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Archive for July 2013

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Defending The Faith - The Danger Of Thinking Christians

Defending The Faith  - The Danger Of Thinking Christians

Acts 6:8-10(KJV) - And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

Stephen was full of The Holy Spirit through whom he received great wisdom. He knew what he was talking about so much that it completely frustrated his detractors. His wisdom was undeniable. He didn't back down from speaking the truth even in the face of great opposition. He walked in the wisdom of God. He set the standard for us to follow. Many non-believers are completely unprepared for thinking Christians. Instead of getting frustrated when challenged intellectually, thinking Christians know how to respond.

"Let My People Think!" That's the name of the radio broadcast presented by premier Biblical apologist, Dr Ravi Zacharias. It's by far my favorite radio broadcast. Ignorance is not bliss. The days of Christian people hiding behind ignorance are over. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6a(NKJV); "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee....."

Today, we continue with Part 5 of our series on Defending The Faith. Click here for Part 4, "Can Science Invalidate The Bible?"

Below, I'll share with you another article from my blog at Faith Science Online.

The Danger of "Thinking" Christians by Donnell Duncan (December 7th, 2011)




Proverbs 25:2(MSG) - God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things.

God knows all things and by His design, we don't. However, the goal of scientists is to discover truth. Well, at least it should be. Sometimes, it's the real truth but many times it's the desired truth. When we're presented with evidence, we don't always believe what we see but we do see what we believe. Therefore, what really matters in science is not just the presentation of evidence but the interpretation of the presented evidence. Anyway, people of faith can learn a thing or two from scientists.

Facing religious arguments against his scientific pursuits, 15th century Italian physicist Galileo Galilei said “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

Job 35:9-11(MSG) - "When times get bad, people cry out for help. They cry for relief from being kicked around, But never give God a thought when things go well, when God puts spontaneous songs in their hearts, When God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom, using birds and beasts to teach wisdom.

Join me as we enter God's science classroom.


Ex nihilo nihil fit–Latin, “Out of nothing, comes nothing” a phrase originated by the Scholastics in claiming that the universe needs God as its cause because something cannot be created out of nothing.
Source: A Dictionary of Common Philosophical Terms, Gregory Pence, published by Mc Graw-Hill

Something from nothing. Life from non-life. Non-directed order from total chaos. Universal moral law but no law-giver. Simple, logical ideas that strengthen the secular position don't seem so logical after all, don't they? If we really want to push the issue there is a lot of low hanging fruit out there for us to pick on.

That's why "thinking" Christians are so dangerous. The same way critics use logic to pick apart the Christian position, "thinking" Christians can return the favor. Why not?
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Defending The Faith - Can Science Invalidate The Bible?

Can Science Invalidate The Bible?

Job 35:11(MSG) - When God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom, using birds and beasts to teach wisdom.

Today we continue with Part 4 of our series on Defending The Faith. Click here for Part 3, "Why Would A Loving God Send People To Hell?"

Can Science Invalidate The Bible? Many non-believers certainly hope so. I recently engaged in a relatively vibrant online discussion with a gentleman who commented on one of my YouTube videos. Eventually he agreed to disagree with me on the premise that he believed in Science so that meant we would never see eye to eye. Mind you, the topic of the discussion was completely non-scientific. Yet somehow, he just assumed that bringing Science into the mix would somehow cancel out anything I had to say based in The Bible. Why is that such a common misconception on both sides of the religious divide? I am yet to figure that out.

While many think that we have to choose between Science and the Christian faith we know better. Like The Message Bible says in Job 35:11, creation is God's Science classroom. God doesn't just agree with Science but He speaks through it. Hence, we learn many valuable lessons about God through nature. In fact, several God-fearing scientists describe this as the Two Books Approach which is a combination of The Book of Nature and The Bible. Here is a quote by Sir Francis Bacon, the founder of The Scientific Method; “God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.”

This view is also supported by the following scriptures;

Psalm 19:1-4(NLT) - The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

Romans 1:18-20(NLT) - But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

One God; two books. God speaks through His Word and He also speaks through nature. Think about that a little. Have you ever seen or heard something spectacular in nature and couldn't help but think about The Lord? I sure have. I look at the ordered existence of the ecosystem and thank God for the systems He created. I look at the intricate nature of human DNA and am fascinated by His brilliance. Yes, Lord, we hear your voice loud and clear. We know you're out there as much as we know you're in us.

Nonetheless, I've been involved in some debates about Science and The Bible where non-believers have used very specific scripture references to prove that The Bible is wrong. These are usually posed in the form of questions. How could the sun have been created after the earth in Genesis 1? How can The Bible say the earth is only 6,000 years old? Why doesn't The Bible account for the existence of dinosaurs when their bones prove their existence? Why would anyone believe in Creation when "all" scientific evidence supports Evolution? These are just a few that I've personally encountered. If you have any that you would like to share, please feel free to do so.

Before we get into any specific scientific theories, I'll just whet your appetite with some interesting reading. Allow me to share with you from a popular blog I wrote over a year ago at my Science blog; Faith Science Online. We'll dig deeper tomorrow.

"Sir Isaac Newton: Scientific Legend, Theological Scholar or Both?" by Donnell Duncan, published on February 16, 2012


The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being.

—Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), Principia (1687)

The "secret" is out concerning Sir Isaac Newton! That is, if you didn't know it already. Now, The National Library of Israel has made Newton's Theological Manuscripts available to the world. Yesterday, Wednesday, February 15th, this information was released by Aron Heller of Associated Press in the article, "Israeli library uploads Newton's theological texts."

Here's an excerpt;
Israeli library uploads Newton's theological texts
By ARON HELLER, Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) -- He's considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Sir Isaac Newton was also an influential theologian who applied a scientific approach to the study of scripture, Hebrew and Jewish mysticism.

Now Israel's national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton's writings, has digitized his theological collection - some 7,500 pages in Newton's own handwriting - and put it online. Among the yellowed texts are Newton's famous prediction of the apocalypse in 2060.

Newton revolutionized physics, mathematics and astronomy in the 17th and 18th century, laying the foundations for most of classical mechanics - with the principal of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion bearing his name.

However, the curator of Israel's national library's humanities collection said Newton was also a devout Christian who dealt far more in theology than he did in physics and believed that scripture provided a "code" to the natural world.

"Today, we tend to make a distinction between science and faith, but to Newton it was all part of the same world," said Milka Levy-Rubin. "He believed that careful study of holy texts was a type of science, that if analyzed correctly could predict what was to come."

So he learned how to read Hebrew, scrolled through the Bible and delved into the study of Jewish philosophy, the mysticism of Kabbalah and the Talmud - a compendium of Jewish oral law and stories about 1,500 years old.



If you're interested, here is a direct link to The Newton Papers! Since the release of my book, Faith Science, "I've shouted from the mountain tops" that faith and science are not logical opposites. Now you can see it for yourself in the original words of one of the greatest scientists of all time.

Here's an excerpt from Faith Science;

Science and theology are not mutually exclusive. Sir Isaac Newton is considered to be one of the most prominent physicists, mathematicians, astronomers, chemists, and theologians. Newton’s laws of motion are the foundational principles for classical mechanics. He also wrote the book “Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.” If I were to respond with the same logic as those secular scientists who think Christians can’t also be scientists, I would say, “These guys are agnostics and atheists; they are not scientists.”
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The Body Bible Study - What's God's Path For You?

Ephesians 2:10(AMP) - For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

The Body Bible Study has been a smashing success.

Next Session - Saturday, August 10th, 2013

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Video Of The Month - Feast On God

Psalm 23:5(KJV) - Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
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Defending The Faith: Why Would A Loving God Send People To Hell?

We received the following questions from Moses;

"Many non-believers criticize The Bible for contradictions and then criticize Christians as being hypocrites for not following parts of The Bible. For example, they criticize how The Bible says to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath and not to wear clothes of wool and linen woven together. How do you answer to these? And also I feel that whenever there is a question I am not able to answer, it hurts my faith and doubt enters...have you had your own personal experiences with this and how do you continue to believe?"

We started answering this question two days ago and now we're on Part 3. Click here for Part 2, "Defending The Christian Faith Against Criticism." For the next few days I'm going to think of some typical Bible "contradictions" that are used by "non-believers" to question the validity of the Christian faith. I'll start with the most popular but if at any time you think of any others that I need to address just let me know. It's time for Christians to understand Christianity enough to defend ourselves against criticism. Today's question is a big one.

Why Would A Loving God Send People To Hell?

1) The Purpose Of Hell's Creation

Matthew 25:41(KJV) - Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Luke 10:18(KJV) - And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

When hell was first created, God intended it for the everlasting punishment of the devil and his angels. As we can see in Genesis 1&2, man was supposed to live on a perfect earth in communion with God for eternity. In Genesis 2, God gave specific instructions to Adam and Eve and outlined death as the consequence for disobedience. Sadly, in Genesis 3 they chose to follow the devil instead and embraced death over the life of God. That's how the story of humans joining the devil in hell started. God sent men to earth for eternity but men chose death instead, both physical death and eternal separation from God which is essentially hell.

2) God's Loving Plan To Save People From Hell

John 3:16(NKJV) - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

2 Peter 3:9(NKJV) - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

If you're drowning and I throw you a rope with a lifesaver that's a sign of my love for you. If you choose not to accept it am I to be held responsible for your death? That's how many non-believers view the reality of hell. They think God is responsible for people going to hell when it's the direct opposite. God is responsible for creating the way out of hell for people. He wants nobody to go to hell so His love was shown when He created a way out. If people choose to reject the only way out why should God take the blame?

People who criticize our understanding of God's love because of the existence of hell do not understand God's love. They want God to love them the way they want Him to love them. They want to be loved on their terms. They won't allow that with their children but they want God to operate like that. If your daughter blames you for something she chose after you gave your life to save her from it she's wrong. If she questions your love because she chooses not to accept your sacrifice because it's not on her terms you would question her love for you. The same goes for God. "Non-believers" who question God's love really need their love for God questioned.

3) Why This Applies To Everyone

Romans 5:12-21(NLT) - When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When Adam sinned, he represented all mankind so the punishment he received came upon all who came out of him. When Jesus paid the price of sin, He represented all mankind. However, since we are born into sin because of Adam we have to choose to be born again into righteousness because of Jesus. Our natural birth is automatic and out of our hands. We don't choose to be born. However, our spiritual rebirth is a choice. If we choose it we are made right with God. If we don't we are not. That's a spiritual law.

Some people don't understand or agree with it but that doesn't change it. I don't have to understand or agree with the Laws of Physics but I can't change them. I don't have to agree or understand the law of gravity but I can't change it. Non-believers are incapable of understanding spiritual things so they won't understand spiritual laws. However, that doesn't mean they were not born into sin and don't need to be reborn in righteousness through Jesus Christ.

4) It's So Simple, It's Hard To Believe

Romans 10:9-10(NKJV) - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

So you're saying I just have to confess my faith in Jesus and believe it in my heart and I'm saved from hell? That's all? Yup! It's so simple that it's hard to believe. Simplicity sometimes confuses people. Look at how easy it is to escape an eternity in hell and there are people out there who come up with all kinds of excuses to explain why they won't do it. They try to downplay the reality of God's judgment just so that they can escape the reality of their own eternity. It's really simple. You're drowning. God throws you a rope with a lifesaver called Jesus Christ. If you take it, you live. If you reject it, you die.

John 15:13(KJV) - Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Romans 8:31-32(NLT) - What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

After what God did by sending Jesus to die on the cross on our behalf how can we ever question His love? Heaven and hell are package deals. Those who want to spend eternity with God can accept His gift of salvation and live in His Kingdom. Those who don't want to spend eternity with God cannot live in His Kingdom which leaves only one other option, hell. You can't have heaven without having God. Heaven is His throne (Isaiah 66:1).

5) It's A Spiritual Thing, They Won't Understand

1 Corinthians 2:12-15(NLT) - And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4(KJV) - But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

A friend of mine once said; "How do you explain color to a blind man?" Stop and think about that. It just can't be done. In the same way, how do you explain spiritual things to someone who's spiritually blind? It just can't be done. Until a non-believer's heart is open to understand the things of the spirit there is no way to make that person understand. Yes, there is a God. Yes, there is a heaven. Yes, there is a hell. Yes, there are angels and demons. Yes, there is an eternity. Yes, you have a soul and it's going to exist forever. If you don't want to believe that it doesn't change anything.

Don't get sucked into trying to condense the vastness of the spirit realm into the limited sphere of the natural realm. It's alright to use illustrations the same way Jesus used parables but when someone's heart is closed to the spirit even the parables won't make any sense. Some people think that because something cannot be perceived in the natural it doesn't exist. Well, that's on them. The same way you cannot perceive the existence of radio waves without a receiver you cannot perceive the existence of the spirit realm without spiritual sensitivity. Hence, some critical non-believers think Christianity is a joke but the joke is really on them.

6) The Power Of Choice

Deuteronomy 30:19(KJV) - I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Romans 1:25(NLT) - They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

When God created man in Genesis 1, He gave us the power to choose. We can choose to accept Him and we can choose to reject Him. That's part of the dominion we were given on the earth. He did create human beings to be like Him but we are not robots. He gave us minds of our own so that we could make decisions. He wants us to choose life but He allows us to choose death. People who don't get that don't get God. He didn't force anything on us except a blessing, dominion and the command to be fruitful in Genesis 1:25-26. We should be thankful for that. He put us in a beautiful garden with all of our needs met.

We didn't get to choose all those good things at first but we were given the option to reject them and that's exactly what we did. Therefore, the day we chose to walk away from the blessing, neglect our dominion and accept a curse God let us go. Now we're paying the price. Hence, instead of paying the price for eternity we should use that same power of choice to choose life through Jesus Christ. Don't do like Adam and trade the truth for a lie. Choose life! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

7) Understanding God's Love

Ephesians 2:1-10(NLT) - Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Because God loves us He gives us the choice to love Him back. He offers an easy way out of the curse of sin and death but lets us choose to accept it. That's true love. You cannot force someone to love you. People who think God sends people to hell think that means God doesn't love people. Well, that's wrong. He loves us so much that He gave us a way out of hell. However, He also loves us enough that He doesn't force us to take it. Salvation is a free gift from God offered to all. We must choose to accept it.

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Defending The Christian Faith Against Criticism

Defending The Christian Faith Against Criticism

We received the following questions from Moses;

"Many non-believers criticize The Bible for contradictions and then criticize Christians as being hypocrites for not following parts of The Bible. For example, they criticize how The Bible says to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath and not to wear clothes of wool and linen woven together. How do you answer to these? And also I feel that whenever there is a question I am not able to answer, it hurts my faith and doubt enters...have you had your own personal experiences with this and how do you continue to believe?"

1 Peter 3:15-16(NLT) - Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

It's time to defend the Christian faith. God loves atheists, agnostics and other non-believers. We should too. Instead of getting annoyed or ignoring them when they ask questions about our faith we should speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). If they have legitimate questions we should provide them with legitimate answers. However, if they don't really want answers but are just picking a fight we should not get sucked into silly arguments. Today's blog is a continuation from yesterday when we started answering the question; "Ask Donnell: How Do I Respond To Criticism From Atheists And Other Non-Believers?"

Before we go any further, let's review something I addressed yesterday in my previous blog. I divided "non-believers" into two main groups; those who never believed and those who once believed. That's a very simple way of looking at it so I decided to start there. However, I saw an interesting article that took it a step further. It's called, "Behold, the six types of atheists" by Dan Merica of CNN and is based on a recent study by two researchers at University of Tennesessee at Chatanooga.

Here's a summary of the six types of atheists;

i) Intellectual atheist/agnostic - Seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism. They like debating and arguing, particularly on popular Internet sites.

ii) Activist - These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.

iii) Seeker-agnostic - This group is made up of people who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience. They embrace uncertainty.

iv) Anti-theist - This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs. They view religion as ignorance and see any individual or institution associated with it as backward and socially detrimental,” the researchers wrote.

v) Non-theist - These are people who do not involve themselves with either religion or anti-religion which comes across as apathy or disinterest.

vi) Ritual atheist - They don't believe in God, they don’t associate with religion, and they tend to believe there is no afterlife, but still find useful the teachings of some religious traditions.

I just thought I would share that with you. Obviously, every person is unique and no individual "non-believer" is limited to any one type. However, we can use this information to help us understand how "non-believers" think so that we could better relate to any who cross our paths. Yesterday, I shared 3 useful steps to "Responding To The Criticism Of Christianity By Non-Believers." Now, let's move on to step 4.

4) Keep The Focus On The Foundation of Christianity!

Before you can defend the faith you have to understand the faith. When you defend Christianity against non-believers be sure that you know exactly what you're defending. You're not defending the application of all the laws recorded in The Old Testament nor are you defending a list of practices or customs that may be listed in The New Testament. You're not defending Judaism. You're not defending traditions. They do not define Christianity. You're defending the message of Jesus Christ. Who is a Christian? A Christian is a Christ-follower or a "little Christ". That's about it!

This means that the very essence of our faith is based in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Hence, we must view everything in The Bible through the lens of Jesus. It will help you understand how to relate to some of those Old Testament laws that are difficult to envision in the context of our Christian beliefs. Many of these are conveniently used by non-believers to confuse Christians. Without the lens of Jesus to look though there's not much we can say in response to confusing questions from The Bible. Let's touch on the few issues mentioned in the original question posed at the beginning of the blog. I'll start with the issue of Christians picking and choosing what we want to follow in The Bible. When genuine Christians are faced with this accusation, here's what we need to understand.

The Law

Matthew 5:17-20(NKJV) - “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Galatians 3:19-25(NKJV) - What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

None of us can keep all of the law. In fact, very few of us even know what's in the law. Outside of The Ten Commandments we can't keep track of the long list of requirements under the law. However, God only instituted the law to keep sinful man in line until Jesus came. Since man's heart was corrupt the law was designed to curb our actions so that we wouldn't run wild and destroy ourselves. It was a temporary solution to the sin problem until Jesus came on the scene. Once He died on the cross we were given an opportunity to become born again and receive a new spiritual nature.

With our new nature, God's spirit moved inside of our hearts breaking the power of sin over our lives and enabling our default setting to be righteousness. Now instead of being sinners who have to choose to follow the law of God because it's not in our sin nature, Christians are righteous people who have to choose to sin because it's not in our spiritual nature. A sinner won't just follow the law without consciously deciding to do so and neither will a Christian sin without consciously deciding to do so.

A non-believer cannot understand how righteousness by faith works. They may say that we pick and choose what we want to obey in The Bible. That's not so. We follow Jesus. He's the fulfillment of everything that's written in The Bible and if we live like Jesus we will live on a level that's even higher than the law. We don't just follow rules anymore, we follow the maker of the rules. As a result, whenever Jesus was questioned on items in the law He went straight to God's intention behind the law and not the law itself. When you become obsessed with minute details of the law instead of being obsessed with the law-giver you miss the message of Jesus. Here's the core of His message.

Matthew 22:34-40(NKJV) - But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus made it simple. At salvation, you leave one system of righteousness and enter a new one. When your nature is changed from a sin nature to a spiritual nature and you are no longer born into sin because you are born again into righteousness you don't need the law to keep you in check. You need to develop a heart of total love for God first and then for people. When you follow those two commandments you don't need a commandment to keep you from sin. The instant you step out of love you step into sin.

That's why Jesus placed a higher emphasis on the condition of our hearts than on adhering to the law. When our hearts are right we will do what's right. When our hearts are wrong we will do what's wrong. The moment we accept wrong thoughts into our hearts they become sin in the system Jesus introduced. This means that the standard of righteousness set by Jesus is even higher than that set by the law. He doesn't wait until we do something wrong. He stops the problem when we think of doing something wrong. Read Matthew 5 and you'll see what I'm talking about.

The law said "Do not murder!" but Jesus said "Do not hate!" The law said "Do not commit adultery!" but Jesus said "Do not lust!" The law said "Keep your oaths!" but Jesus said "Stop making oaths. If you say something just follow through on whatever you say!" The law said "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth!" but Jesus said "Forgive, and give the other person the benefit of the doubt!" The law said "Love your neighbor and hate your enemies" but Jesus said "Love everyone including your enemies!"

The religious scholars hated Jesus because He transcended the law and without the law to use as a whip to abuse people they had no power. Jesus brought an end to a system that was dominated by religious dogma and signaled the beginning of a system based in freedom through righteousness in Him. Jesus didn't want us to act like we're righteous on the outside while our hearts remain corrupt, He wants us to change our hearts first and our actions will naturally follow.

Therefore, this means any religious law or tradition that really has nothing to do with the condition of your heart is a non-issue. Christianity is not based on external displays of righteousness through empty actions. We can argue about them all day but if Jesus didn't make a big deal out of it neither should we. The Holy Spirit lives inside of each of us and God's ultimate desire is that we would elevate our lives to a higher level. Here's how Apostle Paul describes it in Galatians 5:16(KJV), "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." If you truly walk in the spirit you'll know what traditions need to be kept and which ones can be put to rest.

Look at how Jesus handled The Sabbath.

Matthew 12:1-14(NLT) - At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.” Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.) And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.

Jesus never sinned. He also healed someone on The Sabbath. He never encouraged sin. He also allowed His disciples to harvest some grain so they could eat on The Sabbath. Do the math. The law said you can't work on The Sabbath and the religious zealots considered healing and harvesting as work. Obviously, Jesus operated by a higher law which was the law of love. His disciples were hungry so He let them eat. What's the big deal? Love said to do good on The Sabbath so He healed the guy. What's the big deal? Jesus was not dogmatic because He understood why the law was created in the first place.

The law of love overrode Jewish law. The laws of The Old Testament were given for a good reason but once Jesus came it was time to elevate the way things were done. He's the one who gave the law and it was only given because of men's sinful hearts. The law is not our God. The giver of the law is our God. If our hearts are transformed to match His heart we'll know when the law of love overrides a tradition that's no longer relevant. The true hypocrites were the people who were using the law conveniently to keep people in bondage not Jesus and His disciples.

Look at how Jesus handled the ceremonial washing of hands.

Matthew 15:1-16(NKJV) - Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

So the disciples didn't wash their hands before they ate. What's the big deal? Jesus put the focus where it needed to be and that's the condition of our hearts. After God first provided the law the religious Jewish community took God's law and enhanced it with so many traditions that it became burdensome. Many of those traditions may have been "well-intentioned" but they are not necessary for us to live righteous lives. That was a continuous struggle even when The Church started because those traditions were so ingrained into Jewish culture.

As a result, we have to know the heart of the "law-giver" so we can understand how to apply His law to our lives. Christians don't choose what to follow in The Bible. We choose who to follow in The Bible. We follow Jesus. All scripture is important but we see all scripture through the lens of Jesus. We don't major in minors. We are not bound to traditions. We are bound to Jesus. We are bound to His heart. We are slaves to His Will. We do nothing that would break His heart. We live by a higher law. We live by the same law Jesus lived by.

The law of the Old Testament was only a representation of Jesus. Now that He has come we live by the law of love which focuses on what's in men's hearts. That's the true source of all the evil in this world. Disobedience to the law is just an outward symptom of an inward issue. A heart that is not surrendered to God is the true problem. Is your heart surrendered to The Father? It should be. That's true Christianity and that's what we need to defend.

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Ask Donnell: How Do I Respond To Criticism From Atheists And Other Non-Believers?

Ask Donnell: How Do I Respond To Criticism From Atheists And Other Non-Believers?

We received the following questions from Moses;

"Many non-believers criticize The Bible for contradictions and then criticize Christians as being hypocrites for not following parts of The Bible. For example, they criticize how The Bible says to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath and not to wear clothes of wool and linen woven together. How do you answer to these? And also I feel that whenever there is a question I am not able to answer, it hurts my faith and doubt enters...have you had your own personal experiences with this and how do you continue to believe?"

Moses, these are some great questions and I can see that they come from a genuine heart. Over the years I've engaged in many debates with atheists, agnostics, backslidden Christians and other non-believers. Some were public, some were private, some were cordial and some were not so cordial. Those experiences have allowed me to learn many things. Along the journey to this stage of my life I picked up certain tools that I use in these types of situations. I'll share some of them with you today.

This is in no way comprehensive but it's a good place to start building your toolbox. It will take some time for you to become comfortable defending your faith so enjoy the process. Start by reading Matthew 22:15-46. Consistently, the religious scholars tried to trap Jesus and each time He had a brilliant comeback. Let's learn how to argue like Jesus. Some people pick an argument with Christians just to hear themselves talk. Don't let them frustrate you. Judge the merits of an argument before you get involved.

Responding To The Criticism Of Christianity By Non-Believers

1) Determine what type of "non-believer" you're dealing with.

First, the term "non-believer" taken by itself is a misnomer. There's no such thing. Everyone believes something. Those who claim to be "non-believers" may not believe what you believe but they believe something. Some may not believe in God but they do believe in something else. Nonetheless, for the sake of argument we'll consider "non-believers" as those who don't believe in God and most importantly, Jesus Christ. For simplicity, there are two main categories they can be placed into; those who never believed and former believers. That's where you need to start.

Group 1 - Those Who Never Believed

Psalm 14:1(KJV) - The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Romans 1:20-22, 25(NLT) - For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools..... They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

The people in this first group of "non-believers" have convinced themselves that God does not exist and have believed that all along. Even though they consider themselves reasonable you won't be able to reason with many of them. They also have no understanding of spiritual things so engaging with them on a spiritual level is a complete waste of time. That includes the use of scripture. Some may even have an academic understanding of The Bible but are incapable of seeing the truth. Do not argue with people like this. They do not want to know the truth so you can just give it to them and walk away. They just want to argue and you can do better things with your time.

Winning an argument never won a soul to Christ so even if you win the argument what do you really win? What's more important is winning the person's heart with God's Love. Show them love and if one day they genuinely have questions because they finally want truth, feel free to answer them. The Apostle Paul addresses this group as follows; "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." - 2 Corinthians 4:3-4(NKJV)

Group 2 - Those Who Once Believed

Hebrews 6:4-6(KJV) - For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

This group is where most of the "non-believers" I've encountered come from. It's easy to identify them. They seem to have a personal issue with anything Christian. They have an intimate knowledge of scripture and know how to use it against Christians to confuse them. These are the most dangerous "non-believers" because they once knew the truth but chose to accept a lie. They may say otherwise but look carefully behind what they say. It is not about logic. It is not about truth. It is personal. Something happened which caused them to walk away from God. Now they are using every excuse they can think of to justify their decision.

Once you determine the type of "non-believer" you're dealing with you're one step closer to responding properly. How do you figure out what you're up against? Ask! I've done it and that's why I know the background of several people who have challenged my faith. Be very suspicious when you hear someone attacking Christianity with a very intimate knowledge of scripture and the inner workings of God's Kingdom.

Your antennas should go up immediately when the person uses certain phrases and innuendos that should only be familiar to Christians. Even if the information is publicly available you have to know what you're talking about to know how to use such information properly in an argument. There are many bitter, confused, "backslidden" Christians parading around as atheists out there. They think they're really smart but they've become fools.

Sometimes, it's okay to engage with people in this group because they need to know that they're living a dream and reality is that they're in big trouble. You're not going to argue these people back into The Body of Christ. It's just not going to happen but they will have to wrestle with the truth after you're finished and that's good. Jesus said in John 6:44(NKJV) - "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." Feel free to plant The Word of God into their hearts but they will only respond to the drawing of The Father. If He can't reach their hearts neither can you.

2) Educate Yourself In God's Word

Genesis 3:1-5(NKJV) - Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Do you want to know why the devil was able to fool Eve? She didn't really understand God's Word. If she understood what God had said she would have easily recognized the lie that the devil was presenting to her. I've met many lazy Christians who refuse to invest the time it takes to really understand God's Word. As a result, at the first sign of opposition from a "non-believer" they are flustered and have no idea what to say.

That's especially sad when it's a question from The Bible commonly used by "non-believers" to fool Christians. How can a Christian who believes The Bible lose an argument based in The Bible to someone who does not believe The Bible? It's simple. When the "non-believer" knows The Bible better than the Christian. That needs to stop! Christians need to know The Bible. Jesus and Apostle Paul set the standard in this area. They knew how to handle "trap" questions from The Bible.

2 Timothy 2:15(KJV) - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

I study The Word of God all the time and you should too. If The Word of God is your sword you have to practise using it consistently before you step into a battle. There are so many books written to help us understand God's Word that we have no excuse for not educating ourselves. Unfortunately, some Christians don't see the value in a solid Biblical foundation until it's too late. They want to pull out their sword and use it when they're under attack having never mastered it. Sadly, they look clumsy and uncoordinated while the "non-believers" pick them apart.

I once got into a public debate with an executive board member of American Atheists on a radio interview. He tried to argue about Genesis 1:1, a scripture that I had studied in Hebrew and in every English translation of The Bible I could find. I even wrote about it in several of my books. As he opened his mouth he exposed his lack of understanding and I jumped all over him. He was bluffing all along pretending to be a Bible expert so I called his bluff. I knew what the scripture was saying so I went in on him. If you study The Bible more than they study The Bible you will be able to call them out when they come at you trying to twist the truth.

3) Educate Yourself In Secular Areas Like History, Science And Philosophy

Daniel 1:3-6(KJV) - And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

Daniel was an advisor to kings and his position of influence spanned several generations. Take it not lightly why he and his friends were selected to be in the king's house in the first place. The king only wanted the following;" Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science." Some of the most popular arguments from "non-believers" come in the areas of philosophy and science. Hence, it really helps to have a working understanding of both.

I recently got into a debate with a gentleman concerning some aspects of scripture and I was relentless. Eventually, he thought he was smart so he made a comment about The Big Bang in an effort to take me out of my comfort zone. However, that was good news to me because Cosmology is a great place to have a discussion. Once I told him about my background in Physics and shared a couple things from my research the discussion was over. Sometimes we don't know enough to even have a decent conversation about science with a "non-believer" and that's not good.

I remember when I wrote my book, Faith Science, I really thought people would eat it up. It was my effort to help people of faith see some simple aspects of science that are consistent with scripture. Many "non-believers" you will encounter are not scholars. They have a limited understanding of science and scripture so they try to bluff their way through arguments using trap questions or complex scientific or philosophical terms they heard from someone else. After a while you'll start hearing the same arguments over and over. If you know what they are talking about you can respond intelligently. It's important for us to understand the natural environment the same way we understand spiritual truth. Let me tell you why.

1 Corinthians 2:14-15(NKJV) - But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

People with only natural understanding cannot understand spiritual things so you have to talk to them on their level. Do you know that many of the founders of Science were men of faith? Do you know that some of the top scientists in the world right now are men of faith? If not, you need to educate yourself because it will help to strengthen your own faith. I can recommend some great books that have helped me to understand areas of science, philosophy or history that support my Christian faith. The scholars at "Reasons To Believe" have provided books, forums and courses for our learning. I'm also an avid listener of Bible teachers like Ravi Zacharias. You can also learn from the movement called "The Veritas Forum".

4) Keep The Focus On The Foundation of Christianity!

When you defend Christianity be sure that you know exactly what you're defending. You're not defending the application of all the laws recorded in The Old Testament nor are you defending a list of practices or customs that may be listed in The New Testament. You're defending... 🙂 We'll continue from here tomorrow...

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The Body - Renew Your Mind, Think Like God, Discover Your Purpose

Romans 12:2-3(NLT) - 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.

Two steps to knowing God's Will for you!
1) Don't be a copy!
2) Change how you think! Think Like God!

The Body Bible Study has been a smashing success.

Next Session - Saturday, August 10th, 2013

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July 18, 2013 Posted by admin in Books

Trusting God To Meet Your Needs

Trusting God To Meet Your Needs

Jesus offered a crash course in ministry to the seventy in Luke 10:1-24. In one compact leadership seminar He taught them the salient points that must be considered when answering the call to ministry by God’s standard. This is one of the greatest mysteries of the Kingdom of God that few people realize is so obvious in the Bible. In fact, Jesus first gave a similar ministry training seminar to His disciples in Luke 9:1-6. In this chapter from my book; "Mysterious Kingdom Of Heaven", we will witness the mysteries of ministry revealed by Jesus during His time as a man on the earth. Click here for Part 3 - Expect Opposition

Let God take care of your needs and stay focused on your purpose.

Luke 10:4 – Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

The biggest test of most ministries comes in the area of financial provision. How are the bills going to get paid? Where do I find the money to start? Should I take a loan from the bank? When is it right to quit my job? Am I really sold out for Jesus if I sell “everything”, pick up my “cross” and follow Him? These questions can make or break a new ministry. Nonetheless, we will use the directions of Jesus as our standard.

He specifically instructed the ministers to leave their possessions behind and step out into ministry with nothing. This raises an important issue. If they left their stuff behind, how would they be sustained? Would you dare obey a command from God without knowing where your next dime is coming from?

Matthew 6:31-33 - Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I remember when God gave me the vision for my ministry. My life was at a financial pinnacle and I had more than enough money to start working on it immediately. I felt in complete control and there was no looking back. Suddenly, my fortunes changed and an unexpected expense arose which completely locked up my finances for six months. In a matter of weeks I changed from knowing exactly how everything would be done to having absolutely no control.

I had no purse, “scrip” or shoes and I saluted no man on the way. (Alright, I did have some shoes, but work with me here.) God wanted me to trust only Him and He found a way to get His point across. The intense financial pressure could have been a major distraction but it actually did the opposite. I had no money so I really didn’t have much to do outside of sitting alone in my house trying to figure out how I would pay all of my bills.

Then a large bi-annual bill showed up and the pressure began to increase until I cracked. Yes, I cracked. I cracked open my Bible and became a Bible fanatic. I had no other option, so every day when I returned home from my full time job as a Structural Engineer I had a part time job as a Bible fanatic.

Psalm 105:19 - Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

I ate the Word until it transformed me. I spent time in the presence of God leaning on His chest probing Him for the secrets of the Kingdom. I didn’t need to watch television. I didn’t need to socialize. I didn’t need to small talk with random people. I needed to fellowship with God. There’s a reason why Jesus said to leave everything and salute no man on the way. He wanted the seventy ministers to remain focused especially since they were solely dependent on God for their daily provision.

What are you willing to do on the path to your destiny? There is no easy way to the top so if you’re expecting a bed of roses you’re in for a big surprise. When God gave you a word it was a seed and while it matures you will have to mature with it. The most challenging time of your life may be the period of time during which the seed of the Word is germinating within you. You know something is happening and you can feel it growing inside. However, on the outside nothing has really changed. Nonetheless, the way you see the world has changed forever.

Romans 8:36-39 – As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There are people who will understand your situation and others who won’t. If you are burning with a passion for your purpose in God you may sometimes find yourself in a very lonely place. The drive it takes to make it in ministry is comparable to the drive it takes to quit your job and start your own business. It’s not for the faint of heart. If you remember the story of Joseph on the way to the palace you will understand the many pitfalls that are on the path to your destiny. I have seen people grow weary in ministry as I grit my teeth and keep moving forward. I refuse to give up and I refuse to fail. What about you?

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Expect Opposition

Expect Opposition

Jesus offered a crash course in ministry to the seventy in Luke 10:1-24. In one compact leadership seminar He taught them the salient points that must be considered when answering the call to ministry by God’s standard. This is one of the greatest mysteries of the Kingdom of God that few people realize is so obvious in the Bible. In fact, Jesus first gave a similar ministry training seminar to His disciples in Luke 9:1-6. In this chapter from my book; "Mysterious Kingdom Of Heaven", we will witness the mysteries of ministry revealed by Jesus during His time as a man on the earth. Click here for Part 2 - What's Your Vision?

Luke 10:2&3 - Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

What’s a good ministry without stiff opposition? I hope you don’t think that you’re going to walk into this perfect stage of your life in ministry without someone trying to stop you? The wolves are part of the package. This life includes constant warfare between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. At no point does the enemy overlook an individual with enough brevity to step forward in ministry.

I once thought that strict obedience to the Word of God would prevent the accusations of the enemy but I was totally wrong. He is a relentless foe and as a result, we should be just as relentless. We should never assume that he is taking a break even when things seem to be calm around us. Always be wary of his plans and never get complacent.

John 16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Jesus told us to expect trouble in this world but He also offered Himself as peace. It’s important to have a very strong relationship with God if you plan to survive the trials that come with ministry. The world is a very rough place and it’s designed for the survival of the fittest. A weak heart is the recipe for failure. Don’t expect the world to like what you are doing even if it looks like they initially do. They are still wolves, whether or not they look or sound like sheep.

John 15:18 - If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

James 4:4 - Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Jesus was hated by the world. He came to earth to give His life for the world and they still hated Him. In fact, even though hindsight is 20-20 and we all know what Jesus did for the world, they still hate Him. Therefore, they will hate you! That's why, anytime you are active in ministry and they seem to really like you something is wrong. Either you’re not doing your job or they have something sinister up their sleeves. Sometimes, they push ministers to the top of the world and if they fall, the same world is quick to say, “I told you so” and step all over them.

If people hate Jesus but love you it’s important to judge yourself. You might need to spend some time looking into the mirror of the Word of God at your reflection to ensure that nothing is wrong. I’ve been to several discussion forums and have read some of the nastiest things said about precious men of God. People are so jealous of the success of ministers today that they make accusations of impropriety against even those who are obedient to the Spirit of God.

Matthew 5:11 - Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Psalms 2:4 - He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

It really is amazing to hear some of the things that come out of the mouths of the critics. Do they really think that their words can stop what God is doing? I hope not, because while they assume success, the entire host of heaven is laughing at them. Sometimes, I also like to do a little laughing myself. It really is good medicine to laugh at the “haters” because if you let them frustrate you, it is your fault. I let critics entertain me with their ramblings and join the laughter with my Heavenly Father. One of these days, they will have to acknowledge the truth, whether they like it or not. Expect opposition!

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