Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lust of the Eyes

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15 NAS)

Lust Much knowledge and information have been gained from the Internet, but with each gain also comes the negative effects influencing and intruding the private lives of many.

One of the greatest negative effects that influence private lives is the easy access to pornographic materials on the web. These materials intrude the lives of families and often destroy wholesome relationships. It is not just a male affair as it involves the female too. If women have not been willing to strip or pose for pornography, there would not have been so much pornography available. Likewise, there are men who pose for women too, so either way, sin prevails.

Voyeurism, according to the Webster Dictionary, refers to "one obtaining sexual gratification from seeing sex organs and sexual acts; broadly: one who habitually seeks sexual stimulation by visual means".

In the information age today, getting materials of visual sexual stimulation is very easy. Pornography in cyberspace is accessible 24 hours a day and available everyday on the web. No amount of measures taken by watchdogs can completely wipe out access to these materials. Whether it is interactive games or web viewing, pornographic materials are here to stay. Voyeurists no longer need to go to underground places to seek such material; they can get it right at home on the computer.

What then have we gained from technology? Is it better knowledge or is it worst? What has become of the world today?

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:16 NAS)

... everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:28-29 NAS)

Therefore, "do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15 NAS).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we fail to keep ourselves holy, and the times we fall into sin in our lust for the flesh—of things from this world that draw us away from walking faithful in You. We know Lord the things we do that upset our families and sometimes even destroy relationships. We pray O God that as we confess before You our sins that You wil help us to be strong and turn away from the enticement of this world. Renew us Lord as we give up our old ways to walk faithful in You to live holy lives. Strengthen us dear God that we may hold fast to the faith and not be lured away from doing the right thing, especially with the abounding temptations coming from cyberspace and the Internet. Keep us safe and focused Lord that we may always remember You in the moments of our weakness. Thank You Lord for setting us free!

NOTE: For more information and help overcoming sin of voyeurism and pornography, read RBC's booklet on Breaking the Power of Pornography, or take an interactive online course by Setting Captives Free on Way of Purity.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Does God Answer All Prayers?

Praying Hands Many things happen in our lives and many more will continue to happen. Sometimes it can be difficult going through hard times, and sometimes we may not understand why, but one thing is sure, all things work together for good, according to God's purpose in our lives (Romans 8:28).

If you ask God to answer a need, you can be sure He will answer your prayer, but sometimes the answer can be immediate, sometimes longer, or sometimes you may have to go through it. All prayers are answered, whether now or later, yes or no. All you need to do is trust Him and give your heart to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Lay your worries and troubles at His feet and worry no more, for God is with you, He will help you and take care of you (Isaiah 41:10).

Therefore ...
'Do not fear, for I (God) am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' (Isaiah 41:10 NAS)

Remember what Jesus says ...
... ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Luke 11:9 NAS)

Sometimes ...
You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, (James 4:2b-3a NAS)

Therefore ...
... seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NAS)

Do not worry then, saying, `What will we eat?' or `What will we drink?' or `What will we wear for clothing?' ... for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Matthew 6:31-32 NAS)

So ...
... do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34 NAS)

Prayer for Calm

Prayer for Calm
Keep us calm O Lord
And still our hearts to know
Your presence here with us
Now and always wherever we go

Help us be patient Lord
Help us keep our cool
Help us in everything
Remember to honor You

Lead us in all we do
Help us completely put our trust in You
Because You are righteous and faithful
Always abounding in lovingkindness
Unchanging and true
Your word O Lord is truth

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lessons from Proverbs 6

Proverbs 6:23Negligence and Carelessness
Proverbs 6:10-11 (NAS)
"A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest" -- Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.

Seven Abomination
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NAS)
There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness {who} utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

Parents' Command and Teaching
Proverbs 6:20-24 (NAS)
My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, theywill talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

Adultery and Consequence
Proverbs 6:32-35 (NAS)
The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out. For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Is it Sinful to Live Among Sinners?

John 8:7Mark 2:17 (NAS)
And hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

John 8:7-9 (NAS)
But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." ... When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

Food for Thought
Who among us is NOT a sinner? Even saints are sinners too, except that they have been saved by grace. There is nothing wrong with living alongside sinners, but to participate in sin with them is wrong (Psalm 141:4).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lessons from Psalm 139

Psalm 139
Before Utterance
Psalm 139:4 (NAS)
Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

God's Presence
Psalm 139:7-8 (NAS)
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

Wonderfully Made
Psalm 139:14 (NAS)
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

Search And Lead Me O God
Psalm 139:23-24 (NAS)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Morally Acceptable

Morally Acceptable Who decides what is the right behavior and what is wrong? How do we measure what is morally right, or what is morally wrong?

If we choose to do things the way we want it, but breaks the law doing it, is it immoral? If we do something unethical or unacceptable in the sight of man or a certain group of people, is it immoral?

What is viewed as a norm in one country may be viewed in other parts of the world as inappropriate or improper; vice versa. Crossing cultures shows the difference in moral standards in this world, relative to the constructed society and governance that defines the right and the wrong.

If we indulge in gambling and drinking, is it right or wrong? At which point of addiction or compulsion are we defined as morally wrong? Is it when we are violent as a result of these addictions that we are wrong? What about desires for the opposite sex? Is it wrong for men to look at women who are created beatiful, or for women to look at men who are desirable? After all, is it not true that beauty is relative to the eyes of the beholder, and each of us are created perfect and beautiful in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)? At which point then will we be morally wrong in admiring the opposite sex? Is it only when we lust for the other (Matthew 5:28)?

Who set the standards anyway, and who benefits most from this set of rules? Is it the rulers or the citizens? Is it the saints or the sinners? If a government choose to regulate the brothels, casinos, clubs and other 'unhealthy' form of entertainment as legally acceptable, do they automatically become morally right? There are clear differences between what is morally correct in the eyes of Man and in the eyes of God.

The Law of Moses talk about many things, and many of these things are considered beyond acceptability today or even quite impossible to adhere, given the 'freedom' we have. But freedom is a choice, and it can be a bad choice or a good choice.

Say it anyway you like it, but the fact remains unchanged that morals are often relative. In effect, it is by grace we have been saved, not by works.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! (Romans 6:1-2a NAS)

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! (Romans 6:14-15 NAS)

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (Romans 6:16 NAS)

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18 NAS)

I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (Romans 6:19-20 NAS)

Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (Romans 6:21-22 NAS)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NAS)

The answer therefore lies in these words. Morality is measured according to the standard of God, not man!

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." —Jesus (Matthew 11:29-30 NAS)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pending Perfection

Pending Perfection Living our lives as a testimony for Christ is never easy. Whether we are in or out of the workplace, we are constantly expected to behave in the ways of a good Christian so that Man may glorify God because of us.

Many Christians however do not live the Spirit-filled life and even good Christians falter sometimes. As imperfect servants of God we may feel guilty of our failures. We worry about what others may think of us and of Christ. We ask ourselves, 'Will our lives disgrace our faith or bear testimony of Christ?'

The Bible teaches us to live holy lives just as God is holy.

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.'" (1 Peter 14-16 NAS)

These verses state the expectation of God for Christians, and many have turned away from God for this reason. They think the holiness expected of the Christian is a constraint imposed to control their lifestyle. As Christians, we know this is not true because the Christian lifestyle is a better lifestyle. It sets us free from the control of Satan, from doing evil, and from sin.

To live a victorious and successful life, we must be free to choose what is right and mankind's in-born desire is to be free from what we hate which is doing what is wrong.

"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me." (Romans 7:18-20 NAS)

Being a Christian means we are to desire the perfect life, the abundant life that does not fall short of what God wants for us. In the gospel, Jesus expressed His desire for us to live the perfect life.

"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48 NAS)

We know however as long as we are still on earth, we cannot reach perfection (Philippians 3:12-14), but we can desire it and let the Holy Spirit in us help us achieve it. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians said:

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6 NAS)

This verse makes it clear we can begin to cultivate perfection while living on earth, but we cannot be absolutely perfect until the day of Christ Jesus when He returns in power and glory.

Our role therefore at this time is not to buffet ourselves to demonstrate perfect examples of Christian life (Philippians 3:15-16), but to let the Holy Spirit mold us from within and put to death our deeds of the flesh that Christ may be manifested through us.

"So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh - for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:12-13 NAS)

"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life … knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:4-7 NAS)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Broken Relationships

What do you do with a broken relationship? How do you attempt to reconcile? What if it doesn't work? How do you manage a strained relationship?

If you're asking these questions, this ebook is for you. Read:

What if you find your spouse is unfaithful? How are you to respond to the situation that feels overwhelming and hopeless? In the midst of devastation and heartache, where can you find the courage and sustaining strength needed to walk through the pain and madness of the dark valley that feels like death (Psalm 23:4)?

If you're seeking for answers to these questions, read:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Who Should I Marry?

Promise of MarriageExcept for the decision to trust Christ as Savior, it’s been said that there is no more significant decision anyone will make than the decision of who to marry. Is there help in the Bible for such a life-changing decision? Read this article to understand more ...

What is the promise of marriage?

Lifelong commitments can be better than engaged couples want to believe. The dating, caring, and affection of premarital enjoyment doesn't have to be lost forever in failed expectations and disillusionment. Marriage is worth the risk in a world where divorce claims one out of two marriages.

How can I know who to marry?

Will I get goosebumps when the right person comes along? How hard should I be looking? What kind of person does God want for me? What if Mom and Dad or my friends don't like the person I think is right?

Is it a serious mistake for two people to marry without sharing the same faith?

Imagine being in a relationship with someone you love and care for deeply. You take long walks together, talk till dawn, share many of the same interests. Your companion seems to be the one you have been searching for all your life. There's only one problem—that person doesn't share your faith. What should you do?

For answers, click on the relevant links above to read the articles.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Living with Uncertainties

Living with Uncertainties Jessica has recently resigned from her job due to poor health and stress, but fears for her survival and financial future. She hopes to find a new job that is less stressful, but fears she may not be up to the job. She constantly asks herself questions such as 'what if I take this job and it is just as stressful?' and 'what if I take this job and a better one comes by?'

There are many people who live their lives in fear of uncertainty and of the future, and this is despite being Christians for many years. Living a life constantly plagued by 'what if' can be miserable because without assurance, Man often fails to see a positive future, so they attempt to predict the foreseeable. There is of course nothing wrong in taking measures to prevent the 'what if' that can happen. However, we must always remember forecasts and preventive measures seldom turn out the way we expect, and changes are bound to happen.

"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'" (Luke 14:28-30 NAS)

The future and what it holds for us is not something we should try to predict, for it is by faith that we should build our confidence in God. If we live our lives in fear of the unknown and the possibilities of the future, we live meaningless lives, deprived of the abundant life God has intended for us.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. (Hebrews 11:1-2 NAS)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NAS)

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8 NAS)

If we therefore wish to live fulfilled lives, we need to first know some certainties in life, the certainty of eternity—of death and life. As Christians, we are certain of eternal life in Jesus Christ, so there is no need to fear the end of life. It is the certainty of death that tells us our purpose of life, commissioned to serve Christ as sojourners on earth passing by our temporary lives.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27 NAS)

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NAS)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:1 NAS)

Therefore, knowing the uncertainty of life on earth, we should bravely face each challenge without fear. We may be uncertain what is next to come or what if something does not happen the way we expect it to come, yet we can be assured all things work together for the purpose of God.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NAS)

So, the next time we raise a question 'what if', ask what is there to fear if God is supreme in the situation? Whether it is now or the future, need we then fear our inabilities or the unknown possibilities? If we have asked God to be the Lord of our lives, will He decide to do otherwise?

what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9-11 NAS)

Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (Matthew 10:26 NAS)

There is therefore no need to fear about the future or about uncertainties. Instead of asking questions of 'what if', ask 'what is there to fear'? If God is supreme in our lives, we know for certain that all things will work together for the purpose of Christ.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

God's Word

Word of God
Psalm 119:4-5 (NAS)
You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!

Psalm 119:9 (NAS)
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.

Psalm 119:11 (NAS)
Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

Psalm 119:18 (NAS)
Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.

Psalm 119:27 (NAS)
Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders.

Psalm 119:33-35 (NAS)
Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.

Psalm 119:40 (NAS)
Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.

Psalm 119:44 (NAS)
So I will keep Your law continually, Forever and ever.

Psalm 119:47-48 (NAS)
I shall delight in Your commandments, Which I love ... And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Psalm 119:54-56 (NAS)
Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your law. This has become mine, That I observe Your precepts.

Psalm 119:57 (NAS)
The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.

Psalm 119:64 (NAS)
The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.

Psalm 119:97-99 (NAS)
O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

Psalm 119:103-104 (NAS)
How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Psalm 119:105 (NAS)
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Psalm 119:147 (NAS)
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.

Psalm 119:160 (NAS)
The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Psalm 119:165 (NAS)
Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.

Psalm 119:174 (NAS)
I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Song Lyrics: El Shaddai

Michael Card's Album Lyrics: El Shaddai
artist: Amy Grant

by: Michael Card & John Thompson
title: El Shaddai
albums: Age To Age, The Collection

El-Shaddai, El-Shaddai (God Almighty, God Almighty)
El-Elyon na Adonai (God in the highest, Oh, Lord)
Age to age, You're still the same
By the power of the name.
El-Shaddai, El-Shaddai
Erkamka na Adonai (We will love You, Oh, Lord)
We will praise and lift You high

Through Your love and through the ram,
You saved the son of Abraham.
Through the power of Your hand,
Turned the sea Into dry land.
To the outcast on her knees,
You were the God Who really sees.
And by Your might,
You set Your children free.


Through the years You've made it clear,
That the time of Christ was near,
Though the people couldn't see
What Messiah ought to be.
Though Your Word contained the plan,
They just could not understand,
Your most awesome work was done
Though the frailty of Your Son.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Apologetics: Defending the Faith

Apologetics When I was a young Christian, I used to like to study Apologetics, not because I was apologetic about my faith in Christ but because I have often been called upon to defend my faith.

The study of Apologetics has nothing to do with apology or apologizing for your belief. Rather, it is about defending the faith in the face of objections raised by unbelievers. The word 'apologetics' is derived from the Greek word 'apologia', which means to make a rational defense. In the Christian term, it is about making appropriate intellectual defense for our faith in Christ. According to the Bible, it is being ready to defend the faith to everyone who calls our hope into question.

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence," (1 Peter 3:15 NAS).

For example, there are many who question the existence of God because they claim they cannot believe what they cannot see. There are those who feel they do not need repentance because they are not that bad or because they have done a lot of good. Yet others refuse to believe because they saw some Christians whose behavior is horrendous.

What would our answer be when we face people who put our faith into question? Many Christians defend the invisibility of God and explain His existence through His creation: the nature, the trees and the air. For me, I will illustrate my belief of an invisible God through defense. I will present to an audience a piece of paper with an object behind it and ask the audience to guess whether there is an object behind the paper or what object is behind the paper. If the audience does not get the right answer (which is often the case) or if someone or a few people gets the answer, my next move will be to reveal to them what the object is and ask, "Were you able to see the object earlier? Does our inability to see means the object does not exist?" With their answers, I will then defend the existence of God, that in a similar manner as the object behind the paper, God exists, regardless whether we see Him or not.

We know that all men have sinned, and without the redemptive blood of Christ, no man can be saved. If someone tells us he or she does a lot of good or is not that sinful, we know how we can show appropriate verses in the Bible to let him or her know the sinful nature of mankind. That is defending the faith, and the word of God is the best way to defend our faith in Christ. However, in circumstances where there is no explicit indication from the Bible for a defense, the use of logic empowered by the Holy Spirit will be the next best tool for defense, such as the story of the paper and object mentioned above. In the case of unbelief because of certain Christians' behavior, it will be appropriate to explain that how others behave does not determine the truth about God, because it is in Christ we trust. We can show them other Christians who are good, but it is ultimately the word of God that is the best defense, bringing about conviction by the Holy Spirit.

For a deeper study into Apologetics, one good book to read is 'Evidence That Demands A Verdict' by Josh McDowell. Another good resource on apologetics is the web site of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

Copyrighted by Edmond Ng @ FaithWriters

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Syndrome

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Have you ever felt like you are Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at times?

You may wake up in a morning and feel all ready to conquer the day, to perform good works, to do what is right, to be nice and considerate. By the end of the day or on another day, you become less enthusiastic about doing good and deviates from what you know you should do, and choose to do the exact reverse. By nightfall, your mind may no longer be your own, and you occasionally lose your temper and indulge in sin.

This description may sound scary and extreme, but in reality, they are not too far from the truth, and in fact may be common. It is the conflict of two natures within you and I, a side that prefers darkness over the light.

Paul, the apostle, understands this when he writes the following:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:15-23 NAS)

How then can we overcome the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde syndrome in us? Paul has asked a similar question when he said:

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24 NAS)

The answer is found in Paul's own words:

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:3 - 8:11 NAS)

Therefore, let us all learn from Paul and harness the strength that is in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If you, however, lack this power or have not given your life to Christ, do so now, and God will be more than willing to bless and you. As humans, we may still fall at times, but there is no need to despair. Just turn to Him, acknowledge your sin, and be renewed with His fresh anointing.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Does God Show Favoritism?

Favoritism Many people would have us believe that even God shows favoritism, so as to justify their own preference for a person over another. They will use biblical stories like Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob to demonstrate how God prefers one to the other:

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:3-5 NAS)

And Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples shall be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:21-23 NAS)

The Oxford Dictionary defines favoritism as unfair favoring of one person at the expense of another. As parents, we sometimes favor one child over another. As workplace supervisors, we may favor certain subordinates while neglecting others, and as teachers, we may prefer some students to others. Whether it is favoritism towards siblings or to workplace subordinates or students, there will always be unfair treatment because of favoritism.

We reward people who obey and punish those who rebel, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if we do it because of pure preference, even when we know the other deserves it more, then we are doing wrong, just as Isaac was wrong when he planned to bless Esau instead of Jacob (Genesis 27), even when he knows before hand whom God has chosen (Genesis 25:21-23). This is clearly favoritism (Genesis 25:28 NAS).

The story of Cain and Abel may seem to show God's preference for Abel to Cain, but it is not a demonstration of favoritism because God's ways and man's ways are never the same. For God can read the heart of man and He knows Cain's attitudes and intent. The Bible states:

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? "For if you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you; but you must master it." (Genesis 4:6-7 NAS)

Cain did not do well, so his offering God has no regard. It is all a matter of the heart. For God is not a man that He should show favoritism, nor a Person Who is unjust or unfair to show preference. For it is clear what Genesis 4:3-5 says, that while Cain offers up the fruit of the ground, it was only Abel who offers the firstlings and the best portion. Abel gives of his best to God, but Cain did not (Hebrews 11:4). It is for this reason that Cain's offering was not regarded by God.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Get Personal With God

Get Personal With GodFirst Step: Admit our lost condition. We all come into this world physically alive but spiritually dead. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). Jesus Christ is the One who said that He didn't come into this world to help good people, but "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

Second Step: Learn what God has done for us. The good news of Jesus Christ is that God Himself loved us enough to send His own Son into this world to rescue us from our sin (John 1:1-4; 3:16). To solve the problems of our lost relationship with His Father, Jesus died in our place, offering Himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the price of sin. Because He was not only man but God as well (John 1:1-14), His death was of infinite value. When He rose from the dead, He proved that He had paid the price of all sin - past, present, and future.

Third Step: Personally believe and receive God's gift. No one can earn a relationship with God. It is a gift of His mercy. "By grace you have been saved through faith, ... it is the gift of God, not of works" (Ephesians 2:8-9). We must be able to say, "Father, I know I have sinned against You. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, that He died for my sins, and that He rose from the dead to prove it. I accept Your offer of salvation and eternal life." If this is the honest expression of your heart, welcome to God's family!

adapted from What Is A Personal Relationship With God? Copyright 2001 RBC Ministries

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Barber's Story: Does God Exist?

A Barber's Story A man went to a barber shop to have his hair and his beard cut as always. He started to have a good conversation with the barber who attended him. They talked about so many things and various subjects. Suddenly, they touched the subject of God. The barber said: "Look man, I don't believe that God exists as you say."

"Why do you say that?" asked the client.

"Well, it's so easy, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Oh, tell me, if God existed, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be no suffering nor pain. I can't think of loving a God who permits all of these things."

The client stopped for a moment thinking, but he didn't want to respond as to cause an argument. The barber finished his job and the client went out of the shop. Just after he left the barber shop he saw a man in the street with a long hair and beard (it seems that it had been a long time since he had his cut and he looked so untidy).

Then the client again entered the barber shop and he said to the barber, "You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say they don't exist?" asked the barber. "Well I am here and I am a barber."

"No!" the client exclaimed. "They don't exist because if they did there would be no people with long hair and a beard like that man who walks in the street."

"Ah, barbers do exist, what happens is that people do not come to me."

"Exactly!"- affirmed the client. "That's the point. God does exist, what happens is people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."


NOTE: This article is written as an anecdote for illustrative purpose only. Any reference to specific persons or characters is as provided from the source and not verified.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Who Created Evil?

Who Created Evil?
A University professor challenged his students with this question.

"Did God create everything that exists?"

A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!"

"God created everything?" The professor asked.

"Yes sir," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are, then God is evil."

The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?"

"Of course", replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460? F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

The young man's name—Albert Einstein

NOTE: This article is written as an anecdote for illustrative purpose only. Any reference to specific persons or characters is as provided from the source and not verified.