Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

I have to admit I sometimes get my mind too much on the temporary things of this world. I wonder what might happen if our economy gets worse.  We are retired so I don’t have to worry if we’d get laid off, but I am concerned about our income. We’re on a fixed income and the future isn’t very bright right now.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of these posts by John MacArthur as he helps us see what is really important and why worry is not part of who we are as Christians.  I hope you read them and learn along with me.


You probably remember the “What Would Jesus Do?” trend from the late ’90s. It seemed everywhere you looked, plastered across T-shirts, hats, jewelry, and all kinds of other merchandise, the WWJD slogan was a blithe, shallow reminder to live up to Christ’s moral code..

Click on the link below to read the rest of this article.

What Did Jesus Say About Worry?.

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It’s that time of year again.  I’ve noticed lately that some people say, “happy turkey day!” instead of “happy thanksgiving!”  Have you noticed that?  At first I didn’t think too much about it and kind of thought it was cool, but then I gave it another thought.  Is thanksgiving just a time of getting together with friends and family and gorging ourselves with all the delicious goodies on the table until we feel more stuffed than the turkey?  After that we waddle off to the family room to watch football the rest of the day until our eye balls just about fall out of our heads?  Is that what it is about?  That must be “turkey day!”

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so Thanksgiving was more of a family gathering where we did enjoy all the wonderful food my mom and aunts prepared.  It was fun having all the company and playing with my cousins in the afternoon.  We didn’t have television so the conversation was around the deer hunting stories the men told.  It was a fun time that’s for sure.  Also, in school we were told about the pilgrims and how they celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Indians and gave thanks to God for the bounty.  That’s about all I knew about it.

By the way, if you are thankful, who are you thankful too?  Are you thankful to your boss for giving you a good job so you can have that shiny new car in the drive?  Are you thankful to your wife for preparing a wonderful meal?  We need to check our thanksgiving and see who we are thankful too.  We can be thankful to our bosses and spouses, but above all we need to be thankful to God who supplies all our needs, and gives us all things to enjoy.  God is above all else.  He is the one who put it on your bosses heart to hire you.  He is the one gave you the ability to do your job.  He is to get all the thanks and glory!

Later in life I became a Christian and Thanksgiving now has new meaning for me.  Yes, I am thankful and for so much.  I am thankful that God saved me from myself and gave me a new life in Christ.  I am thankful for being adopted into God’s family.  I am thankful for the Word of God and all that it has meant to me from that time on.  Yes, I have a true Thanksgiving because I am thankful to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB  (19)  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

I suppose I’ve read the above scripture many times and kind of skimmed over it and the meaning didn’t really set in.  Maybe you have also.  Let’s take a few minutes and meditate on these verses.

Just think, the Word says our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Now, what does that mean?  When we became Christians the Holy Spirit came and now dwells in us.

2 Timothy 1:14 NASB (emphasis mine) Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

The Holy Spirit of God now actually lives in us!  Wow!  That seems impossible doesn’t it?  But, it is true!  The third head of the godhead now lives in me!  And also in you! We have been changed! We are different now that we have Him in us!  What an awesome privilege it is that God in His infinite wisdom chose to allow the Holy Spirit to live in us.  That simply boggles my mind!

We are not the same as when we walked in the world before we were saved.  In fact, the Bible says we “are a new creation.”

2 Corinthians 5:17a NASB  (17)  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;…

What does it mean that our bodies are a “temple” of the Holy Spirit?  The word temple means a sacred place.  We are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and our bodies are to be holy, acceptable to God.   How can my body be holy?  I know that when something in the Bible is holy it means that it is set apart for a special use, such as the vessels used in the temple in Old Testament days.  So, that must mean we are set apart by God for a special use and part of that is for us to be a temple for the Holy Spirit.

This is serious business!  As we live out our Christian lives we must remember who we are in Christ.  We must remember that the Holy Spirit lives in us and that we are His holy home.  We need to think about the things we do and the places we go.  Remember, who is with you at all times.

As I ponder these things, I realize it is vitally important how I act, where I go, and who I spend my time with.  I need to evaluate my actions with the fact that the Holy Spirit lives in me.  I need to remind myself throughout the day of this fact.

Do you remember from the scriptures how Jesus went into the temple area and found the money changers there and because there was corruption and greed going on He threw over the tables and cleansed the area?  He said, “…My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13 KJV) Likewise the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer according to God’s will.  We are the means the Holy Spirit uses to offer up His prayers.

But, what if we don’t live holy lives?  We are a temple and when we sin we are as the money changers.  We corrupt the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and that is shameful. Do you think God just might discipline us for that?

Do you realize that Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to purchase our salvation?  He gave His life so that we might not have to pay the penalty for our sins.  The Bible tells us “the wages of sin is death.”

Romans 6:23 KJV(emphasis mine)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB (emphasis mine)   (20)  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

We must keep our bodies undefiled because they are a shrine of the Holy Spirit. When we live holy lives we glorify God.  We show Him respect and honor by living the right way.

After meditating on these things I think we need to take an inventory of our lives and see if we live a holy life, or if we follow the things of the world.  There is  much coming at us all day long that can trip us up.  We need to be mindful of who we are in Christ and who lives with us.

  • Can we take the Holy Spirit to the bar?
  • Can we take Him to the casino?
  • Can we take Him out on that date with an unbeliever?
  • What about the kind of people we hang out with?  Is there coarse language and dirty jokes?
  • Do we watch the right kind of movies and television programs?
  • Can we go out partying like we did before we were saved?

I believe that when we are faced with a decision about whether we should do something or not we need to ask ourselves: “Would Jesus do this?  Does this thing honor Him and will it bring Him glory?”

A few weeks back I wrote an article about doing Tai Chi.  As a Christian I determined that I could not do that because I should not participate in a false religion.  I could not take Jesus with me to Tai Chi.  It would not glorify God.  This is just one example of how we need to evaluate what we do and who we spend our time with knowing that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

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As we walk with the Lord, every day we are faced with decisions about which direction to take.  Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to join with my friends in a Tai Chi class for seniors.  It’s proponents claim it to be beneficial for good balance and the prevention of falls.  This all sounds innocuous enough. Right?  But is it?

At first I wanted to join my peers and be a part of this group, but something nagged at my mind.  I believe the Holy Spirit made me uncomfortable with the idea, so I decided to look into what Tai Chi really is.  I needed to make a decision based on more than just what the pretty flier told me and the enthusiasm of my friends.  So, I did some research which I will share with you.

What is Tai Chi?

“Tai Chi is an eastern religious practice that comes out of Taoism. Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview.  Taoist ideas have become popular throughout the world through Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, and various martial arts.”    (source) http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/

From: GotQuestions.org

Question: “What is the Christian view of Tai Chi (TaiChi)?”


Answer:
Tai Chi is more specifically called Tai Chi Chuan, which can be translated as “supreme ultimate force.” Tai Chi is a martial art, though it’s often called a “moving meditation” since the movements are done slowly and deliberately, and it is taught more as a meditative and health-enhancing practice than as a martial art. Though its origins are unclear, the foundation of Tai Chi is the Taoist belief in a universal energy called chi (also spelled qi or ki depending on the language of origin). Chi is believed to be the binding life force in the universe, existing both externally and internally, moving through invisible channels in the body called meridians.

Taoism teaches that strengthening and reinforcing one’s inner chi will bring good health and long life as well as spiritual benefits. Certain breathing techniques, meditations, and bodily movements are taught to cultivate and enhance the chi. This belief is the basis of Tai Chi. There is no supreme God or Creator in Taoism; all originated from the Tao, which is an impersonal principle or source of creation.

Yin Yang Symbol

From the Tao came yin and yang, two forces that manifested in creation. These forces appear opposite but actually are in a state of constant flux, merging with each other. The chi flows more harmoniously when yin and yang are balanced; this balance is brought about through special diets, herbs, exercises, breathing techniques, and bodily movements. Tai Chi, therefore, has a worldview at odds with the Christian worldview. Tai Chi is based on a Taoist spiritual view of the body and the chi, and how to enhance the chi, a view incompatible with how the Bible tells us we were made—in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).

Jesus Christ created and holds the world together, not the Tao or an invisible force called chi: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). Doing Tai Chi, even for physical purposes, is paying homage to a spiritual belief system at odds with God’s Word.  (source) http://www.gotquestions.org/Tai-Chi-Christian.html

Can we Divorce the Spiritual Aspect of Tai Chi and use it just as an Exercise?

That question comes up right away when considering Tai Chi.  Here is a quote from Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, in an article published on his web site:(emphasis added) http://www.equip.org/perspectives/christian-martial-arts-should-christians-practice-the-martial-arts/

CHRISTIAN MARTIAL ARTS- Inseparable from Eastern Religion

“It is clear that some martial art forms cannot be divorced from their Eastern origins. For example, Aikido, Ninjitsu, and Tai Chi depend heavily upon a force called “ki” (or “chi”) which supposedly pervades the whole universe. Since Christians worship one God who created the universe, and do not believe in this universal “chi” force, it becomes difficult — if not impossible — to reconcile these martial art forms with Christianity.”

Since Tai Chi involves Taoism which is Eastern Mysticism it cannot be reconciled with Christianity.  When we do Tai Chi we are to align our energy with the universal energy force or “chi.”  It is like trying to mix oil and water.

What Direction Can I Find From the Bible?

First of all God, in the Bible, tells us not to believe every thing that comes along as being from God.  There are many false teachers in the world today and we need to be very careful what we follow.  It is easy to follow the crowd, but we are to test the spirits to see if they are from God.  Well, I can see from my research that the spirit in Tai Chi is not from God.  It is anti-Christian.  Therefore, I should not get involved.

1 John 4:1 NASB  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

I remember as a child some of my friends would join a certain group, or take part in something, and I wanted to also.  I wanted to be part of the crowd. Sometimes I would ask my mom with the argument that “all my friends are going, why can’t I?”  My mom knew more than myself, (of course, I didn’t think so) and she protected me from doing things that would not be good for me.  It is like that with Christians.  We want to do what everyone else is doing, but God has given us certain guidelines to follow and we need to go to Him and find out if we should do them or not.  I’m thankful for the Bible and the instruction He has given us.  He is the  perfect parent!

Ephesians 5:11 NASB  Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

The devil would like nothing more than to get us sidetracked from our Christian walk.  Do you realize in practicing Tai Chi there is a supernatural aspect to it?  Here is another article called, Yoga wasn’t bad enough. Now we have tai chi, as the dark supernatural continues to invade our exercise time.

1 Peter 5:8 NASB  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Isn’t it true that today there is  much evil that is called good?  And, there is good that is called evil!   Oh, my, we have to be on alert all the time.  How do we measure things? Well, we can either listen to the world or we can listen to God.  Keep your Bible handy!

Isaiah 5:20 NASB  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Another good scripture comes to mind.   When you put a little bit of yeast into the flour mixture in just a little while the yeast has permeated the whole lump of dough.  That is how we make such good tasting bread.  But, in the spiritual realm a little bit of false teaching will quickly spoil everything else that is said.  We must be very careful and discern the truth.

1 Corinthians 5:6b NASB   Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?

We cannot allow ourselves be destroyed because we don’t know.  Today we have many resources available to us and there is really no excuse for ignorance.  We need to stay in the Word, and search out answers to anything that comes up that we are not sure about.

Hosea 4:6a NASB  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

God tells us what we must do!

2 Corinthians 6:17 NASB  (17)  “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.

We are not to be conformed to the world, but we are to seek to live in a way that is honoring to the Lord.  He calls us to holiness.

1 Peter 1:14-16 NASB  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,  (15)  but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  (16)  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (emphasis added)

Here is part of Paul’s prayer for the people in Colosse.  And it is my prayer for you.

Colossians 1:9-10 NASB  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  (10)  so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

After doing this research I came to the conclusion that doing Tai Chi is not honoring the my wonderful Savior and Lord.  It is dabbling in the occult and would not be something He would want me involved with.   I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit made me feel uncomfortable and got me to really look into this.  I hope what I’ve learned will be helpful to you.

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I’ve had many comments on my articles about mother nature, especially the one called, “God or Mother Nature?”  In  fact, most of them are rather hostile.  Many people believe in science and not the Bible.  Are they aware that the Bible is full of good science?  This little booklet is truly amazing and mind boggling.

Many years ago people even thought the earth was flat and if you went far enough you would fall off.  Did they not read the Bible where it clearly states the earth is a sphere?

Is 20:42 [It is] he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

You can read this little booklet online.  It gives us 101 scientific facts and foreknowledge found in the Bible.

 


“This booklet presents 101 scientific facts found in the Scriptures. Many of these facts were penned centuries before they were discovered. Scientific foreknowledge found only in the Bible offers one more piece to the collective proof that the Bible is truly the inspired Word of the Creator.”

 

Eternal Productions – 101 Scientific Facts and Foreknowledge

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I came across a video that really made me stop and think, “Am I really good enough for heaven?”

What do you think?  Are you?  Do you know for sure that when you die you will go to heaven?

These are questions we all must  answer  at some point.  Watch this video and see how others answer as they take, “The Good Test.”

http://youtu.be/-qFPgLLpGYA

 

 

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Over the last several days I’ve been asked: What is New Age anyway?”  Maybe you wonder the same thing.

Contemporary Use of the Term New Age

“Widespread usage of the term New Age began in the mid-1970s (reflected in the title of monthly periodical New Age Journal) and probably influenced several thousand small metaphysical book- and gift-stores that increasingly defined themselves as “New Age bookstores.”[28][29] As a result of the large-scale activities surrounding the Harmonic Convergence in 1987, the American mass media further popularised the term as a label for the alternative spiritual subculture, including practices such as meditation, channeling, crystal healing, astral projection, psychic experience, holistic health, simple living, and environmentalism; or belief in phenomena such as Earth mysteries, ancient astronauts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects, crop circles, and reincarnation.”

The above source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age

What Does this Mean for Christians?

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  (Mat 10:16 KJV)

Yes, we need to be wise because we are in a world that is full of false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They  fool many Christians today.  Don’t be one of them.

As Christians there are several “red flags” we can look for that might indicate someone is a New Ager. 

Some New Age Beliefs

Because the New Age is simply an umbrella term which covers a myriad of groups, with scores of authors, it is impossible to identify all its doctrines.

The following, however, is a brief overview of the basic teachings of the majority of the New Age groups.

1) All is one: all reality is a unitary whole;

2) Everything is God (god) and God (god) is everything;

3) You (as an individual) are God. You are divine; God is within you;

4) You will never die; You have lived before and you will live again (reincarnation);

5) You can create your own reality or transform your own consciousness;

6) All religions are true and, therefore, one;

7) A new world is coming; a New Age is dawning.

(Belief Bulletin: New Age Movement, Southern Baptist Home Mission Board, p. 1).  Source:  http://www.watchman.org/na/nadefine.htm

Some New Age Practices and Methods

  • meditation – Eastern
  • hypnosis
  • yoga
  • Reiki – meditation using “life force” channeling to evil spirits
  • Transcendental mediation
  • psychology
  • Kriya Kirtan – a form of meditation
  • Alternative medicine
  • Visualization –  go to a “peaceful place” in our mind.
  • Holistic medicine – body, soul, and mind. 

Several of these techniques will allow our minds to go  into an altered state of consiousness.  This is dangerious because it can open our minds up to the evil spirit world of Satan.  This is against all the Word of God teaches us.  God has never told us to do this.  Instead He has told us to renew our minds with the Word of God.

I’m sure there are other things I could add to this list, but that will give you an idea of what to look for.

Some of these practices are actually being done in churches today. I find that unacceptable and we need to become educated about what we are taught in church, so we can identify the enemy and not be duped by the Devil’s workers.

What Does God’s Word Say?

(Deu 18:9-13 NASB)
“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.

I pray if you are a Christian you will walk in a way that is honoring to our precious Lord and Savior.  If your church is entertaining any of the New Age practices please inform your leadership and help them understand the dangers.

Recommended Reading: “False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?” Warren B. Smith, available at www.Amazon.com.

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Just recently John MacArthur came out with a new book called, Slave.
In it he explains how the word translated as servant and bond servant should have been translated as slave.  This gives a whole new meaning to the term, “slave to Christ.”  This realization gave me a new outlook as to my relationship with Christ.  It really is very beautiful.  I recommend this book.

Some time ago I wrote an article after watching a DVD by John MacArthur on this very subject.  I’m reposting it here now as this subject is relevant. 

Have you ever thought of yourself as a slave to Christ?  I hadn’t until recently.  I thought more of myself as a servant of Christ.  Like a helper at times.  But a slave, no.

As I began to think about this I realized that we can be slaves to many things.  Who or what are you a slave to?  Anyone or anything that controls us owns us, and we are slaves to them. 

Some could be slaves to alcohol, money, lust, sex, pornography, smoking, sports, illegal drugs, pot, television, work, or fear, worry, and anxiety.  Those are just some of the things we can be controlled by.  We can also be a slave to people; our husbands, our children, our friends. 

On the other hand we should be a slave to Christ.  However, the Bible tells us we cannot serve two masters.

Matthew 6:24 NASB  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

So there is the problem.  Who or what do we serve? 

When we become a Christian we do not any longer have to be a slave to fear.  God adopts us into His family.  He takes care of us from then on.

Romans 8:15 LITV  “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father!”

It is the same with the other bondage’s that we find ourselves in.  When we turn our lives over to the Lord as our Lord and Master, then we no longer have to be a slave to anyone or anything. 

Rom 6:6 NASB  knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

The Greek word “Doulos” in the Bible is often translated as servant.  It should be the word slave.  It does make a difference.

A servant is one who has a choice.  They worked for wages and could quit at any time.  A servant can do what he wants and is free to make his own decisions. 

But a slave is bought and owned.  He is to do the will of his master.  He has no rights and cannot do as he pleases.

1Co 7:22-23 LITV  For the one called while a slave in the Lord is a freed man of the Lord. And likewise, the one called while a free man is a slave of Christ.  23  You were redeemed with a price; do not become slaves of men.

You see when Jesus died on the cross for the payment of our sins he bought us with his own precious blood.  He now owns us and the Word says we are to become a slave of Christ.  That is an awesome thought!

In the Bible, Paul saw himself as a slave of Christ. 

Rom 1:1 LITV  Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God,

Gal 1:10 LITV  For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I would not be a slave of Christ.

Paul is talking to Timothy here.  He refers to Timothy as a slave of the Lord.

2Ti 2:24 LITV  But a slave of the Lord ought not to quarrel, but to be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing,

When we see ourselves as a slave of Christ our whole attitude changes.

  • We realize we have been bought and are not our own.  We can then die to “self.” And, let that part of us go.
  • We need to be always available and ready to serve our Master.
  • We need to make sure we don’t get caught up with trying to serve two masters.
  • We need to pray and keep close to our dear Lord.
  • We need to be dependent on Him for all things.  He will supply all our needs according to His riches in Glory.  (Philippians 4:19.)
  • We need to realize that God may allow trials and troubles to come into our lives, but they are to discipline us and grow us to be more like Him.  They are for our good.
  • And, we need to know that everything good that comes our way is from God Himself. 

We’ve truly been blessed when we come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. 

  • He has made us a child and heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.  (Romans 8:14-17) 
  • We are an ambassador for Christ, (II Corinthians 5:20),
  • a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a citizen of a holy nation, a possession of God (I Peter 2:9),
  • and a holy temple of the living God. (II Corinthians 10:5)

We will actually rule and reign with the Lord in Heaven some day.  Isn’t that truly amazing!  What a Savior!  What a Master!

That is only a few of the blessings God bestows upon us.  And to be honest none of us deserve any of it.  I’m truly happy to learn that I am a slave to Christ! 

Scripture taken from NASB  New American Standard Bible and LITV Literal Translation of the Holy Bible

Note: For more teaching on the subject of slaves for Christ you can go here to John MacArthur’s website. 

http://www.gty.org/Products

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