Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Faith vs Foolishness

I am one year older today, November 27 th . As I reflect on how God has been so awesome, I remember how not so long ago he asked me to take a step of faith (human foolishness) for my future. I struggled and wrestled with the instructions. I asked for a better job (I already had one) that would be more fulfilling, He asked me to quit the one I had. I wondered how this could be. It does not make sense; I need to hold on to this one till I find something better. It still paid the bills, Lord, I said. Yet, I had no peace till I finally obeyed and handed in my notice. Weeks later, I was getting calls from top industries in the fields I loved. I traveled to 3 states within 1 weeks attending interviews. I had 1 job offer from a company in Boston and 2 job offers from companies in Baltimore. Then the hard part (ya... right) which one to choose. They all wanted me! (To God’s Glory). The rest is history!

But my dear Father is not yet done with me, I have yet again asked to take another step of faith which when I accidentally share with colleagues I am pulled aside for a temperature check or literally called stupid. Needless to say, I stopped sharing. They do not understand how my Father works. Tell you the truth… neither do I. But I only obey and leave the consequences to Him.
So what is your step of faith in God or human foolishness? I’ll like to hear about it…

Monday, November 26, 2007

What You Didn't Know At Weddings

By: Martha Brockenbrough

Evil spirits and bridesmaids' dresses
The typical North American wedding is just bursting with meaningful traditions--if you know where to look. Take bridesmaids' dresses. They're not just evil looking; they're evil-repellent.

If you've ever wondered why bridesmaids all dress the same, it's because Roman law required ten witnesses to make a wedding legal. Several of these witnesses dressed up exactly like the bride and groom, to confound any malevolent forces who might show up uninvited. Europeans followed a similar tradition, and later bridesmaids and groomsmen sometimes did have to defend the happy couple against real-life thugs and warriors.

Ring around the ...
If you've ever wondered why Americans put the wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand, it's because of an ancient Greek belief that a vein in this finger ran directly to the heart. And if you've ever groaned at having to buy both an engagement ring and a wedding ring, you can blame Pope Innocent III, who instituted a waiting period between engagement and marriage in the 13th century and also insisted that a ring be used in the wedding ceremony. Before that, rings were used to seal an engagement only (as well as other important agreements).

Read more here:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The New Virgins - Saving sex for marriage isn't just a passing fad

By Jeff Hooten

If you've ever watched TV, read a magazine or surfed the Net — and who hasn't? — it's easy to believe that the entire population has surrendered to their hormones. And while it's true that premarital sex remains the norm in society today, there is a new trend making its way across the land.

It's the New Virginity, and it's not just for teens anymore.

It began in the 1990s, as young people began to ask the question: "Why Wait?" Some decided to abstain from sex for religious reasons, others to avoid the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Still others realized they weren't ready for the intense intimacy of a sexual relationship.

Those same teenagers are adults now, and many of them are still waiting. And they've been joined in their quest for purity by a growing mass of adults who were once sexually active, but no more. It's a phenomenon known as "secondary virginity," and its practitioners have experienced sexual relationships and found them wanting. They're looking for love and respect — the kind that lasts a lifetime — and they're willing to wait for it, even if it means losing out on a potential mate who doesn't share their convictions.

These "born-again virgins" can't change the past, but they're committed to creating a better future. Contrary to pop-culture wisdom, those who do choose to save sex for marriage are not doomed to a second-class sex life. Rather, they typically report higher levels of sexual satisfaction and marital contentment. Moreover, early sexual experience has been linked to marital dissatisfaction, low self-esteem and greater incidence of divorce.

Indeed, why not wait?

Copyright © 2002 Focus on the Family.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Today is thanksgiving...apart from also being "turkey day", it's a time to reflect on the Lord's goodness and faithfulness in our lives….so what are you thankful for??

I'm thankful for the gift of life and the gift of salvation;
I’m thankful for the peace of God that I enjoy;
I'm thankful for good health (really thankful for that);
I'm thankful for my family and friends;
I'm thankful for God’s provision, meeting my every need;
I’m thankful for God’s protection, surrounding me everyday;
I’m thankful for some wonderful friends of mine, who put a roof over my head when I was homeless;
I’m thankful for the gift of mobility, for I no longer have to take buses and trains;
I’m thankful also for school, its delights and challenges;
I’m thankful even for the disappointments and difficult moments, for they’re all working together for my good;
And I’m thankful for my laptop and 24/7 internet connection, for it’s the best thing since sliced bread!

On a final note, we don’t need to wait till it’s Thanksgiving to give thanks….everyday should be Thanksgiving, because…”It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord…” (Psalm 92 v 1).

Happy Turkey day....oops, sorry, Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Overspiritualizing Everyday Problems

Paul Scanlon calls on Christians to stop over spiritualising everyday problems. Sometimes a situation doesn’t need lots of agonised prayer, bad plumbing is bad plumbing whether the plumber is a Christian or not! We just need to use our God given common sense!

In 2002, I was in a meeting where my friend Pastor Brian Houston from the Hillsong Church, Sydney, spoke to a gathering of leaders about the apostle Paul’s teaching on the relationship between the natural and spiritual realms. This ministry got me thinking about the many situations I have been involved in as a Pastor during the past 22 years. Too many of these were unnecessarily complicated because of people’s tendency to over spiritualise everything in their lives and turn simple everyday natural problems into major spiritual issues. I have come to see that this tendency to make everything a spiritual drama, which is particularly prevalent among charismatic Christians, is both killing churches and creating ‘no win’ situations between these superspiritual believers and their down-to earth pastoral leaders.

Another symptom of this problem is the church’s pattern of counselling a person on the same issue over and over again because we are afraid to call a spade a spade; instead, we call it some exotic spiritual issue. We allow superspiritual padding to cushion the blow of the earthiness of the natural wisdom that we as leaders are almost embarrassed to offer as spiritual counsel.

The truth is that many unbelievers live a better life using their natural common sense than believers do by the Spirit and that should be an unacceptable indictment against the church. Some Christians were more ‘together’ before they were converted than they are now. Before, they just got on with life and dealt with things as they arose - no big deal. But now, everything is a conspiracy theory; nothing is as it appears to be and there is a quest to find the deeper spiritual reason for everything. So, the car crash that used to be explained by, ‘I wasn’t looking,’ now becomes, ‘the devil is trying to kill me!’ Or, ‘God’s protection has lifted off my life so I must have some hidden sin somewhere.’ The newly redundant, that frankly faced the fact that ‘I got sacked because I am always late and not very good at my job,’ now becomes, ‘the boss is a Freemason and he can’t stand my presence as a believer; that’s why he has fired me.’ The debtor that once admitted, ‘I am in debt because I have been spending what I don’t have for years,’ becomes, ‘there is a devourer trying to attack my finances but I am a tither, so I rebuke the spirit of debt over my life.’

Read more here: http://www.christianitymagazine.co.uk/engine.cfm?i=92&id=58&arch=1

Charlene Cothran of Venus Magazine: Redeemed! 10 Ways to Get Out of the Gay Life, If You Want Out

Over the past 29 years of my life I have been an aggressive, creative and strategic supporter of gay and lesbian issues. I’ve organized and participated in countless marches and various lobbying efforts in the fight for equal treatment of gay men and lesbians. I have kept current on the issues and made financial contributions to those organizations doing work about which I was most passionate.

As the publisher of a 13 year old periodical which targets Black gays and lesbians, I have had the opportunity to publicly address thousands, influencing closeted people to ‘come out’ and stand up for them selves, which is particularly difficult in the African-American community.

But now, I must come out of the closet again. I have recently experienced the power of change that came over me once I completely surrendered to the teachings of Jesus Christ. As a believer of the word of God, I fully accept and have always known that same-sex relationships are not what God intended for us.

Read the full story here: http://www.venusmagazine.org/cover_story.html

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Permit Requirement to Hand Out Gospel Tracts

Associated Press
November 6, 2007

PIERRE, S.D. - A man who was told he needs a permit to hand out religious literature at Mount Rushmore has filed a federal lawsuit against officials at the national monument.
The lawsuit says Michael Boardley distributed gospel tracts at Mount Rushmore on August 9th without incident, but was told the next day he needed a permit. Boardley says he has subsequently tried without success to get a permit.

But Mount Rushmore Superintendent Gerard Baker insists that no permit request has been denied, adding, "All he has to do is get a hold of us, and we'll give him a permit."
Boardley's attorney, Keven Theriot of the Alliance Defense Fund, responds that no permit should be required, and says his client's free speech and religious rights were violated.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Applying 1st Century Writings to 21st Century Living

How relevant are the following scriptures in present day realities? How best do we interpret these scriptures in order to strike a balance between avoiding being chauvinistic and at the same time not contradict the very Word of God?

1Timothy 2:9-15

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.


I guess here's the major difference between the life of a Saint, and the life of an unbeliever...

In spite of it all, in spite of the pain the Saint endures, the hurt, the misfortune that befalls the Saint, the trauma, the disappointment, the aches, the hardship, the losses, the humiliation, the misfortune, the abuse, the weariness, the setbacks, the pitfalls, the rejection, the suffering, the sicknesses, the fights, the battles, the wars, the tears, the tears, and more tears...

in spite of all this --

There still remains a reason to Hope...

To see beyond darkness and into the Light -- that Marvelous Light.

In the midst of all that I go through, I cannot help but see God waving, beckoning me forward, gently nudging me on. I cannot help but see His Light shining. And I hear Him saying, "You can do it, Michele; You can do it." Why, His faith in me is greater than my own faith in Him!!!
I cannot help but lift my head and keep moving because like a magnet I am drawn upwards to Heaven.

My eyes have seen the glory of His coming!

I cannot help but see something much more than what my physical eye pays its respects to, for the witness that I carry around is not based on a physical thing but on a spiritual connection -- it is unseen -- sometimes not even felt -- but it is there all the same. For I know the rock on which I stand is sustained by faith, endurance, power and might.

For that rock - oh, that glorious unmovable, unchanging, radiating, perfecting, sustaining and reigning rock is my hope.

And IN SPITE of my tears...

Ask Job -- they will fall...

in spite of my fatigue...

Ask Elijah-- for I do tire...

in spite of all my issues and circumstances...

I still press toward THE MARK, for...

My hope does not rest in man -- for what can he do for or even TO me?

Ha, my hope rest in Christ Jesus.

In Him, my battle is already won!

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Be Anxious For Nothing

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hearing from God in the 21st century

Recently I was joking with a friend that I need to sharpen my spiritual ears, that it seems I’m hard of hearing God clearly these days…too many distractions…but seriously, stop and think for a minute, how sharp are your spiritual ears? Do you hear God clearly? You know the lingo.."The Lord said to me..." ..."The Holy Spirit told me..." Ok, let's take this further....do you involve God in your decision making process, big or small? How do you make simple everyday and/or life-changing decisions not explicitly stated in the scriptures? Does God speak to us today outside of His written Word? The choice of where to live, where to work, where to school, who to marry, etc etc…how can you know for sure you’re making the right decisions?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pursuit of Happyness

We live very busy lives, confronting mountains of responsibilities that often seem impossible to surmount. For me a typical week day starts at 4 a.m when I get up from bed. By 5 a.m I'm pulling out of my driveway heading for work which is 50 miles and 1 hour away - depending on traffic - to return 12 hours later. I do this 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year and I don't even give much thought to it - well apart from the lower back pain. The question hardly ever crosses my mind, "What if I'm not able to get up from bed tomorrow morning even though I want to?" What if there is a disconnect between my body and my brain such that I'm not able to work even though I desire to?" What if my brain tells my body to move and my body is not able to?" What if I tell my hand to pick up the hair brush and brush my hair and the hand simply isn't able to?" What if I tell my legs to take me from the house to the car and the legs wobble and crumble under me even though they crave to obey my command?" What if? What if? On and on the questions go on. In this there is much wisdom, to ponder at the awesome work of God in our lives and give Him thanks. To always remember there is more to life than the pursuit of the dollar bill. To understand that our purpose here on earth is to SERVE GOD.