Current mood: blessed Category: Religion and Philosophy
MORNING MANNA - OCTOBER 8, 2010
STAY TRUE TO THE LORD!
Philippians 4:1 (NLT) 1 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.
How are you standing this morning, my friend? In the New Living Translation, Paul tells the Philippians to stay true to the Lord. The original Greek words mean, "stand fast in the Lord." To persevere. To remain stationary. To stay closely united to the Lord and His ways. To stay true to the Lord. Again, the Apostle, Paul, was looking out for his spiritual children, the Philippian believers. But, he was looking out for you and me too. He calls us all, "dearly beloved," twice in this same verse in the King James Version. Philippians 4:1 (KJV) 1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. We can see that Paul really does want the best for us and he knows that, despite the temptations that come from the world, the flesh and the devil, the best thing for us is to stay true to the Lord. To remain steadfast in following Him. To be immovable when it comes to our loyalty to Him. Paul had been with the Philippian church but, when he wrote this letter, he was away in a prison in Rome. Like any loving parent, Paul missed his, "children," in the Lord. He would have loved to see them. I happen to be traveling right now and I left some brothers and sisters in Christ in another part of the country. I miss them. But, I also have brothers and sisters in Christ in Maryland, and it's a joy to see them and I love them too. Paul was a man, a human being just like us! He missed the Philippian believers and he missed being there to see them grow in the Lord, as he carefully taught them. He considered them his life's joy and crown. He was so blessed of the Lord that he really wanted all those who read his letters or heard him speak, to come under his covering. As people believed the gospel message he preached, he considered them to be his joy and crown. Who is teaching us and uplifting us in the Lord? Can they consider us their joy and crown in life because we are standing fast in what we have been taught? Most of all, is the Lord looking at us and seeing a heart truly turned toward Him. Today, and everyday, are we persevering and remaining stationary in the Lord? Are we, "standing fast?"
Galatians 5:1 (KJV) 1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: In this world that seems to be quickly moving away from Jesus, am I standing fast in Him?
What is it about Evangelical Christians and their support for Israel that really gets to me? I understand what makes some Jews — especially liberal Jews — nervous about this group: their conservative values (on issues such as abortion and separation of church and state); an uncompromising stance on the Middle East peace process; the theological slant to their support for Israel; and a propensity among some of them to proselytize to Jews.
Still, I couldn’t help but be moved last Saturday night as I listened to Pat Boone talk about his deep and emotional connection to Israel. Boone was speaking at the home of Howard and Elayne Levkowitz with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and guest scholar-in-residence at Young Israel of Century City.
urrent mood: blessed Category: Religion and Philosophy
MORNING MANNA - AUGUST 7, 2010
ARE YOU SHINING?
Ephesians 5:8 (KJV) 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Did you ever wish you were a star? Want to be in moves or on TV? I have to confess that I did! Not a whole lot of people achieve that but, as believers, we are already stars when we have determined to live for the Lord! We don't have to work at it! God has made us that way for His own glory! There is no doubt that we have to learn our part in this story of, "life," though. We need to let our light (the light that Christ has put in us) shine out so that no one can come away from our presence without knowing they were in a bright light - in the presence of a, "star," if you will. Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT) 14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. The Amplified Bible says, "stars or beacons shining out clearly."I see here that part of our role is to do everything without complaints and arguments. The thing is, we're not just playing a part. This is reality - real life. So, some of us may need an attitude adjustment if we are constantly complaining about our spouse, the government, our taxes, whatever. God is bigger than all of those things. If we constantly have to be right, and argue until we prove we are right, it may be that the our sparkle is fading. Our gleam is dying. Even in the Old Testament, God spoke about His people shining like stars. Daniel 12:3 (KJV) 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Daniel was writing about the last times here. Dark times. Light shines brightest in the darkness and this is a very dark time. Are you ready to shine like a star? We must be ready to walk as children of Light!
What does a light that is as bright as a star look like? What are it's characteristics? They are goodness, righteousness, and truth. Ephesians 5:9 (KJV) 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) As shining stars, we need to show fruit of goodness. It is interesting that this word, "goodness," denotes something of benefit and something virtuous. But, more interesting is the fact that some earlier scholars say that this particular word used in Ephesians 5:9 includes the sterner aspects of goodness as well. Maybe what we might call, "tough love," today. These scholars point to Jesus cleansing the temple and His putting the Pharisees in their place, things that are less gentle than we might want to think. To show the quality of righteousness, we need to show innocence, holiness and live in a just manner. Of course, truth means just that. Truth. That's what God's stars look like. Living in this manner, the Lord tells us to prove what pleases Him. Ephesians 5:10 (KJV) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. We can prove what is acceptable to God by living out His will. I have had a problem in my life wondering whether I can really know His will, much less prove it. But, God never calls us to do something that we cannot do in His strength. Stars rise higher than the world and this is how God says we can know His perfect will and shine brightly for Him. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. God has allowed you and me, imperfect though we are, to immerse ourselves in His Word until we are transformed in our thinking to think just like He does and to know His perfect will! We can prove His will by joyfully living out His Word! By shining like stars!
I'm still thinking about that word, "goodness." As light, we get to shine and look pretty good. We get to sparkle! I like that! But, as we shine, there may be a commotion in our lives and the lives of others. The more we shine, the more the unfruitful works of darkness will be exposed. As our renewed minds start to shine, we may even find some dark things in the corner of our own lives. This is uncomfortable but God is not into revealing things to shame us or to bring condemnation. He's revealing to do His healing! We may have to walk away from some people because they refuse to come to the Light, the true Light being Jesus. This is going to make people who want to walk in the darkness uncomfortable. As if that is not enough, the Lord says that we are to shine so brightly that we totally expose the works of darkness. Oh my, there will be some things exposed within ourselves that we might rather have left stuffed somewhere in the back of our hearts and minds. And, others will be exposed. Let me tell you, when we expose evil, the devil gets angry! So, if we find that we get up on the stage of life, rise high and shine like stars only to have others try to shoot us down, we should not be surprised! We need to remember the words of Jesus. Matthew 5:10 (AMP) 10 Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Yes, persecution may come and we need to remember that persecution, in this case, is a blessing. The reward is great if we are persecuted for letting Jesus shine out from us. He promises that He will give us the kingdom of Heaven! Has anyone ever given you a kingdom? Jesus did if you will receive it! This is where I keep coming back to that word, "goodness," and the fact that it may include a stern factor. A tough factor. It's not really fun to make people angry and then have to bear ridicule and persecution for it. But, sometimes that's what light does. And the brighter the light, the more exposure there is! Our goodness must have a confrontational side. It includes rebuking darkness. It includes telling someone about a fault that they have. Of course, this all has to be done in love because it is only by the grace of God that we are not in a dark place too. It has to do with bringing conviction on the workers of darkness, but never condemnation! Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn it. Now, we are told not to have any fellowship with any of these things but, not only that, we are not even to speak of them! Ephesians 5:12 (KJV) 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. Well now, being a star may not be what we thought it was going to be! Being a star for the Lord will mean that we rise higher than the world, love those that are walking in darkness so much that we shine clear, pure and bright in front of them. We must be willing to take the heat for exposing things that are trying to stay hidden away. We must be courageous enough to keep shining even when we feel like we have no shine left! When we feel the loneliness of being out there all alone. As believers, God has made you and me, "stars." It may even be that we get some applause once in a while. A real star will let that glory bounce right off of himself or herself and back to the God who made the stars! If you have received Jesus and are living joyfully for Him, you are a star! It's dark in this world. Shine brightly!
The columnist Charles Krauthammer once said about the history of Israel, "Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago." Indeed, the history of Israel is unparalleled both in its length and in its richness. Find out more about the history of Israel both ancient and modern here.
Here are a few quick facts about the history of Israel:
Israel was founded on May 14, 1948 after nearly 2000 years of Jewish dispersal
At present 40% of the world's Jewish population are Israeli residents
Jewish history begins with the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Both Abraham and Isaac had two sons; in both cases, God chose one son over the other—Isaac over Ishmael (Genesis 17), Jacob over Esau (Genesis 27)—to become the leader and eventual father of the Israelites (the Jewish people.) Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes, from whom all Jewish people are descended. Read more »
The reign of the Kings of Israel followed the era of the Judges. In fact, the last judge, the prophet Samuel, anointed the first King of Israel, King Saul. (Although it is disputed if Samuel is counted as one of the judges, he was certainly the last leader of the Jewish people prior to King Saul.) Saul straddled the era of Judges and Kings, because, although he was called melech ("king"), it was not until King David's reign that the nation was truly strong and united. Read more »
The Davidic Dynasty began approximately 1,000 years before the Common Era, with the anointing of its founder, King David. David's rule followed the era of King Saul, the first king of Israel. After Saul was killed in battle against the Philistines, during which the Israelites suffered a terrible defeat, David was anointed. His reign was a golden age for the ancient Israelites, with the territory under his rule extending to the Euphrates river in north to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. Read more »
King Solomon was the second ruler in the Davidic dynasty, taking over as king after the death of his father, King David. Solomon built on his father's accomplishments, and the "golden age" of the Israelites peaked during his forty-year reign. Solomon continued making alliances, and developed ancient Israel into a regional economic power, building up infrastructure and industry. Read more »
King Saul, King David, and King Solomon were the first three kings of Israel. King Saul was anointed by the prophet Samuel (I Samuel 10). After his death, King David became king (2 Samuel 2), beginning the "Davidic dynasty," which lasted for three centuries. King Solomon was the last to rule over a united kingdom. God warned him that because of his sins, the kingdom would be torn in two after his death (I Kings 11.) Read more »
Although Moses was the Israelite's first true "shofet"—judge—the historical period of "Judges" begins after the death of Joshua, the student of Moses and the leader who brought the Israelites into Canaan. Read more »
Newt Gingrich in this book expresses strongly how important God has been to American history. The structure of this book is a "tour" of Washington DC, pointing out all of the references to God built into our public monuments and buildings, as well as in their design and history. The details of that aspect of the book are mostly omitted here because OnTheIssues doesn't have categories for history nor architecture.
But there is a political purpose too, and those comprise our excerpts. In particular, Gingrich applies the historical importance of God in America to examine numerous current public policy issues, from the Pledge of Allegiance to school prayer. Gingrich reserves particular venom for the US Supreme Court and other courts who rule in favor of omitting God from public displays -- claiming that they are usurping power intended for the legislature, and also ignoring the importance of God in centuries of American history.
This book is similar in conclusions to Mike Huckabee's Character Makes a Difference. Gov. Huckabee, however, comes from a pastoral perspective, arguing on religious and moral grounds instead of Gingrich's historical grounds. Gingrich's argument is certainly more effective when attempting to persuade non-Christians or secularists. OnTheIssues hopes he enters the presidential race so that he and Huckabee can explore these differences in greater detail.
Click here for 12 full quotes from Newt Gingrich in the book Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich. OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
Civil Rights Five justices banned school prayer against American majority.
Education Removing God from Pledge of Allegiance assaults our identity. Removing "God" from Pledge assaults our identity. Replace multiculturalism with patriotic education.
Government Reform Insist on judges who understand our rights come from God. Insist on judges who understand our rights come from God. Our rights come from God, not from government. Supreme Court has become permanent Constitutional Convention.
Principles & Values Constitution says freedom OF religion, not FROM religion. Supreme Court hostile to religion, but building based on it. Creator as source of liberty is literally written in stone. Media-academic-legal elite imposes radical secularist vision.