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IF THE SHOE FITS? .. the Undeserving

Forgiving the Undeserving

Ephesians 4:30-32

When I tell people who have been ill-treated that full healing requires forgiving their abuser, many will argue, “You don’t understand the hurt I’ve endured.” They’re right. But a bitter spirit, like cancer, penetrates every part of our life. Anger and resentment are symptoms that cannot be pushed away and ignored. They spill out, harming relationships and leading to risky decisions.

Withholding forgiveness may feel as if we’re punishing the offender. But people cannot take revenge on one another without destroying themselves. That’s why the Lord calls us to follow His example of extending grace to all (Eph. 4:32). Since God has pardoned us so generously, we shouldn’t withhold forgiveness from others. When someone hurts us, we may feel that person doesn’t deserve pardon, but neither are we deserving of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Crucifixion was slow and agonizing, but Jesus’ worst torment occurred when the sin of the world was laid on Him and His Father turned away (Matt. 27:46). Still, as the crowd cast lots for His garments, Jesus gave us the best possible example of forgiveness by saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). I may not know your pain, but I assure you that Jesus does. With His infinite love and gentleness, He’ll help you overcome hurt, anger, and bitterness.

Forgiveness is a choice—an act of service to the Lord, a witness to the person who inflicted our pain, and a necessary step in our healing. No matter how terrible the acts committed against us were, God requires that we show mercy. For our good and His glory, He wants us to give up the “right” to punish those who hurt us.

Our Father In Heaven

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  (Galatians 4:6)

Referring to God, “Our Father” is wonderful .. Yet the word can be too broad and vague .. ill-defined, uncertain .. in our minds. In the Old Testament, for example, God as “Father” is mentioned 14 times, but always in its broadest sense, as in Him being the Father of all humanity, or The Father of Israel .. But 275 times in the New Testament Jesus calls God “Father” in a manner so personal it offended the religious establishment. They knew God as “Father” with their “head” .. but Jesus knew God as His “Father” with His “heart”! .. and fact of the matter is that Jesus is one with His Father .. “Abba” was the way a small innocent child addressed a father.

Important prayers at institutional settings, like dedications and inaugurations, often begin with a pretentious sounding “Faw-ther Gawd.” But those who know by the witness of the Spirit that they are His children .. call out to Him as  “Abba,” “Daddy.” Think about it this way - George Washington is the “father of our country" .. but you and I are not authorized to call him Daddy.

Does your heart feel free to call out to God as  “Abba”? ( Daddy) .. If you can’t call God “Abba,” you need to receive His only begotten Son, Jesus - Pray like this: “Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God Who died for me, rose again, and ascended to the Father, and now sits at His right hand .. interceding for me .. I now turn away from my sin, and receive You as my Savior. If you are a child of God through Christ, meditate on what it means that the Father of the universe is your "Abba" ..  and worship Him.

Try looking into the "Names" that God has revealed to us in the scriptures .. the meaning and revelations into His Character .. read this a few times and begin to have your eyes opened ..  LOOK HERE: http://www.iaskgod.com/

 

THANKSGIVING

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
- Matthew 25

Why Does God Allow Bad Things To Happen?

I Do Not Understand Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

The following message was delivered on July 22 by Christian author and apologist Lee Strobel, just days after the deadly theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. It is taken from a posting on Bible Gateway.

It was the worst mass shooting in American history – 70 people shot by a gunman, 12 of them killed, while they were watching the midnight showing of a new movie just 21 miles from where we’re sitting. There are no words to describe the anguish being felt by those who are suffering today; our heart and prayers have – and will – go out to them. There are so many tragic stories, so much pain. And many people are asking the question, “Why? Why did God allow this?”

This has been a heart-rending summer for Colorado. First came the wildfires, which ravaged the houses of hundreds of our neighbors – and prompted many of them to ask the question, “Why?”

And those two tragic events are on top of the everyday pain and suffering being experienced in individual lives – maybe including yours. There’s illness, abuse, broken relationships, betrayal, sorrow, injuries, disappointment, heartache, crime and death. And perhaps you’ve been asking the question, “Why? Why me? Why now?”

That “why” question goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. And the 21st Century didn’t start any better. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why all of this if there’s a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Several years ago, I commissioned a national survey and asked people what question they’d ask if they could only ask God one thing. The Number One response was: “Why is there suffering in the world?” Incidentally, I did find an interesting statistical quirk – people who are married were much more likely to want to know why there’s so much suffering. I’m just sayin’.

But if you’ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, you will when they strike you with full force or they come to a loved one. And Jesus said they are coming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as just being illusions, Jesus was honest. He told us the truth. He said in John 16:33, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might – he said it is going to happen.

But why? If you ask me point-blank, “Why did God allow the gunman to spray the Aurora movie theater with gunfire just two days ago?”, the only answer I can honestly give consists of four words – “I do not know.”

I cannot stand in the shoes of God and give a complete answer to that question. I don’t have God’s mind. I don’t see with God’s eyes. First Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

So when you ask about specific individual events and want to know why this particular thing happened, we won’t get the full answer in this world. Someday we’ll see with clarity, but for now things are foggy. We can’t understand everything from our finite perspective. And frankly, the people suffering from the Aurora tragedy don’t need a big theological treatise right now; any intellectual response is going to seem trite and inadequate. What they desperately need now is the very real and comforting presence of Jesus Christ in their lives. And I’m so grateful that so many churches and ministries of this community are helping them experience that.

But for us, let’s focus on the big, overarching issue of why God generally allows suffering in our lives – your life and mine. Friends, this is important: even though we can’t understand everything about it, we can understand some things. Let me give you an analogy.

Once Leslie and I were driving from Chicago to Door County, Wisconsin, which is that thumb-shaped peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. We were driving up the highway in the dark, when it started raining heavily and we hit dense fog. I could barely see the white stripe on the edge of the road. I couldn’t stop because I was afraid someone might come along and rear-end us. It was frightening!

But then a truck appeared in front of us and we could clearly see his taillights through the fog. He apparently had fog lamps in front, because he was traveling at a confident and deliberate pace, and I knew if we could just follow those taillights, we’d be headed in the right direction.

And the same is true in understanding why there is tragedy and suffering in our lives and in our world. We may not be able to make out all the peripheral details of why — they may be obscured from our view — but there are some key Biblical truths that can illuminate some points of light for us. And if we follow those lights, they will lead us in the right direction, toward some conclusions that I believe can help satisfy our hearts and souls.

What are those points of light? Let me go through five of them that I’ve personally found helpful whenever I’ve been prompted to ask the question, “Why?” The first point of light: God is not the creator of evil and suffering.

This answers the question you hear so often: “Why didn’t God merely create a world where tragedy and suffering didn’t exist?” The answer is: He did! Genesis 1:31 says: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

But if God is not the author of tragedy or evil or death, where did they come from? Well, God has existed from eternity past as the Father, Son and Spirit, together in a relationship of perfect love. So love is the highest value in the universe. And when God decided to create human beings, he wanted us to experience love. But to give us the ability to love, God had to give us free will to decide whether to love or not to love. Why? Because love always involves a choice.

If we were programmed to say, “I love you,” it wouldn’t really be love. When my daughter was little, she had a doll with a string in the back, and when you pulled it the doll said, “I love you.” Did that doll love my daughter? Of course not. It was programmed to say those words. To really experience love, that doll would need to have been able to choose to love or not to love. Again – real love always involves a choice.

So in order for us to experience love, God bestowed on us free will. But unfortunately, we humans have abused our free will by rejecting God and walking away from Him. And that has resulted in the introduction of two kinds of evil into the world: moral evil and natural evil.

Moral evil is the immorality and pain and suffering and tragedy that come because we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, hateful and abusive. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

So much of the world’s suffering results from the sinful action or inaction of ourselves and others. For example, people look at a famine and wonder where God is, but the world produces enough food for each person to have 3,000 calories a day. It’s our own irresponsibility and self-centeredness that prevents people from getting fed.

In other words: look at your hand. You can choose to use that hand to hold a gun and shoot someone, or you can use it to feed hungry people. It’s your choice. But it’s unfair to shoot someone and then blame God for the existence of evil and suffering. Like that old cartoon said: “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

The second kind of evil is called natural evil. These are things like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes that cause suffering for people. But these, too, are the indirect result of sin being allowed into the world. As one author explained: “When we humans told God to shove off, He partially honored our request. Nature began to revolt. The earth was cursed. Genetic breakdown and disease began. Pain and death became part of the human experience.”

The Bible says it’s because of sin that nature was corrupted and “thorns and thistles” entered the world. Romans 8:22 says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” In other words, nature longs for redemption to come and for things to be set right. That’s the source of disorder and chaos.

Let’s make this crystal clear once more: God did not create evil and suffering. Now, it’s true that he did create the potential for evil to enter the world, because that was the only way to create the potential for genuine goodness and love. But it was human beings, in our free will, who brought that potential evil into reality.

Some people ask, “Couldn’t God have foreseen all of this?” And no doubt he did. But look at it this way: many of you are parents. Even before you had children, couldn’t you foresee that there was the very real possibility they may suffer disappointment or pain or heartache in life, or that they might even hurt you and walk away from you? Of course — but you still had kids. Why? Because you knew there was also the potential for tremendous joy and deep love and great meaning.

Now, the analogy is far from perfect, but think about God. He undoubtedly knew we’d rebel against Him, but He also knew many people would choose to follow Him and have a relationship with Him and spend eternity in heaven with Him — and it was all worth it for that, even though it would cost His own Son great pain and suffering to achieve their redemption.

So, first, it helps me to remember, as I ponder the mystery of pain and evil, that God did not create them. The second point of light is this: Though suffering isn’t good, God can use it to accomplish good.

He does this by fulfilling His promise in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Notice that the verse doesn’t say God causes evil and suffering, just that he promises to cause good to emerge. And notice that the verse doesn’t say we all will see immediately or even in this life how God has caused good to emerge from a bad circumstance. Remember, we only see things dimly in this world. And notice that God doesn’t make this promise to everyone. He makes the solemn pledge that he will take the bad circumstances that befall us and cause good to emerge if we’re committed to following Him.

The Old Testament gives us a great example in the story of Joseph, who went through terrible suffering, being sold into slavery by his brothers, unfairly accused of a crime and falsely imprisoned. Finally, after a dozen years, he was put in a role of great authority where he could save the lives of his family and many others.

This is what he said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” And if you’re committed to God, He promises that He can and will take whatever pain you’re experiencing and draw something good from it.

You might say, “No, he can’t in my circumstance. The harm was too great, the damage was too extreme, the depth of my suffering has been too much. No, in my case there’s no way God can cause any good to emerge.”

But if you doubt God’s promise, listen to what a wise man said to me when I was researching my book The Case for Faith: God took the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the universe — deicide, or the death of God on the cross — and turned it into the very best thing that has happened in history of universe: the opening up of heaven to all who follow Him. So if God can take the very worst circumstance imaginable and turn it into the very best situation possible, can he not take the negative circumstances of your life and create something good from them?

He can and He will. God can use our suffering to draw us to Himself, to mold and sharpen our character, to influence others for Him – He can draw something good from our pain in a myriad of ways…if we trust and follow Him.

Now, the third point of light: The day is coming when suffering will cease and God will judge evil.

A lot of times you’ll hear people say: “If God has the power to eradicate evil and suffering, then why doesn’t He do it?” And the answer is that because He hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean He won’t do it. You know, I wrote my first novel last year. What if someone read only half of it and then slammed it down and said, “Well, Lee did a terrible job with that book. There are too many loose ends with the plot. He didn’t resolve all the issues with the characters.” I’d say, “Hey – you only read half the book!”

And the Bible says that the story of this world isn’t over yet. It says the day will come when sickness and pain will be eradicated and people will be held accountable for the evil they’ve committed. Justice will be served in a perfect way. That day will come, but not yet.

So what’s holding God up? One answer is that some of you may be. He’s actually delaying the consummation of history in anticipation that some of you will still put your trust in Him and spend eternity in heaven. He’s delaying everything out of His love for you. SecondPeter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”To me, that’s evidence of a loving God, that He would care that much for you.

Point of Light #4: Our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for his followers.

I certainly don’t want to minimize pain and suffering, but it helps if we take a long-term perspective. Look at this verse, and remember they were written by the apostle Paul, who suffered through beatings and stonings and shipwrecks and imprisonments and rejection and hunger and thirst and homelessness and far more pain that most of us will ever have to endure. These are his words:

Second Corinthians 4:17: “For our light and momentary troubles” — wait a second: light and momentary troubles? Five different times his back was shredded when he was flogged 39 lashes with a whip; three times he was beaten to a bloody pulp by rods. But he says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Paul also wrote Romans 8:18: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Think of it this way. Let’s say that on the first day of 2012, you had an awful, terrible day. You had an emergency root canal at the dentist and the ran out of pain-killers. You crashed your car and had no insurance. Your stock portfolio took a nosedive. Your spouse got sick. A friend betrayed you. From start to finish, it was like the title of that children’s book: Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

But then every other day of the year was just incredibly terrific. Your relationship with God is close and real and intimate. A friend wins the lottery and gives you $100 million. You get promoted at work to your dream job. Time magazine puts your photo on its cover as “The Person of the Year.” You have your first child and he’s healthy and strong. Your marriage is idyllic, your health is fabulous, you have a six-month vacation in Tahiti.

Then next New Year’s Day someone asks, “So, how was your 2012?” You’d say, “It was great; it was wonderful!” And they’d say, “But didn’t it start out bad? Didn’t you go through a lot of trouble that first day?”

You’d think back and say, “You’re right. That was a bad day, no denying it. It was difficult at the time. It was hard. It was painful. But when I look at the totality of the year, when I put everything in context, it’s been a great year. The 364 terrific days far outweigh the one bad day. That day just sort of fades away.”

And maybe that’s a good analogy for heaven. Listen to me – that is not to deny the reality of your pain in this life. It might be terrible. It might be chronic. My wife Leslie has a medical condition that puts her in pain every single day. Maybe you’re suffering from a physical ailment or heartache at this very moment. But in heaven, after 354,484,545 days of pure bliss — and with an infinite more to come — if someone asked, “So, how has your existence been?”, you’d instantly react by saying, “It has been absolutely wonderful! Words can’t describe the joy and the delight and the fulfillment!”

And if they said, “But didn’t you have a tough time before you got here,” you’d probably think back and say, “Well, yes, it’s true that those days were painful, I can’t deny that. They were difficult, they were bad. But when I put them into context, in light of all God’s outpouring of goodness to me, those bad days aren’t even worth comparing with the eternity of blessings and joy that I’m experiencing.”

It’s like the story that British church leader Galvin Reid tells about meeting a young man who had fallen down a flight of stairs as a baby and shattered his back. He had been in and out of hospitals his whole life — and yet he made the astounding comment that he thinks God is fair. Reid asked him, “How old are you?” The boy said, “Seventeen.” Reid asked, “How many years have you spend in hospitals?” The boy said, “Thirteen years.” The pastor said with astonishment, “And you think that is fair?” And the boy replied: “Well, God has all eternity to make it up to me.”

And He will. God promises a time when there will be no more crying, no more tears, no more pain and suffering, when we will be reunited with God in perfect harmony, forever. Let the words of First Corinthians 2:9 soak into your soul: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” That’s absolutely breath-taking, isn’t it?

Finally, Point of Light #5: We decide whether to turn bitter or turn to God for peace and courage.

We’ve all seen examples of how the same suffering that causes one person to turn bitter, to reject God, to become hard and angry and sullen, can cause another person to turn to God, to become more gentle and more loving and more tender, willing to reach out to compassionately help other people who are in pain. Some who lose a child to a drunk driver turn inward in chronic rage and never-ending despair; another turns outward to help others by founding Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

As one philosopher said: “I believe all suffering is at least potential good, an opportunity for good. It’s up to our free choice to actualize that potential. Not all of us benefit from suffering and learn from it, because that’s up to us, it’s up to our free will.”

We make the choice to either run away from God or to run to Him. But what happens if we run to Him?

I started this talk with part of what Jesus said in John 16:33. Now let me give you the entire verse: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. But be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

In other words, He offers us the two very things we need when we’re hurting: peace to deal with our present and courage to deal with our future. How? Because he has conquered the world! Through His own suffering and death, He has deprived this world of its ultimate power over you. Suffering doesn’t have the last word anymore. Death doesn’t have the last word anymore. God has the last word!

So let me finish the story of Leslie and I driving through the fog in Wisconsin. We were following the taillights of that truck when the fog slowly began to lift, the rain began to let up and we entered a town with some lights – things were becoming clearer, we could see better, and as we rounded a curve, silhouetted against the night sky, guess what we saw? We saw the steeple of a church and the cross of Christ. After driving through the confusion of the fog for so long, that image struck me with poignancy I’ll never forget. Because it was through that cross that Jesus conquered the world for us.

As that wise man once said to me: God’s ultimate answer to suffering isn’t an explanation; it’s the incarnation. Suffering is a personal problem; it demands a personal response. And God isn’t some distant, detached, and disinterested deity; He entered into our world and personally experienced our pain. Jesus is there in the lowest places of our lives. Are you broken? He was broken, like bread, for us. Are you despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do you cry out that you can’t take any more? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Did someone betray you? He was sold out. Are your most tender relationships broken? He loved and He was rejected. Did people turn from you? They hid their faces from Him as if He were a leper. Does He descend into all of our hells? Yes, He does. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote these words: “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.” Every tear we shed becomes his tear.

And then the wise man told me this: it’s not just that God knows and sympathizes with you in your troubles. After all, any close friend can do that. Any close friend can sit beside you and comfort you and empathize with you. No, Jesus is much closer than your closest friend. Because if you’ve put your trust in Him, then He is in you. And, therefore, your sufferings are His sufferings; your sorrow is His sorrow.

So when tragedy strikes, as it will; when suffering comes, as it will; when you’re wrestling with pain, as you will – and when you make the choice to run into His arms, here’s what you’re going to discover: you’ll find peace to deal with the present, you’ll find courage to deal with your future, and you’ll find the incredible promise of eternal life in heaven.

As I’ve been saying, all of us will go through pain and suffering. But let me end by going back to this specific tragedy that took place two days ago in Aurora. For all the things it leaves us confused about, one of the truths it clearly illustrates is that life is so fragile and short. These people were going to a movie! They had no clue that this might be their last moments in this world. Friends, in this sin-scarred world, we never know when death will come knocking. Often, we don’t get any warning when a heart attack strikes, or when a drunk driver crosses the centerline, or when a wildfire sweeps through a canyon, or when an airplane loses power. And so the question I’m compelled to ask you is this – “Are you ready?”

One of the first verses I memorized as a Christian is 1 John 5:13: “These things I’ve written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”

God doesn’t want you wondering. He doesn’t want you steeped in anxiety over whether you’re headed for heaven. His infallible, inerrant Word says you can know for sure.

Don’t rely on the fact that you come to church or you’ve gone through some sort of religious ritual in the past. The Bible is clear that we can be religious but not be in a relationship with God. Religious activities and affiliations never saved anyone. Salvation comes from knowing Christ personally and receiving His provision for YOUR sin and YOUR future. It comes from making him YOUR Savior, by asking Him to forgive YOUR every sin, and by asking Him to lead YOUR life.

But it doesn’t happen automatically. It doesn’t come by attending a great church, or being baptized, or taking communion, or hanging out with a bunch of Christians. It comes from deciding in your heart that you want to turn from your sin, to stop trusting in your own resources, and to accept the forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus purchased on the cross and is offering you as a free gift. THAT is how you gain God’s peace and confidence.

So settle it now! Resolve this today, at this moment, so that if tragedy were to strike, your eternity with God would be secure. I don’t know all the ways God is going to draw some good from this Aurora situation, but wouldn’t it be something if He were starting right now, with you personally, and using this message to bring you into His kingdom at this very moment? Let the pain of that tragedy open your heart to Christ. Let’s take what was intended for evil and watch God start creating something good from it.

Pray with me right now to receive Christ – so that you can know for sure that even if the very worst thing were to happen to you after you leave the auditorium today, it will immediately be followed by the very best thing of all.

Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the unique Son of God. I confess to You that I’m a sinner. In repentance and faith, I reach out right now and receive the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that You graciously purchased on the cross when You died as my substitute to pay for all of my sins. Please, Lord Jesus, lead my life – because from this moment on, I am Yours. I pray this in Your name. Amen.

Relationship or Religion - True Communication and Complete Joy

The eyes of the vine see all the branches producing fruit ..

Communication is the "basis" for every good and fruitful relationship .. RIGHT?

If you love some one .. and they love you .. then talking to one another .. and listening to one another seems to come natural .. does it not? .. IF YOU ANSWER "no"  .. then you have never been in love!

In a relationship you want to "know all about" the other .. you get "personal" with questions and answers .. you speak of things in the "present" as most important , lets forget the past .. and think about the future - right? .. and it's a progressive and continual thing .. because it is in the NOW!!

Well today I'd like to ask this question - is GOD a "religion" ... or is GOD, in the person of Jesus - a living, loving person of the Holy Trinity who desires a "living relationship" with you?   

Jesus died on Calavry, and shed His Blood to prove His Love for us  - He said He would not leave us or abandon us .. that He would send His Holy Spirit to be with us in a "relationship" beyond all others ..

Read John 15:1-11 - (NIRV) - and see for yourself - what the Spirit says ..

The Vine and the Branches  

1   “I am the true vine. My Father is the gardener.   2 He cuts off every branch joined to me that does not bear fruit. He trims every branch that does bear fruit. Then it will bear even more fruit.  3  “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain joined to me, and I will remain joined to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain joined to the vine. In the same way, you can’t bear fruit unless you remain joined to me.  5  “I am the vine. You are the branches. If anyone remains joined to me, and I to him, he will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me. 6 If anyone does not remain joined to me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and dries up. Branches like those are picked up. They are thrown into the fire and burned.  7  “If you remain joined to me and my words remain in you, ask for anything you wish. And it will be given to you. 8 When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to my Father. It shows that you are my disciples.  9  “Just as the Father has loved me, I have loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. In the same way, I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy will be in you. I also want your joy to be complete.

Muslims in the Middle East Want More of The Word of Jesus Christ

Please help us connect more Muslims in the Middle East with the words of Jesus Christ! .. Through your support today, you can help take the Gospel directly to Muslims who are searching for the Truth on their cell phones, mobile devices and laptops .. home computers and more!
 
Someone from Qatar recently shared with an online missionary .. “I would like to surrender my life to God, and praise and worship Him. Help me and pray for me.” -- WHAT DO YOU SAY? ... And with more than 90 million people using the Internet in the Middle East today, this is a field “ripe for harvest.” This is our window of opportunity to reach one of the least-reached regions of the world – and we can do this all through digital technology.
 
So please support this exciting effort today with your generous gift below. Never before have we seen such interest and openness to the Gospel in the Middle East, and your investment to help connect Muslims to Christ will change lives for eternity. Thank you!
 
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Thanks to Fox News and the Zealot Resa Aslan for letting us decide!

God's Word and is definitely "THE BEST BOOK OF THIS YEAR" .. or any other

The #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER IS "The Bible" .. God's Word and is definitely "THE BEST BOOK OF THIS YEAR" .. or any other in our lifetime! God does not seek out any Good Housekeeping Seals, Booklist Accolades, or Publishers Weekly Reviews - nor does God have to send out any Publishers Sweepstakes or Editorial Reviews on Amazon - so let's start there as a premise.

I was recently exposed to a Muslim biographer named Reza Aslan, author of a book called 'Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth' .. and BigDaddy thinks this is noting more than a big ploy by the left-wing media and other liberals and atheists to show that the real "Zealot is Aslan" .. because from what I could hear Aslan is the a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of his own personal religious views, his own political and Muslim ideals - Aslan seems to be a liar which would be par for the course for his personal fanatic, extremist, activist viewpoints in his book - The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

If you look at and listen to the ORIGINAL FOX INTERVIEW .. it becomes easy to see that the liberal media really miss reality in their jabs at Lauren Green's interview with 'Zealot' author Aslan. Remember .. In the liberal media, one dare not ever question the motives of Muslims .. or their fanaticism. There’s nothing the left likes better than attacking Fox News in the name of "self-righteousness" as they all do their liberal media “analysis” that always revolves around activity that will defend Islam and bash Christians. That was the case when Lauren Green, religion correspondent for Fox News interviewed the controversial author of the new book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” Green dared to ask Reza Aslan, a Muslim who converted to Christianity and then back to Islam, the most obvious of questions: “Now, I want to clarify: You are a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” GOOD QUESTION RIGHT? .. it's like asking Vladimir Putin, President of Russia why he would write a book on American "politics" .. or maybe "LIFE IN AMERICA"? .. the question is obvious - WHY? .. for Money? .. to Stir Controversy? to Further The Goals of The Leaders of Islam? .. or maybe try to muster some tourism from America to places like - Mecca​, Masjid al-Haram, Al-Masjidan-​Nabawi or the Dome of the ​Rock or maybe sell more newspapers for The Washington Post?

I think Reza Aslan owes an apology to America! he must think we are “stupid and prejudicial" when people want to know what are Azlan's credentials for having written such a book? Apparently The Washington Post, and other news outlets need a refresher course on the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. It states: “The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.” .. and here is as it turns out about the "Zealot Aslan" .. as he enjoys his 15 minutes of fame .. his potty mouth on Twitter, #RezaAslan @rezaaslan really show his stuff .. Tweeters mock Newsweek's #MuslimRage cover and Azlan shows his lack of professionalism... just read an excerpt or two from ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan - then find that storyline on www.BibleGateway.com and see who you want to follow .. or believe?

I just love all the Liberal media sharks that continue the feeding frenzy over this ‘Zealot’ interview story .. can't wait til President Obama get hold of it! Sure, I also believe in Aslan ’s right to hold and propagate his own opinion. It’s a right granted to Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, Christians and even Islamic Terrorists and all the rest here in America - we call it - The Constitution! I detect that reporters who simply don’t understand that RezaAslan has a horse in this race. He is not  a Christian .. He is a Muslim! He needs to "self justify" his personal beliefs and actions because deep within he knows he alone will be "judged" by Jesus Christ!  Think about this .. Reza Aslan is a Los Angeles based author and a frequent writer on Muslim issues - WHY? Why does the media Ignore threats like 'Flag of Islam' flying over the White House stories .. or chastise conservatives like the Rev. Franklin Graham for pointing out the dangers of radical Islam - The liberal media dares not ever question the motives of Muslims in America - WHY NOT?

I guess I can say that a favorite ridiculous headline would be the one: “Reza Aslan: Speaking Truth to Power.” Aslan’s so-called truth is that Jesus was not the son of God. - Who Does He Think He Is? So all the left-wing web blogs, bloggers, forums etc. like Buzzfeed, Salon, The New Republic, Alternet – churned out the story to make liberals fume with anger at the right wing Christians .. followed by the traditional media – the Post, New York Times, CNN et al. as Aslan whined to Piers Morgan that it was “distasteful” to be asked about his credentials. WHY? Then Morgan, taking a break from his crusade against Our US Constitution, called the questions “ridiculous.” .. WHY?

During the interview with Fox I heard Aslan call his book “an historical biography of a man named Jesus of Nazareth" - when in fact all Aslan is doing is supporting the principle tenet of his faith - ISLAM!  Yet he is shocked - that some like me feel he is “attacking my faith.” - that’s exactly what he is doing!

So what do we find when we "dig into" Aslan's Credentials - well first among the Islamists and supporters of Sharia law, Aslan is one individual who is making money by misrepresenting himself and his credentials: Aslan is a "tireless self-promoter", not so different than PT Barnum The Big Three Ring Circus Guy - remember the phrase - "There's a sucker born every minute" it's a phrase most likely spoken by David Hannum, not Barnum - but both PTBarnum and Reza Aslan are American showman and both their customers are those who lay down the cash - buy books and BS! .. the bottom line is many people are gullible and stupid - and we can expect this to continue. Reza Aslan, after 9/11, found the environment ripe in the United States to make profits by exaggerating and fabricating his qualifications and his Muslim beliefs.

So, in passing, I will add some things I have been reading and hearing from The Bible in Matthew 7 , NIRV, to Be Fair When You Judge Others ..

7 “Do not judge others. Then you will not be judged. 2 You will be judged in the same way you judge others. You will be measured in the same way you measure others. 3 “You look at the bit of sawdust in your friend’s eye. But you pay no attention to the piece of wood in your own eye. 4 How can you say to your friend, ‘Let me take the bit of sawdust out of your eye’? How can you say this while there is a piece of wood in your own eye? 5 “You pretender! First take the piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you will be able to see clearly to take the bit of sawdust out of your friend’s eye. 6 “Do not give holy things to dogs. Do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they might walk all over them. Then they might turn around and tear you to pieces.
 
In Fairness to Fox News and Others
.. we all need to be diligent and perceptive .. so we - Ask, Search, Knock

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8 Everyone who asks will receive. He who searches will find. The door will be opened to the one who knocks. 9 “Suppose your son asks for bread. Which of you will give him a stone? 10 Or suppose he asks for a fish. Which of you will give him a snake? 11 Even though you are evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 “In everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you. This is what is written in the Law and in the Prophets.  .. and knowing that we all will face judgement for everything we do in this life - we all will enter into That Judgement - Catholic, Muslim, Islamic terrorists, Monks, Priests, Jews, Pharisees, Prophets, Baptists, Evangelists - All

The Large and Small Gates

13 “Enter God’s kingdom through the narrow gate. The gate is large and the road is wide that lead to death and hell. Many people go that way. 14 But the gate is small and the road is narrow that lead to life. Only a few people find it. SO WHAT ARE WE TO DO .. Today?  Be politically correct? OR DO WE JUDGE ..  A Tree and Its Fruit15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you pretending to be sheep. But on the inside they are hungry wolves. 16 You can tell what they really are by what they do. “Do people pick grapes from bushes? Do they pick figs from thorns? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit. But a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t bear bad fruit. And a bad tree can’t bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down. It is thrown into the fire. 20 You can tell each tree by its fruit. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do what my Father in heaven wants will enter. 22 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord! Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we drive out demons in your name? Didn’t we do many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will tell them clearly, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who do evil!’

So in closing today - I will write of what i find out about the Fruits of Aslan - First of all, Reza Aslan has continuously presented himself as a "professor of religion" - and this is done to sell his few books, which lack academic and credible references. In one of his recent interviews, Aslan claims, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament" -- WOW!! -- He also claims to be an "expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions" - a DOUBLE WOW!! WOW! and Aslan claims to be a professor of religions, including the New Testament – that’s what I do for a living, he says... and more - he states: To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions. Aslan supposedly Tweeted recently: #Twitter, “I have a BA, MA and PhD in the history of #Western #Religions so yes, again, I am an ACTUAL expert in #Judaism.” - So here is the "fruit" that falls at the bottom of his tree - In actuality, Reza Aslan is not a “professor of religion,” and what he claims he does “for a living” is an outrageous inaccuracy. Reza Aslan is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside.  He teaches there based on his Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction from Iowa, his relevant academic credential. In addition, Reza Aslan received his PhD in sociology – not “History of Religions” – from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009.

Thanks to the internet .. the liberals .. and Fox News - for bringing us the story - and letting us decide!

Intercede or write an obituary - CONCLUSION

The question becomes what should we do for a friend or loved one?

In Colossians 1:9-12,  http://tinyurl.com/mbjbdgx   Paul includes a powerful prayer for his fellow Christians. His example gives us six (6) ways to intercede on another person’s behalf - in conclusion consider this: 

When Paul wrote this he did not have Matthew 7:7-11 to read .. so I might suggest you consider what it says .. http://tinyurl.com/lgva428   then IN CONCLUSION  .. 

6. Keep Praying that your friend will come to express joyous gratitude to Our Father for His grace and mercy.  Contemplate the Name of God - "El-Channun" .. The Gracious God - Our Father Who Is Most Gracious to us .. His children!

Speak to God about the challenges to remain thankful .. especially when it seems we’re experiencing unpleasant circumstances .. everything seems to come against us to steal our joy and diminish our witness - remember that Satan often uses times of difficulty to bombard us with destructive thoughts, negative things, and even some negative things said to us by others - Pray that your friend - son or daughter - neighbor - will have a thankful heart, maybe develop a smile or share a word of gratitude with others as a testament to the good work of God in his or her life.

In Conclusion - As Christians, we are connected to Our Father - God Almighty, El Shaddai, OUR All Sufficient God  who has authority over all things, knows all things, and loves us unconditionally. And He wants to hear the desires of our hearts and give us wonderful blessings through our relationship with His Son Jesus - If we come to Him asking for wisdom and the strength to walk in His ways, He will answer our prayers - and if you have any doubt whatsoever then take this moment to read Psalm 91 - http://tinyurl.com/lpjf2ph

Think about someone whose life you want to impact for eternal good .. who has been on your heart lately .. of whom have you been dreaming about and it's been bugging you as to "why"? ..  Spend time each morning petitioning God to work in that person’s life, according to Paul’s example in Colossians 1:9-12 .. and when one of your friends asks you -- what can I pray about for YOU .. share and ask them to pray for you in this same way. Then, as you intercede for others, you will begin to see God - and Praise His NAME as He changes their lives and they also experience the blessings of His Holy Name.

 

Interceding for Others - PART 2

In Colossians 1:9-12, Paul includes a powerful prayer for his fellow Christians. His example gives us six (6) ways to intercede on another person’s behalf.

1. The Biblical Name for The God of Knowledge is "El Deot" .. and as you pray "Our Father" .. praise His Holy Name .. and ask God to be with your friend .. that they may be filled with the knowledge of El Deot .. and that The Spirit of Jesus will give them wisdom and understanding .. or guidance in the Name of Jehovah Rohi  .. Our God and Father Who Shepherds and Guides Us .. the ONE Who "directs our path" .. ask God to give them a "Word" .. and ask that the word may be a "lamp unto their feet"  ( Psalm 119:105 )   

God is ready to show us exactly what to do in any given situation. As Psalm Psalm 32:8  says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”  JUST REMEMBER THIS - You don’t have to say, “Show my friend Your will—if it’s Your will.” His promise to do so is sure and clear. Ask the Lord to give your loved one spiritual discernment and clear direction about His desires .. or illness, or decision making .. but BE SPECIFIC - if you know specifics!  

2. Pray and ask God to "guide" your friend .. or the person .. that they might walk in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ and please God ( Jehovah Rohi ) in all respects. 

If you know the person is a believer, then you "know" he is called to emulate the life of Christ - his words and behavior should match the character and attitude of Jesus. Pray that your friend would recognize the great privilege of being part of God’s kingdom .. that your friend might come to know the Character of God .. by the Power of His Holy Name!

If he does not know Jesus as his Savior, ask the Lord to make Himself known in your friend’s life - ask God to show you little ways to "share" on facebook, or Twitter, or some other means - so that he would become a child of The Most High God and give glory to the Lord through obedience and repentance.

3. Pray that your friend .. your neighbor .. your son or daughter .. the person showing signs of a gay lifestyle .. poor decision making and choices ..  pray that they will come to know Jesus and bear fruit in every good thing they do .. and s bear fruit in every good work .. and not lead others astray .. and remember as you pray these things - being busy doesn’t always mean that we are also being fruitful. Pray that your friend will wisely invest his time and resources for the sake of God’s Kingdom - to have an eternal impact rather than a temporal one. 

 4. Praying that your friend .. or the Muslim Lady living next door, or the Jewish man at the deli, the kids at day care, or your sons or daughters friends .. might grow increasingly in the knowledge of the Lord .. and might learn of the God of All Knowledge .. El Deot

We all have a spiritual hunger that only God can satisfy. Try as we might to quench it with other things - nothing can take the place of a right relationship with Our Father in Heaven - just think about the "one prayer" Jesus gave to His friends and disciples - The Lord's Prayer!  Finding spiritual fulfillment is possible only through prayer, reading God's Word, listening to God's Words and Teachings through ministers and teachers and expositors of The Word and applying His Word to our lives, and observing the results. Pray that your friend will develop a hunger for God and seek Him through Scripture - and again ask how you might be "fruitful" in this endeavor?

 5. May my friend be strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might and power! Take a moment here and as The Spirit of God leads you .. just review The Names of God .. and praise the Name of El Hakkavod - the God of Glory!  

If you know someone going through a crisis, don’t stop praying for the power of God to work in his or her life. Keep on keeping on .. and seek the Names of God  .. asking that on behalf of your friend, God will provide ( Jehovah Jireh ) strength to remain steadfast in the truth, regardless of the circumstances. Keep praying for the person to be empowered to do God's will, through His Son Jesus - for the Glory and Honor of God, Our Father!

 

Interceding On Behalf of Others - Part 1

Interceding for Others before writing an obituary

Interceding for Others ...  before the writing of an obituary may be a timely subject to discuss these days .. considering that you and I can always go to Jesus in our time of need, the question becomes - what should we do for a friend or loved one going through - a life crisis, battle with cancer, doubt about life, job searching, questions about moving, domestic violence, leaving for a shelter, marriage counseling, life difficulty, missing child, mid-life crisis, old age, quarter-life crisis, getting married, moving out, relevant life issues, crisis intervention, suicide thoughts, insecurity, depression, seeking a guardian, adoption, attending church, mid-life-crisis, mortality, seeking God, andro-pause, menopause, death of parent, grief, unemployment,  underemployment, career changes, empty nest, low self esteem, low achievement, poor self image, career, work-life balance, marriage, romantic relationship, affair, large expenditures, physical changes, appearance, gay lifestyle - a good question, right?

How can we pray for someone God has brought to mind, even if we don’t know the exact details of their situation? Maybe God used a "dream" about someone you have not seen or heard from in years? Or maybe you have doubts about praying for someone God has brought to your minds-eye because you don’t know the details of their situation?

In Colossians 1:9-12 (NIRV) .. listen to what Paul writes .. 9 That’s why we have not stopped praying for you. We have been praying for you since the day we heard about you. We have been asking God to fill you with the knowledge of what he wants. We pray that he will give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 We pray that you will lead a life that is worthy of the Lord. We pray that you will please him in every way. So we want you to bear fruit in every good thing you do. We want you to grow to know God better. 11 We want you to be very strong, in keeping with his glorious power. We want you to be patient. Never give up. Be joyful 12 as you give thanks to the Father. He has made you fit to share with all his people. You will all receive a share in the kingdom of light.

1. The Biblical Name for The God of Knowledge is "El Deot" .. and as you pray "Our Father" .. praise His Holy Name .. and ask God to be with your friend .. that they may be filled with the knowledge of El Deot .. and that The Spirit of Jesus will give them wisdom and understanding .. or guidance in the Name of Jehovah Rohi  .. Our God and Father Who Shepherds and Guides Us .. the ONE Who "directs our path" .. ask God to give them a "Word" .. and ask that the word may be a "lamp unto their feet"  ( Psalm 119:105 )   

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