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Surefire Ways to Fail at Everything April 17, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in Fail stuff.
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7 Surefire Ways to Fail at Everything That Matters in Life

  By Trevor Wilson

Dunce

 

(This post is part of the Friday Night Kick in the Ass series.)

 

How’s your track record looking these days? Have you been smashing your goals left and right? Kicking ass and taking names?

 

If so, then you can just skip this post. You’ll find nothing here you don’t already know.

 

But if your track record isn’t so great, then you may just want to read on. There’s a multitude of reasons for why you haven’t been achieving your goals. They can range from simple procrastination to long held limiting beliefs.

 

So what do you do?

 

Well, there are a ton of books and blogs that will teach you all the things necessary to succeed in every area of life. But the truth is there are many paths that lead to the same destination. What works for one may not work for another.

 

But there are certain habits that always lead to failure. Sometimes, it makes a little more sense to just focus on what not to do. Once you recognize and remove these success killers from your life, you’ll find yourself well on the road to meaningful achievement.

 

1. Never Getting Started – This is easily the biggest success killer out there. Everyday, millions of dreams go to waste simply because the dreamer just couldn’t get started. There are a thousand and one reasons why someone might fail to even begin:

 

Procrastination. Overwhelm. Insecurity. Belief that you’re not capable enough. Not smart enough. Not worthy. Getting bogged down in research leading to information overload. Poor time management. Making decisions based on others expectations of you. Fear.

 

Each reason needs to be dealt with in its own right, so you’d better find out which ones are holding you back and fucking deal with them. Because you will never be able to get started until you do.

 

And never even trying is the biggest failure of all.

 

2. Taking Bad Advice – This one seems so obvious, but many people have crashed and burned simply from taking poor advice. I’ve seen this a hundred times in the fitness industry. Scrawny trainers weighing all of a buck-twenty doling out muscle building advice to the kid who wants to look like Arnold.

 

I can’t tell who’s more delusional, the sickly trainer who thinks he knows what he’s talking about, or the eager kid hanging onto his every word.

 

Just ‘cause someone talks the talk doesn’t mean they’ve walked the walk.

 

Be selective in who you listen to. If they haven’t achieved what you want to achieve then just give ‘em the hand. Better yet, give ‘em the finger. Then go find advice elsewhere.

 

3. Looking for Instant Success – This one really pisses me off. And it’s becoming more and more common with each succeeding generation. I suppose it’s inevitable with all the advancements in technology, but it’s a growing flaw in character nonetheless.

 

Or maybe I’m just an old grump. Who knows?

 

What I can tell you is that there is no instant success. At least, not when it comes to true success. True success comes from putting in the work . . . sometimes years worth. It’s all about paying your dues.

 

I hope that concept doesn’t frighten you. But if it does, you’d better just get the fuck over it. Because if you’re unwilling to do the work; if you’re too lazy to put in the hours and the effort; then just forget it. Don’t even bother. Go back to your video games. Leave success to those who actually want it. Those who are willing to earn it.

 

4. Majoring in the Minors – I’ll confess, I’ve been guilty of this one on more than a few occasions. It’s just so damn easy to get caught up in all the little details while losing sight of the bigger picture.

 

But if you ever want to get shit done, then you need to step back and figure out what really matters. Don’t waste your time focusing on the menial tasks. Do the big things. The things that bring real payoff.

 

This goes back to the 80/20 rule. If you spend 80% of your time knockin’ down the important tasks, success is virtually assured. That means you need to learn to prioritize. Figure out what matters most . . . then go after it like a motherfuckin’ madman.

 

5. Never Upping Your Game – This is what separates the men from the boys. The pros from the amateurs. The successful from the mediocre. It’s that next step so many fail to take.

 

Too often we become complacent. We get comfortable with the minor level of achievement we’ve made and never take it any further. We tell ourselves we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished.

 

If that’s true, then great, by all means remain where you are. But more often than not it’s just a lie we tell ourselves to hide the truth . . . that we’re stuck. And we’re unwilling to do what it takes to move up to the next level.

 

Well fuck that.

 

If you are looking to reach the top – looking for true success and mastery – then you need to pop your little safety bubble, smash through your comfort zone, and break free of the belief that good enough is good enough.

 

Because it isn’t. Not if you’re seeking real achievement. You need to get better. You know it. So step up and just fucking do it!

 

6. Assuming You Know it All – This often goes hand in hand with number 5. It’s just another means of remaining stuck. And it comes with a certain smugness that makes me want to slap someone. There is always something more to learn. Always.

 

Don’t ever believe for a minute that you’re the shit. You’re not. Someone out there is better than you, whether you want to believe it or not. Instead of keeping your eyes closed to the possibility, be thankful for it. It means that you can still improve. You can still grow.

 

In the end, know-it-alls know nothing. Their very nature ensures it.

 

7. Giving Up – This is the saddest one of all. While never even starting may be the biggest dream killer out there, giving up is the worst. You managed to get started, you put in some time and effort, you may have even given it your best . . . then what? Things didn’t turn out as you had planned?

 

Well no shit. Do they ever?

 

So things were harder than you thought they’d be. Times got tough. You were putting in twice the work you’d anticipated, but getting only half the results. It just doesn’t seem to be paying off.

 

And now you’re not sure whether you should continue on. Maybe it was just a crazy dream in the first place. You’ve had enough. Time to quit.

 

Just fucking quit.

 

Congratulations. You’ve fallen pray to the worst habit out there. Quitting. And don’t delude yourself; quitting is a habit. It’s a choice you make over and over. And the more you make it, the easier it gets. You’ll soon find yourself quitting at the first signs of challenge . . . any challenge. Whatsoever.

 

The quitter’s nature is what defines life’s true failures. The inability to persist. A lack of determination. Always taking the easy way out.

 

Think I’m talking out of my ass? Then you’d better read this post and this post. And I’d also throw in this one for good measure.

 

Believe me, I know that quitter mentality. I know it inside and out. I’ve lived it for too much of my own life. All those wasted years. Gone. Fucking gone. And for what? Momentary comfort? A smooth ride? Avoidance of fear?

 

What a fucking joke.

 

Don’t ever quit. It makes you weak. It makes you small. It steals the strength and power that are yours by right. You must persist. You must see it through. All the way to it’s bloody fucking end.

 

Never give up. It’s the worst failure of all.

 

8. Bonus Tip – Failing is a part of life. If you’re not regularly failing at something or another, that simply means you’re not trying anything new. You’re not pushing your boundaries. You’re not testing your limits.

 

But there’s a HUGE difference between failing and being a failure. More often than not, the failure doesn’t fail at anything . . . because he attempts nothing. He just sits on his ass all day long content to let life pass him by. There’s another term for this kind of person: loser.

 

Don’t be a loser.

 

Go ahead and do shit. Fail. Fail often. Fail spectacularly. Failing is no big deal. But people act like it’s the fucking plague.

 

Just be sure to learn from your failures. If you can manage that, then it was never really a failure in the first place . . . just a lesson in disguise.

 

So which of these faults are holding you back? More importantly, what are you going to do about them?

 

Cheers!

p.s. If you found any value in this post — if it struck a chord or even just made you think for a moment — then I’d appreciate it if you hit some of those share buttons. In fact, I’d more than appreciate it . . . I’d fucking love it!

(Photo by bLOGOS/HA HA at flickr.)

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Pastor Rick Warren & the suicide of his 27-year-old son Matthew April 10, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in News.
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http://abcnews.go.com/US/pastor-rick-warren-overwhelmed-support-sons-suicide/story?id=18901130#.UWUj4jcwC_I

Depression has been called the “common cold” of mental disorders, and one source estimates that it disrupts the lives of 30 to 40 million Americans. [4]

Depression is too complicated to solve with a single pat answer. Gary Collins, in Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (Dallas: Word, 1988), lists seven major categories of causes for depression,[1] and six major approaches to treating it. Each one has multiple options within each category. In addition, people use the word “depression” to cover everything from disappointment over losing a baseball game to the terrifying gloom that drives people to suicide.

The Bible does not use the word “depression,” although it describes people whom we might call depressed. It certainly doesn’t mention antidepressant drugs. However, there are a few general principles I would recommend when trying to deal with depression:

Aim to work on the causes of your depression, not just the symptoms.

Scripture points to many issues of sin or conflict that can affect your emotions; most counselors would agree that depression can result from other underlying issues. Don’t just worry about the depression itself; check to see what other problems need attention.

Realize that you can’t base life on your emotions

Christians base life on truth, not feelings. Philippians 4:1 commands us to rejoice (whether we feel like it or not!). And James 1:2 asks us to “Consider it all joy when we fall into various trials.” Notice that James doesn’t tell us to feel joyful; he tells us to reckon, to choose to think about your situation as a spot where you can have joy.

Faith

Depression can be overcome. (Photo supplied by Eden Communictions. Copyrighted.)

Choosing to trust truth rather than your feelings may require a lot of faith. And if that is what we mean by asking if faith can solve depression, then faith may be enough in some cases. Trusting what God says rather than your feelings is certainly a more realistic approach to life!

Heed God’s Advice

However, many people talk about “faith” and only mean a vague hope that God will somehow pull them through. That’s too nebulous a concept to be reliable. Many of the same people who claim to have faith keep plunging through life ignoring God’s principles for healthy living. If we spurn the good advice that the Bible contains, we won’t escape the consequences – even if we have faith.

Is it right to use antidepressant drugs? Or is faith enough to solve the problem?

Chemical Imbalances

Photo Courtesy of Films for Christ. Copyrighted.

Some cases of depression may be caused by chemical imbalances. If that is the cause, then antidepressant drugs may be the answer. God has allowed mankind to learn about many medical tools, and He sometimes uses medicine to heal. There may also be some cases of depression so severe that medications are necessary to bring the sufferer to the place where they can tackle some of the other issues; such cases might require medication, at least temporarily. I know of no Scripture that forbids such use. [1]

Unresolved Issues, Root Causes

However, any medications should be used with caution. Virtually any medicine has some side effects. Drugs can mask the symptoms, allowing you to ignore root causes. Some people may use antidepressants to avoid approaches that require you to deal with other unresolved issues. It seems easier to pop a pill. A general rule of thumb is to try other strategies first, unless the depression is so severe that the person endangers themselves or finds themselves unable to participate in other therapies.

Depression is a complex area, and severe problems of depression deserve the attention of a pastor or other counselor.

Author: Dr. John Bechtle

If a Christian commits suicide, is he still forgiven?

This might seem like a perplexing question, but it does have an answer. Though the Christian who has committed suicide has committed a grave sin, he is still forgiven. But, in order to understand why a Christian who commits suicide is forgiven, we first need to understand what salvation is and what it is based upon.

Salvation is the state of being saved from God’s judgment upon the sinner. The only way to be saved is to trust Jesus for the forgiveness of one’s sins (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). All who do not trust Jesus alone, by faith (Rom. 5:1; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9) are not forgiven and go to hell when they die (Matt. 25:46; John 3:18). When Jesus forgives someone, He forgives all their sins and gives them eternal life and they shall never perish (John 10:28). He does not give them temporary eternal life — otherwise, it would not be eternal.

Salvation is not based upon what you do. In other words, you don’t have to obey any Law of God in order to become saved. This is because no one is saved by keeping the Law of God (Gal. 2:21; Rom. 3:24-28). But that does not mean that you can go and sin all you want. Rom. 6:1-3 expressly condemns such action. Instead, we are saved for the purpose of purity (1 Thess. 4:7). Our salvation is strictly from God: “By grace through faith you have been saved…” (Eph. 2:8). Other than acting by faith in trusting and accepting what Jesus did on the cross, you don’t do a thing (John 1:12-3) in order to become saved. Since you did not get your salvation by what you did, you can not lose it by what you do.

What about the unforgivable sin? Is that suicide? No. Suicide is not the unforgivable sin. Jesus spoke of the unforgivable sin in Matt. 12:22-32. The context is when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil. Therefore, suicide is not the unforgivable sin.

Is repentance necessary for salvation?

This is a good question and the answer is yes — and no. Now, before you throw stones, hear me out. Repentance is a necessary result of the saving work of God, not the cause of salvation.  If repentance brought salvation, then salvation is by works; or rather, the ceasing of bad works.  That isn’t how it works.  God grants repentance to the Christian (2 Tim. 2:25). The Christian then turns from his sin; that is, he stops sinning. He is able to repent because he is saved, not to get saved.

In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession of sin and its natural result of repentance are necessary elements of the Christian’s life. But, what about the sins that we do not know we commit? If we do not confess them and do not repent of them, are we still saved? Of course we are! Otherwise, we would be forced to confess and repent of every single sin we ever commit. In effect, we’d be back under the Law, living by a rule of absolute repentance of every detail lest you be damned. This is bondage, not freedom. Jesus said His yoke was light, not hard (Matt. 11:27-30.

So, repentance is not the cause of salvation, but it is a result of salvation.  The believer repents from his sins upon trusting in Christ and thereafter, continues to repent of further sins that the Lord reveals to him.

Back to the suicide issue

Suicide is, in effect, self-murder. The unfortunate thing about it is that the one who commits it cannot repent of it. The damage is permanently done. We can see in the Bible that murderers have been redeemed (Moses, David, etc.), but they had opportunities to confess their sins and repent. With suicide, the person does not.  But that does not mean the person is lost.  Jesus bore all that person’s sins, including suicide. If Jesus bore that person’s sins on the cross 2000 years ago, and if suicide was not covered, then the Christian was never saved in the first place and the one sin of suicide is able to undo the entire work of the cross of Christ. This cannot be. Jesus either saves completely or he does not.

Is suicide always wrong?

That I cannot answer because I cannot list every possible situation. But, it seems obvious that suicide is clearly wrong, though forgivable. However, there are general categories of suicide on which we could briefly comment:

Medically Assisted Suicide – I’ve never seen this as being acceptable. The doctor is supposed to save life, not destroy it. But, lately as destroying the lives of the unborn is more common place, destroying the lives of the sick has become the next logical step.

Suicide to prevent prolonged torture – Let’s say that someone was being tortured in an excruciating manner for an unbearably long period of time, is suicide an option? Perhaps. But if it were in this situation, why wouldn’t it be all right in the medically-assisted context if the patient were also in excruciating pain for long periods of time? Quite honestly, I’m not sure how to answer that one.

Suicide due to depression – Of course, this is never a good reason for suicide. Seasons pass and so does depression. The one who is depressed needs to look to Jesus and get help. Depression is real and powerful and is best fought with help. Also, severe depression robs the mind of clear thinking. People in such states are despondent, not in their right mind.

Suicide due to a chemical imbalance in the brain – The human brain is incredibly complex and the medical community is full of accounts of extraordinary behaviors by people whose “circuits got crossed.” I don’t see how a situation like this would make it justifiable. I think it simply would make it more explainable.

Accidental suicide – Sometimes people accidentally kill themselves. This could mean leaning over a balcony too far and falling to one’s death, or actually, purposefully taking a stupid risk like playing with a gun. Of course, with either, stupidity does not remove us from the grace of God.

Conclusion

Is the Christian forgiven for suicide? Yes. But suicide is not an option. We do not have the right to take our own lives. That belongs to God.

Life After Failure March 27, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in Fail stuff.
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By Joe Marchelewski

 

The hardest part of life is failure, other than death of course. Failure is something that has plagued mankind since the beginning. Even in the Bible, Adam had to deal with his own failings while still protecting and caring for his family.

George Bernard Shaw, the great Irish playwright, once said “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.”

It’s easy to give up on an endeavor, a person or a situation as failure, or failures, mount. But, if we allow failures to stop us then we should completely throw away any notion of success, development and hope.

Failures are our learning opportunities, even if it’s a major failure. Failed marriages can teach us things about ourselves and our desires that we didn’t know before. Failed attempts at losing weight can allow us to figure out how our bodies work. And in truth, history is filled with people who achieved great things in part because they failed so much.

  • FailureJ. Paul Getty was an extremely wealthy and successful man, yet was married and divorced more than five times. His business success and acumen wasn’t something he could bring into his personal life.
  • Abraham Lincoln lost multiple elections and was often berated for his stances against slavery.
  • Jim Plunkett, who led two Raiders teams to victories in the Super Bowl was considered a failure during his days as a quarterback with the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers.

Dealing with failure is hard, it’s not easy to look into the mirror after a terrible loss and try and believe that success is possible. It’s easy to use all sorts of cheesy sounding sayings and terms and then let failure sit in your belly. What’s difficult is taking time to examine your failure, learn from it and fight to get over your fear of it.

We’ve all been dumped, fired, yelled at, fallen down during a big event, allowed a bad habit to get the better of us and simply failed at something that seemed easy. However, if we’re going to succeed in life, achieve our goals and do anything of merit, than we have to allow these things to make us stronger.

Living a Life of Failure? March 27, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in Fail stuff.
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How Do I Move Forward after Living a Life of Failure?

by Manal Ghosain 

The title of this article comes from a question I received recently from a reader.

At first I wanted to respond to him privately. As I was contemplating the message, I realized that this would be of benefit to other readers as well. Focusing on failure is thematic amongst a lot of us humans.

This by no means is a comprehensive guide on dealing with failure. It’s a practical (i.e. short) guide on recognizing past failures and starting to move forward.

How can we move forward when we feel we’ve failed on so many levels?

To answer this question, we’ll need to look at two things: past failures and moving forward.

What failure means

Think of the word failure and go with the feelings that come up. When I think of it I feel a tightness, discomfort, and pain. It’s not pleasant.

But why do we feel this way?

I think it’s a conditioned response that builds up over the years till it becomes automatic. Once we view something as a failure, we feel pain and then we want to avoid it at all costs.

The conditioning is different for each one of us based on our upbringing, situation, and  experiences. Unfortunately, most of the time though we end up in the same place—hating failure and avoiding any action that can potentially lead to more failure.

Failure is the opposite of success. It embodies disappointment, things not working out our way, and unfavorable (if not humiliating) outcomes.

Failure and the bottom line

The thing with failure is: it’s results based.

A lot of the time we view any outcome that doesn’t meet our expectations to be a failure. And we forget the experience itself. By focusing on the outcome, we ignore the most important part—the experience that got us to that outcome.

The journey itself is where all the lessons and growth lie. The end result is the icing on the cake. So it shouldn’t matter as much.

Even if we view an entire experience as a failure, we can’t know for sure what’s going to come next. And the failure might turn into a stepping-stone for another, more rewarding experience.

The harsh critic

It’s easier for us to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. Our view of reality when it comes to ourselves is more distorted. We don’t like what we perceive as our failures, probably more than any other person.

The harsh critic within thrives on failure. It feeds and dwells on our mistakes or absence of success.

Blurring the line

With time, we become our mistakes and failures. We don’t fail. We are a failure and that’s where we trap ourselves.

If we think we’re a failure, we’re going to attract and create what supports our thoughts. We always find what we’re looking for. And we keep feeding the self-made failure monster.

You are not your mistakes or the success you achieve. The end result is just an outcome. It shouldn’t take away from the richness (pleasant or unpleasant) of the experience.

Self-reflection

If you feel that you’ve had a lot of failure in your life, reflect on the following questions. You’ll realize that you’re more successful than you thought.

Are you still alive? If you are, then you are not a failure. You’re succeeding at the biggest game by breathing and being here.

Did you learn to walk? Type? Read? Communicate? You have succeeded at very important skills that help you tremendously every day of your life.

Did you smile? Laughed hard, from the belly? Offered or received an act of kindness? You have changed the energy of the world to the better with your acts.

Did you (or still do) take care of yourself? Cared for family, a plant/garden or pet? You are nourishing life with every act and if that’s not success, what is?

Have you ever paid for a cup of coffee or a meal or a service? Have you received any compensation for any work you’ve done? You moved the economy along in more ways than you realize.

Have you ever loved or been loved—even if it didn’t last? You have changed the chemistry and the heart of life.

Did you forgive anyone for his/her mistakes or failures? You have helped heal the world.

These are just a few questions to remind you of how rich your life is. You’ve had a lot of successful experiences. You just don’t think about them because most of the times we take these things for granted.

Exercising your imagination

If you still view your life as one of failure, take a few moments and do this exercise.

Close your eyes and imagine that you are out of your body. You’re sitting on a cloud but can still see your body perfectly. Imagine now the body going through the experiences that you determined were a failure. Observe without judgment. What would you see?

Did this person do the best they can at that point? Did they mean well? Did they do it with an open heart?

Send love and compassion to your physical body. Do you see the person as a human being going through a journey the best they know how? Or do you still think they’re failing?

After questioning and reviewing your experiences, you should be able to open up to the possibility that what you perceive as failure may not be that bad after all.

Moving forward

We all make mistakes or fail to get the results we want sometimes. It doesn’t matter. We can always pick ourselves up and start again.

To move forward you need to do one simple thing: start moving. Just take one step in the direction that serves you best.

Zoom in – Determine the area of your life where you want to move forward—a relationship, career, health, finances, where you live … etc.

View – Spend a few minutes (or more) visualizing and thinking about what would it take for you to get started.

Act – Take the first step. If it’s too daunting, split it into smaller parts and do one of the parts. Once done, move on to the next step.

A couple of examples:

A new relationship: If you want to pursue a new relationship, join a dating site as a first step. Next, work on your profile, third take a picture & upload it, fourth look around for people who might be of interest to you.

Finances: If you want to work on your finances, determine the most important bills you need to take care of right now. If you have many, just pick one. Can you pay it? If not, can you call and arrange for a payment plan? If not, look at the next bill and do the same. If there are so many and it’s a mess, look for a financial adviser and book an appointment.

You get the picture. One tiny step then the next one and the one after. It’s a slow process and you may feel discouraged if you don’t get results right away.

But no matter how small the steps are you’re moving forward.

A couple of articles from the archives that I hope can assist in moving forward and taking action:

  • Finding Peace in Failure: A Simple Approach to Moving Forward
  • The Next Thing: A Simple Approach to Action and Getting Things Done

If you try the above and you still feel stuck, look within for any other fears (other than failure) lingering in the background.

Failure is not as bad as we’re conditioned to believe. It’s part of a life well lived—a journey of ups and downs and everything in between.

I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom about failure from people we respect and admire.

“My reputation grows with every failure.” ~George Bernard Shaw

“There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.” ~ Kin Hubbard

“Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” ~John Wooden

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” ~Michael Jordan

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” ~Zig Ziglar

“I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.” ~Oprah Winfrey

March 25, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in Inspirational.
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Many people consider themselves to be Christians. Why not? We enjoy a rich Christian heritage. But suppose you conducted an informal opinion poll near where you live, and asked ten people to explain what it takes to make someone a real Christian. Most likely, you would get ten different answers!

 Most people are as confused about this crucial issue.

   God wants each of us to know where we stand in His eyes. That’s why it isn’t mere chance that you have visited this page.

   Ask yourself, “Am I a real Christian?” You can know for sure!

What Is a Real Christian?

   Maybe you were raised in a Catholic or Protestant home. Or maybe you were brought up in some other religion. And you tell yourself, “Well, I think I’m all right. Don’t worry about me.” No matter what your background, I encourage you to take an honest look—beyond the myths—about what makes someone a Christian.

   To begin, let’s explore what you think makes a real Christian. Below are some common ideas about that.

  • Being born in a Christian nation

Myth #1

Being Born in a Christian Nation Makes You a Christian

 

I’ve met people who have told me, “I was born in Christian nation, so of course I am a Christian. What do you take me to be, a heathen?” The truth is that they could be a lot of things.

Others have said: “I’ve been a Christian all my life; I was born in a Christian home” or “in the church.” But since when does where you’re born determine what you are? As one of my friends quipped, someone may be born in a stable, but that doesn’t make him a horse. Nor does being born in an airport make someone an airplane.

Be thankful for where you were born and for the family and church in which you were reared. But don’t assume that automatically makes you a Christian. God has no grandchildren.

 

  • Thinking positively

Myth #2
Thinking Positively Makes You a Christian

Some people also think that if you give a hearty handshake, pat others on the back, smile, and ask, “How are you doing?” that you’re somehow a Christian.

Now, normally a Christian is cheerful and excited about life and genuinely cares about others. A Christian also understands that he or she is valuable in God’s eyes because He made us and loves us deeply.

But you could develop a certain sense of well-being and self-worth apart from knowing what God’s Word, the Bible, teaches us about thinking right in an unright world. So thinking positively about life in general and about yourself in particular doesn’t automatically make you a Christian.

 

  • Living a good life

Myth #3
Living a Good Life Makes You a Christian

And, then, living a clean and moral life doesn’t make anyone a Christian. Many atheists live a decent, straight life. Anyway, how good is “good”? That is the real issue. Most people have a warped idea of the true standard against which our goodness should be measured.

Compared to a mass murderer, you may feel that you’re ready for sainthood. Even compared with your family and friends, you may come out okay.

But God’s standard of goodness is very different. He puts you up against His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived an absolutely perfect life here on earth. Compared with this level of perfection, our own goodness looks pretty shabby.

Remember, the world has always had plenty of “good” people. So if goodness were enough, God need not have sent Jesus. The fact that Jesus had to come to die on the cross to make our forgiveness possible shows that goodness doesn’t make someone a Christian.

 

  • Going to church

Myth #4
Going to Church Makes You a Christian

Last Sunday four out of ten Americans went to church. But does that mean that all these people are Christians? of course not. Even some thieves go to church. Some people go to church because it’s a social habit. Others attend because their family makes them go. At the encouragement of a minister, they may even go to special classes for confirmation or membership.

It is true that Christians go to church and take an active part in church life. But attending church doesn’t make you a Christian.

 

  • Giving to others

Myth #5
Giving to Others Makes You a Christian

Many of us were taught since childhood to give a portion of our income to charity or to the church. Whether rich or poor, we feel it’s our “Christian” duty.

Even Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, says he feels a “duty to do something” so that “in some way I can make life a little less stinking for some people.” So he donates part of his wealth to worthy causes. And that’s commendable. But that’s not what makes somebody a Christian.

Yes, Christians give to others. More than anyone else, they help the needy and less fortunate. But you can give away everything you own and still not be a Christian.

 

  • Receiving a sacrament

Myth #6
Receiving a Sacrament Makes You a Christian

Maybe you were baptized as a child or young adult. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a Christian. Many violent inmates in penitentiaries were baptized years ago. But few people would consider these inmates Christians.

Or maybe you take Communion every Sunday. If you’re a Christian, that’s great. But I’ve had someone tell me, “I’m confused. I take Communion every week, but I don’t know what it means to be a Christian.”

You see, both baptism and Communion are biblical. God commands Christians to observe these ordinances. But receiving either one won’t make you a Christian.

 

  • Believing in God

Myth #7
Believing in God Makes You a Christian

Eight out of ten people in America say they believe God exists. But are they all Christians? Colonel James Irwin, remembered for his Apollo 15 moon mission, said that while he was in the Middle East, a Muslim leader said to him, “You talk about God so much–why aren’t you a Muslim?”

Do you see my point? If you can be a Muslim and believe in God, then it is not “believing in God” that makes you a Christian.

I have a good friend who believes in exercise. But he never does any. He is forty-five pounds overweight and hopelessly out of shape. I know countless small boys who believe in soap. But they are not a shade cleaner in spite of their belief. Belief, on its own, makes no difference. That is why belief, by itself, doesn’t make someone a Christian.

 

  • Talking about Jesus Christ

Myth #8
Talking about Jesus Christ Makes You a Christian

Many people talk about Jesus Christ and even speak well of Him. They may be teachers, ministers, church leaders, or “just plain folk.” But they may not even believe that the Bible’s message about Jesus is true.

Some actually have a distorted view of Jesus that fits their own way of thinking, rather than seeing the Jesus of history and the Bible. And that disqualifies them from calling themselves real Christians.

 

  • Praying

Myth #9
Praying Makes You a Christian

Certainly Christians pray. But someone can pray and still not be a Christian. Hindus pray all the time. Muslims pray five times a day.

When traveling abroad, the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat carried a little prayer rug on which to kneel five times daily. But he was a Muslim, not a Christian. So praying in itself doesn’t make someone a Christian.

 

  • Reading the Bible

Myth #10
Reading the Bible Makes You a Christian

Of course Christians love the Bible. Some of us read it daily. But just reading the Bible doesn’t mean you are a Christian.

When Karl Marx was seventeen years old, he wrote a fantastic explanation of part of John’s Gospel in the New Testament portion of the Bible. Great theologians agree with much of what he said. But Karl Marx eventually rejected the Bible’s authority, and during his adult life he called himself an atheist, a communist–anything but a Christian.

Nikita Khrushchev, the former premier of the USSR, read the Bible when he was a boy. Yet later he made it his ambition to bury the church in the Soviet Union by 1965. Instead, he is buried, and the Russian church continues to grow.

Read the Bible all you can. It explains how to settle this issue once and for all. Since it’s God’s Word, not man’s, we can trust it completely. But remember, just reading the Bible won’t make you a Christian.

 

What Makes You a Real Christian?

You can’t be born a Christian, and if thinking positively, living morally, going to church, giving to others, receiving a sacrament, believing in God, talking about Jesus, praying, and reading the Bible doesn’t make you a Christian, then what does? What is a real Christian?”

   Let me mention three basic principles from God’s Word that describe a real Christian. Then I’ll explain how today you can become a real Christian.

 



 

First of all, the Bible says that a Christian is someone who has found the way of life rather than the way of death. That way to life is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

   Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Notice that Jesus does not say he will show you the way. He says, “I am the way!”

   Jesus also spoke of a narrow road and a wide road. Many walk on that wide road, which in the end is the way of death (see Matthew 7:13).

   Do you sometimes feel as though you are lost and don’t know where you are going? When you become a Christian, you have found the way of life.

   You ask, “What kind of way is this way of life?”

   It is the way of peace. God’s peace fills your heart when you walk in the way of Christ. Jesus said to His followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). God’s peace is a gift available to each of us.

   When you walk in the way of Christ, you experience an inner peace–tremendous quiet in your heart. The broken pieces in your life are put together again. Oh, the psychiatrist can analyze you. The psychologist can pinpoint some of the problems in your past. But only God can give you lasting peace.

   The way of life is also the way of purity. The Bible says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).

If you are fooling around with sin; if you are playing with immorality; if you are not being truthful in your business; if you are dishonest in your school, in your work, in your play, in your home–then you know nothing of the way of life.

   You may consider yourself a nice person, perhaps the life and soul of the party. But you are not a Christian, because the way of Christ is the way of purity.

   When you come to Christ, He forgives your sins and purifies your heart. That doesn’t mean you suddenly become holier than everyone else. On the contrary, you become more conscious of your shortcomings. But God gives you the power to live a righteous life.

   The way of life in Christ is also the way of love. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” Jesus said (John 13:35). The Bible adds, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers” (1 John 3:14).

   Today, the word love has been robbed of meaning. It’s used to describe a person exploiting the emotions of another for his own satisfaction and selfishness. But that is not love. True love wants the very best for someone no matter what it may cost us.

   The way of life is also the way of obedience. The way of the Christian is to serve only one master–Jesus. The Bible describes Him as “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). The Christian lives as though this is true. Jesus becomes your Lord, your Master, your King. What He says goes.

   The servant of a king waits for the slightest hint of a command, then rushes to obey. A soldier following the leadership of a great commander willingly obeys every order.

   Similarly, real Christians give God complete authority over their lives. We will go wherever He wants us to go, do whatever He wants us to do. And we do not care what it may cost in terms of comfort or reputation.

   Jesus has every right to rule like that. Remember, He is not supreme because He inherited authority from His ancestors like an earthly king or lord. Nor does He rule like a corrupt military dictator, by using great power to destroy.

   Jesus is Lord and King because He made us, He gave His life for us and our sins, and He always does what is best for us.

 


 

Second, a Christian is someone who enjoys eternal life. He has a more full and complete life. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

   Life with Christ was not only God’s original design for us; it is the way He intends for us to live today. That is what makes life with Christ abundant.

   And eternal life never ends. It goes beyond physical death–forever and ever.

   Do you have eternal life? You may say, “Well, I’m not sure.”

   If I asked if you were married, would you say, “I think so”? Or suppose I asked if you are pregnant. Would you say, “A little bit”? Of course not! These are things you can be absolutely sure about.

   Do you know that you have eternal life? If you’re already a Christian, you know it. Jesus said concerning those who follow him in faith: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). Do you have that triple security?

   First He says, “I give them eternal life.”

   Second He says, “They shall never perish.”

   Third, “No one can snatch them out of My hand.”

   What more could you want? A Christian is someone who discovers these three things to be true.

   The Bible also says, “He who has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12). In other words, eternal life is Christ in your heart. Can you say, “Yes, I know I have eternal life. I can remember when Christ came into my heart”?

 


 

Furthermore, a Christian is someone who has been born into God’s family and therefore has become one of God’s children. You say, “I thought everyone was a child of God. Isn’t God the Father of all mankind?”

   According to the Bible, God is the Creator of all people but not the Father of all people. Many people don’t even want him to be their Father.

   You become a member of God’s family by being born into it. The Lord Jesus said, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). What does that mean?

   When you and I were born into the human family, we had no choice about the matter. That’s physical birth.

   But to become a child of the heavenly Father, you must have a spiritual birth. This happens when we repent of our sins and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

   Every year we celebrate our physical birth with parties and gifts. But do you remember your second birth? If not, you must make a decision. Do you want to become a part of God’s family by receiving Christ? The Bible says, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

 

“But My Life Is So Bad!”

A few years ago, while visiting a South American country, a World-renowned Christian missionary spoke privately with the president of that country, a military man. “Mr. President,” he asked, “do you know Jesus Christ?”

   The president smiled and said, “I’ve led such a hard life that I don’t think God wants to know me very much.”

   “Mr. President, no matter what you’ve done, Christ died on the cross for you, and He loves you. If you want to know Him, you can meet Him right now.”

   As they continued to talk, the missionary explained what Christ had done on the cross, how He died to receive the punishment that should be ours for the wrong we have done. He continued, “Sir, would you like to receive Christ now?”

   The President paused and quite seriously said, “If Christ will receive me, I want to become a real Christian.”

   Right then they bowed their heads and prayed together. This general opened his heart to the Son of God and received Christ into his life.

   He thought God would never receive him because of his past. But when they finished praying, he stood and in typical Latin fashion gave the missionary a tremendous hug. “Thank you,” he said. “Now I know that Christ has really received me and forgiven me.”

What About You?

Have you decided to trust Christ yet? Would you like to know that you have eternal life? Would you like to start walking in the way of Jesus Christ, knowing that you are a child of God and that you are going to heaven?

   Let me tell you how you can become a real Christian–right now, before you finish reading this page.

 

Joining God’s Family

You must admit...

First, the Bible teaches that you must admit that your sins have separated you from God. That’s what I liked about that South American president. He readily admitted he was a sinner. In fact, he was so convinced of the evil and rebellion in his life that he felt God would never receive him.

   Have you ever owned up to God about those things in your life that hurt Him–selfishness, pride, greed, immorality, and all the rest? Have you ever admitted that you’ve been walking in the way of death? You see, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

   The Bible also says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That includes you and me. Is it time to own up to God and to receive the forgiveness that He wants to give you?

You must believe...

   Second, you must believe what Christ has done for you on the cross. The Bible says, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

   When Jesus died on the cross, He conquered death so that each of us may be forgiven. We deserve to be punished for the wrong we have done in God’s eyes. But God sent His Son to receive our punishment in His body on the cross (see 1 Peter 2:24).

   It is like a judge finding a prisoner guilty, taking the prisoner’s place, and receiving the sentence himself. What magnificent love!

 

“But I Don’t Understand!”

You may not completely understand how God places the penalty for your sin on His Son. But you do not need to understand everything all at once. God only asks you to believe.

   I have been told that no one totally understands electricity. Scientists talk about it as a fundamental element of all matter. They can create electrical charges and harness electricity. But as a Stanford University scientist once told me, “Electricity in its essence is quite unexplainable.”

   When you become a real Christian, you may not understand it all at the beginning. But as you read the Bible and allow God to teach you, your understanding will grow.

You must confess...

   The final step you must take is to confess Jesus Christ as your Lord. You cannot inherit faith. It’s not enough to say, “My father was a fine Christian, and I was brought up in a fine Christian home.” That will not make you one of God’s children.

   Experience Christ for yourself! All of us who belong to Christ had to come for ourselves. Have you come to Him yet? Have you ever made that decision?

   You ask, “How?” The Bible says: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

   The best way I know to make Jesus the Lord of your life is to simply bow your head in prayer, confess your sins to God, by faith open your heart to Christ, believe in Him, and receive Him.

   If that’s your decision, then tell God now–silently if you wish–right where you are. You may wish to use this prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I want to be a real Christian. I realize that my sins have separated me from You. Please forgive me. I believe in what Christ did for me on the cross. I don’t completely understand it, but I accept it by faith. I do want to be a child of Yours. Please come into my life, Lord Jesus, and make me Your child right now. I’ll follow You and obey You forever. Amen.”

 

After You Become a Real Christian

Have you decided to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior? If so, you’ve made the most important decision of your life!

   You now belong to God’s family, and of course you will want to get to know God better. The best way is to read His Word. I suggest you begin with Luke’s Gospel in the New Testament. Remember that God speaks to us through the Bible. So as you read, look for examples to follow or instructions to obey.

   Saturate yourself with the Bible. Your thoughts and emotions will begin to change as you read the Word of God daily.

   Second, meet with other Christians. Find a church that believes the Bible, honors Christ, and teaches what a real Christian is. Go to church and talk to the minister. Say, “I received Christ,” and see what happens. If the minister doesn’t seem interested in helping you grow spiritually, then find some church that can help you.

   Third, begin to pray. You talked to the Lord just now. He answered your prayer. He loves you; He’s your Father. Since communication is the key to any relationship, your relationship with God can grow only as you talk to Him in prayer.

   If you have truly asked the Lord Jesus to become your Savior, you have taken the most important step in your life. You’ve begun an exciting journey that only gets better!

   And now, as a fellow Christian, I want to be the first to say, “Welcome to God’s family!”

Job 4-14 some wisdom and comfort ? March 18, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in Inspirational.
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Job 4-14

 

            After Job’s terrible lament in chapter three, his friends propose to speak and offer their wisdom and comfort to their suffering friend. It is important to realize that their theology is very conventional and fits in line with God’s statements in Deuteronomy 28. In that chapter, God promises blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. These three friends have experienced and observed that truth over the years and have made an understandable, but unwarranted, leap to a conclusion: blessing is a mark of God’s acceptance while suffering is an indication of God’s judgment.

That attitude is still heard today in several ways. We assume that people who live in harmony with God’s will should not suffer. Often, great catastrophe is associated with judgment for sin. Many religious leaders were quick to label the 2001 terrorist attacks as a deserved judgment on the U.S. for its cultural depravity. However, God did not promise blessings and/or curses on the U.S. and its people.

Job’s friends take turns speaking their minds. Job is quite free to respond to them. In the first speech cycle, Eliphaz’ words are answered by Job in about the same length. When Bildad takes up the task, he has less to say-but Job has more to say! When Zophar speaks, he has less yet to say-but Job is even wordier! Clearly, Job is ready to pour out his heart in rebuttal to the conventional ideas his friends offer.

 

Eliphaz speaks:

Eliphaz’ first speech is a rather gentle summary of the conventional position on suffering and difficulty. He chides Job for being unable to endure the pain he’s counseled others about. He restates his basic idea that only the wicked are punished (4:7-9), subtly indicting Job as an evildoer. He urges Job to swallow his pride and submit to God, asking for forgiveness (5:8). He finishes with a persuasive argument: once you do that, God in His gracious kindness will restore you to wealth and happiness (5:17-27). To that point, Eliphaz is speaking out of a short-sighted, but understandable, misinterpretation. But when he suggested that God would restore Job’s fortunes, he actually took the side of the devil. He implied that the only reason for serving God is for personal gain. Job responded without altering his insistence on his innocence.

 

Job replies:

Job’s reply continues his lament. He would prefer to die since he would at least have the satisfaction of knowing that he had never turned his back on God (6:8-10). He declared that there was no future for him (6:13). He also spent a good amount of time complaining that his friends were of no comfort at all! Job maintained his innocence and declared that he had done nothing to deserve this suffering (6:28-30). Then Job asks a question that is painful to hear, but brutal in its honesty: Why does God care about what a man does? Job asks why God makes so much of man, testing him and tormenting him. For that matter, why does God care about the man’s sin? How does a man’s sin hurt God (when it seems self-evident that sin rebounds to wound the sinner)? He finishes by addressing his question directly to God (7:17-20).

Bildad speaks:

Bildad took up where Eliphaz left off. While Eliphaz had been somewhat gentle and oblique in his indictment of Job, Bildad declared plainly that Job’s children got what they deserved (8:3-4). He declared that all received wisdom aims in the same direction. All the ancients understood exactly why these things happen, and Job must be in the same situation. He flatly stated that God does not reject the innocent (8:20), implying that Job must be guilty. He also implies that service to God is only for the reward of such a life (8:21-22).

 

Job replies:

Job began his rebuttal to Bildad by stating the obvious: nobody can argue with God (9:3). Even if God should favor Job with an appearance, Job is convinced he would be destroyed in an instant (9:16-19). Then Job makes an astonishing statement that must have left his hearers gasping: God is responsible for evil (9:22-24). He goes even further to ask the follow-up question: if it is not God who is responsible, who is? He acknowledged God’s omnipotence, but that opens a whole new set of problems. Now God is the cause of Job’s suffering.

Job then makes another penetrating insight into the spiritual problem facing humanity. We need an arbitrator who will work out our conflict with God (9:32-35). In this, he anticipates Jesus, who serves in precisely that function. Job pressed on by boldly declaring that he was not afraid to speak plainly to God (10:1-3). He wailed against God and pleaded for a few good days before death (10:20-22).

 

Zophar speaks:

Zophar’s speech is the shortest of the three friends. It is also the harshest. Job seems to have offended him in his earlier replies and now Zophar must speak out to defend God against Job! He stated to the group that somebody has to respond to what Job has suggested (11:1-3). Then he made an amazing assertion: Job is such an incorrigible sinner that God has forgotten some of his sins! (11:6) Then he made the same mistake the other two did: he urged Job to repent so that God would grant him a good life (11:13-15). Again, this takes the same position that Satan took before the throne of God, asserting that Job only served God for the material rewards it returned to him.

 

Job replies:

Finally, Job begins to turn his attention directly toward his “comforters.” Zophar seems to have struck a nerve with Job. He began by pointing out that those without pain certainly seem to have all the answers (12:1-5). He continued by pointing out that God has greater wisdom than all the ancients and He does exactly as He pleases. Job showed that he knew full well that God had power over all (13:1-2).

Job asked whether his friends would serve as God’s advocates (13:8). That would imply that they knew all the facts and were well acquainted with all truth and knowledge. Job then made a simple, but wrenching demand: he wanted God to tell him plainly where he had sinned (13:23). If it is in Job’s life, he can’t find it. Job finished his rebuttal of Zophar by declaring that life is short (14:5-6) and he would rather be dead and awaiting the judgment of God (14:11-15). His final words turn the indictment back upon his friends. They have offered him no comfort or peace at all.

 

Purpose of the Commandments March 11, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in Inspirational.
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Exodus 20

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

In our last two lessons we saw how God descended on Mount Sinai in fire, thunder and lightning to deliver His ten holy commandments to the tribes of Israel. In the first commandment God said to them: You shall have no other gods before me. In the second: You shall not make for yourself an idol. Third: You shall not use the name of the Lord your God in vain. Fourth: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Fifth: Honor your father and your mother. Sixth: You shall not murder. Seventh: You shall not commit adultery. Eighth: You shall not steal. Ninth: You shall not lie. Tenth: You shall not covet the things of your neighbor.

These are the Ten Commandments which God sent down to Moses and to the Israelites. God laid on them a heavy burden, saying to them: Whoever can perfectly keep everything that the Ten Commandments demand, is worthy to live with Me forever. However, whoever keeps the whole law but fails in just one point is guilty of breaking all of it, and will be separated from Me forever!

That was the way of holiness God delivered to the tribes of Israel on Mount Sinai. God commanded that they obey Him in everything! Yes, everything! Are sinners able to keep all of God’s commandments? No, they are not! Nevertheless, that is exactly what God, the Holy One, requires! Therefore, the big question before us today is this: Why did God give His Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, when He knew that no one could keep them perfectly? Why did God place such a heavy burden on Adam’s descendants?

We have already seen how the children of Israel said, “We will do everything the Lord has said!” However, God knew that they could not do all that He required. The Israelites did not realize that they lacked the strength to fulfil the will of God perfectly. They did not recognize just how far they were from God and His great glory. That is precisely why God gave the Israelites ten perfect commandments, saying to them: Keep them all, if you can! But whoever fails in even one point will be separated from Me forever!

God intended, through those burdensome commandments, to reveal to the tribes of Israel their lack of ability to please Him. God knew that the children of Israel could not follow all His commandments, but they themselves had not yet discerned this. The Israelites were like religious people of our day, who wrongly think that God simply wants us to try to do good and on Judgment Day, if our “good works” outweigh our “bad works,” then God will say to us, “Come, and dwell in My presence forever!” However, those who think this are mistaken and do not know the Scriptures or the holiness of God. God is perfect, and cannot overlook even one sin!

By way of illustration, how many sins did our ancestor Adam have to commit before God expelled him from the Garden of Paradise? Ten sins? Or one hundred? Perhaps a thousand? No! Just one sin and Adam had to get out!

One sin and Adam was no longer perfect before God!

One sin and he could no longer approach God!

One sin and he had to die!

One sin and he earned for himself a place in the eternal fire!

Yes, God is holy and does not take sin lightly! That is why He told the children of Israel: “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (Jam. 2:10)

Therefore, if this is what the holiness of God is like, what we want to know is: Why did God give the Ten Commandments to the Israelites when He knew that no one could keep them perfectly? Listen to God’s answer: “No one will be declared righteous in [God’s] sight by observing the law; rather, [the purpose of the commandments is to reveal sin!]” (Rom. 3:20) So what is the purpose of the Ten Commandments? To remove sin? “No,” God says, “the purpose of the commandments is to reveal sin!” {or as NIV translates it: to make us “conscious of sin.”}

Did you get that? Why did God give His ten holy commandments to Moses and the children of Israel? Did He give them those commands so that by keeping them they could earn the right to enter Paradise? No! That cannot be because God says, “If you fail to keep all, you are condemned!” Can the children of Adam perfectly obey God in all that He has commanded? Can one draw pure, clean water from a dirty, polluted water pot? Impossible!

What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments? The Scripture says: “The purpose of the commandments is to reveal sin!” God did not give the commandments to save us from His judgment. God gave them to show us that we are condemned sinners and that we need a Savior! Is this clear in your mind?

The Ten Commandments are somewhat like an X-ray machine at the hospital. If I am sick and I do not know what is wrong with me, perhaps the doctor will examine me by taking some X-rays. What is the purpose of an X-ray photo? It has just one purpose: to reveal what is wrong inside my body. In a similar way, the holy commandments which God entrusted to Moses are like the hospital’s X-ray machine. Their purpose is to reveal what is wrong–the sin that is in my heart and soul. How can the Ten Commandments reveal the sin that is in me? They reveal my sin in this way: If I compare my conduct with God’s holy law, I will see how far I am from God–in my thoughts, my words and my deeds. When I look at God’s law and then I look at myself, I know that I have sinned against God and sinned against man and that I cannot be admitted into the pure and uncontaminated presence of a holy God!

Just as the hospital X-ray machine is useful for showing what is not right in a person’s body, so the Ten Commandments are useful for showing what is not right in a person’s heart. And just as the X-ray cannot cure the one who is sick, likewise the Ten Commandments cannot cure my heart which is full of sin. In order for that to happen, I must go back to the Great Physician, that is, to God. Only God has a plan to save me from the death and condemnation that await me due to the sin that is inside me.

Perhaps someone says, “Wait a minute, my friend! I’m a good person! I am not like others who steal, cheat, and commit adultery!” If that is your attitude, clearly you have not yet fathomed God’s holiness! What you need to know is that, on the Day of Judgment, God will not compare you with your sinful neighbor. He will compare you with His holy and perfect law, which states: “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it!” (Jam. 2:10) The God who says: “You shall not commit adultery” also says, “You shall not lie!” Thus, if you have not committed adultery, but have told just one lie, then you have transgressed the whole law (see James 2:11) and cannot enter the presence of God in Paradise, because the Scripture says: Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful.” (Rev. 21:27) What is certain is that we can never please God through our own efforts! That is what the Word of God declares when it says:

 

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isa. 64:6) “God condemns all as sinners. There is no one righteous, not even one. All have turned away. There is no one who does good, not even one. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!” (Rom. 3:19,10,12,22,23)

 

Now then, if that is what we are like before the One who must judge us, how can we escape His punishment? What must we do to be saved? Are we without hope? Based on our own efforts we have no hope. But thanks be to God, He has designed a plan to rescue the children of Adam from the punishment of sin!

Let us now continue in the Torah, in the book of Exodus, chapter twenty, and see the way God provided for the children of Israel to deliver them from the curse which His holy law brought upon them. After God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, the Scripture says:

 

(Exod. 20) 18When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance… 21while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. 22Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven… 24[Therefore,] make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.”

 

Thus, Moses wrote in a book everything that God instructed him. Then early in the morning Moses arose, made an altar at the base of Mount Sinai as God had commanded. When Moses finished making it, he ordered some young men to sacrifice some bulls, collect the blood in bowls, and burn the flesh on the altar. Then Moses took the blood of the bulls and sprinkled it on the altar, on the book in which he had written the Ten Commandments, and on all the crowd, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.” (Exod. 24:4-7)

Thus we see Moses, at the commandment of God, making an altar, sacrificing some animals, and sprinkling the blood upon the whole multitude of Israel. What was the reason for all of this? God wanted to remind the Israelites of what He had taught their ancestors Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” (Heb. 9:22) Everyone who wished to approach God had to approach Him in the perfection of a spotless sacrifice.

Why did God command those animal sacrifices? God commanded them because He is righteous, and His holy law states that the penalty of even the “smallest” of sins is death and eternal condemnation, far from God and His great glory. And since the children of Israel could not keep all His holy commandments, they had to bring to God a sacrifice without blemish, so that the innocent victim could replace the one who was guilty. However, as we have already learned, animal sacrifices could not remove sin, they could only cover man’s sin, until God sent the holy Redeemer into the world. The Redeemer would willingly offer Himself as the final Sacrifice for sin.

How glad we are today to know that this Savior has come and has paid for our sins once for all. Do you know His name? Yes, it Jesus. The name Jesus means the Lord saves. Jesus had no earthly father. He came from heaven. He did not inherit the sin nature found in all of Adam’s descendants. Jesus perfectly obeyed the Ten Commandments and fulfilled all of God’s righteous requirements. Because He was without sin, He was qualified to give His life as a sacrifice which takes away the sin of all who believe in Him. Based on the Redeemer’s perfect sacrifice, God can declare you and I as righteous, because the One who had no sin, suffered the penalty for your sin and mine.

Dear friends, based on what we have studied today, let us remember two very important thoughts.

1.) First, know for sure that no one can save themselves by keeping the Ten Commandments! Listen again to what the Scripture says about this: “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law!'” (Gal. 3:10) “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (Jam. 2:10) No one will be saved by trying to keep the Ten Commandments! The purpose of the commandments is to reveal sin.

2.) The second thought that we must keep in our minds is that God alone has a plan to save sinners! Listen to what the Scripture says: “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all!” (1 Tim. 2:5,6) Truly, only God has a plan to save sinners.

And so, listening friends, we leave you with these two thoughts: No one will be saved by trying to keep the Ten Commandments! And: God alone has a plan to save sinners!

Thank you for listening.…

May God bless you and give you insight into what we have studied today, for His Word says:

 

“No one will be declared righteous in [God’s] sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin!” (Rom. 3:20)

History Repeats Itself March 1, 2013

Posted by frewon9 in Inspirational.
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Forgotten lessons

That is usually the way it is when history repeats itself—the second time around is far worse than the first time. But WHY does this redundant cycle of devastation happen? What is the cause of such calamity?

After WWI, socialism swept across Europe, particularly in Germany. This led to anarchy and economic hardship—setting the stage for a leader to come along promising a better way of life and solutions to the intractable problems facing the population of that country. Enter Adolf Hitler and his diabolical Nazi party:

Though some thought Hitler half–mad, many were convinced by what he said. He gradually rose to power, aided by the Great Depression that had left millions of Germans unemployed. Once Chancellor of Germany, Hitler went about creating a one–party state of which he was dictator. Rule was maintained through a secret police, the Gestapo. Having brought economic recovery to the country, Hitler then pursued his foreign policy to unite all Germans in a greater single Germany, to destroy Communism and to conquer and colonize Eastern Europe, establishing a ‘thousand–year Reich’ (Speeches That Changed the World. Smith–Davies Publishing, Ltd, London, 2005, page 80).

Der Führer, as he was called, gradually rose to power and prominence and seemed to be just what Germany needed to save it from the perils it was floundering in. The economic collapse of the 1930s gave Hitler the pretext he needed to institute Nazi rule and restore German dominance. In the course of time, it only led to their utter defeat, leaving them to deal with the rampant ravages of war for decades. But why did this orgy of death and mayhem happen in the first place? Because the lessons of history were quickly forgotten.

Instead of taking measures to prevent the rise of the Third Reich to such powerful heights, allowing it to threaten the rest of the world, leaders of that day chose to appease Hitler, turn a deaf ear to the reality at hand and ignore the mistakes of the past that had given rise to World War I. Hence World War II became history repeated!

History repeating itself again?

We are seeing some of the same economic problems threatening to once again engulf the European continent, and there are reports that Nazi groups, or national socialists, are on the move again in Germany, albeit in a relatively small way for now. And as in the past, leaders are not sounding the alarm. No one seems to have the slightest inclination to address the rise of this potential Frankenstein monster.

History IS starting to repeat itself again in that part of the world. General Douglas MacArthur said this about the historical cycle of wars:

Men since the beginning of time have sought peace….Military alliances, balances of powers, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.

As time goes by and a new generation replaces the old, memories and concerns about past mistakes start to fade and lessons learned seem less and less important. That was then, this is now, is the rationale. That was so long ago and so far away, they say. Such disasters could never happen today, they argue. In fact some even try to revise history and claim certain events never actually occurred at all. They make such claims about the Jewish holocaust, calling it nothing more than a myth and Zionist propaganda.

However, there is undeniable proof that the holocaust perpetrated by Hitler’s killing machine did indeed occur. Eyewitness accounts, newsreels, photos and former prisoners who still live today give unshakable evidence that the holocaust death camps did exist. And some are left intact to this very day as sad, silent edifices of the unfathomable evil carried out within their guard towers and barbed wire fences. As a case in point, Auschwitz still stands as stark testimony to those monstrous crimes against humanity.

Another era, another depression

For many years we have been told by leading politicians and economists that the Great Depression could never happen again. Supposedly, solid safeguards were built into our economic system to prevent the repeat of such a financial disaster. And then along came the great recession of two years ago! Experts are now telling us that we were right on the edge of the precipice and came ever so close to plunging over the edge into a depression—of international scope—worse than the first one. We are being warned that we are not on solid financial footing yet. Some are saying that a double–dip recession is definitely in our future if drastic action isn’t taken and soon.

The Wall Street Journal featured this blaring headline in its weekend edition of May 29–30, 2010 “Dow’s Worst May Since ’40”. The article went on to explain that, “Stocks End Month Down 7.92% as Europe Crisis, Flash Crash Unsettle Investors….Between the ‘Flash Crash’ and angst over the worsening crisis in Europe, stocks suffered a dismal May, posting their worst decline for the month since Franklin Roosevelt was in the White House.”

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong included some very interesting information about economic depression in his Autobiography, Volume I. On pages 235–236, he referred to a speech given by the well–known statistician Mr. Roger Babson, at the Association of Commerce luncheon in the Morrison Hotel in Chicago:

“Well, gentlemen,” he said, “you will remember that a year ago I warned you that within one year we would be in the throes of the worst depression our generation has ever seen. I noticed many of you smiling unbelievingly then. Well, that year has rolled around, and here I am again, and here is the depression with me.

“I looked at the way people as a whole were dealing with one another. I looked to the source which determines future conditions. I have found that source may be defined in terms of ‘righteousness’. When 51% or more of the whole people are reasonably ‘righteous’ in their dealings with one another, we are heading into increasing prosperity. When 51% of the people become ‘unrighteous’ in their business dealings with their fellows, then we are headed for bad times economically!”

When Mr. Babson’s “source” principle is applied to the way people deal with each other today, “righteousness” is very hard to find anywhere in the equation! Because of that, we may be past the point of no return in the global economy. The greatest depression ever to befall the international community is hovering in our future, and especially hard–hit will be the Western world. It looks like it is only a matter of time! We have not learned the lessons of history regarding fiscal restraint. Our leaders are not following the simple, mandatory principle of not spending money we do not have. They make monetary decisions on a regular basis that dig the deficit gorge deeper and deeper, second by second. When we reach critical mass, our countries will then tumble over the cliff and go crashing down into a financial abyss.

Superpowers can fail

Since mankind refuses to turn to God and obey what He says, He will not guide them. Therefore the same mistakes are repeated over and over again. Notice Romans 1:28: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (NKJV).

The mighty Roman Empire continued for over 500 years from 31 B.C. until it fell in 476 A.D. The superpower of the world in its day—militarily, economically and politically—it was a shining showplace of intellectual enlightenment, military might and economic prosperity. Rome was considered the “Eternal City” and led this powerful empire to new heights of grandeur and fame. It was unthinkable that the Roman Empire would ever fall—ever!

But it did fall in 476 A.D. Why and how did this happen and what does it mean for us today? Is history repeating itself with today’s world superpower, the mighty United States of America?

America is now in decline just as Rome was in its waning years. The core causes of the Roman Empire’s fall are the same core causes of America’s decline. Will we fall as Rome did? Will history repeat itself because we refuse to learn the lessons from the past and avoid making the same mistakes that brought about the collapse of that superpower? You can find out more about this critical subject by ordering our free CD package on the Modern Romans, offered on the back cover of this issue.

We are living in very sobering and serious times. It behooves all of us to remember the lessons of history and heed the warnings found in Biblical prophecy, which is actually news and history written in advance.

Jesus Christ plainly tells all who will heed the handwriting on the wall to do this: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:34–36).

Charles E. Bryce

exponential growth impossible January 29, 2013

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http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/04/economist-meets-physicist/

 

Exponential growth is often widely underestimated. Here are a few issues where many people make mistakes because they don’t understand the simple math of exponential growth.

  1. Economic Growth: When there are trade offs between efficiency and equality, many people today think that the taxes, regulation and redistribution are worth a slightly lower growth rate.  However, when this trade off is applied over a long time period, the results can be staggering. If the choice was made in 1870 to have more equality at a cost of 1 percentage point of growth a year, America in 1990 would be no richer than Mexico.
  2. Entitlement Spending and National Debt: As I have pointed out previously, the United States is headed for very high debt levels if entitlement spending is not reformed.  One very simple way to fix this is to index entitlement benefits to inflation and not income. The growth of the economy would make it easy to pay for a safety net at today’s living standards. Unfortunately, this would only work for Social Security and not Medicare as the medical system is structured in a way that leads to health care inflation greater than that of the real economy.  Additionally, there is another problem when the net national debt reaches 100% of GDP. If the market perception of the debt turns negative and nominal interest rates remain higher than nominal GDP growth, then there is no way for the economy to grow itself out of debt.  This is the current situation with Greece, and Japan isn’t doing too much better.
  3. Personal Finance and Pension Plans: If a prudent investor can make 10% real returns in a year, then they can turn 50 thousand dollars into over 1.6 million dollars after 35 years. This simple math explains how many of the rich people today consist of those who have saved and invested prudently. On the other hand, a supposedly fully funded pension fund planning on a world of 8% real returns that finds itself in a world of 4% real returns will find itself underfunded by over 75% 35 years later (In this case, the people making pension return assumptions are underestimating how much they matter, they just know that their books look better if they assume a higher return). Robin Hanson has been proposing that people don’t give to the future because they don’t care about it, but it may also be that they do not fully understand the impact of exponential growth*.
  4. Overpopulation and increasing Resource Consumption: Overpopulation does not seem to be the exponential problem that we once thought it was. Once become rich enough, their population growth rate slows down. The UK’s Ministry of Defense 2008 Strategic Trends report expects the population to level out at around 9 billion people between 2050 and 2100 (page 25).  While overpopulation is itself not a problem, the exponential economic growth of these emerging economies are coincident with an exponential increase in demand for resources and these limited resources present constraints on growth.

Having established that exponential growth rates are important, here is a handy rule of thumb that will give an intuitive understanding of exponential growth. To calculate the doubling time of an exponentially growing series, take 70 (or 69.3 to be exact) and divide it by the growth rate. This means that a 10% growth rate leads to a doubling every 7 years, a 7% growth rate is a doubling every 10 years and a 3.5% growth rate is a doubling every 20 years.

Periodictable of the Bible January 15, 2013

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http://visualunit.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/bible_table.jpg