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Shipwrecked Faith from a Shipwrecked Church
Current Events:  Deal with the Devil – Canada and Israel

Current Events: Deal with the Devil – Canada and Israel

The following is an article by Hal Lindsey.  It is just another sign that its time you became a Faith Prepper.  Why?  Because times for believers, especially in the United States, are going to get real bad, real fast.  It is time to take the words of Jesus seriously and prepare your faith to have it severely tested.  Soon.

So get prepared now!


 
Nikki Haley, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, recently characterized a Canadian vote at the UN as “a deal with the devil.”

That’s strong language coming from a well-regarded diplomat.  I assume she meant it figuratively.  But something literal is at work.  Canada’s recent about-face on Israel is a capitulation to the growing forces of darkness in our world.  In recent years, the nations of the UN have been making a lot of deals with the devil – the actual devil.

Haley was referring to a vote on an anti-Israel resolution sponsored by North Korea. That’s right, those paragons of respect for human rights – North Korea’s government leaders – sponsored a resolution condemning Israel for “occupying” East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.  The resolution also says that the wall Israel built “severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”

That wall was built to stop terrorist activity in Israel.  It has been highly effective.  It was necessary because Palestinian leadership continues to act as a major sponsor of terrorism.  Israel tries to make peace while Palestinian leaders encourage their constituents to randomly stab people and blow things up.  When Israel responds to these terrorist acts, the Palestinians decry Israel’s actions.  Israel continues to try to make peace.  But while they work for peace, they must keep their people secure.  Thus, the wall.

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Prayer: Ephesians 2:20 – Our Job and His Job

Prayer: Ephesians 2:20 – Our Job and His Job

Today we move on to a new section in Ephesians 2.  Here we find Paul giving us still another example of who we are in Christ.  We have learned we are “no longer strangers and foreigners” but are now “fellow citizens with the saints” and, if that wasn’t enough, we are also “members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:20).  Next, the Lord shows us we belong to a grand temple, a “holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:21), which is the “dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22).  This magnificent temple has its foundation built on the teaching and revelation of the apostles and prophets and the chief cornerstone is the Lord Himself (Eph. 2:20).  This is who we are in Christ.  Breathtaking, isn’t it?

As we pray today, let’s focus our prayers on the first phrase in Ephesians 2:20.  This verse speaks of the household of God being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets yet it is in the past tense.  It says:

Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20.

When we read this our attention naturally gravitates to the words “apostles and prophets” and to “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone”.  But if we’re not careful, we’ll miss the beginning of this verse and all that simple beginning conveys.  There it says “having been built”. That’s past tense, something already done and established in the past.  And from these three words, we can get much encouragement today in our prayers.

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Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Living in a Family

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Living in a Family

There is one last point we need to discuss regarding being “members of the household of God” before we move on to Ephesians 1:20, and that is the unity and security that comes from being a member of a family.  Our verse for today reads as follows:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

Yesterday we looked at how someone actually becomes a member of God’s household and focused our prayer time on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus as found in John 3.  But today we want to examine the dynamics of being in a loving, functional family.  Not the type of dysfunctional, narcissistic, and often abusive families many of us came from.  But from the type of family God intended and designed.  The type of family we would expect with God as the Father.  Think about it.

Most families have members that don’t always agree or see things the same way.  In fact, sometimes members of a family may have political or social views that are in stark contrast to each other which makes mealtimes and holidays something of an adventure.  In addition, some families have siblings that often fight with each other, purposely irritate each other, and basically just get on each other’s nerves.  That’s the nature of the family.  Actually, it’s just human nature.  In a family, we might have teenagers who are fighting for independence, pre-teens who are either goofy or moody or just plain loud and annoying, toddlers who want nothing but undivided attention, and parents who are just tired and don’t seem to have the time for each other, let alone this growing gang of children.   In a functional family, often members are angry with each other and say things that are hurtful or cause pain.  It happens.

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Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Household of God

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Household of God

Today, as we begin to pray, we will look at one last blessing from Ephesians 2:19 that involves our inclusion in “the household of God.”  Our verse for today reads:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

As always, before we can understand what the verse means, we have to understand exactly what the text is saying.  We do that by defining our key terms in order to see what the meaning of the word was when it was written, and not necessarily what it means today.  After all, language is constantly in a state of flux and changes with each generation.  For example, 50 years ago the word “mouse” meant only one thing to everyone, a furry rodent.  But today our primary thought when we hear that word is of a computer mouse.  You can see the importance of discovering the original meaning of the text and not making it say what we want it to say.  So let’s define our words.

The Greek word translated “household” is oikeíos and means “belonging or standing in relation to the household.”  Or, more literally, “belonging to a household.”  The blessing for each of us as revealed in this verse once again drives home the point we are now God’s family, His children, and as such, members of His household, the “household of God” (Eph. 2:19).  Which raises just a few questions and some encouraging answers.

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Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 2

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 2

Yesterday we looked at the word saints and how the Lord continually used it to describe each of us that have been redeemed by the blood of His Son.  As you will recall, the word translated saints (hágios) means “holy, with the idea of separation, consecration, sanctification, and devotion to God” and is the standard name in the New Testament God uses to describe believers.  The verse we are using to help focus our prayers is Ephesians 2:19 which reads:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

But for many of us, the idea of being called a saint is unsettling and uncomfortable.  Why?  Because we view sainthood as perfection or something like a title given to someone far closer to the Lord than we are or who has done something for Him much greater than anything we have ever done.  And that is unfortunate.  Not that we haven’t accomplished what some heroes of the faith have accomplished.  What is unfortunate is our faulty view of how the Lord sees us in His Son.  For Him, we are saints, and that should settle the issue once and for all, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel.  But you and I both know that it doesn’t.

So maybe this will help.

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Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 1

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 1

As we get ready for another Sunday, let me encourage you to prepare your heart this morning to meet with the Lord. Remember, how you worship in church with others is just an extension of how you worship with Him alone.  So begin today with just the Lord and worship Him by prayer and adoration.   And then, come and worship with the rest of the “called-out” ones this morning.

To help focus your prayers we are looking at Ephesians 2:19 and especially this strange description the Holy Spirit calls each of us: saints.  Read it for yourself.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

Note the transition from the many to the few.  We go from “citizens” to members of a “household.”  Note also the description of those who are also citizens with you, the “fellow” part of this verse.  They are called saints or, literally, “holy ones.”

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Will You Survive the Coming Blackout?

Will You Survive the Coming Blackout?

Now, even FOX News is covering the inevitable.  The following is from Doug MacKinnon and was posted on the FOX website on Sunday, June 23, 2019.

We will speak much more about this on our website beginning in mid-July.  But for now, read this and consider what Doug says.


Will You Survive the Coming Blackout?

There are many never-ending debates between Republicans and Democrats.  Impeach vs. don’t impeach; capital punishment vs. life in prison; wall vs. no wall; legalizing marijuana vs. not; self-driving cars vs. human drivers; Red Sox vs. Yankees; takeout vs. home-cooked; or Gone With the Wind vs. any other movie.

All of these issues are stunningly important, right up to the second where cataclysm falls and creates a nightmare scenario that so many fear.

That cataclysm is a complete loss of electricity and every mode of convenience and survival we take for granted.

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2019 Bible Reading Plans

2019 Bible Reading Plans

The following are a few 2019 Bible Reading Plans from various sources.  Make a commitment today to faithfully read the Scriptures more next year than you did this last year.

After all, the mantra “no pain, no gain” also applies to spiritual disciplines.

Genesis Through Revelation Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation with daily readings of three to four chapters.  From www.heartlight.org.

Download: PDF

52 Week Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible in a year with daily readings from the Epistles, the Law, History, Psalms, Poetry (Job, Proverbs, etc.), Prophecy, and the Gospels.  From www.bible-reading.com.

Download:  PDF

Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible in chronological order.  This is one of my favorites.  From www.esv.org.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Historical Bible Reading Plan

The Old Testament readings are much like the order found in Israel’s Hebrew Bible and the New Testament readings are in the order in which the books were written.  From www.blueletterbible.org.

Download:  PDF

Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan

This is the classic M’Cheyne Bible reading calendar that will let you read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once.  From www.edginet.org.

Download:  PDF

5 Day Bible Reading Program

Read through the Bible in a year with readings five days a week.  From www.BibleClassMaterial.com.

Download:  PDF

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Twenty Strange Pastor Criticisms

Twenty Strange Pastor Criticisms

For a little Christmas cheer, I’ve listed below the latest actual pastor criticisms from church members.  And a special thanks to Thom Rainer for these.

  1. “You didn’t send me a thank you note for my thank you note.”  Thank you.
  2. “You are too happy!”  I’ll make a point of being a total grump around you.
  3. “I will leave the church if you don’t put tissue seat covers in the bathrooms!”  Please flush on the way out.
  4. “I would be happy to take your wife to the store to help her select some appropriate clothes.”  Please do, but don’t return.
  5. “I guess I have to die to get you to wear a suit and tie to church again.”  The pastor did so the next Sunday.  He’s waiting on the member to hold up his end of the deal.
  6. “Every sermon you preach is better than the next one.”  Thank you . . . no, wait.
  7. “Why do we have to follow something an apostle wrote 2,000 years ago?”  Yep, that Bible is overrated.
  8. “The VBS hot dogs are too cheap.”  What?  We got them at LifeWay!
  9. “You don’t tell enough jokes when you preach.”  Yes, I do. I mentioned your name in my last sermon.
  10. “You need to stop talking about making disciples.”  Yes, that criticism came from an elder.
  11. “When you changed the name from Sunday school to small groups, you took Jesus and the Bible out of the church!”  I agree.  Read Hezekiah 4:11.
  12. “You didn’t give good advice about the family vacuum.”  Now, that’s important.
  13. “I heard you are going to cancel Christmas.”  Yes, I consulted with the Grinch.
  14. “I don’t like the color of your beard hair.”  Thank you.  I plan to dye it pink.
  15. “Your hair color is too dark for someone in your profession.”  Don’t worry.  The more I hear from you, the grayer it gets.

Enjoy.

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You can read more of Thom’s church wisdom at his website, www.thomrainer.com.

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10 Reasons Why Many Christians Rarely Experience True Worship

10 Reasons Why Many Christians Rarely Experience True Worship

The ladies in our church are going on a women’s retreat in a couple of weeks and the theme of their study will include the abundant life found only in Christ and the idea of true worship.  And, as would happen, just today I discovered a blog post by Jeff Kinley that addressed some of the issues I have personally struggled with when it comes to true worship (as compared to the lame stuff we call worship today).

I pray this will be a blessing to you as you prepare this Sunday morning to worship our Sovereign God.


Read ‘Em and Weep

The following are 10 reasons many of us rarely experience true worship.   See if you can relate to a few of these.

1.   While most Christians struggle with the challenges of life, many live defeated lives, never achieving the “more than conquerors” victory that Scripture claims is the normal experience of those who have been redeemed.

2.   Many professing Christians simply stop growing after an initial burst of interest and enthusiasm.  Bibles gather dust and heart-fires start burning out.  As a result, the process of sanctification (becoming like Jesus) is often short-circuited, fueled by sin, Satan or self.  These people end up as spiritual children living in adult bodies.  Churches are FULL of these folks.

3.   Many have never taken the time to really understand salvation— studying what actually took place at the cross, contemplating their dark, sinful condition and future outside of Christ, and learning to regularly bath in the infinitely deep ocean of God’s grace and love.  Understanding how and why God saved you is the key to contentment and joy in life.

4.   Most Christians have little clue about how great their Lord is.  I mean, how could they?  They rarely, if ever, crack open the only Book God wrote to reveal Himself to them.  Ignorance of the mind-blowing truths in Scripture concerning who God is and how amazing His attributes are is a guaranteed one-way ticket to Bland Land.  Bank on this: true theology and doctrine is never, ever boring.  Rather, it infuses our hearts with awe and wonder, inspiring pure, explosive heart-worship.

5.   Face it.  We like comfort and often choose the path of least resistance when it comes to our faith.  Living for Jesus is hard, and few American believers have the lungs for the long, uphill race.  So we rest comfortably by the wayside, occasionally admiring those “Super Christians” who run by on their way to maturity.

6.   We refuse to exercise faith in the daily challenges of life, and almost never branch out and trust God for something truly supernatural, especially if it could cost us a bundle.  We treat sacrifice and suffering like tax season— with a sense of dread and avoidance.  Fear rules many of our life decisions, not faith.  Safety and security becomes our style, influencing everything from friends to finances.  And that makes Heaven yawn… and grieve.

7.   We love the idea that God is loving and compassionate, but fail to grow past those sentimental attributes.  Godly discernment, on the other hand, may lead us to actions that others may interpret as unloving.  So we continue enabling people in their immaturity and sin— and do it all in the name of love.  But in reality, hidden behind this “love” is simply a weak and impotent heart. Boring.

8.   We ignore the direct application of God’s Infinitely-Wise Word where it really matters— on the job, at home, in our marriage and in our parenting.  And we wonder why we’re so screwed up.  We trust in ourselves because having faith seems to be complicated and intangible.  We settle for “what works”— expediency, pragmatism and peace.  And when we do look for advice and counsel, it’s usually from someone just as messed up as we are.  Logical?

9.   The average American Christian checks into church 2x a month, way too little for it to ever have any real, life-changing impact on their lives.  Like working out 2x a month, there is never any real progress or growth.  Truthfully, there’s always a “good reason” to prioritize something else over gathering with your spiritual family – sleep, work, friends, fun, movies, sports on TV, etc.

10.  Honestly, we want a God who entertains and serves us.  We prefer that He act like we want Him to and at the time of our choosing.  And when He fails to deliver or meet our expectations, we lose interest and become bored with His “ways”.

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Do any of these resonate with you?  They do with me.  Ask our Lord to give you His “living water” and teach you to be the kind of worshipper He seeks.  And remember these wonderful words of Jesus to the Samaritan women He encountered at the well:

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when (who) the true worshipers will worship the Father (how) in spirit and truth; (why) for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must (what) worship in spirit and truth” – John 4:23-24.

Strive to become the worshiper the Father actively seeks to worship Him.  Because that, my dear friend, is the abundant life in Christ (John 10:10).  And begin that faith journey with Him today.

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You can find more about Jeff and his writings on his blog.  You can also read the rest of Jeff’s post here.  And rest assured, Jeff is one of the “good guys”.
 

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