Who do you say he is?

Maybe you have heard about Jesus, maybe you learned about him at school but did you understand? Did you reject the possibility that Jesus was God in the flesh once you grew out of childhood and reasoned things out for yourself? Many do exactly that but they are rejecting their Creator. Evidence for God surrounds us all and we have no excuse in denying that. Many will say that creation (of life) came about through natural processes that were the result of a developing universe but fail to see that even the universe had a beginning. Who then created the Universe? You see God has always been, He exists outside of time, He was not created as many try to assume. ‘Who created God?’, they say. God is Spirit and we too are spirit though for now we live in the flesh too. Once we die our spirit still lives on, not in the thoughts of those we leave behind but for all eternity with the Spirit who created us, that is if we believe. Jesus came from God for he is God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus points the way to God and there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. If you don’t believe in Jesus how can you believe in God?


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Matthew 16:13-17

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

…………………….

Ask God to reveal Himself to you, to come into your life by His Spirit and lead you to Salvation through Jesus Christ.

Shirley Anne

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Women in the Church

the word of God
the word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

1 Corinthians 14:33-40

33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to enquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
Footnotes:

1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women

It has become more and more commonplace for the Word of God to be twisted or ignored by those professing to be Christian followers of the faith and worse still those who are members of the Church whether clergy or not. It seems that the pressures of the world’s view, morals and standards come before what God says. Initially ordaining women into the priesthood was an absolute non-starter but gradually the longstanding adherence to God’s word has been eroded. What makes men think they can alter what God dictates with impunity? Look at verse 36 above. This attitude follows on from accepting other things that are wrong as being right, for example homosexuality. There are several verses which point to the fact that God doesn’t accept homosexuality but they are ignored in preference to ‘human rights’ legislation and the pressure and influence of the unbelieving masses. They will quote that love is supreme and of course it is but there is a difference between the love they talk about and the righteous love of God. We must love one another no matter who they are but that isn’t an excuse to accept their way of life when it goes against the word of God. The amazing thing is that all these things are prophesied in Scripture but it appears even the clergy miss that point. Remember one thing though in all of this, we are all sinners and must not judge one another for we ourselves, if believers, saved by the blood of Christ, saved by faith through the mercy and grace of our Lord, will be judged too.

Shirley Anne

Faith healers

Healing "laying on of hands" ceremon...
Healing “laying on of hands” ceremony in the Pentecostal Church of God. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky. – NARA – 541337 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent reports tell of a married couple who allowed their 16 year-old son die an agonising death through the results of a burst appendix. The couple, in their late thirties and who had seven children before Austin’s death, are members of the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born in Cresswell, Oregon, which shuns modern medicine and teaches parishioners that faith healing and prayer will cure disease. As a Christian I am dismayed that people can be so brainwashed into thinking that the only way to be healed is to pray for it. Yes, do pray but remember that prayer alone isn’t always the answer. It is true to say that miraculous healing does happen sometimes and people may be healed through the laying on of hands however these incidences occur because God has given someone the gift of healing. This doesn’t mean that they actually heal people themselves but God uses them as an intermediary. The gift of healing is just one of the gifts of the Spirit that God may bestow on an individual and indeed as Christians we are encouraged to seek the gifts. We see this in Scripture

1 Corinthians 12  (New International Version – UK)

Concerning spiritual gifts

12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to dumb idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

As you can see not everyone has every gift but they are given according to the will of God. Getting back to the couple mentioned we can see they have been misled in their thinking. It is one thing to hope and pray that God will heal someone and a different thing when He does and by which method He chooses. He may either do it without human involvement or He may employ someone through the gift of healing, the laying on of hands. However, God has also given us alternative ways to heal which we should not ignore such as through medicine, surgery and the skills of the medical fraternity. It is foolishness to ignore the practical gifts God has given mankind through intelligence. There is the old tale of a passenger liner taking on water and sinking with the loss of everyone on board except for one soul who managed to cling to a floating object and who drifted for days thinking he would never be rescued. He prayed earnestly to God asking to be saved from his predicament and after a few days another ship sailed close by and saw him adrift. Pulling alongside they asked him to grasp the rope they had thrown overboard but he refused saying that God was going to rescue him. A day or two later another ship sailed by and the same thing happened. Finally a yacht drifted by and its captain tried in vain to get the man to climb aboard so he too sailed away. The conditions worsened and the man drowned. He found himself in the presence of God and asked Him why he had not been saved to which God replied, ‘I did want to save you, I sent two liners and a yacht but you refused to be saved’! God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. We cannot afford to discount any of them by expecting Him to do things our way. Had that couple and the other members of that church really been in touch with God that young man would be alive today.

Shirley Anne

Is the Bible still relevant?

 

Many people in today’s society declare that the Bible is irrelevant and is simply myth or fiction. However the Bible speaks volumes about itself and about life today, if one reads it properly. No-one has disproved what is written in its pages, try as they may it has stood the test of time. It is both an historical and a prophetic literature written by about forty different authors over generations and thus who had no contact with each other. It is an inspired collection of writings which have an invisible link connecting them together. The inspration came from God…………..

Is the Bible Still Relevant?

In this modern world, are the Scriptures worth reading?

by Jeremy Lallier

Is the Bible Still Relevant? (Photos.com)I don’t think our parents ever really saw our generation coming. They grew up in a world where people stretched a dollar as far as they could, and when something ripped, they put a patch on it and kept going. Most of their parents or grandparents remember living through the Great Depression, where just having anything, no matter how old, was a big deal.

The pace of change

But us? We’re a different breed. We tear through technology and clothes like bags of potato chips. A five-yearold computer may as well be an ancient pottery shard. While you were busy blinking, everything owned by everyone else just got sleeker, faster and more expensive. Most cell phones today could outperform the first computer I ever remember using.

It was my family’s old Packard Bell, which I’m just now discovering was ranked by PC World as the worst manufactured PC of all time. But we still liked it, at the time. I think if I had to go back and use it now, I’d be pulling my hair out—because today, it would be like entering a horse-drawn carriage in a stock-car race.

And that’s pretty much our world in a nutshell—outdated in months, obsolete in a few years. The concept of a decade becomes roughly equivalent to ancient history.

So when someone points out that parts of the Bible are almost 31⁄2 millennia old, it’s no surprise that my head has a slight bit of difficulty grappling with those numbers.

The word millennium is Latin in origin and refers (I am convinced) to the length of time that passes during one of those family road trips that involve you being stuck between your brother and sister in the back seat with your feet on that stupid little hump when your sister won’t stop poking you and “Mom, she’s not staying on her side, and I have to go to the bathroom, and are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet?” or, in simpler terms, “a thousand years.”

Almost 3,500 years old. How can anything that ancient possibly have any relevance today?

It can’t, a lot of people will tell you. They’ll say that the Bible is just like my old Packard Bell—useful once upon a time, but now nothing more than an outmoded relic of a bygone era. Society has changed since then, and so has what defines right and wrong.

They’ll tell you this as their loveless marriages collapse into petty disputes, as their circle of friends dwindles because of their tendency to bend the truth and stab backs, as their bodies are wracked with the effects of sexually transmitted diseases or substance abuse, as their credit card bills swallow their bank accounts whole—as their lives self destruct.

Unchanging constants

The argument almost makes sense on the surface. After all, everything changes, doesn’t it? Societal values shift across distance and time. What was acceptable dress in 14th-century Japan would likely be frowned upon in a 21st-century American business meeting. So it only makes sense that right and wrong, like all things societal, would change as a culture does.

But truth is not a suit. It is not an outfit to be mixed and matched, discarded and replaced to keep in step with the latest trends. It’s an unchanging constant unaltered by time or culture.

Imagine a man about to walk off a cliff. A panicked crowd of friends behind him screams warnings, begging him not to do it. The man pauses in midstride and turns around. “Don’t worry!” he tells them. “I don’t believe in gravity. It’s an archaic idea that just doesn’t fit into my personal worldview.” With that, he takes his final step over the edge.

Do you think gravity will be paying particular attention to the man’s worldview?

One’s personal thoughts and feelings on the physical forces in nature are pretty irrelevant. Gravity will continue to hold the matter of the universe together, regardless of your opinion on its necessity. You might disagree with the laws of inertia, but a falling object can still give you a nasty bruise if it hits you. You can’t systematically wish away aspects of the universe just because you don’t agree with them. They’re still there, and whether or not you believe in them, they’re still going to interact with you—like gravity pulling a man down a cliff.

Since the physical laws of this existence are unchanging, why would the spiritual laws be any different?

Essential guidelines of eternal value

What the Bible offers is a guidebook to interactions—with people, with things, with life in general. Rather than leave you to figure out the spiritual equivalent of walking off a cliff on your own, the Word of God lays out all the principles you’ll ever need to make the important decisions in your life. In its pages, you’ll find a thorough examination of what makes for a good decision and what makes for a terrible one.

The Bible deals with questions like:

What do you do when you’re faced with an interpersonal conflict? (See Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-17.)

How should you treat the most important relationships in your life? (See Ephesians 5:22-33; 6:1-4.)

How can you put your foot down on an issue and still show compassion? (See Luke 17:3; Proverbs 10:12.)

It also deals with character traits worth developing (1 Corinthians 13:4- 8; 2 Peter 1:5-8), habits worth avoiding (Proverbs 6:9-19), friends worth having (Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) and maybe a thousand other things essential to getting the most out of this life—and the next. Study its words for a lifetime, and you won’t stop uncovering wisdom until your final breath.

Sure, it’s old. But old doesn’t automatically mean obsolete, contrary to everything our culture would have us believe. Friction is old too, but you don’t see it being replaced by anything. (Which is great, because I’m not big on perpetual motion as a way of life.)

So, is the Bible still relevant after all these years? Here’s the thing: It is, and we could tell you all about why until the cows come home. But you’re not going to really believe us until you prove it to yourself, which you can do one of two ways. You can follow the Bible’s words and reap the benefits, or you can ignore them and suffer the consequences.

Either way, you’ll find the answer. (For a quick guide to some of the most relevant relationship tips, read or request Making Life Work). GN

 Copyright  The United Church of God, Good News Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Shirley Anne

The Lost

Whenever I speak up for God, whenever I make a stand against those who insult God by their bad behaviour, their insolent and unbelieving attitude, I take a verbal bashing. It is sometimes the same when I write on this blog or elsewhere. Only those who make intelligent and non-inflammatory comments get through the screening net of course. As it is many of the posts I write on this subject are well read but there is always very little response. Those who already believe don’t need to comment of course but those who are unbelievers will only respond aggressively (to God) or not at all. The Gospel is too much of a challenge for many, they don’t want their lives changing even though it would be for the better but of course they don’t know that! The problem is that these people do not know they are lost, they do not know the danger they are in when they reject God. I pray for them every day because I too once acted in the same way. For those who do not believe, the Word of God is meaningless. It is hidden from them and they are blind to the Truth.

1 Corinthians 1:17-19 (New International Version, ©2010)

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

   “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
   the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Note especially verse 18.

No matter how hard people try to distort the truth it will always remain the truth. They question that truth by saying it is only one interpretation. They will say anything in defence of their view and anything to discredit God. It is understandable seeing as they are blind. In order to know the Truth, in order to believe in God, one must have God’s Spirit within. There is no other way that we can believe. A non-believer cannot turn and suddenly believe or make that decision in an instant without God’s Spirit being in them. We are told:-

Matthew 7:6-8 (New International Version, ©2010)

   6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

And I can see the truth in that, it is evident whenever I try to witness to people but God says this to them:-
Ask, Seek, Knock

    7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

The problem now becomes  this:- Will their hearts be open to God? Will they seek, will they knock on His door, will they ask Him to come into their lives and see the difference it will make?

It is the unbeliever who must make the move and when that move is really sincere, God will respond. Nothing will change unless the wish is there and the ride will not be easy. The same old problems will still be there, God does not take them away but with His strength and leadership life itself takes on a new meaning. When you see with a believers eye you see just how lost you were beforehand.

Shirley Anne

It appears that I have to write an addendum here in response to the fact that I have comments closed on this post.

As a believer in God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit I write articles from time to time more in the way of information rather than debate. It is for this reason and this reason only that I close the comments box. I realise that not everybody is a believer and that other people have different beliefs, which incidentally I fully respect, that is their right and you will not see me writing anything to the contrary here. The reader will also notice that I do not pull to pieces what others believe in by telling them that their ‘religion’ or belief system is stupid. What I write about here is my own belief system. As a Christian I have to proclaim The Gospel in any way I can. It is a commandment of Christ Jesus. Those who are not interested should remain silent and not condemn what I write in their comments. I already know that an unbeliever doesn’t agree so to save argument I close the comments box. It isn’t a personal attack on those who believe differently. Please don’t take it as such.

If I comment elsewhere it is because the topic has been left open to comment.