Archive for the 'Christian Faith' Category

22
Feb
18

Christians and sin

Christians particularly condemn those sins they’re least likely to commit. Those sins are given special attention.

Homosexuality for example.

Certain terms have been applied to homosexuality and homosexuals to describe how sinful they are: such as “sodomy” and sodomite”. What could more blatantly illustrate their depravity considering God destroyed the city of Sodom because of its homosexual associations?

Or did He?

Of course He destroyed Sodom and we are told God destroyed it because of its sin – but was homosexuality the primary sin that moved God to destroy that city?

The ONLY place in scripture where we are told specifically WHAT Sodom’s sin was is in Ezekiel 16

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen

OUCH! ” …arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy… ”
That hits much closer to home than the common idea that homosexuality in Sodom specifically caused God to destroy the city.
It covers areas of sin that Christians are NOT so keen to address.

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21
Feb
18

Sin Matters

I’ve just submitted the following as a comment on Jeff Weddle’s Anti-itch Meditation blog after reading his latest article.

____

For a lot of my early Christian life I saw God as loving and forgiving, to the extent that sin didn’t really matter. Of course I knew sinning was wrong, but if I sinned God would forgive me anyway.

I tried to avoid sin (well, I tried a little bit, without much conviction) but occasionally I even reasoned with myself that I could just give in to temptation THIS time because God would forgive me afterwards.

 

Maybe that kind of thinking is common, because I’ve often heard Christians (even long term Christians) saying it’s impossible for us not to sin. They think such talk is “spiritual” and gives glory to God because we are nothing without His love and forgiveness.

In reality such talk is a cop-out, continually excusing ourselves of responsibility, not far from the claim that “the devil made me do it”, but amended slightly to “my sinful flesh, or my sin nature, made me do it”.

 

Some go to the other extreme and claim that genuine Christians won’t sin, or even more extreme CAN’T sin.
All kinds of strange ideas being preached and believed…

 

I have come to realise that yes I’m human and I sometimes sin – but I hope I’ve learned and grown enough in my faith that I sin a lot less than I did as a new Christian, and hopefully I’m not falling into the same old “basic” sins that may be understandable for someone new to the faith.

I don’t expect to sin. I don’t consider sin inevitable in my life. But I don’t consider myself immune.
God equips the believer to be free of sin. But IF we sin “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” and “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Seeing sin as inevitable in our lives sets us up for failure and gives us an excuse for that failure.
If I see freedom from sin as an achievable target, I might not actually hit the bullseye, but I’m more likely to get close than I would if I didn’t aim for it at all.

25
Jan
18

God Reaching Those Cut Off From the Gospel

Hawa* had travelled hours to meet us. She had grown up in a Muslim family. Her father was a Muslim leader who travelled to different Arab countries to teach about Islam. She felt loved by her family and was engaged to a Muslim man who lived in the US. Hawa’s future looked bright.

Everything changed when she contracted a serious lung disease. The doctors feared for her life and all her dreams and plans seemed to disappear. But Hawa was exactly where the Lord wanted her. “One night in hospital I had a dream.” Hawa said to me, “I saw a man who was smiling and crying at the same time. I somehow knew he was weeping for me. I bowed down before him and asked, ‘Please help me. Show me the way. How can I be free from this disease?’”

When Hawa woke up she told her family about the dream, but no one understood it. When she had recovered and returned home, she told the mosque leader about her vision. “What you saw was Jesus, the Messiah.” He said, “I can’t talk now. It is not safe. Come back another time.”

Weeks went by before Hawa had another opportunity to speak to the mosque leader. “The one who is weeping for sinners is the one and only Jesus.” He told her, then he handed her a Bible.

full article here:

https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/blog/vision-of-christ/

__________________

Several believers involved in Christian witness paint Oman as a deeply religious country. There is a lot of spiritual conflict and oppression in this country. Believers experience many barriers when sharing the Gospel; “People are very friendly and seem to be open to the Gospel, willing to listen and exchange ideas. But to actually take the step to commit to Christ is very difficult for many of them,” one worker said.

However, in the midst of that darkness, God is doing amazing miracles, “Eighty percent of the Omani believers come to Christ in a supernatural way, through dreams and visions,” shared a Christian living in Oman.

full article here:

https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/blog/christ-in-the-heart-of-islam/

___________________

“There is hunger to come closer to God! There is hunger for the prayer meetings for example. Now the whole congregation comes to these meetings. The church is full of people praying.”

This hunger is not just from Christians.

“It happens more with the Muslims and the Druze. God is speaking the language of each group. Muslims meet Jesus in dreams. A woman saw a man in a dream, he was dressed in white and his face was shining. She woke up and went to church, she was very afraid of being rejected. She was accepted with love.”

full article here:
https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/blog/syria-pastor-alim-on-the-frontline/

_______________

 

24
Jan
18

No excuse – always be ready

In the previous post I stated my view that no one who genuinely desires truth will be denied the opportunity to hear about Jesus. God has, does and will use a variety of methods to allow genuine truth-seekers to find the truth.

 

….everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

 

But the fact that God will honour the desire of the genuine seeker of truth does not diminish the responsibilities of those of us who already know Jesus.

It does not excuse us from going “into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”
It does not excuse us from praying “earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

In the cases I mentioned, God used gospel sharing believers to lead seekers like Cornelius and  the Ethiopian to Jesus. The same kind of thing seems to happen with Moslems who receive visions and dreams. In the testimonies I’ve come across those experiences have led them to seek further, eventually finding a believer to tell them about Jesus.

It would be helpful to consider what Paul wrote to Timothy:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

 

While there’s a lot covered in that short excerpt of Paul’s admonition to  Timothy, – maybe the part we can see as MOST applicable to us ALL is “be ready in season and out of season”. Be prepared at all times for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.

In my previous post I addressed the view of some who insist that not hearing the gospel is no excuse; basically, as I put it, they are saying: “If you don’t get the opportunity to hear the gospel – tough!”

Here I’d like to put the boot on the other foot. While it’s easy to quote scripture out of context to insist that all unbelievers have no excuse (including the excuse of never hearing about Him) for rejecting Jesus.
Can we so easily excuse ourselves from what we SHOULD know, from what we are clearly told in scripture regarding our responsibility to make Jesus and His gospel known?

 

23
Jan
18

Suffering (c)

Conclusion of David Pawson’s sermon about Christian suffering.

 

 

Corrie Ten Boom

Preparing for tribulation

Why don’t we suffer more?

 

23
Jan
18

Suffering (b)

Second part of David Pawson’s sermon on Christian suffering.

 

Feeling safe vs being saved

The importance of “if”

Escape from suffering?

22
Jan
18

Suffering (a)

 

A long talk divided into three separate, more manageable sections.

Here is the first. Other parts will be posted over the next few days.

 

 

Expect suffering

Endure suffering

Overcome suffering

Rejoice in suffering

 

An organisation mentioned during Pawson’s talk:

https://barnabasfund.org/en




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