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Learning To Be Thankful-2016

 
In a few weeks, we will be celebrating one of our greatest national holidays, Thanksgiving—a day that we have set aside as a nation to thank the Lord for all His goodness and blessings which He has so richly given to us.  
 
Our nation was birthed in an attitude of thanksgiving to Almighty God for His blessings and providence that planted, sustained, and nurtured our fledgling nation from infancy to maturity as the strongest and most blessed nation on the face of the earth.  Back in those early days, before we were even a nation, those early settlers were thankful to God, not for big houses and new cars but for keeping them alive! 
 

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God’s Chosen Fast

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Every 6 months our church sets aside five days from Monday through Friday to fast and seek the Lord in prayer. I think that, for the most part, fasting is no longer practiced by many Christians in America.  Most Christians in this country see fasting as a kind of medieval, monastic practice that has its roots in fanaticism and is not something we need to concern ourselves with today.
 
However, that is simply not true—fasting is something that was practiced by God’s people in both Old and New Testament times as well as all throughout the Church Age.
 

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The Foundation of Our Faith-Part 2

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In Part One of this post, we discussed the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. That now brings us to the sufficiency of God’s Word.
 
Sadly, it is at this point that many evangelical pastors and leaders have erred.
 
Many of these men would defend the inspiration, the inerrancy and the infallibility of the Bible with their last breath—Yet when it comes to the sufficiency of Scripture they stumble by believing that the Bible needs to be supplemented with the wisdom of the world if Christians are to be fully victorious and fruitful (my professor in Bible college—“we need to combine the secular and the sacred…)”

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The Foundation of Our Faith-Part 1

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A structure is only as strong as the foundation it’s built upon—a weak or defective foundation will cause whatever is built upon it to eventually crumble and fall—the same is true with the Christian faith.
 
In Ephesians 2:20 we have an important statement on this subject—Paul tells us that the Temple of God in the New Covenant (the Church) has been built “on the foundation of the apostle and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.”
 
The prophets that Paul is referring to were of course N.T. prophets because O.T. prophets knew nothing about the church. Now we need to be careful not to misinterpret what Paul is saying here—he isn’t saying that the apostles and prophets were the actual foundation of the church.
 
That would contradict other passages that clearly teach that Jesus Himself is the foundation upon which the Church has been built—
 
1 Corinthians 3:11 (NKJV)
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

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A Prayer For All Believers

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In Ephesians Chapter 1:15-23 Paul the apostle is offering a prayer to God for the believer’s in Ephesus, and for all Christians, and he asks the Lord to help us understand the awesome power that raised Jesus from the dead. And how that same power brought Him all the way to heaven where He now occupies an exalted place of authority at the Father’s right hand.
 
Paul wanted the Father to show His children how that same mighty power is available to all of us who belong to Him—power to take us all the way to heaven someday.
 
If you were to ask the average person today how someone gets to heaven they would no doubt tell you by living a good life here on the earth and doing our best to help others. In other words, it’s all about human effort and hard work on our part that gets us to heaven even though Jesus told a very religious man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, that no one ever reached heaven that way.
 
Let’s imagine for a minute that heaven is on the moon and if we could somehow jump to the moon we could attain heaven. And yet common sense tells us that no matter how high we jump we will never be able, in our own strength and by our best efforts, to jump high enough to reach heaven if it were on the moon.

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Recommended Article

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This newsletter is often used to correct the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church but in this issue we will address the disappearing doctrine of the Evangelical Church. Many professing Christians now think it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you label it Christianity. Their only test for becoming a Christian is a simple acceptance of Jesus as a historical figure. In our post-modern church, doctrine is out and tolerance is in. We are told that for the sake of unity, doctrine should not be tested or contested.
 
We are not supposed to draw any definitive lines or declare any absolutes. Doctrinal and moral issues which were once painted black and white, are now seen as gray. The state of the church is now in a state of confusion.
 
Paul forewarned us that this would happen when he wrote: “The time will come when they [the people in the church] will not endure [tolerate] sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). When “Christians” turn to popular teachers who tickle their ears with messages on self-esteem and self-improvement, they are also turning away from God’s word.

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Filled with the Spirit

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In Ephesians 5:18 Paul admonished Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit as an essential element of our walk with and work for the Lord. But what exactly does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit”?  Well Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest gives four things that come through in the Greek that will help us to understand what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
 
1. “Be filled with the Spirit” is a command in the Greek that God expects us to obey.
 
It’s a command that is plural in the Greek which means it applies to all Christians—not just to a select few like missionaries, pastors and evangelists.  It’s a command because we can’t begin to do the work God has called us to do without the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49)
 
I believe that this is the greatest need in the Church today and the single greatest reason why we are losing the culture war to the devil in America when Jesus clearly promised us that against His Church the gates of hell would not prevail.  It’s because we are trying to do the work of God in our own strength, ingenuity and intelligence and not in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have substituted programs for the power of God and theological degrees for the dynamic of the Holy Spirit—

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Don’t Jump Ship

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I remember growing up as a kid with T.V. shows like, “Leave it to Beaver”; “The Donna Reed Show”; “The Ozzie and Harriet Show”; “The Dick Van Dyke Show”; and “Father Knows Best”.  And while these shows tended to be a little idealistic in the way they portrayed the American family—they, nevertheless reflected the norm in our society at that time—what some have called the “traditional family unit”.
 
You have to understand the era that gave birth to shows like these. During the 40’s and 50’s and up until the early 60’s there was a post war idealism and optimism that pervaded our country.  The economy was booming, babies were booming, patriotism was in vogue, life was sacred and prayer was still in public schools.
 
In those days people got married first and then lived together (how novel!). Closets were for clothes (not for coming out of) and bunnies were small rabbits. Back then grass was mowed, coke was a drink, ‘gay’ meant happy, and ‘aids’ were helpers in the principal’s office—a kind of innocence abounded.

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Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

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At the end of the book of Joshua, Joshua was 110 years old—too old to lead the army of Israel into battle against the remaining Canaanite strongholds and so God told him that it was now up to each of the 12 tribes to conquer their own portion of land that the Lord had given to them.  
 
The problem was that by this time many of God’s people were tired of war—they didn’t want to fight anymore—all they wanted to do was to settle down in peace and comfort and enjoy what they had already taken possession of.  
 
And Joshua seeing this attitude of compromise and complacency beginning to settle over God’s people when there was still so much work left to be done—this was no time to rest the enemy had not been completely driven out as God had commanded. Joshua being a man of deep conviction and wholehearted obedience toward God knew that partial victory was not ‘good enough’—not for him and certainly not for God.

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Walk In Wisdom

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 Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV) 
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil
 
The Greek word translated circumspectly in verse 15 carries with it the idea of “precision and accuracy”—but also has the idea of looking, examining, and investigating something with great care— But this Greek word further includes with it the idea of alertness. So Paul is telling us,
 
“See that you walk (live) your Christian life carefully with great precision—looking all around and giving strict attention to all things as one might do when passing through a very dangerous place.”  Paul went on to say, 
 
“If you do this you will be wise and not a fool”.

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