Archive for the 'Christian Living' Category


One of the subjects that is frequently discussed among believers is the topic of self defense. The basic question that arises about that subject is as follows:

Is there any type of situation, in which it is permitted for a believer to use physical force, in order to defend himself (or others) from a violent assault?

Of course, as the apostle Paul tells us, Scripture contains all of the information that we need, in order for us to be “trained in righteousness”:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV):

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Recently a pastor posted an article about how he would treat his kids if they turned out to be gay. His four promises to them were: he won’t keep his kids’ sexuality a secret, he’ll pray for them (but not for God to change them), he’ll love them, and he accepts that if they turn out to be gay, they are gay already. He never once mentioned either how God feels about homosexuality or that he would try to help his kids to restrain their behavior. One friend of mine commented that the man demonstrated unconditional love like Jesus had for everyone he met. When I read through this short piece, by a fellow pastor, I kept waiting for the twist at the end, but it never came. Of course, in this short sample of his thought, it is hard for me to discern what he thinks about the subject at large. It seems like he knows that the bible condemns homosexual sex yet he, himself, believes it is not wrong. If this is the case, then he is simply a non-biblical Christian or a liberal Christian—someone who takes some of what the bible says while ignoring other parts with which he or she disagrees. Another possibility is that he really does believe the bible is right but thinks the best course of action is to love the sinner unconditionally, regardless of the sin. I want to assume that this is the case for my purposes here, and put some thought into the question of what unconditional love is and whether or not it should have any limits.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace?” The phrase has two main purposes: either we use it to express humility or excuse our behavior.cheap jerseys But, did you know that scripture nowhere calls Christ’s followers sinners? Let’s take a look at what the bible says about sinners in order to get a grounded scriptural understanding of what a sinner is. Then we’ll examine some other titles Christians use to refer to themselves as well as others within the family of God.

Although the latest statistics indicate that 2.2 of earth’s 6.9 billion inhabitants self-identify as Christian, it is hard to say how many actually follow Jesus. I remember a while back asking a friend’s mother if she was a Christian. She replied, “Of course, I am; I’m American, aren’t I?” I guess in her mind being a Christian was no more or less than being an American, but is this what the Bible teaches?

Jesus said, “And why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord, and you do not do what I say?’” (Luke 6:46). From this concise statement, we find a very helpful definition: if Jesus is my Lord, I will do what he said. Each one of us must decide whether or not we will actually follow Christ. In the end, self-identifying as a Christian is not enough. Our faith must run deeper.


Parables are short, allegorical stories, which are used to make a moral or spiritual point. Parables tend to be quite effective at getting their points across – as they place their lessons in very “real world” environments; so to speak.

Another item to note about parables is that many people are under the impression that parables only exist in the New Testament – i.e., some people believe that parables were only used by Jesus. However, that is not the case – parables were also used in the Old Testament.

Here are seven examples, of some of the more well-known Scriptural parables:

– The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37


One of the items that is mentioned again and again in Scripture, is the necessity for believers to “wait for the Lord”. That is, it is necessary for us to wait patiently for God to fulfill His plans for us – despite all of the difficulties and trials that we have to undergo. Of course, this requires us to have faith – i.e., trust – in God, that He has our best interests at heart – and that He will ultimately bring about our salvation.

Here is a small sample, of the virtual reality glasses many passages that exhort us to wait for the Lord:

Psalm 27:13-14 (ESV):


Some Christian churches subscribe to the doctrine that the Old and New Testaments are completely separate – i.e., that there is no relationship whatsoever, between the two testaments. So, according to this belief, the information that Jesus and the apostles gave us does not appear anywhere in the Old Testament. In other words, the statements made by Jesus and the apostles were completely “brand new” – with no corresponding statements in the Old Testament.

That doctrine, in turn, has influenced many Christians to basically “ignore” the Old Testament. After all, if the concepts expressed by Jesus and the apostles only exist in the New Testament, then there is no sense in trying to find any correlating information in the Old Testament.

This is a great section from Max Lucado’s book “Outlive Your Life“.  The book speaks about seeing the things of the Book of Acts in the church today. I thought this section from Chapter 1 (pages 5-7) was very thought provoking, and I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Acts announces, “God is afoot!”
Is he still? we wonder.  Would God do with us what he did with his first followers?
Heaven knows we hope so.  These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations.  Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade.  And in the five minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases.  More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities.  As a result, 10 million of them die each year from diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles.  Many of those deaths could be prevented by one shot.
Yet in the midst of the wreckage, here we stand, the modern-day version of the Jerusalem church.  You, me., and our one-of-a-kind lifetimes and once-in-history opportunity.
Ours is the wealthiest generation of Christians ever.  We are bright, educated, and experienced.  We can travel around the world in twenty-four hours or send a message in a millisecond. We have the most sophisticated research and medicines at the tips of our fingers.  We have ample resources.  A mere 2 percent of the world’s grain harvest would be enough, if shared to erase the problems of hunger and malnutrition around the world.  There is enough food on the planet to offer ever person twenty five hundred calories of sustenance a day.  We have enough food to feed the hungry.
And we have enough bedrooms to house the orphans.  Here’s the math.  There are 145 million orphans worldwide.  Nearly 236 million people live in the United States call themselves Christians.  From a purely statistical standpoint, American Christians by themselves have the wherewithal to house every orphan in the world.
Of course, many people are not in a position to do so.  They are elderly, infirm, unemployed, or simply feel no call to adopt.  Yet what if a small percentage of them did?  Hmmm, let’s say 6 percent.  If so, we could provide loving homes for more than 14.1 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.  Among the noble causes of the church, how does that one sound?  “Americans Stand Up For AIDS Orphans.”  Wouldn’t that headline be a welcome one?
I don’t mean to oversimplify these terrible complicated questions.  We can’t just snap our fingers and expect the grain to flow across borders or governments to permit foreign adoptions.  Polices stalemate the best of efforts.  International relations are strained.  Corrupt officials snag the system, I get that.
But this much is clear: the storehouse is stocked.  The problem is not in the supply; the problem is in the distribution.  God has given this generation, our generation, everything we need to alter the course of human suffering.
A few years back, three questions rocked my world.  They came from different people in the span of a month.  Question 1: Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler?  Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism?  Question 3:  When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?
I didn’t mind the first two questions.  They were hypothetical.  I’d like to think I would have taken a stand against Hitler and fought against racism.  But those days are gone, and those choices were not mine.  But the third question has kept me awake at night.  I do live today; so do you.  We are given a choice…an opportunity to make a big difference during a difficult time.  What if we did?  What if we rocked the world with hope?  Infiltrated all corners with God’s love and life?  What if we followed the example of the Jerusalem church?  This tiny sect expanded into a world-changing  force.  We still drink from their wells and eat from their trees of faith.  How did they do it?  What can we learn from their priorities and passion?
Let’s ponder their stories…Let’s examine (them) through the lens of this prayer: Do it again, Jesus.  Do it again.  After all, “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” (Eph. 2.10 NLT).  We are created by a great God to do great works.  He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in (the age to come), but here (and now).
Here’s a salute to a long life:  goodness that outlives the grave, love that outlasts the final breath.  May you live in such a way that your death is just the beginning of your life.
Section from Max Lucado’s book “Outlive Your Life: You Were Made To Make A Difference” pg 5-7


The following is a poem that Peter Taaffe presented at our winter teen camp (Dec. 27-30). It is call to live for God with all our hearts rather than falling into lukewarmness.

Most of us dodge life doing good deeds,

Sitting comfy on the couch flipping channels on the tv.

While others are dying for what they believe,

We sit and complain about the things we receive.

But it’s more than that, and hopefully you’ll see,

It about the father and son who died for you and me.

Can’t you see, it ain’t fiction its reality, those were real teardrops,

The following was inspired by Romans 12.11

τῇ σπουδῇ μὴ ὀκνηροί   not holding back in zeal
τῷ πνεύματι ζέοντες   burning with the spirit

Just imagine visiting an old church
partly filled with pallid attendees
who would much rather do something else,
anything else, than linger on there.

Because of some invisible force,
a kind of inescapable pull,
they find themselves week after dull week
repeating the same dead exercise

None of them enjoys the tedium
nor do they have the courage to leave.
They are not sinners, nor are they saints.
They risk little, they suffer little.

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