Stand Up and Stand Out for Jesus!

Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg

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There was once a young man who was a lumberjack. He worked chopping down trees in the vast forests of northern Canada. One day he went for a few days leave to a nearby town where a Christian pastor witnessed to him on a street corner and led him to Jesus.

“Now that you’ve asked Jesus to come into your heart, Jake, your life is going to change,” the pastor said.

“How?” asked Jake, leaning over to take a closer look at the Scriptures that the pastor was showing him from his Bible.

“Well, look, it says right here in God’s Word, `If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, all things have become NEW!’ (2Corinthians 5:17). So I want to warn you, Jake, that when you go back to that lumber camp, it’s going to be very difficult for you!”

“Why’s that, pastor?”

“Because, as you know, most of those lumberjacks are tough, hard, wicked men, and they don’t like Christians!”

“That’s for sure!” agreed Jake, eyeing two of his friends engaged in a drunken brawl at the other end of the street.

“But, Jake, you’ll no longer be the same as you were before, cursing God, speaking foul language and doing evil things!–You’re going to be so different they’re going to PERSECUTE you!”

“Oh!” said Jake.

So Jake went back to the camp and a few months passed before he came back to the town for his next leave. He wondered if he’d run into the pastor again, and yes, there he was, standing on a street corner passing out tracts. One could hardly miss him, his happy smiling face seemed to light up the whole street, as he beamed the Love of Jesus on all who passed by.

“Hey, pastor! Nice to see you!”

“Hi, Jake!” exclaimed the pastor, very glad to see the converted lumberjack again. “Tell me, how did it go at the lumber camp?”

“Oh, fine, just fine!”

“I told you it was going to be difficult to live a Christian life there, didn’t I?”

“No, no,” replied Jake, “it wasn’t hard!–Not at all!”

“You mean they didn’t persecute you or make it tough for you?” the pastor asked, surprised.

“Oh, no! You see…they never even found out that I WAS a Christian!”

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THAT kind of a sample is NOT being a real CHRISTIAN! Something you BELIEVE in, you TALK about! If you believe in your football team, you talk about them! If you believe in your political party, you talk about it! If you like your work, you talk about it!–And if you really believe in and love JESUS, you’re going to talk about HIM and share His Love with OTHERS!–Like Sophie, the washer-woman, who was made fun of one day by someone who said they had seen her talking about Jesus to a wooden Indian in front of a cigar store! Sophie perked up and replied, “Maybe I did; my eyesight isn’t so good any more! But talking to a wooden Indian about Jesus is not as bad as being a WOODEN CHRISTIAN and never talking about Jesus to ANYONE!”

Jesus said, “If men have a candlestick, they don’t hide it under a bowl or a jar.”–They don’t sit alone in some corner and hope nobody will find out that they’ve become a Christian.–But “they put the candlestick on a STAND so that it will give light to the WHOLE HOUSE!” (Matthew 5:15; Luke 8:16). They stand up and TELL others why they’ve had such a miraculous change in their life! Once you’re saved it should be IMPOSSIBLE to hide the Love of God and the Truth of Jesus! If you have Him in your heart and you have His Love, He wants you to SHOW it and to try to SHARE it with OTHERS! It’s the LEAST you can do for Him Who gave His LIFE for YOU!

Look at most COMMUNISTS today! Look how much you hear about THEM and THEIR cause. They’re certainly dedicated, often very sacrificial, determined and active, willing to even lay down their LIVES to reach their goal of World domination! Can the same be said of the vast majority of CHRISTIANS?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of so-called Christians today are afraid to do anything that would make them stand out as being peculiar or different from the crowd. They’ve lost their TEETH, they’ve lost their CONVICTIONS, they’ve lost their BOLDNESS to take a definite stand for Jesus and be utterly fearless about what people say or think about them! So many try to figure out just how far they can go and yet not hurt their reputation. They’re like some of the man-pleasing Jews in Jesus’ day, of whom the Bible says, “Among the leaders, many believed on Jesus. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise from MEN more than the praise from GOD!” (John 12:42,43).

They don’t want to be real outstanding Christians for fear of being called fanatics, or “fools for Christ’s sake” (1Corinthians 4:10), like the Christian businessman who walked down a busy street in London with a sign pinned to the front of his hat which said, “I’M A FOOL FOR CHRIST!” When passers-by turned to have another look at the man they thought must be a religious fanatic, they saw another card on the back of his hat which said, “WHOSE FOOL ARE YOU?”!

How sad that so many Christians rarely dare to be different, or venture to vary from the norm. They try to tiptoe along very daintily in their walk with the Lord and not disturb anybody! How unlike the Christians of the Early Church, of whom it was said, “These are they that turned the WORLD UPSIDE DOWN!” (Acts 17:6). They were called disturbers alright! But names like Paul and Peter and Stephen and Philip live on to this very day, and their influence is still felt, while the passive compromisers–like so many half-hearted Christians that are drifting around today–just faded into oblivion!

Naaman is a dandy bad example of just such a compromiser: He was a man who, if he had stood up for his faith, could have converted the entire nation of ancient Syria to faith in the true God. Naaman was the second most important man next to the King. He was the top general, the Minister of Defense. He had gotten miraculously healed from leprosy when he went down to see Elisha in Israel, and he even started witnessing to his wife and handmaid and a few close friends that there was no other God but the God of Israel. But when the King of Syria asked him to worship with him in the Temple of Rimmon, the heathen, pagan, devil-god that the Syrians worshipped, he failed to stand up for his new-found faith, and he weakly apologised to Elisha, “The Lord pardon Thy servant in this one thing that I do.” (2Kings 5).

What kind of witness was that to the nation when they saw him walking into the Temple of Rimmon with the King? They must have doubted the stories they’d heard about him being healed by the God of Israel. “Maybe it was the god, Rimmon, who healed him. After all, we see him worshipping there every day with the king!”

There is no such thing as “neutrality” or compromise in the Christian life! Jesus said, “He that is not FOR me is AGAINST me!” (Matthew 12:30). The Christian life should be an on-fire, all-out, 100%, dedicated life devoted to the cause of winning the World for Jesus! The day has now come for Christians to stand up and give bold expression to their convictions, to rise up and FIGHT the forces of darkness that are at work in the World and that are pressing in on us at such an alarming speed! But there isn’t any place in the battle for “chameleon” type Christians who change colour with every crowd and melt into the surrounding World without any convictions or moral courage! That’s the real problem of Christianity today–all the supposedly “secret” Christians who are merely trying to smuggle their own souls into Heaven without anyone else finding out!

Do YOU practice your religion secretly for fear of the opinions of men?–Or do you have the conviction and Christian courage to stand openly with the other great Christians of all ages, to stand up for your faith at every opportunity no matter WHAT the cost in popularity or position! Jesus says, “I wish that you were HOT or COLD!–But if you are LUKEWARM, I will spew you out of My mouth!” (Revelation 3:15,16). With God, it’s usually ALL or NOTHING at all! There’s no halfway with the Lord! He abhors the halfhearted, the lukewarm, the indecisive, the compromisers, the “so-far-and-no-further” folks!

Jesus Himself “made Himself of no reputation, was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was despised and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:1-3). Yet most Christians today are not willing to be the least bit despised for Him and speak out when and where they should for Jesus, to shun the opinions of men and to dare to take a stand for the right, for the TRUTH of God’s Word! Look how much JESUS suffered for US, and yet how little many of us are willing to suffer for Him!

The Bible says, “This is how we know what God’s Love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And WE ought to lay down OUR lives for our BROTHERS!” (1John 3:16). We ought to be willing to lay down our lives to do WHATEVER we can to win as many lost souls as we can while we still can in these last dark days! There’s NO greater work in the World than to witness the Words of God, to preach the Gospel, to tell people about God’s Love, to show them the Love of Jesus!

There is a very meaningful true story about an old lady whose son was appointed “the Ambassador to the Court of St.James”, meaning he was appointed to be American ambassador to England. That was always considered to be the greatest ambassadorship in the World, especially in the days of the zenith of the British Empire’s glory. But when friends came to her with the great news, instead of being overjoyed she nearly wept. She just sadly shook her head and said, “To think that he might have become an ambassador of the GOSPEL, and he dwindled down to nothing but an ambassador to England!”

Think of that! He could have been an ambassador, not of the United States, but of the Kingdom of HEAVEN!–Of the GREATEST King of all, the King of Kings, JESUS! He could have been an ambassador not just to a little country like England, but to the whole WORLD, an ambassador from the greatest Kingdom there will ever be, and could have had a palace forever On High!

THAT’S an appointment that’s open for YOU! Will you TAKE it? In this whole World there is no higher position than to be a child of God, and no greater honour than to stand up for Jesus and be a witness for Him!

Stand up for Jesus TODAY!–You’ll be GLAD you did, and so will God!–And all those who receive your message of His Love!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

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Thank God for Moms

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorMother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
—William Makepeace Thackeray

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Her children rise up and call her blessed.
—Proverbs 31:28

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To a child’s ear, “mother” is magic in any language.
—Arlene Benedict

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Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for He who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother.
—St. Clare of Assisi

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As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.
—Isaiah 66:13

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My prayer for you, mother.

Heavenly Father,
Hold my precious mother close to Your heart as I hold her close to mine.
Let her know today and every day how much I love her.
Lord, comfort her mind and reassure her
that her motherly care was everything I needed and wanted, and that I love her dearly.
Lord, comfort her body as she ages and grant her health and vitality as she goes through her days here on earth.
Bring all good things to my mother, dear God, and bless her every day, in every way.
In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

—Author unknown

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She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to the children, who ate with avidity.

“She hath kept none for herself,” grumbled the sergeant.

“Because she is not hungry,” said a soldier.

“Because she is a mother,” said the sergeant.

—Victor Hugo

*

What Dinah Craik wrote about friends can be beautifully applied to mothers: “Oh, the comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
—Abi F. May

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You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be—
I had a mother who read to me.
—Strickland Gillilan

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I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England.
—John Wesley

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A wise woman once said to me: “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.”
—Hodding Carter

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Old-fashioned motherhood never goes out of style, because it’s all about love. I made people to need love, and I intended for them to first experience that love through their mothers. Mothers are the embodiment of love and care and tenderness—love that even the tiniest baby can feel and respond to.

Love is the best thing in life! It’s the most important lesson anyone can ever learn and the greatest gift anyone can ever receive—and mothers teach it and give it like no one else. Life would go on fine without many things, but not without mothers. Old-fashioned motherhood is here to stay!

—Jesus, speaking in prophecy

 
Why God Made Moms

Answers given by second-grade schoolchildren to the following questions:

 
Why did God make mothers?

  1. She’s the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
  2. Mostly to clean the house.
  3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

 
How did God make mothers?

  1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
  2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
  3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

 
What ingredients are mothers made of?

  1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
  2. They had to get their start from men’s bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

 
Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

  1. We’re related.
  2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people’s moms like me.

 
What kind of a little girl was your mom?

  1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
  2. I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
  3. They say she used to be nice.

 
What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

  1. His last name.
  2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
  3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

 
Why did your mom marry your dad?

  1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
  2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
  3. My grandma says that mom didn’t have her thinking cap on.

 
Who’s the boss at your house?

  1. Mom doesn’t want to be boss, but she has to because dad’s such a goofball.
  2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
  3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

 
What’s the difference between moms and dads?

  1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
  2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
  3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power ’cause that’s who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
  4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

 
What does your mom do in her spare time?

  1. Mothers don’t do spare time.
  2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

 
What would it take to make your mom perfect?

  1. On the inside she’s already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
  2. Diet. You know, her hair. I’d dye it, maybe blue.

 
If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

  1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I’d get rid of that.
  2. I’d make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it, not me.
  3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

—Source unknown

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

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Self-Control and Avoiding Temptation—Part 2

From the Roadmap series

free-bible-studies-online-anchorSome people are strongly affected by their emotions. That’s not altogether bad, unless the emotions are negative. If you have a tendency to get angry and blow off steam, speed when driving because you’re frustrated or upset, binge-drink when you’re sad or lonely, or other such actions, it’s important to learn to control your emotions. Managing your emotions doesn’t mean you stop feeling or expressing yourself.

 
 
Managing your emotions means:

You don’t overreact to situations.
You take a moment to put things in perspective.
You remain firmly in control, so that your emotions enhance your life, rather than ruin it.
You make your emotions work for you. Not against you.
—Burke Hedges, You, Inc.

Consider this true story.

When the athlete was only a boy, it was obvious to everybody that he was blessed with special physical gifts. He loved all sports, and excelled at every one he ever tried.

When he was nine years old, his father handed him a warped wooden tennis racquet. From the first swing of the racquet, the boy was hooked! It wasn’t long before he was beating all the kids his age throughout the country.

By the time he was 12 he was regularly beating the best adult players in his country, and he could give tennis pros a run for their money. Everyone predicted he would be a world champion one day; that is, if he could only learn how to control his temper.

You see, when something went wrong, like when he missed an easy shot or if an umpire made a bad call, the boy had a fit. His temper got so out of control that he began losing matches he should have won.

One day his father came out to watch him in the finals of a big tournament. Sure enough, the boy started losing his temper, shouting, cursing, throwing his racquet. After 10 minutes of witnessing this obnoxious behavior, the father walked onto the court, and announced to everyone present, “This match is over. My son defaults.” And with that he walked over to his son and said in a stern voice, “Come with me.”

When they got home the father placed the racquet in a closet and said, “You are not to touch this racquet or any other racquet for six months, end of discussion.”

At the end of the six months, his father handed the racquet to his son with these words: “If I hear so much as one curse word, or see so much as one toss of your racquet in anger, I’ll take it from you for good. Either you control your temper or I will control it for you.”

The boy was so overjoyed to be able to play that he took to the sport with more passion than ever before. By the time he was 16, he was winning professional tournaments all over Europe.

With each tournament, the young man was getting better and better, and the press started calling him “teen angel”! You see, after his father’s suspension, the boy learned to manage his emotions even under the most stressful conditions.

Whether it was the first point of an easy match or the last nerve-racking point of a hard-fought final, his expression and demeanor remained the same. He was in complete control of his emotions.

He went on to become what many experts consider the greatest player ever. He won 14 major championships in all, including six French Open titles, the first when he was only 18 years old, and five straight Wimbledon titles. The one-time tennis brat, later known as “Teen-Angel,” was Bjorn Borg.

Borg would be the first to admit that learning to manage his emotions was the turning point in his tennis career,if not his life.Whether you are five years old or 55 years old, managing your emotions means understanding that you can’t always control what happens to you. But as Bjorn Borg learned, you CAN control your emotional response.

—Burke Hedges, You, Inc. (adapted)

Bjorn Borg learned to control his emotions as a teenager, and the results were tremendous success and excellent character. Borg’s father stepped in and brought the lessons home for him. Our heavenly Father may, in some cases, do the same, if necessary, in order to teach us self-restraint and self-control. At other times, however, He may allow us to continue in the wrong direction we’ve chosen until eventually we see for ourselves where our lack of self-restraint has taken us, which is usually not where we had originally intended to go. If we want to be “quick studies,” we won’t wait for the Lord to intervene, or expect that He always will. Sometimes—often, in fact—the Lord is willing to let us learn the hard way. So it’s important that we learn to be responsible for our actions and emotions, personally.

Acting on runaway emotions will have consequences. To not think things through can have life-altering repercussions. And unfortunately, often those consequences can never be undone, nor those repercussions reversed.

Today’s society offers more freedom and more choices. We also face more temptations, more distractions, and more permissiveness. Therefore, it’s crucial that we fully understand and respect the power of our emotions, and that we learn to take responsibility for them and manage them well.

It’s never too late to learn to control your temper or manage your emotions. There are many practical tips on this, which can be effective, but the most effective way to grow in this area is through communion with the Lord, in prayer, reading God’s Word, and committing our lives and emotions to Him.

 
Live without regrets

Another part of self-control is related to discipline. For example, do you have enough self-control to walk away from something appealing or “fun” when it’s not the right thing to do? Or to resist doing something crazy, like accepting a dangerous dare from a friend? Do you have enough self-control to keep from overdrinking so as to avoid making a fool of yourself, or worse yet, causing some serious damage? Maybe your drunken antics hurt your relationship with your significant other. Or maybe you wrecked your car, hurt someone, or lost your job. Perhaps you flunked out of school or caused people to question your character.

Taking charge of your life requires discipline. Yes, tons of it. But discipline is neither readily attained nor easily maintained. It demands the mental stamina to overcome empty passions and faulty habits. It also requires the fortitude to resist the pull of so many temptations that otherwise might lure us toward meaningless sideshows. But more than anything, it demands a relentless focus on what matters most.
—Stephen Covey

Researchers have found twenty things that people do when they are young that they will likely regret when they are forty. Some of the things noted include smoking, posting risqué photos on the Internet, unwise social networking, getting tattoos in visible places, body piercings and plugs, overspending and getting into debt, random unprotected sex, dropping out of school, and being too busy or disinterested to spend time with the people they love.

There is a wide range of opinions on the validity of these actions, and some people might not agree with these points being a risk or something to avoid. But the point is this: You will not always have the mindsets, attitudes, or approach to life that you have today, and one day you might look back on what you’re doing now, on certain actions that you can’t take back or undo, and say, “What in the world was I thinking?!”

Leaders ought not to worry greatly about occasional mistakes, but they must vigilantly guard against those things that will make them feel ashamed.
—Jon Huntsman

We are making choices now that will affect the course of the rest of our life. Undoubtedly, we want that course to be a good one. That is why it’s important that we first of all know what the Lord wants, as well as where we’re headed and why, in order to then develop the right habits and the proper disciplines needed to help us follow that path. We each hold our future in our hands; we determine what it will be by our daily choices.

God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. But what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it! When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, and not loss; good, and not evil; success, and not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it.
—Attributed to W. Heartsill Wilson

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

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Self-Control and Avoiding Temptation—Part 1

From the Roadmap series

free-bible-studies-online-anchorHave you heard that expression, “All that glitters is not gold”? Well, that can certainly be true of many of the temptations that come into our lives. Some things look good or attractive at first glance, but the immediate situation can be misleading. For example, when the desire to have a good time is coupled with a careless, “anything goes” attitude, the combination can be dangerous and have weighty consequences.

There are all kinds of ways the Devil tries to trip us up so that we lose perspective, make rash decisions, get out of balance, and then fall prey to excesses or binges, or to emotional outbursts that can have negative repercussions. But as we know from the Word of God, and from history, and our own life experiences, self-control and moderation is important if we’re going to maintain a happy, well-balanced, and centered, productive life.

The Bible tells us to “let our moderation be known.” Temperance is also one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians. Temperance is synonymous with self-control. (See Galatians 5:22–23)

Self-control is the ability to control your behavior, especially in terms of reactions and impulses. Temperance is self-restraint in the face of temptation or desire. Temperance also has to do with having moderation in all things.—Peter Amsterdam

As Christians, we need to be on guard against things that can damage our testimony, hurt our witness, and hinder us from fulfilling the mission, by tarnishing our personal example and reputation. Sometimes little overindulgences or lacks of moderation that aren’t in line with the Bible don’t seem like a big deal. We can think it’s just a little thing. But even small actions can have significant repercussions, so it’s important to measure our actions by the standard of the Christian values we’re committed to living by. The goal is to strive to do the Lord’s will to the best of our ability and to make the right choices—to live right, and to align our actions and choices with our core values.

If we as Christians have an active relationship with God, we can count on the fact that His Spirit will faithfully speak to our conscience when we’re tempted to overreact or overindulge. But if we consistently resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit, pretty soon we won’t hear the Lord’s voice clearly.

The more someone disregards the leadings of the Lord’s Spirit, the easier it becomes to go further down that slippery path of disobedience. Hence the seriousness of failing to exercise restraint when needed, even in small ways.

There are numerous common temptations in the world today, which, when not resisted, lead to sin, including:

  • failure to control negative emotions towards others, angry outbursts, jealous rages
  • overdrinking or binge drinking
  • substance abuse
  • crossing the boundaries for appropriate sexual conduct
  • gossiping, lying, or cheating
  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • pornography

That’s just to name a few of the obvious ones.

It is, of course, much easier and safer to avoid getting into trouble with these temptations by avoiding taking steps in that direction in the first place. The Enemy wants to wreak havoc in our lives, so it’s best to take it seriously and protect ourselves from the steep downward grade that wrong decisions can lead to. It’s like the well-known saying: “It’s better to build a fence at the top of the cliff rather than a hospital at the bottom.” That “fence” is self-control, and each of us decides how strong or weak it is by the choices we make.

We can strengthen our self-control by:

  • taking more responsibility for our lives.
  • understanding the dynamics of choice—its repercussions and consequences; counting the cost of our decisions.
  • not just living for the moment or today, but thinking about tomorrow and the future.
  • being true to our convictions, and keeping our spiritual life and connection with the Lord and His Spirit strong.
  • seeking professional help or counsel, if needed.

Of course, no one is above temptation. The Bible says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

One of the ways we can avail ourselves of that “way of escape” is through maintaining a strong connection with the Lord, which will give us a healthy fear of stepping outside of the circle of His protection through disobedience. Also, as a result of our relationship with the Lord, we will have the personal conviction to measure our actions against our values and Christian ethics.

We each decide what we will or will not do, and we’re the ones who live with the consequences of those decisions. Some people are naturally more reckless or prone to taking risks. If those risks are within reason, and we exercise reasonable restraint and ask the Lord to guide us and give us wisdom, then we’ll be able to stay on a safe path and learn as we go. Even if we make mistakes here and there, if we are walking in the fear of the Lord and praying about our decisions, we can trust that whatever He allows or brings into our lives will somehow work for our good, whether in this life or the next.

Here are some of the overall principles of self-control that come into play for leading a balanced, safe, productive life, that will help us to make good, safe decisions.

Spiritually speaking:

  • Study God’s Word to know the Lord’s counsel on issues.
  • Stay close to the Lord and strive to follow what He tells you in His Word, through prophecy, and via His still small voice.
  • Avoid making impulsive or rash decisions.
  • Base your decisions on the principles in His Word.
  • Ask the Lord to speak to you about your decisions, personal standards, and life choices.
  • Recognize when you’ve made a mistake and ask the Lord—and others, if necessary—for forgiveness and safeguarding, and then strive to not let it happen again.
  • Work to develop good character. Then be true to your personal convictions and moral ethics. This is closely tied to integrity, taking responsibility for your life, and not allowing yourself to be influenced negatively by others.

Practically speaking, here are some tips:

  • Choose your friends wisely. It’s an indication that you’re in good company if you “like who you are” (related to your Christian example) when you’re with someone.
  • Avoid placing yourself in situations where you know you’ll be tempted to sin. For example, if you have a tendency to overdrink, avoid partying with heavy drinkers.
  • Think about what you’re doing. Count the cost. Ask yourself if you might regret a decision you are making or action down the line.
  • Be aware that anyone can develop addictions. Don’t think it could never happen to you.

Regarding resisting temptations, it might not be as easy as one would assume, without the Lord’s help. Research conducted by the Kellogg School of Management and the University of Amsterdam concluded that “individuals believe they have more restraint than they actually possess, which ultimately leads to poor decision-making. … The research found [those tested] … miscalculated the amount of temptation they could truly handle, in turn leading to a greater likelihood of indulging impulsive or addictive behavior. … The key is simply to avoid any situations where vices and other weaknesses thrive and, most importantly, for individuals to keep a humble view of their willpower.”

You might argue that the temptations in life are too difficult to avoid. Here is some food for thought on that topic:

Someone [once] said that the temptations in life [are] just too great! Well, too great for whom? Of course they are too great for you!—But not for the God who wants to strengthen you in your time of need. It’s only by His help that anyone can resist temptation. You were never supposed to resist it alone. That’s why you need to get in touch with God! Because you can’t have the victory in yourself!
—Virginia Brandt Berg

 
Temptation is the feeling we get when encountered by an opportunity to do what we innately know we shouldn’t.
―Steve Maraboli

 
Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.
—Billy Sunday

 
Too often we think of being tempted as being enticed to do big things like stealing, murdering or committing adultery. But most often we’re tempted to be impatient, stingy, jealous, greedy, or any number of other things that we consider lesser sins.
—Joyce Meyer

 
When Christians find themselves exposed to temptation they should pray to God to uphold them, and when they are tempted they should not be discouraged. It is not a sin to be tempted; the sin is to fall into temptation.
—D. L. Moody

 
Every conquering of temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.
—William Butler Yeats

 
Temptation may even be a blessing to a man when it reveals to him his weakness and drives him to the almighty Savior. Do not be surprised, then, dear child of God, if you are tempted at every step of your earthly journey, and almost beyond endurance; but you will not be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, and with every temptation there will be a way of escape.
—F. B. Meyer

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

The Spirit of Love!

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He knew the joys of Earth
Would pass away and soon depart,
For he’d tasted HEAVEN’S Love,
The Saviour dwelt within his heart!

Yet he stumbled down life’s road
And seemed to wander aimlessly,
Torn between the World and Christ,
Who had beckoned, “Follow Me!”

He wanted to obey,
To heed the Shepherd’s call,
But he didn’t have the strength,
When e’er he’d try, he’d fall!

Till late one night he found Her,
And like a Goddess from above,
She took his hand and sweetly whispered,
“I am the SPIRIT of GOD’S LOVE!

“Through the Son, you know the Father,
But you need to receive ME.
For I am the loving MOTHER
Of the Holy Trinity!

“Let Me thrill you, let Me fill you
With My power in your soul!”
“I am YOURS!” the pilgrim answered,
“Take my life, take FULL control!”

Empowered by Her kisses,
Transformed by Her loving hands,
Renewed by Her caresses,
He became ANOTHER man!

He cared less about himself,
And more for OTHERS, and was bold
To tell them of his Saviour
And lead scores into His Fold!

So many christians today are like this!–Even though they have come to know Jesus, “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6), they have received Him and His wonderful Love into their hearts, their relationship with Him is somehow INCOMPLETE, something is MISSING, they are somehow lacking the life and love and joy that He has promised to all who love and follow Him!

Such Christians often become so weak, so unmotivated, so powerless, that they settle for a cold, lifeless, TRADITIONAL Christianity which has very little or nothing to do with the THRILLING and CHALLENGING kind of life that Jesus offered to His disciples, as we read about in the Gospels of the New Testament! This dry, almost lifeless counterfeit Christianity has so little to do with Christ and His teachings that it would more aptly be called CHURCHianity, as the foundation and basis for much of such religion today is church buildings & the church services and churchy rules and taboos which have “made the commandment of GOD of NONE EFFECT by their traditions!” (Mark 7:6-13)

It is so sad, so pitiful, that so many Christians are ignorant of the fact that God could fill their lives with His Love and joy and power in such a way that would THRILL and FULFIL and SATISFY them beyond their wildest dreams! Jesus promised this power to His disciples when He told them that after His resurrection they would “be endued with POWER from on High”, that He would send a special COMFORTER to comfort, lead and give them the power and strength to “GO into all the World and preach the Gospel to EVERY creature!” (Luke 24:49; John 14:26; Mark 16:15)

This wonderful power that God has provided for His children is the HOLY SPIRIT, Who, to many people’s surprise, is pictured in the Bible as a beautiful WOMAN!–She is the COMFORTER, the SPIRIT of LOVE, the MOTHER FIGURE of the Trinity! In the beginning when God created Man, the Bible tells us that He said, “Let US make Man in OUR image, after OUR likeness–male AND female created He them!” (Genesis 1:26,27)–So God’s Trinity is male AND female!

In the Bible’s Book of Proverbs, King Solomon describes God’s Spirit of Love and Wisdom as a “SHE” that was with God “from the beginning when He had not yet made the Earth and when He prepared the heavens.” (Proverbs 8:1-35) God’s precious Holy Spirit is His Own Heavenly Mate, the spiritual Mother of His Son, Jesus, and the Mother of us ALL in SPIRIT!

Of course, everyone who has ever received Jesus into his heart has received a MEASURE of the Holy Spirit, “being born again of the SPIRIT”. (John 3:8) But to receive the FULL anointing or infilling, or what the Bible calls “BAPTISM” of the Holy Spirit, is usually a SEPARATE experience that happens AFTER you have received Jesus.

A glass of water makes a good illustration. A glass may not be a FULL glass of water but if it has SOME water in it at least it’s not completely empty, it IS a glass of WATER. Well, that’s how a lot of Christians are. They have just a LITTLE bit of water, a little BIT of God’s Spirit, just enough to SAVE them.

But being BAPTISED with the Holy Spirit is as if the water was poured in till the glass was FILLED UP and RUNNING OVER! It is such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that you fill up and run over! Jesus said, “He that believes on Me, out of his innermost parts shall flow RIVERS of LIVING WATER!”–This spake He of the SPIRIT which they that believe on Him SHOULD receive! (John 7:38,39)

This baptism or infilling of the Holy Spirit is a baptism of LOVE!–Love for God and love for others!–Love enough to REACH them with the Gospel, to WIN them to the Lord, such a Love that you just love EVERYBODY! In fact, the Holy Spirit of God IS Love because “GOD is LOVE”! (1 John 4:8)

So to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the LOVE of God! Of course, at the same time it is also a baptism of the POWER of God, the power that enables you to tell other people about Jesus, to share His Love with others.

Just before leaving this World and ascending to be with His Father, Jesus told His disciples, “You shall receive POWER, AFTER the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be WITNESSES unto Me in ALL the World!” (Acts 1:8) Receiving the power of His Holy Spirit will make you want to be a WITNESS and OBEY His command and tell OTHERS about Jesus, and show them that He loves them!

Receiving God’s wonderful Spirit of Love not only fills us with His Love and power, but also gives us what the Bible calls “GIFTS of the Spirit”! (1 Corinthians 12) These gifts include supernatural WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE, gifts of HEALING, working of MIRACLES, the ability to PROPHESY, and speak in new TONGUES and LANGUAGES, etc! (1Corinthians 12:4-10) These marvellous gifts of which we read so much about in the New Testament are still as real and available TODAY as they were in the days of the Apostles, for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8)

So if you want to be a lively, active Christian who OBEYS the Lord, preaches the Gospel and wins OTHERS into His Kingdom, thereby laying up for yourself an ETERNAL CROWN and reward because of your faithfulness to Him, you certainly need to be filled with His precious Holy Spirit!–You cannot do the Master’s WORK without the Master’s POWER!

“Have YOU received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” (Acts 19:2) Have you received this overflowing power of God’s Love in your own life since you received Jesus? Do you have any of the beautiful “gifts of the Spirit”, God the Father’s wonderful gifts for His children to enjoy, and tools for your work for Him? You can have them right NOW! All you have to do is ASK!

Jesus promised, “Ask and it SHALL be given you, seek and ye SHALL find, knock and it SHALL be opened unto you!” (Matthew 7:7) When you ask God for the Holy Spirit, you’ll KNOW that you’ve received Her because He’s PROMISED Her!–Just like when you received JESUS into your heart, you knew He came in because the Bible SAID He would! (Revelation 3:20)

She’s calling YOU, to come and follow and serve Jesus, to live for ETERNITY, to know such JOY and THRILLS and FULFILMENT beyond anything you’ve ever imagined! Heed Her loving call and ask God to fill you with His precious Holy Spirit right NOW! Why wait? He is more willing to give than you are to receive!

Receive God’s Spirit of Love and power now by simply praying this little prayer:

“Dear Jesus, I love You, and know that I need more of Your Love and Power in my life. So I ask You to please fill me with Your Holy Spirit right now, to give me the strength to truly follow You and tell others about You and Your Love! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!”

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

Metanoia = A Change of Life

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe term “metanoia” is derived from the Greek prefix meta, meaning “over,” “after,” or “with”—and nous, meaning “intellect” or “mind.” Translating literally, metanoia means a change of one’s mind or purpose. The term is generally used in two different contexts, both of which retain this literal meaning. In the Bible, the term is most often translated as “repent.”

The Christian scholar Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225 AD) argued that, in the context of Christian theology, metanoia is best translated as “change of mind.” In this specific context, the change of mind may be taken to refer to the change from nonbeliever to believer. Furthermore, this particular kind of change of mind is expected to entail a wholesale change in the person’s behavior and disposition; the person who experiences metanoia is expected not only to embrace a pious attitude but to act accordingly. Hence the word “repent” refers to renunciation of sin in both thought and act.

—Robert Arp
 

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According to Mark’s gospel, John the Baptist went about “preaching a baptism of repentance [metanoia] for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3) From Matthew’s perspective, the essence of the Baptist’s message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2) Metanoia here and elsewhere in the Bible means “not just a change of inward disposition but a complete turn-around of one’s life, with all that such a re-direction implies of the need for God’s help on the one side and of ethical conduct on man’s side.”

—Lewis and Demarest

 
A change of mind and purpose

Simply put, metanoia is a word filled with remarkable meaning by the preaching of Christ and the apostles. … The word means “after-mind” and signifies a change of mind: thinking one way, but then afterwards thinking another. …

The gospel is what the change of mind is about. The preaching of Jesus and the apostles speaks to the nous [mind], and men change or don’t change their mind as they hear it. When a man changes his mind at the preaching of the gospel, he has experienced metanoia. Thus, the proclamation of metanoia at the beginning of the New Testament is the doorway into the entire rest of the doctrine of the New Testament: Change your mind! About what? Listen! A radical mind-shift in the religious world is about to happen … no, it is happening now… What we thought about God and the law and righteousness and forgiveness is all about to change. Hear! Metanoia and believe the gospel!

New Testament metanoia is a divine call to a radical mind-shift in the way men think about religion. Therefore “repentance” is an entirely unsatisfactory translation of the amazing word “metanoia,” which gives a completely different feeling to the preaching of Jesus and His apostles. Was the major proclamation of Jesus and the apostles “Repent! Feel sorry for your sins”? Or was it “Metanoia! Think a new way”! Do you see what a difference these two words make? Which one is in keeping with the gospel of grace as we know it from the New Testament? Not the first, but the second.

The gospel calls us to a new way of thinking about religion. Whereas men think that they are good, and that obedience to the law is the way of salvation, and that the law only requires partial obedience, and that most people won’t perish, Jesus calls us to believe that there is none good, and that no one will be saved by obedience to the law, because the law requires perfect obedience, and that is the broad road that leads to destruction. The apostles call us to believe that the cross of Christ is the power and the wisdom of God, the only way whereby we are saved, and live, through faith, while the world thinks that the cross is foolishness.

—Eli Brayley

 
Genuine repentance

True repentance is metanoia, Greek for a complete change of direction. Many people are sorry but never really change, like King Saul. Poor Saul never learned. He apologized and was sorry many times, but he never really repented, he never turned and went the other way. Saul would break down and weep before the prophet Samuel, but he didn’t weep because he was repentant; he wept because he was sorry he was about to lose the kingdom. (1 Samuel 15:24–30) He didn’t really confess and forsake his sin, the evil root beneath the outer show. (Proverbs 28:13)

Though King David also committed great sins, he had great repentance and a genuine change. Therefore God had great forgiveness for him. David sought God’s heart. (1 Samuel 13:14; Psalm 51) David deeply loved God, and he really wanted to glorify God and please Him. God loved David in spite of all his sins and mistakes because David was willing to confess and change—and he went on to become one of God’s greats, in spite of himself.

So true repentance is not just being sorry: it is “metanoia,” a complete change of mind and heart and direction—a whole new man, a new personality, a new creature in Christ Jesus—born again! Only God can do it, but we must put forth the effort of a believing will.

You’ve had a genuine repentance when your heart is changed, your life is changed, you’ve had a complete change of mind. It means a complete turning around and going the other way!—Like when you’re driving your car down the street and you decide you want to go the opposite direction, you have to make a U-turn.

When you do, you’re doing exactly what the word “metanoia” translated in our New Testament means: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” (Matthew 4:17) Do you know what Jesus was saying when He said that? He was saying, revolute your life—for the kingdom of God is at hand! He said, turn around and start going the other direction. You cannot keep on living the same way. You cannot travel the same way anymore. You cannot go back and be a slave of mammon and serve God. You cannot serve God and mammon. It’s impossible; Jesus Himself said it. You’ll either “love the one and hate the other, or hold to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24) Which are you serving?

—David Brandt Berg

 
Repentance for salvation

When Paul calls for the elders of Ephesus to come to the island of Miletus, he tells them that he publicly and from house to house was “thoroughly testifying both to Jews and Gentiles repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21) Then, when standing before King Agrippa, Paul says, “I did not become disobedient to the heavenly vision, but I declared first to the ones in Damascus and Jerusalem, and unto all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and that they should turn to God, while producing works worthy of repentance (metanoia).” (Acts 26:19–20) Paul is proclaiming the same message as that of John, Jesus, and Peter, continuing to present that repentance is necessary for salvation and that the fruit or works worthy of repentance (literally, a continuous process under the control of the Holy Spirit) indicate true repentance.

The Bible also teaches that repentance is a gift from God. In Acts 5:31, Peter and the other apostles tell the Sanhedrin, “God exalted this One to His right as Ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Then, after Peter explains his calling from the Lord to go to the Gentiles with the message of salvation, his Jerusalem brethren respond by “glorifying God, saying, ‘Then God also gave to the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (Acts 11:18)

In our day and age, the condition of repentance is largely absent from the message of Christian salvation. Too often salvation is offered as a free ticket to Heaven, a ticket costing us nothing. However, the Bible teaches that both the call to repentance and the condition of repentance are absolutely necessary for the salvation process to take place: The verb form [of metanoia] expresses the call for the action of making the decision to change the direction of one’s life; the noun form metanoia states the condition necessary for salvation. Only when these two are present will the fruit of repentance follow. Simply put, a person must perceive that he needs a change in the direction of his life. He must make the decision for change, and then surrender his life to Christ, receiving Christ’s Spirit into his own spirit. Herein lies the cost, the surrender of his life. This is necessary because, as Biblical language makes clear, no person has the ability to change himself; spiritual change comes only from God. The good news is that repentance is God’s gift to all who surrender to Christ.

—Bill Klein

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Activated

Points to Ponder: The Peace of God

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Inner peace

 
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:7

 
If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.
—John Bunyan (1628–1688)

 
Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God.
—Unknown

 
Our daily lives can easily become filled with stress, pressure, and confusion. But we can stop at any moment and slip away into the presence of God’s Spirit through prayer and meditation, and there find peace and refreshing.
—Mottos for Success

 

Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile,
His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.
—Edith Willis Linn Forbes (1865–1945)

 
Jesus lay in the boat sleeping. The waves rose, the wind blew and the storm battered the small vessel about. His disciples were afraid: afraid of the wind, afraid of the waves and fearful for their lives. They came to Jesus, woke Him up, begging for His help. The answer lay in His power. He said, “Peace, be still,” and there was peace. The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (See Mark 4:35–41) No matter the turmoil of our life, we too can find peace if we turn to Jesus for His help.
—Marge Banks

 
Let My Spirit rest upon you and fill you with peace. Let My Spirit flow through your thoughts, mingle with your spirit, and give you strength.
—Jesus

 
Peace with those around us

 
Live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
—2 Corinthians 13:11

 
All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.
—Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471)

 
All works of love are works of peace. … Peace begins with a smile.
—Mother Teresa (1910–1997)

 
Jesus gave us the key to happiness and harmony when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) And remember, “neighbor” doesn’t only mean the one who lives next door; your neighbor is anyone He brings across your path.

When people don’t treat others with much love, of course they’re going to have problems. In fact, many of the evils in the world today can be traced back to people’s lack of love for God and one another. The simple love of God and one’s neighbors is still God’s solution, even in such a highly complex and confused society as ours. If we love God, we can love others, and follow His rules of life, liberty, and the possession of happiness.

—David Brandt Berg (1919–1994)

 
Sometimes it can be difficult to do the right thing, especially when the person you’re dealing with hasn’t done right to you, but I didn’t say, “Do to others as they do to you.” My code for living is far above that normal perception of fairness. I want you to live on a higher plane. Anyone can be nice to those who are nice, but the person who can be nice to those who aren’t is the bigger person and more blessed by Me.
—Jesus

 
Peace in a world of conflict

 
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
—Matthew 5:9 KJV

 
We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.
—William E. Gladstone (1809–1898)

 
Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely an absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.
—Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964)

 
Pray for those who are touched by war at this very moment. They need your prayers, and each one needs Me, the Prince of Peace.
—Jesus

 
Peace with God

 
Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
—Romans 5:1

 
“In the fear [reverence] of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26) This place of refuge is promised to all believers, yet so few venture therein. I say unto you, come aside, My dear one. Come under My wings, into My place of refuge, that you may experience My love and My peace.
—Jesus

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You can have God’s peace in your own heart by inviting His Son, Jesus, to come in. He says, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” (Revelation 3:20 NIV)

Dear Jesus, please come into my life and give me Your peace. Forgive me for the wrong things I’ve done, and help me get to know You better and share You with others. Amen.

 
 

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