame [but] they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous” (Psalm 25:3). On the day of His visitation, the one who puts their trust in Christ will hear His master say to him or her, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:21).

    Conclusion
    The gate may be small and the way may be narrow, but at least there is a way, so to complain that there is only one way and the way is narrow, is like complaining that there’s only one emergency exit out of a building on fire.

    Escaping the fire is only possible through a fire escape, and it’s typically narrower than the doors that everyone came in through, but people don’t care that it’s narrow when there’s a fire.

    They’re just glad there is a way out, narrow or not, because at least there is a way. Jesus is still and always be the only way of escape from the wrath of God (John 3:36b), for “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Rom 10:11), so clearly, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26)? The answer to that question determines which path you will take and where you will end up, and there you will stay, for time without end.
     
  17. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    I wish


    I wish you the courage to be warm when the world would prefer that you be cool.
    I wish you success sufficient to your needs;
    I wish you failure to temper that success.
    I wish you joy in all your days;

    I wish you sadness so that you may better measure joy.
    I wish you gladness to overbalance your grief.
    I wish you humor and a twinkle in your eye.
    I wish you glory and the strength to bear its burdens.

    I wish you sunshine on your path and health to carry you on your journey.
    I wish you peace — in the world in which you live and in the smallest corner of you heart where truth is kept.
    I wish you faith — to help define your living and your life.
    More I cannot wish you — except perhaps love — to make all the rest worthwhile.
     
  18. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    I remember when I came to faith at the age of 21, I wanted to be the next Billy Graham. What I meant by that sentiment was simply that I had a massive hope to reach millions with the gospel of Christ. What young Christian wouldn’t day dream about being able to hold a massive audience captive with the gospel? Today, as I reflect upon the news of his death, I am reminded much of the hope we have as Christians. Death does not have power over us and the life worth living is one in fearless opposition to the notion that death still holds the final word.

    I didn’t learn a tremendous amount about Billy Graham until he was the focus of a brief chunk in my undergraduate church history course. Now, naturally a few pages in a survey of church history won’t encapsulate the full impact he made, nor would a blog post or two that I stumbled upon. It piqued my curiosity. I had always heard nothing but positive thoughts regarding Billy Graham; he made massive inroads for the sake of the gospel, met with and advised several presidents, and left an evangelistic legacy within the broader church. In my brief studies, I came away encouraged to find several things I believe all stripes of Christians can learn from him.

    Billy Graham: the Good of the Local Church
    While there are several people surrounding the man in his ministry, it must be said that Billy Graham’s platform was unique. I remember one of the best things I heard about him was that at a relatively early point in his evangelistic ministry, he made the move to contact local churches so that these hordes of people claiming newfound faith could be discipled. There was a need felt – that many would “be saved” and then go on without becoming part of a church, and thusly, fall away from that faith, and Billy Graham took that head on.

    Secondly, I genuinely believe he had a great passion to reach those who didn’t know Christ. Furthermore, because of his efforts to partner with local churches, I sense many of those people were led in a positive direction. Billy Graham met with people around the nation to ensure that after one of his events, people could get plugged into a local church and learn how to walk in Christ. That effort cannot be downplayed, and his sense of importance of the local church is more than admirable. It was the local churches he partnered with that enables the legacy of Christ to move forward. He was wise enough to recognize that even though he was the lead figure at many of these revival events, he was not capable of fulfilling every need.

    Last, and here’s the really important thing: I firmly believe that Billy Graham was used greatly of God to lead many to a genuine faith in Christ. No matter what problematic inferences to his theology and methodology one might draw, that is something every camp can embrace. I would argue that for those with Reformed convictions, we ought to embrace it all the more, because we of all people know that God can and often does draw a straight line with a crooked stick. In some fashion, we all have our blind spots and maladies, and we all hold to some defunct conceptions of Scriptural truth.

    In all these things, it was clear that Billy Graham highlighted the importance of the local church and he did not see his evangelistic enterprises outside of that light. He worked, hand in hand, to develop a program operating behind the scenes to ensure people did not simply know of Christ, but continued to grow in the knowledge of Him. This is a beautiful thing – and something that is far too often missing from modern day evangelistic enterprises. While we might be tempted to look in abject criticism and deduce a different manner of doing it, it is quite clear he considered the long-haul rather than the simple, emotionally-laden conversion experience. I say we rejoice greatly in this, namely, because he actually did something.

    Billy Graham: Shaping the Moral Culture of the Church
    It is without question that Billy Graham has left a lasting legacy in service to Christ, but perhaps one of the questions we will be left with is in what fashion he shaped the moral culture of the church. Graham did not hesitate to call people to a deeper conviction on obedience to the Christian faith. Routinely, he slammed the notion that a Christian could be an individual who tolerates capitulation. Yet what is more than this is that this did not remain something absent from his addresses to the American people as a whole.



    To the church in particular though, he wrote, “Tolerance, in one sense, implies the compromise of one’s convictions, a yielding of ground upon important issues. Hence, over-tolerance in moral issues has made us soft, flabby and devoid of conviction. We have become tolerant about divorce; we have become tolerant about the use of alcohol; we have become tolerant about delinquency; we have become tolerant about wickedness in high places; we have become tolerant about immorality; we have become tolerant about crime and we have become tolerant about godlessness. We have become tolerant of unbelief.”


    For Billy Graham, the notion of tolerance was at odds with the narrow road – that is, that the road to salvation was the due course Christ laid out. It is not the hypocritical fashion of those who would claim Christ, yet live a life devoid of the Christian ethic. In addition, it is certainly not a matter of claiming to love another, yet living a life devoid of love. It was, however, a life lived out in harmony with the demands Scripture placed upon those in Christ. It cannot be denied that his influence steeped into the society at large, especially when we consider his partnerships with men like Martin Luther King Jr.

    Yet perhaps most unique in the role Graham served was his unique capacity to acknowledge his own shortcomings and mistakes in humility. What was evidently shown in this was the simple power of a gracious response to being rightly accused of something. He was not only a man who didn’t pull punches, but he was willing to receive a few of them as well. In one instance of confrontation, Billy Graham said, “I’ve had to admit errors in judgment, and I’ve found Christian people more than generous in understanding my faults.” In this, he modeled both the conviction to heed the moral imperatives of Scripture, and the humility to admit when he fell short of that aim.

    Conclusion
    I genuinely sense there is much people of all stripes can learn from a man like Billy Graham. I’ll say it again, I do genuinely believe he was used of God in great ways, even though I might look at some of his methods and beliefs with a different conviction. However, the greater story in all of this is the simple truth that for those in Christ, there is the wonder and beauty of the resurrection.

    If there were no resurrection for those in Christ, we of all men are to be pitied. Our lives spent evangelizing, discipling, singing, giving, writing, etc., are all in vain. Yet on this day Billy Graham has met the very substance of his faith: Christ. There are no lingering doubts, sins, or vestiges of being in a world devastated by sin. There is no more looking through the glass dimly, but seeing the radiance of His glory in full. This is the ultimate hope, and the hope we point you to, reader.

    It is an enviable thing to watch Billy enter the presence of his maker – but my hope is that like the late Dr. Sproul, we would be motivated with an evangelistic zeal. My hope is that we partake in the efforts of the Great Commission and that the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in so we may see the return of the Lord. We may never reach the impact of the late Billy Graham, but my dear brothers and sisters, what a treasure is it that we might share in even a modicum of this?

    Yet it must be said, the focus of Graham was in utter rebellion to the notion that death holds the final say. His life was one of rebellion to death and for that reason, he has life eternal.


    Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorus...am-life-opposition-death/#YY1ogQOutJ1v2aio.99
     
  19. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    A happy day.

    As an adult, there have been times when I have said to myself, “This is such a wonderful moment. I don’t ever want to forget it.” At those times, I take a mental snapshot of that moment and commit myself to remembering it. As I write this, several of those moments come to mind; but one of my happiest memories is of at day in my life that happened when I was too young to be introspective. I simply remember it because of the total happiness I felt.

    In the greater scheme of things, that day was not that special. It was our second grade class picnic day. I recall that we wore play clothes. That would mean pants for little girls when in those days we were required to wear dresses on regular school days. We each took a sack lunch and we were taken by bus to a local park where we played. On the way home, I got off the bus at a corner a block from my home and a few blocks before the bus reached the school. Nobody was home when I got there, so I decided to clean up the living room to surprise my mommy. Those are the unremarkable details of that memorable day.

    So why do I remember that day so much better and more fondly than the many other days of my childhood? When I think about it now as an adult, I can be introspective about it and understand some reasons why it was so special to me.

    First, on that day I overcame fear and truly enjoyed playing at the park. Before the day was out, I was confident about climbing to the heights of the sliding board and soaring down and about swinging high on the huge swings—two things I had always been timid about before. Because of my new confidence and my ability to do what the other children were doing, I had acceptance from them.

    When my teacher told the bus driver to let me off near my home I experienced the respect of her knowing I was self-reliant enough to go home alone. When I got home, I made myself useful by cleaning the living room and consequently received something all children covet, my mother’s praise.

    Those were the simple elements that made me happy on that bright day sixty years ago. I believe those are pretty much the same things that make me happy today.
     
  20. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Billy Graham – Well Done Thou Good And Faithful Servant


    After the passing of evangelist Dr. Billy Graham at age 99, will there ever be anyone else who comes close to this man’s passion for preaching Christ to the world?

    God’s Evangelist
    The late Billy Graham, one of the nation’s most beloved evangelists, recently passed into glory at age 99 after having served as an evangelist for several decades. This man served as a spiritual advisor for several presidents, but he also traveled the globe to preach Christ to people around the world and spoke with dozens of worldwide leaders.

    It is believed that well over 215 million heard about Jesus Christ over the six decades that he served, and he served and prayed with US presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. Dr. Graham’s life will have ripples of effects for time without end as his preaching was heard in 185 of the world’s 195 countries, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, so the total influence of this man’s ministry may never be completely known until we enter the kingdom. He has been called perhaps the greatest and most influential Christian evangelist since the Apostle Paul. And unlike in his day, he was able to avoid many of the scandals that other famous evangelists faced as he lived a life above reproach.
    .
    Presidential Pastor
    Billy Graham has not only been an evangelist, he has served several U.S. Presidents over the decades, leading worship services and giving spiritual advise to those in the nation’s highest offices. I remember hearing about this man saying to an audience in Charlotte in 1958 that, “We have an idea that we Americans are God’s chosen people, that God loves us more than any other people, and that we are God’s blessed. I tell you that God doesn’t love us any more than he does the Russians.”

    [1] Among some of the honors bestowed upon Dr. Graham were the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor an American citizen can receive, but he also received the Congressional Gold Medal, and even an honorary knighthood from Britain for his contribution to civic and religious life. Dr. Graham was an outspoken critic of communism, seeing it as a godless, atheistic nation that threatened the peace and stability of the world.


    Color-Barrier
    Some have called the late Dr. Howard O. Jones the “Jackie Robinson” of evangelism because of his strong stance against racial prejudice. Dr. Jones is also widely known for breaking the color barrier in 1958.

    He became the first African American who was invited by Billy Graham to be a part of the internationally renowned evangelist’s crusade team, so not only was Dr. Jones a groundbreaker, so was Dr. Graham. Dr. Jones served with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) for 35 years and was the primary speaker on the Association’s radio broadcast, “Hour of Freedom.”

    Eventually, Dr. Jones was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1955, and like Billy Graham, Dr. Jones understood that it is wrong to focus on race or the person’s skin color or nationality. The gospel is open to all who would come, Jew or Gentile, male or female, and poor or rich. Both these men knew that the gospel is not about race but all about grace.

    Billy Graham was not happy by the racial division that was occurring in the 1950’s and 60’s, so during at least two crusades in the early 1950s, which were held in Tennessee and Mississippi, Dr. Graham physically removed the racial barrier, taking down the ropes that had separated blacks and whites.

    Many of whites who were serving under Dr. Graham were not happy with his doing this, but he knew that there was no room for division at the cross, because he knew that every one of us bleed red, so there is no difference between people of different skin color to God as God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Even though Dr. Graham preached that racial segregation was sin, a few civil rights leaders were critical of him because he was not as involved in fighting social injustice, like racial prejudice, as other prominent me were, first and foremost of which was the late Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.

    Conclusion
    With the passing of Dr. Billy Graham, there is a time of sadness for many, but he would not trade one day in heaven for a thousand on earth now. I remember him saying, this was not his home and that he was only passing through. Well, he’s passed through and finally arrived at his true home. For those he left behind, it’s not “Goodbye,” but “See you later.”

    We don’t grieve like those without hope (1 Thess 4:13), because for those whose trusted in Christ, including those beloved family and friends of ours who have passed away, we know we’ll see them again, however this time, all the pain, sorrow, suffering, crying, and even death will be missing… and missing forever (Rev 21:4). The late Dr. Billy Graham had a rule every pastor and church leader should follow, and that was he would never be found alone with another woman. It became known as the Billy Graham Rule, and as a result, there were no scandals of this nature to be found in his ministry.

    Near the end of his life, Dr. Graham didn’t care about all of the medals, honors or accolades, and neither did he desire that people say a lot of nice things about him. The only thing he wanted to hear was, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:21). I believe he has finally heard those words from his Master.
     

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