Ready or not, 2013 has arrived. A new year means new decisions in new situations. Will you and I make better decisions than last year? Or are you pretty satisfied with most of the decisions you made last year? Which ones would you do differently if you could?
There is a world of difference between a "gift" and a "reward." A gift is "something given voluntarily without payment in return." A reward is "something given or received for service, merit, hardship, etc." A reward is something you earn. A gift is freely given and is not earned by the recipient.
The need for Christian apologetics in the world today is growing. This is due largely to the fact that so many people have essentially been brainwashed in their beliefs about Jesus Christ, the Bible, heaven, hell, and the immortality of the soul. But even after all the intellectual evidence is presented, many hearers still choose to reject the Gospel. Their moral resistance outweighs whatever intellectual ground they may have conceded.
Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, asked Jesus Christ, "What is truth?" (John 18:38) It is a question which has puzzled millions of people over the centuries. Is the truth only something to believe....or is it more than that? Can everyone have their own "truth," or is truth absolute? And what happens to a person who accepts the truth, as compared to one who rejects the truth?
Many Americans clamor for celebrities....not only in Hollywood, but even in churches. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity for churches today. The challenge in our "celebrity pastor" culture is to joyfully embrace the need to send out more and more disciples to plant new churches. The opportunity is actually identical to the challenge. It is the incredible privilege to turn attenders and members into church planters.
As I look out into the world, I see a common thread in humanity. It transcends race and religion....and it has to do with mothers. Most mothers have an undying and unconditional love for their children. That's not to say that many fathers don't as well, but the love of a mother is truly something beautiful to behold.
N.T. Wright was an Anglican bishop in the Church of England from 2003 until his retirement in 2010. In recent years, he has written some questionable opinions and made some provocative statements concerning heaven and hell. Wright is very direct when talking about the resurrection of the body....especially for those who will spend all of eternity with Christ. But he becomes quite vague when asked about hell. He tends to view hell more as a "progressive shrinking of human life" in this world, rather than as a literal "lake of fire" in the next world.
Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10) Satan is real....just like Jesus....and he would love to steal your soul, kill your body, and while he is at it....destroy your entire being. Jesus gives eternal life to those who belong to Him, including the 20 innocent children who were transported by God's angels out of Connecticut as they went to be with the Lord.
Many people obviously have a hard time reconciling the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament....but it's really not as complicated as it appears. In actuality, it is the same God in both places....the one true God. He is exactly the same today as He was 6000 years ago when He created Adam and Eve. God has not changed one iota.
As our nation teeters on the edge of "the fiscal cliff," there are stark realities that come into view as we look down into the ravine. It's not a pretty sight to be sure. But it's not just what is seen in the ravine that is alarming....but also, what is not seen here on the cliff. As we gaze upon the current state of affairs, we find that our nation's leaders are without a reliable compass....specifically, a moral compass. No wonder we are lost and have come to this point on our journey together as Americans. No wonder we find ourselves in such a precarious position.
"If only people would start obeying the 10 Commandments, this world would be a much better place." That's true....but it's not as easy to pull off as it might appear at first blush.
What if I were to tell you that human reason, common sense, and an understanding of mathematics are all that are needed to recognize the authority of the Bible? Not faith....but common sense and rational evidence. Would that surprise you?
So is "grace" in the Bible God's unmerited love, mercy, and forgiveness for sinners on account of Christ? Or....is it those things, plus man's "grace-filled" works of obedience? Everything hinges on how a church defines the "grace" that is said to save us.
The period of the Reformation in the history of the Christian church marks a time of renewal and hope due to the basic message of Christianity....it is a message of God's grace and forgiveness which is freely given through faith in Christ....rather than something that is earned by man's efforts and works. Martin Luther was one of many people during that time some 500 years ago who came to understand that salvation is a free gift....and that the Gospel is a life-changing message.
Many people today are living in a fantasy world of their own making. They have seen some images online….or they have devised some grand scheme in their mind….or they are living in the trance which an illicit relationship produces....and they are charging ahead in pursuit of their fantasy. It drives them. It energizes them. But if it is outside of God's will for their life, it is going no place good.
How did it come to this? A non-discrimination policy at Evergreen State College in Washington is allowing a 45-year-old male student to expose himself inside a women's locker room. Never mind the fact that teenage girls and even young children have shared that locker room with him.
As Christians, it is our duty to pray for our president and for all those in positions of authority. (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4) As Christians, we obviously are deeply concerned about the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, and the moral necessity of paying off our national debt for the sake of future generations.
He said he was only joking. OK. So I guess Bill Maher thinks that if it's only a "joke," then it's OK to stereotype one particular race and slander every black person in America with his racist views. On HBO's Real Time, he recently said, "If you're thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea. Black people know who you are and they will come after you." But then he laughed and said he was kidding.
In addition to "Celebrity-in-Chief" and "Santa Claus-in-Chief," the Obama/Christie photo-op demonstrates that we have an "Opportunist-in-Chief." The president knows when to make an appearance which will benefit him personally. He knows when to put himself in the limelight....even if it means hanging out with a well-known Republican.
About 2000 years ago, the Son of God left the perfection of heaven and entered our storm-filled world. He came here to die. There upon the cross, Jesus endured the "hurricane" of God's wrath against sin. Yes....God hates sin that much....but He also loves us that much.
This is gut check time for the mainstream media. The facts about Benghazi are now irrefutable....and yet, we see little evidence of the liberal media establishment attacking this raw meat. This self-proclaimed watchdog has not so surprisingly turned into a helpless puppy when it comes to Behghazi. We now know that officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after the attack that an Islamic militant group claimed credit for the attack....and yet the administration spent the next two weeks pointing to a video as the cause of the attack.
When you were born, you already had the God-given inclinations to be a successful husband or a successful wife. God's design for marriage was ingrained in you. It was in your DNA before you could even speak a word. Unfortunately, you were also born with some "messed-up" desires, and so was I. Marriage seems tougher today than perhaps ever before, and man's sin is what messes up marital harmony. Sin messes with our mind....and with our choices....and with our everyday interactions with our spouse. But God will help anyone who looks to Him for healing of the heart....and for wisdom in marriage.
The news anchors of the mainstream media are a different breed than Matt Drudge. They simply push liberal policies. Matt, on the other hand, is passionate about getting us the whole story....rather than the liberal spin.
Could it really be that simple? Are the words "Save Me Jesus" enough to connect you to God and save your soul for eternity? Yes and no. "Yes"....if you mean it....and keep living everyday with that attitude....one of humility before God and a living relationship with the Lord.
The vice presidential debate in Kentucky definitely provided a teachable moment for parents all across the country. Parents of all political persuasions in our nation tend to teach their children that it is right to show respect to others....and wrong to constantly interrupt people while they are talking. Many liberals and conservatives alike were embarrassed for Joe Biden, and even appalled at his level of condescending behavior toward Paul Ryan. It gave parents an opportunity to teach their children what not to do when discussing opposing ideas with someone.