Having Too Many Choices?

confused_choices

I have once read, or heard, it said, “If you have too many choices, then you have no choice, at all.” I believe it was a Christian author reiterating something that a psychologist had spoken. In fact, I came across an article about the top ten quotes on this very subject. It is very odd how that works out. As mentioned in the article, “having more options does not necessarily help us make better choices.” As odd as that sounds, it is very true.

Think about it for a moment. How often have you gotten on the television with the channel changer in one hand just flipping the channels. Only, to your dismay, finding nothing to your liking on the television…despite the fact that you had just cycled through500 to 750 channels, twice. I was such a television aficionado, or televisionaholic, that I could actually cycle through the channels at such speed and accuracy that two-three hours would pass me by and I did not watch anything of knowledge or substance.

TVaholicThe ability to watch the news 24/7 is absolutely ludicrous! Think about it…regardless of what happens, outside of some travesty, you can watch the same things being spoken by the same, or different, faces for those 24 hour periods. And it does not help when you add politics to the mix, because then you will be adding an additional dynamic to the mix. Which, by the way, only increases the tension in your heart and mind, regardless if it were a conservative or liberal twist.

My wife and I use to have the news on all day long and tensions ran hot and heavy. TVaholic1Within the last two, or three, years we have changed to listening to the radio. Still political/news punditry, but not quite as bad as watching the news all day long. Quite honestly, I liked the good old days when you had the news on in the morning in time for the morning rush hour and in the evening at or after dinner time. I am to the point of wanting to get rid of cable, all together, and just use a digital antenna and go back to the good old days of 13 channels.

The same choice that prevents us from choosing something to watch can also afflict us with respect to religious practice. Those of you who came from an atheistic, or theistic-lite, backgrounds sought out the One True God based upon truths that were made evident to you. However, there were too many religious choices. And then when you finally got to Christianity you found there were upwards of 34, 000 variations of Christian beliefs. Sooner or later, you whittled it down to the top 35 denominations within the Christian faith system.

WhichDenominationAmI

And, of course, YOU may not truly find out which denomination you are until you try out the church itself…YES, you do have to go and see if it is a fit for you and for them!

BUT, of course, YOU are a trooper. So, YOU do your research on the denomination and you go to the church to visit. You visit several churches and research their beliefs, the denomination, etc. Remember this, you will also need to research the bible and all that it promotes. As a good Christian you will also be mentally comparing what your Pastor preaches against what the bible states and what Jesus taught. Many of the denominations will fall off of the personal list you have made.

My siblings and I were brought up Roman Catholic. Had I a Priest of the likes of Robert Barron (Bishop)  or a mentor of the likes of Scott M. Sullivan, I would probably still be or would have returned to the Catholic faith. I grew up in West Caldwell, New Jersey under the Archdiocese of Newark (Notre Dame Church.) We were taught, at that time in the 1970s, that we were not to read the bible, but the Priest would read the bible for us and teach us what it said. Being a teen, with a great amount of angst, surely did not go over very well for me. God gave us a mind to think, and logically reason…not to be spoon fed and indoctrinated. At that time in my life, spoon feeding was not on my mind. But, believe it or not, my oldest sibling had paved the way for me to escape the snare of religiosity. Although it took about another 8 years to find my way to God – amidst numerous hiccoughs along the way. Eventually, regardless of who you are or what you are facing, you will have to reconcile  what you do with your core values and beliefs. Whether it be habits you desire to rid yourself of, honing in on the religion of choice or of truth, or a career path to follow. You must reconcile with your core values & beliefs.

>>>>Sorry, I got a little off track…again…my bad!<<<<<

Watching television or picking the religious faith that God desires you to be associated with…it is truly tough to wade your way through all of the “addictiveness” of it all. But with much prayer and research and continued faith in God and listening to the Holy Spirit guiding you…you will find your way!

Biblically speaking, you could gather together with others in your own house to create a church.

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”~Matthew 18:19-20 NKJV

Taking to heart the above quotation of Jesus, the church is the people, not the building. As a matter of fact, the church I presently attend, Calvary Christian Church, started in the house of one of the original pastors. It is now a primary church with four satellite locations and I foresee it expanding even further…God willing!

I did get a little off track and continued to do so, but I believe I made a point…although, it may not have been the one I intended to make! LOL Keep smiling and keep praying! Godspeed to you all!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

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7 Writing Tips from Charles Spurgeon

 

I came across this article and thought for those of you that either write, ordesire to write, would enjoy it. Hopefully as much as I have!

Sorry, this post is less than the average of 1000 words, but from a great sermonizer as Mr. Spurgeon, I thought you would forgive me for fewer words. (Unless of course you have been falling a sleep?)

Godspeed!

MK Murphy

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Charles-Spurgeon

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Charles Haddon Spurgeon is the most prolific Christian author of all-time.

Prior to the standardization of typewriters—let alone the development of computers—Charles Spurgeon literally penned a boatload of content. He’s considered to be the most widely read preacher and he produced more written material than any other Christian in history. Here’s a sampling of his production:

  • Wrote over 140 books
  • Penned up to 500 personal letters per week
  • Published a monthly magazine called The Sword and the Trowel
  • Transcribed his weekly sermons that today fill 63 volumes and total between 20–25 million words

Charles Spurgeon’s work has been translated into multiple languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

He can make you laugh, cry, and become awestruck with God with the stroke of his pen and eloquent prose. Here are seven writing tips taken from his life for aspiring writers.

1. Write to Help others

“We are very mistaken, if our work does not prove to be of the utmost value to purchasers of books…no object in view but the benefit of our brethren…it will be remuneration enough to have aided the ministers of God in the study of his word” (Sword & Trowel, March 1876).

2. Write Short

“Long visits, long stories, long essays, long exhortations, and long prayers, seldom profit those who have to do with them. Life is short. Time is short.…Moments are precious. Learn to condense, abridge, and intensify…In making a statement, lop off branches; stick to the main facts in your case. If you pray, ask for what you believe you will receive, and get through; if you speak, tell your message and hold your peace; if you write, boil down two sentences into one, and three words into two. Always when practicable avoid lengthiness — learn to be short” (Sword & Trowel, September 1871).

3. Write for God

“Courteous reader, throughout another year we have endeavored, month by month, to provide for your entertainment and edification. For both, because the first is to the most of men needful to produce the second, and also because God hath joined them together, and no man should put them asunder” (Sword & Trowel, Preface, 1875).

4. Write Clearly

“So I gathered that my sermons were clear enough to be understood by anybody who was not so conceited as to darken his own mind with pride. Now, if boys read The Sword and the Trowel it cannot be said to shoot over people’s heads, nor can it be said to be very dull and dreary” (Sword & Trowell, November 1874).

5. Write to Compel

“It was an ill day when religion became so decorous as to call dullness her companion, and mirth became so frivolous as to demand the divorce of instruction from amusement. It is not needful that magazines for Christian reading should be made up of pious platitudes, heavy discourses, and dreary biographies of nobodies: the Sabbath literature of our families might be as vivacious and attractive as the best of amusing serials, and yet as deeply earnest and profitable as the soundest of divines would desire” (Sword & Trowel, Preface, 1875).

“If the writer had possessed genius and literary ability, this might have been a highly interesting work; but as the writers’ sole qualification is his honesty of purpose, the work is most reliable and dull” (Sword & Trowel, November 1882).

6. Write, Write, & Write

“Many of our hours of pain and weakness have been lightened by preparing the first volume of our book on the Psalms for the press. If we could not preach we could write, and we pray that this form of service may be accepted of the Lord” (Sword & Trowel, January 1870).

7. Read to Write

“Read good authors, that you may know what English is, you will find it to be a language very rarely written nowadays, and yet the grandest of all human tongues” (Sword & Trowel, August 1871).

 

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying…

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” ~Michael Landon, Jr.

While not biblical, Michael Landon, Jr.’s statement is a matter of importance and fact. Importance because we tend to get ourselves into a comfortable state in our lives when we can keep our heads above water; yet, we know darn well that there is so much we should be doing. It is a matter of fact because we also have a tendency to push things off one-dayuntil another time, by saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “Some other day,” “Another time,” ” Some day, honey, we will get there, or do such and such…” We all have our special line to let us know that we want to do it, but someday never seems to arrive.

We all have our ways, we each have our blow off statement(s), and we all in the back of our minds know we will not ever get there, or do this or that. It is just in our nature to put things off because we have other things that rise higher on our scale of important things to do list. We are reminded by King Solomon:

For the living know that they will die…” ~Ecclesiastes 9:5 NKJV

Man inherently knows that he will one day, no longer be. It is a sad truth to our lives, but death is every bit a part of life, it is the finale…if you will. Where the time clock of our life has run out…the game is over…curtains are down…well, you get the point. As we grow older, we tend to look more toward the legacy we will leave behind. Of course, there are those who began to build up a legacy right out of college, high school, or even the LeavingLegacy.jpgmilitary.

People such as myself, who have taken far too long to mature and, therefore, delayed – without any fore thought toward the ramifications of their decisions – begins to look at their life and see that they have not developed any kind of a legacy to leave either family or the world. One could even apply the techniques from Napoleon Hill’s book, THINK AND GROW RICH and develop a low level or some grand legacy, to both family and the world. But as with any goal, you must first know what it is that you want to obtain, or develop. Legacies are no different.

We have this tendency to get caught up in the daily grind, the rat race, or the job. Often times, these are but menial things, in retrospect. We all too often allow ourselves to get Morestuffcaught up in the mental mind set of keeping up with the Joneses, or just find ourselves wanting more and more stuff. Which, by the way, will end up in our closets, sheds, basements, garages, or attics…never to truly be used at all. So, why do we do such things? Well, who really knows, but the underlying thought is that it makes us feel good in the end. A certain amount of happiness in an otherwise mundane life of work…work…work…and more work. 50 to 80, and with others even more hours each week. And we have the feeling we are getting no where, fast. Sometimes we just cannot help ourselves, until one day you wake up and make a firm decision…NO MORE!

Some of have more time than others in our lives. Someone I graduated with in High School, back in New Jersey, he died at the age of 49, another died in her twenties, and another while we were in our Junior year of High School. Some people just have less time than others. But you know, being armed with such information and understanding that we will all go some day can be a blessing. If you can embrace such a mind set, then you will be a cut above many others who are constantly playing things safe. While I am not promoting living unsafe lives I am suggesting that we need to go out on a limb in our lives. By placing ourselves on a limb we will start taking chances and start seeking the purpose for which we were created.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” ~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV

Sometimes that million dollar idea you get could be the legacy you leave behind. Others will leave hind a beautiful family and others will leave behind children to carry on their name who were endowed with the wisdom that God blessed them with. Our Founding Fathers, here in America, left behind a legacy of a republic with the blessing of inalienable rights…the Great American Experiment. I had two great great uncles who were in the Civil war on the side of the North. I also had a great great great uncle who fought on the side of the British Crown on one of Her Majesty’s Ships during the War of 1812. Talk about being caught in the middle, eh?? My father was in WWII in Germany and one of my Grandfathers was in the military just after WWI and an Uncle who was in Germany during the Korean War.

Life-itself-is-a-universally-fatal-sexually-trans

So, what is your legacy? What are you leaving for your family? What are you leaving the world? What are you leaving to testify that God was in your life while you walked this mortal coil, called earth? Search deeply in prayer and meditation on God’s Word…what does God want you to do? Keep in mind that you are dying, we are all dying, and what are you going to do to show the world that God was in your life?

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

10 REASONS TO ACCEPT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AS AN HISTORICAL FACT

TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017

By Brian Chilton

When I left the ministry due to my skepticism, one of the factors involved in my departure concerned the reliability of the New Testament documents and the resurrection of Jesus. The folks from the Jesus Seminar had me second-guessing whether I could trust what the New Testament said and if I could truly accept the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In July of 2005, my life changed. I entered the Lifeway Christian Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and read three books that changed my life more than any other book outside the Bible. I discovered Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and McDowell’s A Ready Defense. I discovered that there are many reasons for accepting the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as a historical fact.

Through the years, the evidence has increasingly mounted for the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. This article will provide 10 of the most fascinating arguments for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This list is not exhaustive and my dealings with each argument is extremely brief. Nevertheless, I hope this list will provide a starting point for you to consider the authenticity of Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The First Eyewitnesses were Women. The first eyewitnesses of the resurrection were women. All the Gospels note that the first individuals to discover the tomb empty were women. Matthew notes that “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb…The angel told the women, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the play where he lay” (Matthew 28:1, 5-6).[1] Women were not held in high esteem. In Greco-Roman culture, a woman’s testimony was not admissible in court. In Jewish circles, it took the testimony of two women to equate that of one man. If one were to invent a story, the last people one would place as the first witnesses would have been women, unless it were otherwise true.

  1. Minimal Facts Concerning the Resurrection. Gary Habermas has popularized the so-called minimal facts argument for the resurrection. The minimal facts are those things that are accepted by nearly all New Testament scholars. The minimal facts are “1. Jesus died by crucifixion. 2. Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them. 3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed. 4. The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed. 5. The tomb was empty.” [2] These facts are nearly universally accepted by New Testament scholars, including liberals.

  1. Transformation of the Early Disciples. As noted in the minimal facts, James, the brother of Jesus, was changed from a skeptic to a believer because of the resurrection. James along with his brothers did not believe in Jesus during Jesus’s early ministry (see John 7:5). However, Jesus appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:3-9) and James became a leader in the early Jerusalem church. His death is recorded by Josephus.[3] Paul is another example of one who was completely transformed by the resurrection of Jesus. Paul had been a persecutor of the church. After witnessing the risen Jesus, Paul became a proclaimer for the church.

  1. Embarrassing Details of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, embarrassing details add veracity to a historical claim. The fact that women were the first witnesses, that a member of the Sanhedrin (the same Sanhedrin that executed Jesus) had to give Jesus a proper burial, and that the disciples were fearful and fled all serve as embarrassing factors for the resurrection account.

  1. Willingness to Die for What Was Known. Many people will die for what they believe to be true. But no one will die for something they erroneously invented. The disciples knew if they were telling the truth. Yet, one finds that the disciples were willing to die for what they knew to be true. Stephen died by stoning (Acts 7:54-60), James of Zebedee died by the sword at the hands of Herod (Acts 12:2), James the brother of Jesus died,[4] and Peter and Paul died at the hands of Nero.[5]

  1. Documentary Evidence. The documentary evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is quite good. The historian seeks to find how many primary and secondary sources[6] can be gathered for an event to determine the event’s historicity. Concerning primary sources, the resurrection has Matthew’s account, John’s account, and Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 15, including the additional references by James (if one accepts that James wrote the letter attributed to him) and Jude. The following are secondary sources for the resurrection: Luke, Mark, Clement of Rome, and to a lesser degree Ignatius and Irenaeus.

  1. Circumstantial Evidence. Douglas Groothius notes that circumstantial evidence for the historicity of the resurrection is “namely, the practice of the early church in observing baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Sunday worship.”[7] Baptism is based upon the analogy of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial death. In addition, it is quite odd that faithful Jews would move their worship from a Friday evening into Saturday to a Sunday morning unless something major had occurred on a Sunday morning. The major Sunday morning event was Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The Missing Motive. J. Warner Wallace has noted in his lectures and books that when a conspiracy is formed, three motivating factors are behinds such a move—power, greed, and/or lust.[8] The disciples would hold no power behind claiming the resurrection as history. They were running around while often being threatened by the Jewish and Roman authorities. As far as greed, they taught that one should not desire earthly possessions, but spiritual ones. Lust was not a factor, either. They taught celibacy before marriage and marital fidelity after marriage. In fact, N. T. Wright notes in his classic book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, that the disciples had no theological motivation behind claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead as they were anticipating a military hero and a final resurrection at the end of time. What motivating factors existed for these disciples to invent such a story? None! The only reason the disciples taught the resurrection of Jesus was because Jesus’s resurrection had occurred.

  1. Enemy Attestation of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, if one holds enemy attestation to an event, then the event is strengthened. When one considers the claims of the authorities that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15), the testimony of the resurrection is strengthened. The early belief that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus is strengthened by the discovery of the Nazareth Inscription that orders capital punishment for anyone who steals a body from a tomb.[9] In addition, several refences to Jesus and his resurrection include citations from Josephus,[10] Tacitus,[11] and Suetonius[12] among others (including the Babylonian Talmud).

  1. Multiple Post-Resurrection Eyewitnesses. Finally, there is multiple eyewitness testimony pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus. Several people had seen Jesus alive for a period of 40 days. The eyewitnesses include Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), the women at the tomb accompanying Mary (Matthew 28:1-10), the Roman guards (Matthew 28:4), the Eleven disciples (John 21), the two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), an indeterminate number of disciples (Matthew 28:16-20); over five-hundred disciples (1 Corinthains 15:6), to James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). I am certain that there were many other witnesses that are unnamed.

Conclusion:

Many other evidences could be given for the resurrection of Jesus. Thinking about the methods of history, one must understand that there is a reason why American accept the first President of the United States as George Washington and not Spongebob Squarepants. History backs up the claim that Washington was the first President. In like manner, history backs up the reality of Jesus’s resurrection. Now the question is this: what will you do with such information? Some will try to ignore the event. Some will try to dismiss it. Others will acknowledge the factual nature of the event and worship Jesus as the risen Lord. It is my prayer that you will do the latter.

Notes

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

[2] Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), 48-50, 64-69.

[3] Josephus, Antiquities XX.200.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Eusebius, Church History XXV.5.

[6] Primary sources are documents written by eyewitnesses. Secondary sources are documents written by individuals who know eyewitnesses. For instance, my grandfather was an eyewitness to the biggest naval battle in World War II history. From the information my dad gathered from him, he would be a secondary source, whereas my grandfather would have been a primary source.

[7] Douglas Groothius, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove; Nottingham, UK: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2011), 553-554.

[8] See J. Warner Wallace, “Rapid Response: I Think the Disciples Lied About the Resurrection,” Cold-case Christianity.com (October 17, 2016), retrieved April 11, 2017, http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/rapid-response-i-think-the-disciples-lied-about-the-resurrection/.

[9] See http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/07/22/The-Nazareth-Inscription-Proof-of-the-Resurrection-of-Christ.aspx#Article.

[10] Josephus, Antiquities XX.9.1.

[11] Tacitus, Annals XV.

[12] Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Claudius 25 and Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Nero 16.

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2ppUPKK

*****

Another post of apologetic information to aid in your understanding. I hope & pray you find it of value to your growth!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

Murphy’s Law or Job’s Curse?

img_4527All too often we, mankind in general, have to wonder and ask the question, “Why is this happening to me? Now, of all times?” Am I a Murphy? Is Murphy’s Law affecting my life somehow and for some specific reason? Perhaps, the luck of the Irish has something against me because I wore a kilt on St. Patrick’s Day and pretended to be an Irishman? Think about that line of reasoning and logic, or lack thereof, for a moment.

Maybe you are feeling all Biblical and religious for a little bit, once in your life. img_4525Where your remembered that guy named Job who was upright in God’s eye, but somehow lost the bet of luck, or the wheel of fortune was against him, while God and Satan wagered on his character and integrity. Yeah! That’s it…God bet on me and I lost sort of thing! Now think on that one for a little bit longer. Yeah…NO! God, if He bets on any of us…He is on our side! Why? You might ask…because God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for each and every one of us. You know, the basis of the gift of our salvation!

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.” ~John 3:16 NKJV

And don’t forget what the Apostle Paul told us:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8 NKJV

Murphy’s Law is not attacking us and we are not branded by the curse that followed Job. Murphy’s Law is a comical way to laugh off the things that happen to us if we should make a bad choice, or not pay attention to what we are doing at the time. Remember, Murphy’s Law states: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Guess what? It would have gone wrong whether you were part of it , or not! If not you, it would have been someone else that it happened to.

And the curse of Job, was not a curse. Basically it came down to a bet on Job’s character and integrity, between God and Satan. [While that is an over simplification, it works for now.] A little background information is that the Book of Job is considered to be the oldest story in the Bible, approximately 2000 B.C. Meaning that the Book of Job is after the Great Flood and before the great Exodus from Egypt. Despite all that Job went through, he never blamed God overtly, there may have been some undertones there throughout his dialogue with his so-called friends. All throughout, Job believed there had to have been some kind of mistake, but he was certain that he could explain, if given the chance. In fact, while speaking with his wife he proceeded to remind her:

…Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” ~Job 2:10 NKJV

BadThingsHappenGood, bad, or indifferent…sometimes bad things just happen because of any one of a number of reasons. The daily struggles and snags we get caught up in are a normal part of everyday life; they are part of the imperfect world we live in. People let us down or misunderstand us. The things we use don’t always work as we want them to and they don’t last forever. Yet these everyday problems aren’t huge barriers that completely block our way in life; they are more like obstacles we can jump over or find a way around. There are so many things that can go wrong every day. Sometimes, one has a day when everything seems to go wrong. Even the little things seem far worse than they really are and you end up having a really bad day. Some days it seems as thought it is a battle and struggle to get some of the simplest things. On other days it is like we are on fire and everything is just going our way. Almost feeling as though we are invincible. But remember this important fact about God:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” ~Romans 8:28 NKJV

You must also consider the story of Joseph and his brothers where he reminded them:

Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. ~Genesis 50:19-20 NKJV

The undertones between the story of Joseph and that of Job are this: Bad things happen to good people and do not, in and of themselves, indicate that man has sinned; however, God permits bad things to happen to good people in order to draw them closer to God so they may rely on Him and His great power through faith! God wants us all to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and reside close to Him. Unfortunately, a great number will never enter Heaven. Jesus warned us

For many are called, but few are chosen.” ~Matthew 22:1-14 NKJV

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ ~Luke 13:22-32 NKJV

We are warned. Not everyone will enter the gates of Heaven. We are also warned that life will not always be easy, or as a bowl of cherries. There will be times we will want to give up, no matter the reason we may wish to give…but we must continue on the trek and fight the good fight so we may finish the race! We are also taught that Jesus is the way to heaven, He is the narrow gate.

Sometimes things just happen, regardless of what is happening. God is not against you, but is for you. Otherwise, He would not have allowed His only Son to be the sacrificial lamb.

Grace to you and peace be multiplied!

MK Murphy

 

Dysphoria & Identity Crises Today

GenderDysphoriaIdDisorder

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. ~Genesis 5:1-2 NASB

Look at any news channel or report and you will see something going on with someone and their identity crisis with their gender. They do not know what they are, they seem to identify with the opposite sex, or some other species on this earth. So much so that they are being pushed toward some kind of gender fluidity or non-binary creature. Someone, somewhere, is trying to make a headline for themselves, or  their parent is choosing not to label their son or daughter as male or female, because it is their (the child’s) place to do so. Ahhh, WHAT? Talk about enhancing and enabling a dysphoric or identity crisis where actually none exists until they created it! Admittedly so, there are those who have an identity crisis of such a magnitude because there is no one to help guide them on their path in life. Such as a man for a male child, or woman for a female child, in order to mentor them in life.

Even as a parent, I have made my share of mistakes. Unfortunately, since the advent of the politically correct (PC) wave in this country, let alone in this world, things have only gotten worse. Look at the UK for a moment. There is a rise in transgender reassignment surgeries, as of October, 2017. Rita Cooper was the UK’s youngest transgender reassignment surgery at 15, back to a man at 18, and is set for a third reassignment…

Sadly, if you desire to think about it, the fact that God made two sexes, male and female. Consider this, if you are a college/university student: College student kicked out of ‘Christianity’ class for saying there are only two genders. Yes, there are only two sexes because each complements the other through procreation, companionship, psychological, emotional, physically, etc.

Practically, the concept of complementarity has proven versatile and effective. It offers an explanation of human sexual difference that provides individual men and women with a firm sense of identity within their equal, yet distinctive, experiences of human life. It provides a foundation for a positive vision of sexuality and marriage that avoids the deep-seated negativity and suspicions of earlier eras. And it affords a rationale for defending traditional sexual ethics…” ~Did God create men and women to complement each other? By Jacob Kohlhaas

There are those who will posit that there is homosexuality in the animal kingdom; I would retort that this is usually in order to vie for Alpha male status, or Alpha female status within a pack, or group of animals. I have yet to see truly plausible scientific research where the homosexuality within the animal kingdom, or natural law, where two become long term mates in order to set up a same sex marriage, of sort, and adopt children of other packs or groups, thus creating a familial unit & bond.

Ben Shapiro, a Conservative Jew and a Political Analyst for the Daily Wire, has on numerous occasions asserted, rightfully so (I might add!), that Caitlyn Jenner is a man. Why do I say rightfully so and why does Ben Shapiro say this is so? Caitlyn Jenner was born Bruce Jenner, the same one who won the 1974 AAU title and in 1975 he was PanAm champion and set a world record (8,524) in the triangular meet with the USSR and Poland. In 1976, Jenner won his second AAU title and crowned a brilliant career by taking the Olympic gold medal with a new world record of 8,618 points. The charismatic Jenner became a television and movie personality as soon as his competitive days were over. After splitting with his first wife, he married Linda Thompson, who was Elvis Presley’s girlfriend when that legend passed away in 1978. He later identified himself as Caitlyn in July, 2015. And progressively changed his gender (September, 2015) through gender reassignment surgery. And soon was awarded Woman of the Year on November 9th, 2015. Ironic isn’t it??

Considering the fact that this country, as well as the entire world, has moved so far away from the moral ethics of Biblical teaching and have steered toward the relativistic moral ethos of the self…this world is destined to go down hill much as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  ~Romans 1:26-27 NASB

When one person who was born as a man and then surgically becomes a woman and advertises himself as a woman and then becomes involved with a man during the course of his life, whether in a long or short term relationship…they (the two involved) are committing an act of homosexuality which is an abomination to God. The fact remains this…though you change your appearance through any means, you are what you were born to be. Your genetics never changed. Though scientists or medical professionals may find a way to alter genetics at some point in time…you are still what you were born to be. Man or Woman, Male or Female…you see, there are still only two sexes!

In the end it is a matter of confusion. Though you may be confused about who you are, this does not mean I am confused about the matter. I am not obligated to be sucked into your dysphoria, or your inability to identify yourself properly.

Sometimes, regardless of our personal thoughts, we must speak & stand up for what moral truth is. I am friends with many who are persuaded to these unnatural ways. But if we believe in the ONE TRUE GOD, then we must be willing to stand alone at times, for the truth of God. Godspeed to each and every one of you!!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. ~Galatians 5:1 NASB

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. ~1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB

But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. ~Matthew 24:13 NASB

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. ~Psalm 119:89-91 NASB

You may be thinking that this post is about judging others, that could not be further from the truth. The Bible is an edict from our Creator on how to live and act. It is also a history of man and where he came from and where he is headed, his purpose and vision. I believe the Bible tells us that God loves us, He wants what is best for us, and that we must love our brothers & sisters, to love them and warn them of God’s judgement. That we are to love the dinner and not the sin.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

What is the “…doctrine of Christ…”

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” ~2 John 9 NKJV

DoctrineOfChrist

The Essential Doctrines of Jesus, the Christ:

  1. The Deity of Jesus, the Christ
    1. Jesus is the proper object of faith
    2. That Jesus is both God and man (Hypostatic Union)
  2. Salvation by Grace
    1. A gift offered to us by God, an olive branch
    2. We are offered life despite our imminent death
  3. The Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ
    1. Jesus had to be crucified and resurrected
    2. Jesus was to be our sacrificial lamb
  4. The Gospel
    1. Christ is God in flesh
    2. Salvation is received by faith, by grace
    3. and the resurrection of Jesus
  5. Monotheism
    1. There is only one God
    2. Understood to be in three persons
      1. Father
      2. Son
      3. Holy Spirit

 

First, Jesus was,  and is, the center of the faith in order to gain access to God, forgiveness and access to Heaven. We must understand the Deity of Jesus, that He is wholly God and at the same time wholly man. Jesus was very forward about who He was and His belief in His own Christology.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” ~John 8:58 NASB

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ~Exodus 3:14 NASB

Jesus understood where he received His identity from and His purpose on this earth. Jesus claimed divine title by quoting Moses. He also claimed Divine authority when he publicly read the Book of Isaiah.

And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. ~Luke 4:17-21 NASB

Jesus acknowledged that He was the center of and the proper object of faith. That through Himself that all could receive forgiveness of sins and gain access to God the Father and entrance to Heaven.

Second, that Salvation is by Grace. Salvation is a gift from God offered to man through the person of Jesus, the Christ, through whom we can receive forgiveness of sins through substitutionary sacrifice.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. ~Galatians 5:4 NASB

IF there is a true religion then there is a religion that we must follow and believe. That said, we cannot add to God’s works with our works in order to be saved…as God has already done the job. Remember the final words of Jesus on the cross:

It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. ~John 19:30 NASB

The works were finished on the cross. You and I, imperfect beings, cannot accomplish perfect works. Our salvation is based upon the perfect work of God through Jesus on the cross.

Based upon the writings of James, the brother of Jesus, we show our faith through our works, in that we will inherently act differently once we are saved and have dedicated our lives to Jesus. When we do something, as such, we will act differently. Those are the works that the world will see Jesus through. In that light we will be a beacon to the world.

Third, we must believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. It is a historical fact that Jesus lived, based upon Biblical, extra Biblical, Christian and non-Christian sources throughout history. It is also understood, and therefore factual premise, that Jesus died on the cross based upon Biblical, extra Biblical, Christian and non-Christian sources throughout history, as well as medical determinations from the historical documentation of history (refer to On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ). And based upon all of the above references, as well as, the empty tomb and the fact that the Apostles began their preaching on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem, where the crucifixion had taken place. Where were the objections to their preaching, if Jesus really didn’t die on the cross, or for that matter did die and was not resurrected? Nothing mentioned in history, or historical documentation, provides any objections to or refutation of the Biblical narrative.

Jesus had to be crucified and resurrected and the best-known prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the death of Messiah, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 certainly stand out. Psalm 22 is especially amazing since it predicted numerous separate elements about Jesus’ crucifixion a thousand years before Jesus was crucified. Here are some examples. Messiah will have His hands and His feet “pierced” through (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25). The Messiah’s bones will not be broken (a person’s legs were usually broken after being crucified to speed up their death) (Psalm 22:17; John 19:33). Men will cast lots for Messiah’s clothing (Psalm 22:18; Matthew 27:35). (Where do the Hebrew Scriptures prophesy the death and resurrection of the Messiah?) Jesus had to be sacrificed for our sins was, for brevity, explained in Isaiah 53, Hebrews 10, and 1John 2:2.

The conclusion of a paper written in 2010 seems to hit the nail on the head concerning the issue.

The resurrection is the ultimate confirmation of Christ’s identity as Saviour, Messiah and Lord (Romans 1:3-4, 14:19). The empty tomb, and the fact that none of Christ’s enemies were ever able to produce a body are important pointers to the historical value of the event. The numerous post resurrection appearances noted by the Gospel writers and Paul, together with the transformation of the Apostles into in some cases martyrs and the subsequent growth of the Church also give credence to the biblical accounts.

Numerous theories (including conspiracy theories) attempt to provide rationalistic explanations for the resurrection. Many of these do not fit the facts and do not appear plausible in the light of the Gospel accounts.

~Outline the arguments made against the historical resurrection, and explain how they should be refuted, Iain A. Emberson, 2010

Fourth, The Gospels must be believed to be true in order that we can understand the purpose of Jesus and the doctrines He taught us and which were carried on by His disciples.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! ~Galatians 1:8-9 NASB

Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self-declarative statement that you must believe the gospel. The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe. (Essential Doctrines of Christianity, Matt Slick, 2008) Also, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ~1 Corinthians 15:1-5 NASB

Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh; Salvation is received by faith; therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4.  Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.

And, finally, fifth, the Monotheistic understanding of God and the Trinitarian doctrine. There is one God (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8) as depicted in the Bible. Many mentioned scriptures of of God being “we” (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 11:7) ; however, He is one entity. While the Trinity is not expressly mentioned in the Biblical text, it is inferred throughout the Old and New Testaments.

I hope this is and will be helpful to you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

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