Posts Tagged With: life

Why You Can Always Have HOPE

There’s a very beautiful story about a very beautiful girl named Cinderella. Cinderella lived with a wicked stepmother and two equally wicked stepsisters. and though she was beautiful, she didn’t feel beautiful. She was influenced by a wicked environment that put her down, messed over her, and reduced her to nothing. She was made to live as a slave. You’ve heard the story. You know how through a series of miraculous interventions she was transformed and transported to a ball in a chariot. There she met a prince. The prince saw Cinderella and loved her. But the problem in the story, as you know, is that when the clock hit midnight, she reverted back to her old self. She became a slave again.

The good part of Cinderella’s story is that the prince never forgot her. There was something unique and special about her that made her stand out from the crowd. So the prince set out going house to house in search of his treasure. After a long and hard search the prince finally found Cinderella. And, as the story goes, the lived happily ever after.

A lot of people today are living like Cinderella. They are influenced by a wicked stepmother, the devil, who’s got two wicked stepdaughters: the world and the flesh. Living as slaves in a hostage situation, many individuals feel trapped in a hopeless scenario.

Perhaps the describes you in some way. Maybe you thought you’d be further along than you are right now. Maybe you had a brighter dream for your life. Maybe you even met the Prince of Peace, and He saved you some time ago- but you have found yourself living again in bondage.

It’s easy to lose heart when you see no end in sight to what appears to be a hopeless situation. But what I want to remind you is that there is hope. Jesus knows right where you are, and He knows how long you’ve been there. And He has a way out. Jesus wants to take you out of the bondage that you feel, and let you live in freedom of His presence and provision. He wants to get you out of a spirit of slavery and give you a new hope.

A lot of folks today have not had theirs blessings come through to them because they have given up on God. We have counted the years our prayers have not been answered and we have determined that there is no more hope. Too many times we miss out on the destiny God has for us because we have stopped looking. We have stopped hoping!

Yet what I want to remind you today is that there is always hope in God. And if you put your hope in Him, I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

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How To Make The Right Choices In Life

We need the wisdom of God in our lives. I’m not talking about just knowing the Bible backward and forward. Some of the most educated theologians can quote the Bible chapter and verse and recite the Greek and Hebrew meanings of words. Yet they still lack the wisdom of God. True wisdom is gaining God’s perspective through His Word and then applying that truth to life.

Until you can walk the talk, you have not gained wisdom. Life is not a straight path from birth to death. There are twists and turns, detours and mazes, mountains and valleys. But, as believers, we have the blessing of divine help in making the right choices in life. We have the guidance of “the wisdom of God” if we will seek it.

Proverbs 8:11 says that “wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her.” According to Scripture, wisdom is more valuable than money, diamonds, career success, or fame! But tragically, what many call “the good life” often pulls them away from God and the right choices.

When we think we have it all together, God’s wisdom does not seem to be very valuable to us. Riches will not drive us deeper into God. Success doesn’t automatically prompt you to worship God. But when wisdom is applied to wealth, success, and relationships, we can keep focused on Christ so that all the good things in our lives can bring Him glory.

God holds wisdom in His hand and He has promised to give it to those who love Him: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Wisdom for life– divine insight into how to make the right choices– is within the reach of every believer. So just ask!

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180 Movie – Free Movie

“The Hottest Movie on the Internet” One Million views in 22 days!

Watch it online for free at:

http://180movie.com

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The Dark Side of Halloween – Alternatives

                                                     

ALTERNATIVES

An increasing number of people are seeing the dangers associated with celebrating Halloween. Christians, when exposed to the dark side of the day, are deciding that celebrating it is not pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. Wise parents are replacing Halloween with family night activities. Others are have “GLORY GATHERINGS” where all references to Halloween are removed and wholesome games are played. Christian songs are sung and Christian videos are shown. Others are using Halloween as a night to pass out Gospel tracts. How pass this out? Don’t dress in a costume, walk around your area, putting these into people’s sacks, you can do over 100 an hour, more than people coming to your own door. Where to get Gospel tracts? www.chick.com, www.livingwaters.com, or local Christian bookstore. And don’t forget to pray over the people who receive the tracts. Whatever you do, “Be not overcome of evil, but over comecome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

I hope you will carefully consider the information I have related in short series in the past few days on “The Dark Side of Halloween” and decide NOT to celebrate Halloween. But there is an even more important decision you should make first. That is deciding to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Here’s what to do.

REALIZE that God loves you – John 3:16; Romans 5:8

RECOGNIZE that you cannot be saved from sin by your own good works – Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5

ADMIT that you are a sinner separated from God – Romans 3:23

REPENT of your sins – Luke 1:5, Luke 3:19

CALL upon Christ in faith, believing that He died for your sins and arose from the dead – Romans 10:9

 

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The Dark Side of Halloween – The Harm of Halloween

THE HARM OF HALLOWEEN – Halloween is a dangerous day and here are the reasons why…

HALLOWEEN IS FOCUSED ON VIOLENCE – In January of 1988, I stopped at a restaurant to pick up a bite to eat before my next appointment. I picked up a paper on the way in. As I was eating I came across Ann Landers column entitled “Parents must tackle violence.” The parent wrote “I heard something today that made my hair stand on end… Last October, the teacher of a fourth grade class asked her students to write a short essay on what they would like to do most to celebrate Halloween. Eighty percent of her 9 year olds expressed the wish to “kill somebody.” Where do children get such ideas?” she asked.

The answer is a simple one Halloween accentuates mutilation, murder, blood, guts and gore. It even glorifies it! I well remember seeing the large picture in the newspaper of a mutilated corpse in a blood stained bathtub. It was utterly repulsive. The accompanying article lauded a community organization’s youth work using this “haunted house.”

The truth is, millions of people, and likely your kids will be exposed to some of the almost endless string of TV programs, videos, community and church activities that GLORIFY MUTILATION, TORTURE, and BIZARRE MURDERS this Halloween. Now before you say “it won’t hurt them, it’s only fantasy,” perhaps you should consider what a horrified mother discovered in her teenage son’s diary. She read, “Last year I stole a car at Halloween and ran over a kid and killed him for the Devil. I plan on doing it again this year.” The boy is now incarcerated.

HALLOWEEN IS HARMFUL BECAUSE OF ITS FOCUS ON VIOLENCE. Don’t you see the paradox. When we read of a violent murder any other time we gasp. But we laugh, tease, call it fun and glorify the same things when Halloween comes. Halloween’s focus on VIOLENCE breaks down the inhibitions of our children toward murder. They have difficulty separating between fantasy and fact. And that is taking it’s toll on our society. There is another reason Halloween is harmful.

HALLOWEEN IS HARMFUL BECAUSE OF THE EMPHASIS ON FEAR. I read an article in The Milwaukee Journal entitled “Haunted house fun: It could become a nightmare for kids.” It started out “ITS JUST FOR FUN, you know that. But to a young child, a trip through a “haunted house” created for Halloween could be a nightmare.” Fear is no joke. Fear is a powerful and often damaging emotion. The writer of the article quoted developmental psychologist Marvin Berkowitz of Marquette University. Berkowitz said “Some haunted houses can frighten an adult.” Children must “go in with the right mental set. Make sure they know it’s going to be a fun scare, not a real scare.” The article went on the say, “Even the most careful parents can misjudge the kid’s traumatized and shricking, you hold him and comfort him. Give him physical security.” The question is, why expose your child to such traumatizing influences? They serve no useful purpose. In fact long lasting emotional problems can develop as a result of the frightening experiences that are encountered at Halloween activities, such as going through a “haunted house.”

BUT there is another aspect I want to share with you relating to fear. Dr. Grace Ketterman M.D. says in her book, You and Your Child’s Problems: How to Understand and Solve Them. “A tragic by-product of fear in the lives of childen as early as pre-adolescence is the interest and involvement in supernatural occult phenomena.” Which leads me to the next point.

HALLOWEEN IS HARMFUL BECAUSE OF ITS FOCUS ON THE OCCULT. The two most frequent ways childen are introduced into the occult are through rock music (secular) and Halloween. I was introduced to the occult at a Halloween party. Tragically, more and more children are being introduced to the occult by teachers in the public schools. And unfortunately, Halloween is one of the two Holidays that public schools celebrate. They choose Halloween (and Valentine’s Day) because supposedly there is no “religious” significance. How wrong they are about Halloween. To be sure, there is no Christian significance to Halloween but it is obviously a religious day.

Our forefathers recognized Halloween’s assocation with the occult. The Pilgrims banned celebrating Halloween in America. The ban lasted until 1845. At that time multiplied thousands of Irish emigrants flooded into New York because of the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-46. They brought Halloween with them and gradually it spread throughout the rest of the country.

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The Dark Side of Halloween – The Heroes of Halloween

You could not celebrate Halloween without the WITCH. The oldest known illustration of a witch dates back to the pre-Columbian era. The drawing shows the pagan goddess Tlazolteolf naked, wearing a pointed hat and riding a boomstick. Where you find witchcraft you will find nudity, divination, gross immorality and occult practices just to name a few. According to the Old Testament of the Bible witchcraft and the whole spectrum of the occult were capital crimes, punishable by death. In the New Testament, in Galatians 5:20, witchcraft is listed among those things that are to be renounced by believers. In fact, Acts 19:18,19 records how that those who became Christians renounced all dealings with the occult and burned any occultic material they had. Popular west coast Bible teacher, Dr. John MacArthur expresses it clearly enough when he says, ‘Dressing up like witches, ghosts, or goblins is incompatible with a Christian’s testimony. Furthermore, many of the customs of Halloween are associated with the worst kind of pagan ceremonies; they are usually centered on the sinister things such as demons, witchcraft, and superstition.’

The other heroes of Halloween aren’t any better. Consider Dracula. Did you know he was a real person? He lived from 1431 to 1476. During his six year reign this demented maniac massacred 100,000 men, women and children in the most hideous ways. He devised a plan to rid his country of the burden of beggars, handicapped, sick and aged. He invited them to a feast at one of his palaces. He fed them well and got them drunk. Then he asked them, “Do you want to be without cares, lacking nothing in this world?” They yelled “Yes!” Dracula then ordered the palaced boarded up and set it on fire. No one escaped. This tragic event was the original House of Horror.

The overwhelming majority of Halloween Heroes are evil, demented or demonic. That should not surprise us. Halloween is the devil’s day! But there is something else that concerns me even more…

 

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The Dark Side of Halloween – The History of Halloween

THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a “religious day” but it is NOT a Christian day. Tom Sanguinet, former high priest in the Celtic tradition of Wicca (witchcraft) said “The modern holiday we call Halloween… has its origins in the full moon closest to November 1st, the witches’ New Year. It was a time when the “spirits” (demons) were supposed to be at their peak power and revisiting the earth planet.” He went on to say, “Halloween is purely  and absolutely evil, and there is nothing we ever have or will do that would make it acceptable to the Lord Jesus.”

What is the man talking about, you might be asking yourself? Let me explain. The origin of Halloween isthe Celtic Festival of Samhain, lord of death and evil spirits. Long before Christ (at least 2025 years), Druids in Britain, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and other Celtic countries observed the end of summer by making sacrifices to Samhain. The Celts considered November 1st as being the day of death because the leaves were falling, it was getting darker sooner and temperatures were dropping. They believed Much Olla, their sun god was losing strength and Samhain, lord of death, was over powering him. Further, they believed that on October 31st Samhain assembled the spirits of all who had died during the previous year. These spirits had been confined to inhabit animals’ bodies for the past year, as punishment for their evil deeds. They were allowed to return to their former home to visit the living on the eve (Oct 31st) of the Feast of Samhain. Druid priests led the people in diabolical worship ceremonies in which horses, cats, black sheep, oxen, human beings and other offerings were rounded up, stuffed into wicker cages and burned to death. This was done to appease Samhain and keep spirits from harming them. It was clear to see that HALLOWEEN HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CELEBRATION OF DEATH.

Which brings me to my next point. How were these sacrifices obtained? Druid priests and people would go from house to house asking for fatted calves, black sheep and human beings. Those who gave were promised prosperity and those who refused to give were cursed and threatened. In addition, it was likely that all of the “wandering spirits” would get hungry. If you set out a treat for them, they would not trick or curse you. Hence we have THE ORIGIN OF TRICK OR TREAT. “Trick or Treat is a reenactment of the Druidic practices. The candy has replaced the human sacrifices of old, but it is still an appeasement of those deceptive evil spirits. The traditional response to those who do not treat is to have a trick played on them. When you give out Halloween candy, you are, in essence providing  a sacrifice to false gods. You are participating in idolatry says the former high priest of Wicca, Tom Samhain.

Did you know that even the Jack O Lantern has its origin with these pagan practices? In the book, Occult Conceit the author says on page 190, “The candlelit pumpkin or skull served as a signal to mark those farms and homes that were sympathetic to the Satanists and thus deserving of mercy when the terror (“trick or treat”) of the night began.” Further, an old edition of The World Book Encyclopedia says “The apparently harmless lighted pumpkin face of Jack O Lantern is an ancient symbol of a damned soul.”

What about COSTUMES? They originated with these terrible Druid death rites also. As people and animals were screeching in agony while being burned to death the observers would dress in costumes made of animal skins and heads. They would dance, chant and jump through the flames in hope of warding off the evil spirit.

It is obvious that Halloween is a pagan day rooted in the worst kind of pagan rituals and worship. The Bible urges Christians to “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness…” (Ephesians 5:11). Though Halloween is diluted somewhat there is obviously nothing Christ honoring about the day. It is a pagan sacrifice day and the Bible warns Christians “… the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils” (1 Corinthians 10:20). Halloween is the devil’s day!

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The Dark Side of Halloween

Excited childen masquerading as witches, pirates, devils, ghosts, Dracula and other creatures bounding through the neighborhood, going from door to door shouting “Trick or Treat” … the party at school or a friend’s house where they tell ghost stories, bob for apples or tell fortunes… the visit to the community “haunted house” and homes decorated with witches, skeletons and eerie looking grinning Jack O Lanterns… It must be Halloween! Sounds like harmless fun, doesn’t it? But there is a dark side to halloween you should know about, a side that I never liked because it was associated with evil, the devil, fear, death, and violence. That side of Halloween always gave me “the creeps.” And after a thorough study of Halloween I know why I felt that way because BENEATH HALLOWEEN’S CANDY COATING IS A HISTORY OF DIABOLICAL EVIL. In these next few days, I will share with you some of my findings relating to THE DARK SIDE OF HALLOWEEN. I will share with you briefly three things.

  1. The History of Halloween
  2. The Heroes of Halloween
  3. The Harm of Halloween

 

by David L. Brown

 

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3. The Key of Discipleship

The Key of Discipleship – Not Follow up!

You may be called to disciple someone. Christians that have started to walk away from the faith or just need help understanding their walk with Christ may be brought to you. Also, if our Lord has given you the opportunity of seeing someone come to Him, then you may be called to disciple this “Babe in Christ.” Discipleship – “Let the teaching, and admonishing one another…” (Colossians 3:16). Discipleship is critical to the growth and strength of the body of Christ. We are called to help each other to “Live the Life!” Let’s go over some keys to discipleship.

  • Discipleship not “Follow-up” – Discipleship is a long term commitment to helping a fellow Christian grow in Christ. The relationship is typically initiated by the new or growing Christian. Follow-up on the other hand is initiated by a mature Christian or evangelist right after a person comes to Christ. It is meant to make sure that a new Christian is going through with his or her new commitment. Often this done after mass crusades where hundreds of people make an emotional or mental commitment to accepting Christ. Many never follow through and join a good, Bible-based, Christ-centered church. We believe that one cause for this lack of true conversion is the absence of using the Law in evangelism.
  • Disciple a new Christian – A new Christian will be hungry for God’s wisdom and for learning about being a Christian. You will not need to find him. He most likely will be lead to you. That does not mean that you cannot offer to help a new Christian. It just means that if he is truly saved then you should not need to chase after him. Here are some steps to follow in setting up a discipleship meeting.
  1. Set up a definite day and time to meet. Show the person that you are committed to his growth and be prepared with material to discuss.
  2. Pray at the beginning and end of each meeting. Learning to be comfortable when praying with someone else is important. Try to keep the prayers short and simple at first. With the Holy Spirit’s help he will quickly pick up speed and will become comfortable in praying with other people.
  3. A new Christian will have many questions. He may be looking for the depth of your knowledge or may be simply very inquisitive. Let him know that you do not know everything and that you will commit to find out answer to his question. Then do it!
  4. Read the Bible with him. This may sound simple but you will find that your time together will go quickly. You may also notice that he will try to avoid reading the Bible by wanting to talk about your church or religious doctrine or someone he knows that is not saved. These topics are important but reserve time to simply read a chapter or two (a good book to start in is book of John). He may not want to read at first. So you read it but make sure to ask questions so that he has an understanding of what was read. Once he is hooked on the milk of the Word he will never let go!

Now, Go make disciples of all nations!

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2. The Key of Being a Witness

 

The Key of Being a Witness – We are called to be a Witness not just to witness

Witnessing – This is a common term for spreading the Gospel. Paul gives us instructions on how and when to witness. He said to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Let’s look at some keys to being a Witness.

  • Earn the right to witness – First you must get to know the person. This is not a superficial kind of getting to know them. A person will quickly turn away from you if they feel you are just trying to fill a quota and not really interested in them. If it is right, the Holy Spirit will let you know when to move on to speaking about the spiritual. Listen for Him!
  • Use Tracts – Tracts are a great bridge from talking about everyday things to the spiritual.
  • Use God’s Ten Commandments – This way you are showing them their sickness (sin) before you give them the cure (Grace). Simply ask if the person has kept the Ten Commandments. They will most likely say yes. Then go through them:
  1. Have you ever told one lie (even a “white” lie)? What does that make you? A liar!
  2. Have you ever stolen something (even if it’s small)? What does that make you? A thief!
  3. Have you ever lusted after someone? “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28). Then you have committed adultery of the heart. Let them know that they are a lying, thieving, adulterer at heart and in big trouble, thats only 3 of the 10 Commandments.

On Judgment Day, would you be innocent or guilty? Of course, you would be found guilty and end up in Hell. (They will know that they sinned and need a Savior).

But God sent His Son to die on the Cross for you and me. Jesus took your punishment upon Himself and then rose from the grave – defeating death.

This is a powerful way of witnessing We know that God has placed the law on the sinners heart”…the work of the Law written in their hearts…” (Romans 2:15).

  • You can not mess up bad enough! – What we mean by this is that most of the work is done by the Holy Spirit. He is certainly powerful to overcome anything that you may do. This is not to say that you do not need to do your best but, like stated before, you cannot save anyone so you cannot make someone lose salvation. So relax and talk in love.

Sample prayer – Here is a sample prayer that you can suggest that a non-Christian use to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

“Dear God, I understand that I have broken Your Law and sinned against You. Please forgive my sins. Thank You that Jesus suffered on the cross in my place. I now place my trust in Him as my Savior and Lord.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

I encourage you to practice on someone you know who is saved. Or just go out a try it on non-Christian, either way your practicing (“practice makes perfect”). Once you witness to someone, whether you lead someone to the Lord or not, but feel the Holy Spirit moving through you, you will feel more encouraged to go and do it again. Remember, if that person doesn’t come know Christ as their Lord and Savior, be encouraged, you just planted a seed! And God is the only one that can grow that seed.  In your prayer, pray that God will give you boldness like a lion.

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