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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quiet Time: Blasphemy


The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" - Luke 5:21

In light of recent events, I’ve been trying to understand the Muslim belief system. From what I’ve studied thus far, it seems a bit like the works based faith of the religious leaders who accused Jesus of blasphemy back in His day (Luke 5:21)

According to one Christian theologian, blasphemy is showing contempt or a lack of reverence for God or something sacred. A violation of the third commandment, it was punishable by death (Lev. 24:15-16).

I suppose this is one reason Islamic adherents are killing those who don’t believe what Muhammad said the angel Gabriel told him back in the 6th century.

People tell me that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. I don’t see how this could be true.

A Christ follower believes that Jesus is indeed, the Son of God and “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).

Furthermore, we sometimes pray to Him just like Stephen did (Acts 7:59) call on His name for salvation as every believer does (Acts 2:21) and worship Jesus just as early disciples did; and, as all believers will do in heaven according to (Matthew 14:33 & 28:17, Luke 24:52, John 20:28; Revelation 5:11-14).

It seems to me that there is no way to reconcile a Christ follower to the disciple of Muhammad since Christians worship and live for Christ by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit for the glory of God the Father (2 Corinthians 5:15) and, that, according to the Quran, is blasphemy.

I do see one HUMONGOUS difference: salvation is a GIFT (Acts 11:17-18).

No man can be forced to freely believe, love and worship Christ as his Savior and Lord.

For further study:
 Jesus in Islam
Understanding and Answering Islam

Here's a site with a few podcast that may be helpful:
Islam a Conversaion

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Quiet Time: God Is Unshakable

God Is Unshakable

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance – Romans 5:3-4

God is unshakable, therefore, our confidence is unwavering.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quiet Time: Have It All

Have It All
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance… - James 1:2-3

An unbelieving friend of mine, who’s pretty well off commented, “I know God has blessed me,” but I wondered, why do you think its God Who’s “blessing” you?

I once listened to a former New Age guru give his testimony on how, before coming to know Christ, he had worldly riches and power. A high position, money, lots of stuff, and according to him, even some sort of super-natural power to accomplish things in his career that his competition were unable to see, let alone do.

Then he said something I’ll never forget, “Satan will give you whatever it takes to keep you from Jesus.”

I thought, “Wait a minute; the Devil is going to give me what I want?” Ponder that; what if success is the worst, not the best, thing that could ever happen to us?

After all, the children of Israel turned their backs on God once the hard times were over and riches flowed in the “land of milk and honey”, the wisest man in the world said “A man is tested by the praise accorded him.” (Proverbs 27:21) Jesus said we’re headed for trouble when everyone talks good about us (Luke 6:26).

The point I’m making is not that we should want pain over prosperity, but that, for the Christ follower, pain reveals something that prosperity never will; true faith. It isn’t that we need trials in order to have salvation, but trials do have a way of showing us that our faith is real.

I like what a pastor friend of mine says,
“God doesn’t waste pain on His children.”

Question: When something difficult unexpectedly comes your way do you immediately seek your Father’s face or do you immediately seek a way of escape?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Quiet Time: No Confidence

No Confidence

For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh – Philippians 3:3

Expert advice is everywhere.

I take college classes at night. Every course that requires a written essay also requires expert references for and against the subject matter.

It seems that the professor isn’t at all interested in my personal opinion on a subject. He wants to know if I truly understand the intricacies as learned from the leading men and women, usually PhDs, who have mastered the particular field of study.

A true believer does not come to Christ by knowledge alone. In fact, sometimes he comes to Christ in spite of what his head tells him he should do. His confidence is found not within himself, but in Christ Who died for his sins and Who rose again from the dead. His present, as well as, his future is in Jesus’ hands.

Christ followers have confidence in Christ alone.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Quiet Time: Praise the LORD Together

Praise the LORD Together
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord! – Psalm 150:6

Deseri, my wife, and I just finished having our quiet times as we sat together on the patio listening to the birds and enjoying the early morning coolness.

We both were reading quietly to ourselves from Psalm 150, but then, seeing that I had paused to look up at her, she began reading out loud from Psalm 1 (a favorite of mine).

While she was reading I remembered an old Ron Kenoly recording titled “Let Everything that Has Breath” and looked it up on the laptop.

We listened to the song together and my hands spontaneously raised to heaven while my heart filled with the peace and joy from the presence of the Lord.

As the song finished, Deseri, slipped her hand in mine and we began to pray through Psalm 1 and Psalm 150:

Lord, You bless us by Your word; help us to meditate upon it both day and night that we might be like trees planted by streams of living water which yield their fruit in their season, and who’s leaf does not whither, and in whatever we do we will prosper.

Oh, God, we praise You!

Help us to praise you not only in Your sanctuary but also in Your mighty expanse; for all Your mighty deeds and Your excellent greatness.

Father, may we use everything at our disposal to praise You. Every instrument and every breath of our  lives.

Oh God, let everything that has breath praise You, Lord!


Ron Kenoli - "Let Everything That Has Breath"


Friday, September 5, 2014

Quiet Time: United In Prayer

United In Prayer

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. – Acts 1:14

I met with a group of pastors for prayer yesterday. No business was discussed, no marketing strategies, or talk about new church programs and old church problems. No, we simply prayed.

Many tears were shed as different pastors led in prayer for the specific needs of those present in the meeting. Then even more were shed as we prayed for God’s name to be lifted high and for many souls to be saved; for Christ follower’s hearts to be renewed, and the church revived, all for the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord.

What struck me though was the devotion of these men to gather for prayer. Sure we expect pastors to pray, after all, that’s a part of their job, right?

No, it is a calling on the life of every believer in Christ. From the eldest to the youngest, male or female; we need to unite in prayer with one heart and one mind to the glory and praise of our Heavenly Father, regularly.

The pastors gathered because their hearts long to see the reality of the indwelling Christ made evident in the lives of His people.

One way we make Christ evident  is when we devote ourselves regularly to prayer.

So, who have you prayed with lately?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quiet Time: Happy for You

Happy for You

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15

It often seems like men live as if they’re in competition with one another.  

Therefore, I suppose it is quite unnatural for us to rejoice when something good happens to our “competitors”.

And yet, here we see that God explicitly desires us to be happy when good things happen to others. As a matter of fact God wants us to be joyful in all types of uncommon and even uneasy situations.

God wants us to be ecstatic when someone comes to know Christ as Savior and Lord (Luke 15:7). Not only then, but we’re to rejoice that our own names are written down in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20). How about the challenge to be glad when men persecute us for being followers of Christ? (Matthew 5:12)

Doesn't it seem with most biblical commands, that what we’re being told to do often goes against what we naturally want to do?

Therefore, it makes sense that rejoicing takes faith-filled practice. In other words, we rejoice even when we don't "feel" like it.

Why not stop right now and thank God for how He has blessed someone else. Then ask Him to help you  get excited about the things that cause Him joy.

 Favorite Song of All by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Monday, September 1, 2014

Quiet Time: Bearing Burdens

Bearing Burdens
Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ
– Galatians 6:2

I feel your pain. Really?

As a young boy I remember how easily I’d cry when people would share their pain and prayer requests at Wednesday night prayer meetings. It seemed so easy back then to put myself into their family’s situation and sense the anguish that mom was experiencing over a seriously ill child or the worry that came with a dad’s job loss.

Somewhere along the line, though, it became wrong to emotionally connect with another’s sorrow. That was something that men just didn’t do. So, I learned to listen with stoic indifference. It never seemed right; it wasn’t right.

The bible tells me to help “bear” or carry the heavy load of a fellow Christ follower. I picture a person about to fall under a heavy weight. He’s going down fast, but right before he falls and is crushed by the hardship, a brother steps up and helps shoulder the load. The burden is still present, but now it’s lighter and a little less “burdensome”.

On a side note: I love large church gatherings,  but there’s something to be said for what today is called “Small Group Bible Study”. This is where people can really connect; especially if it is in a home setting. There’s just something about being in someone’s living room that makes it easier to be open and real. “Doing life together” is a little cliché now a days, but that’s really what happens in a small group.

I’m learning to feel another's pain gain. I even find myself tearing up when listening to a pain-filled prayer requests. I do indeed pray for the need, but now I find myself also asking God how I might help lighten the load.

Bearing one another’s burdens helps us to fulfill the law by loving our neighbor as ourselves.

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." – Galatians 5:14