August 30, 2009 Are All Things Really Possible?

Are All Things Really Possible?

The Scripture verse on our meeting room wall makes a firm declaration: All things are possible with God! Really? All things? Possible? Maybe for God, but….

 

God means this for you, too. Consider the contexts.

In Matthew 19.26, Jesus tells the disciples that eternal-life salvation comes from God, alone, not by man’s works.

Paul repeats this in Ephesians 2.8-9.

So, what’s your part in the salvation process? See John 6.47.

In Mark 9.23, Jesus applies this reality to the healing of a father’s epileptic son.

Matthew 17.20 records Jesus’ words in the same incident with a general principle and promise; what is it?

Read Isaiah 7.9b in the positive tense. Is sickness really a ‘mountain’ to be cast away?

Jeremiah 32.17 expresses his faith in obeying God’s command in the midst of contrary observation. Would you buy property that was about to be confiscated?

How would you answer God’s question in Jeremiah 32.27?

Consider it from the past, the present, and the future. What limitations do you list?

Why do you have trouble with God’s absolute declarations?

You are conditioned by observation of the present and past.

What is wrong with the statement: if rescue/deliverance/healing/prosperity/completeness (you choose from your observation) did not come to so-in-so, it won’t come to me?

How have you put so-in-so between yourself and God?

How does James 1.5-8 answer these questions?

Consequently, is doubt good?

Consider, also, Hosea 4.6a.

You give up too quickly. God challenged Jeremiah in 12.5 with this point.

Jesus illustrated this with a parable and concluded with the question in Luke 18.8b.

How would you answer for yourself?

Notice that the widow’s resolution took longer than a sitcom, and she stayed focused on the goal!

You want to fit in with the crowd.

Does John 12.42-43 describe you?

How would you answer Jesus’ question in John 5.44?

Your beliefs are a mixture of teachings from the Bible, the song book, and the fraternal or social organization to which you belong.

How does this explain Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7?

Also, in Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees in Matthew 15.1-9, He asks a question and offers a condemnation.

Are you a ‘Pharisee’?

Does Jeremiah 8.8-9 explain your life?

 

How can you change each of these?

Change your observations by remembering God’s successes.

Micah 6.5 encourages remembering God’s faithfulness.

Stephen did this in Acts 7.1-50.

Moses did this regularly during the Exodus.

So, what watershed moments do you remember about God’s faithfulness?

How do these encourage you to believe He can do anything?

‘Choose today Whom you will serve’. Elijah’s question and alternative in 1 Kings 18.21 calls for your answer.

How did God show up and show off for Elijah?

Remember Samuel’s encouragement in 1 Samuel 12.20-24 and Jesus’ words in Matthew 6.24.

Choose Christ Jesus instead of the crowd. Consider Jesus’ instruction to disciples in Matthew 10.28, 32-33. Pretty cut and dry!

WWJD. He stayed focused to the end. ‘Persevere’ was Paul’s word to believers in Rome and Ephesus; see, Romans 5.3-5 and Ephesians 6.18.

Contemplate Jesus’ word in Revelation 3.10 in the context of today.

 

Praise God!!!

August 16, 2009 Ideologies v Christianity

Ideologies v Christianity

Christians experience many ideologies in the contexts of our days.  Webster defines ideology as ‘the doctrines, etc. on which a particular political or social system is based.’  The United States’ Constitution is a collection of such doctrines, as is the Baptist Faith and Message and the economic system called capitalism.

 

How are Christians to know which are acceptable to follow? 

For most of us, the Bible is our ‘proof text’. 

If we cannot find a particular ideology taught in the instructions from God, we know that He does not approve, and, so, we must disdain it.

Examples include abortion (Exodus 20.13), homosexuality (Leviticus 18.22, Leviticus 20.13),

greed (1 Timothy 6.9-10), sexual promiscuity (1 Corinthians 6.18-20), and

narcissism (Romans 12.3). 

We hear apologists for these systems of belief and practice each day in personal conversation, in newspaper and magazine articles and advertisements, and on the television and radio stations of secular society.

 

An OneNewsNow.com story by Jim Brown on August 11, 2009, discussed a study, by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, on how college majors and religious faith affect each other.  Its findings are as follows:

Students majoring in social sciences and humanities are likely to become less religious during the years from start to finish of their college experience.

Students majoring in education are likely to become more religious.

Students majoring in biology and physical sciences remain about the same during their years at university.

Students were asked how often they attended religious services, how important religion is in their lives and their assessment of the impact of churches and para-church organizations in society.

I believe that Judges 2.7-13 helps to explain these results. 

See Proverbs 22.6 and 2 Timothy 3.16-17 also.

 

Dr. Phil Mitchell, former history professor at the University of Colorado and currently teaching social sciences at Colorado Christian University, explained that ‘humanities and social sciences at most major public and private universities are no longer academic disciplines, but instead advocacy groups that are specifically anti-Christian.’  

 

Why would professors and students of humanities and social sciences be systematically hostile to Christianity? 

Pope Benedict XVI answered in his latest encyclical Cartias in Veritate (charity in truth).  Newsmax.com reporter Edward Pentin quoted the Pope in his article on Monday, August 10, 2009, as follows:

‘”On the one hand, there are philosophies and ideologies, but also on an increasing scale, ways of thinking and acting that extol the freedom of man as the only principle, as an alternative to God, and thus transform man into a god, whose system of behavior is of an arbitrary nature.’”  (Relativism)

He continues with a warning: ‘…ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, “constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today.”’

Bottom line, humanists and social scientists detest John 14.6; they are not the way; their philosophies are not ‘the’ truth; they are dead without Jesus; and they do not like it!

This is the lie that satan told Eve in Genesis 3.1-7.  Their opened eyes led to their discovery of evil led to their choosing evil led to their rationalizing their decision led to blaming and disobeying God because He did not agree.

And so, ideologies of man continue to degenerate and devolve the world around us.  Notice God’s comments on this in Isaiah 14.12 and Jeremiah 13.10.  This is the natural course when satan leads!

 

Is there any difference between Islam and Marxism?

Dr. Bill Warner, from the Center for the Study of Political Islam, described Islam as the confusion of two Korans, the life of Mohammad, and the resulting traditions over time.  ‘Confusion’ because there is no alignment that promotes understanding; Islam intentionally confuses its followers.

Mohammad converted only 150 people to his peaceful teachings during his 13 years in Mecca.  But, the jihadist movement during his next 10 years in Medina resulted in the systematic slaughter of his opposition and increasing control over the people and society.  During the next 1,400 years, 270,000,000 Africans, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists have been massacred by Muslims.  How many is that per year?  Per day?  Per hour?

Islam subjugates peoples to the controls of ideologists who use satan’s deceptions of choice: force, greed, ambition, selfishness, and sexual pleasure.

Marxism does the same.  Allaboutphilosophy.org/what-is-marxism-faq says that ‘Marxism is a system of socialism of which the dominant feature is public ownership (the state, MP) of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.’

As in Islam, the relative few leaders in Marxism decide for the masses of people and enforce their dictates with fear and force.

As ideologies, Islam is the antithesis of Christianity, just as Marxism (socialism and communism) is the antithesis of capitalism.

 

Karl Marx is the poster child for knowing who is teaching the children!

He was born in Trier, Germany, in 1818 to Hirschel and Henrietta Marx.

Hirschel was a lawyer who abandoned his Jewish faith because of anti-Semitism when Karl was a child.  Although most of Trier was Catholic, he became a Protestant and changed his name to Heinrich.

Karl was educated at Berlin University, being especially drawn to atheist and political radical Bruno Bauer, who introduced him to the philosophies of G. W. F. Hegel.

Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUmarx completes the story of Marx collaboration with Friedrich Engels in implementing Hegel’s theories on class warfare.

Again, we see Judges 2.7-13 at work.

 

Our children will be exposed to the ideologies of teachers and administrators through teaching goals and texts that support fact or fiction.

 

What are Christians to do? 

Read their texts; talk with their teachers about the curricula; and, above all, 2 Timothy 3.16-17! 

If you find the worst, protect young minds from satan’s deceptions. 

Remember God’s command in Deuteronomy 6.6-7.

 

Another way to stay focused on Christianity and not on ideologies.

Israel gave in to the ideologies of the nations that surrounded them and asked for a king. 

Read 1 Samuel 8.4-7 and compare it to Jeremiah 13.10.

God knew the people would weaken and assimilate to look no different from their neighbors. 

So, Moses wrote Deuteronomy 17.18-20.

 

Would writing out the Ten Commandments or Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount be a good exercise for all who lead countries, companies, schools, classes, and families?

 

How would this reduce our tendency to follow after ideologies?

 

Remember Colossians 2.8-10!

 

(This lesson and others can be found at www.sozoclass.com.  Enjoy.)

August 2, 2009 Zeal That Produces Results

Zeal That Produces Results

 

(This is the final lesson in our discussion of privatization in America.  The outline comes from Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell.)

How zealous are you for the Lord?  Would you do what Jesus did in John 2.13-17?  Notice King David’s example in Psalm 69.9

 

How zealous is the Lord for you?  He is ready to do what He needs to do to provide for you and make you successful in whatever you do.  This is especially true when you are fighting satan.  What does He say to King Hezekiah in Isaiah 37.32?  His zeal is ready to help you, too!

 

Zeal is the best word to describe the apostles’ prayer in Acts 4.23-31.

  • Remember Peter’s shot heard in satan’s kingdom in Acts 4.19-20.  This was a declaration of war!
  • How should Acts 4.23-31 and 33 remind you of 2 Corinthians 10.3-6?
  • How does verse 30 define ‘confidence/boldness’ in verse 29?  What is the similarity of this with Jesus’ words in Matthew 10.7-8?
  • Peter turned Jesus’ warning in Matthew 10.22 into his weapon in Acts 4.30!  This is the greatest work of the Christian in the present hour of satan’s attack.
  • How did God say ‘amen’ in verse 31?  What three things happened? 
  • How is the last thing illustrative of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5? 
  • Acts 4.33 comments on the disciples’ effectiveness.  This is what He wants for you and me.

 

Don’t be intimidated by privatization; YOU bow its knees with the name Jesus!

 

Occupy until Jesus comes!