Attack Your Problems Head On

david-goliath

I was listening to a podcast of CARM on my way home one night and heard a commercial for Harvest America Moment with Greg Laurie which said of David,

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. ~1Samuel 17:48-49 NIV

We are to attack our problems as David attacked Goliath, the Philistine. We each have our own problems and shortcomings, but God at that moment had told me through one of those great AH-HAH! moments that it wasn’t the problem itself but my inability to obey that holds me back. Think about that for a moment or two!

attackAll too often we feign an attack, ultimately to no avail, because of our inner fears and insecurities. We constantly and consistently fail to push forward to glorify God in all we do all due to fear. We fail to have faith in God and His ultimate power. Who could be more powerful than God? The very one who created our very souls, our spirit, our bodies, the very world upon which we now live! It just get any better than that, don’t you think? Our God loves us and empowers & equips us to do His will. (1 Corinthians 15:9–10, Hebrews 13:20-21)

And do not think I am pointing fingers at you, only…I have to stare at myself in the mirror and do it to myself, as well! Yes, I am guilty of such failures! Remember the

There is none righteous, not even one” ~Romans 3:10 & Psalm 14:3

We are each guilty, in some small way, or grand… I am 57 years old this year and I am having more “AH-HAH!” moments within just this last year than I have had in a very long ah-ha-moment3time! IF, and that is the qualifier, I stay on this path…could you imagine all of the other ah-hah moments I am destined to have in the future? There is so much more to learn, so many difficulties to overcome, so many problems to solve, and so many challenges to overcome! But we each must persevere our plight of doing what is right and just and good in God’s eyes. We each must set our minds on things above and not our earthly plain. For the earth will come and go, it will change from one day to the next, but the heavenly realm we seek shall never change, excepting only the increase of those elected by God to be saved!

I was watching a clip of Legends & Lies, by Bill O’Rielly, about Stonewall Jackson. He was of such a mind that he did not concern himself about such trivialities of how he would die, because God had ordained such a thing. He was one of those individuals that took chances, chances that others would think foolish but he saw as necessary, and if he were to die such was the determination of God, Himself.

Sometimes God will use a show on television to teach us something. Sometimes we learn from that all encompassing ah-hah moment by reading a biblical passage, or verse. It is different for each of us, because God can use all things for His good! We are all called by God to do His will, but not all have responded to that calling. Remember the passage?

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

We all have to learn to make those difficult choices in order to accomplish what we must, to God’s glory. At times it may be something on a small scale, but at other times it is on a grand scale! We must be willing to make that leap of faith! Believing that God is behind us desiring us to do our best to His glory!

No matter your position in the working world, nor in your youthful stage in life…God desires you and I to do our best at all times. Why? Because we are, potentially, a light to others who need to see God and we are the light for that person, or those people.

LightUntoTheWorld

Sometimes, and this may be difficult to grasp, WE are the only ones who will cross someones path for God’s sake…there is no other they will meet to bring such a light in their lives.

Think about that for a moment! That is a heavy load to bear for others in this world, but there are times it is true. It is for this reason that we must each challenge ourselves to face our problems head on! We each have a Goliath or a problem or , perhaps, a challenge (or two, or three) in our lives…WE MUST FACE EACH ONE DIRECTLY AND HEAD ON.

Such a thing is much like falling off one’s bike, we need to get back on that bike. Problems and challenges are the same exact thing…we must never stop facing them, because they will always be attacking us throughout our lives until our dying breath.

I hope this was helpful to you, my friends! Godspeed!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

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Christian Alternatives To Facebook by Pastor Duke

Many Christians have gotten a little fed up with Facebook. Whether they are finding that their posts mysteriously disappear, or are not shared with all of their friends due to Facebook’s decision to censor religious speech, (Facebook, Apple, Google censoring religious speech?) or they are tired of posts that use inappropriate pictures or language, or they just want a place where they can go to get uplifted and encouraged, Christians have been looking for alternatives to Facebook. It was because of this need that I decided to use the popularity of my own website Taber’s Truths and our Facebook Fan Page to enter the Christian social networking niche and launch Christian Faithbook. However, since I have always had a big tent philosophy towards other Christians and Christian websites, I wanted to provide you with a list of the best Christian Social Networking sites for 2013. I have used a 3 point criteria for this list. I have made the decision on who to include based on the number of members, number of features, and whether the site is moderated to weed out spam and inappropriate posts and pictures. This list is not ranked, but just the 10 best Christian social networking sites I could find based on that criteria. [Original Article]

Top Christian Alternatives To Facebook For Social Networking

Christian Faithbook. The Faith and Family Friendly Christian Social Network

Of course, I believe that Christian Faithbook should be in this list otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to enter into the Christian social networking market. It offers…..

• Facebook like styling and functions with a wall for friends posts and ability to like posts or comment on posts

• Uploading of Video, Audio, and Pictures

• Christian Groups and Forums

• Instant messaging of friends

• Membership of 450+ in 3 weeks

• Moderation of posts and pictures.

XX  Kindle

Kindle is a Christian social network to share your prayer requests. It offers….

• The ability to share prayer requests worldwide

• Groups for churches or Bible study groups to gather together and share their prayer requests with one another.

• Ability to comment on prayer requests

• Ability to let people know you support their prayer request.

Christians Like Me

Christians Like Me is a Christian social networking website that connects Christians from around the world.

• 1500 Members

• Christian groups and forums

• Chat room

• Member blogs

• Picture and Video uploading

Christians Like Me also seems to have some type of drug information section, a news section and a live TV section featuring the morning messages of John Hagee but I am not sure how these are relevant to Christian social networking.

XX  Faith Freaks

Faith Freaks is a Christian Social Network that is geared towards teens. Faith Freaks is a safe on-line environment dedicated to helping young people by providing help, hope & encouraging them to grow in their faith. Our trained volunteers help young people find resources to overcome the many challenges that they may be facing. Including, but not limited to, suicide prevention, depression, peer pressure, drug or alcohol abuse & other challenging or life threatening situations. We help by providing many types of resources both online & in their own communities. Additionally we try to encourage healthy decision-making. Moreover we strive to glorify God by providing an alternative social network that is safe, clean, friendly, and Christ-centered

• Over 72,000 members

• Private messaging

• Christian chat room

• Christian forums

• Member blogs

• Picture uploads

• Prayer request section

• Counseling for youth.

Faith Freaks is an impressive site and something every Christian should check out.

XX  Shout Life

ShoutLife.com is a free community / social networking website that offers customized profiles with unlimited photos, networks, events, private/instant messaging, blogging and more.

We are unique in that our community is clean and family friendly, yet is still feature rich. We focus on creating and promoting a fun and positive environment. At ShoutLife.com, you can connect with your friends and meet new people as well as amazing music artists, authors, comedians, organizations and more.

• Personal member profiles

• Author, Musician, Comic, and Group profiles

• Christian groups and directory

Shout Life has a great website design but I did not see a lot of features available. Of course they might be hidden until you sign up.

XX  Holy Pal

Holy Pal is a Christian social network powered by the Ning platform which is similar to a blog powered by blogger. Ning powers lots of different social networks and each one is created and managed by individual users. Holy Pal has ….

• 13,000 members

• Picture and Video uploads

• Christian groups

• Christian forums

• Member blogs

Holy Pal has a clean design and seems to be moderated. I could not tell if it has a Facebook style wall.

Faithbook by Fellowship of World Christians ‘Working Together in Union with Christ’

Faithbook is as the name suggests an alternative to Facebook. I could not tell how many members it had due to the need to sign up before seeing anything however it offers…..

• A Facebook style wall

• Video and Picture uploads

• Christian chat room

• Christian groups and forums

• A radio (podcast) channel

• Christian news

Faithbook looks like something to check out although I am not sure it is moderated.

XX  God’s Faithbook

God’s Faithbook is another Facebook alternative that has a simple design and not a lot of features.

The blogs are not moderated and are filled with spam posts. However it does have these things to offer.

• Almost 10,000 ,members

• Personal profiles

• Video and Picture uploads

• Member blogs

• Christian Chatroom

• Soduko and Crossword Puzzles

It looks like that God’s Faithbook has some good ideas but needs some TLC and knowledge to make it come into a full-fledged Christian social network.

Conversant Life

Conversant Life is part social network, part Christian bookmarking site, and part blogging site. It tries to tie together social networking with sharing content from other websites and having users create blog posts. It is actually a great idea and seems to have some very good traffic.

• Member profiles and messaging

• Posting your favorite videos and articles

• Member blogging

• Video and podcast uploads.

I use conversant life as part of my social strategy for Taber’s Truths.

???  Fellowship of Christian Bloggers.

As a last mention, I wanted to include FOCB. They are a group of Christian bloggers that have joined together to help encourage one another. This is a small social network of about 100 members and they are exclusively for Christian bloggers but many times when people are looking to connect via a Christian social network it is to connect with other bloggers, so I thought I would mention them.

Blessings to all of you!

Pastor Duke

********

Now Here is Where I and Pastor Duke Part Ways…

Since the writing of the original article, it would seem, many of these platforms are non-existent (XX). One seems to be a one-time fee based ($$) system and another is in existence (focbonline.com), but only has one posting, which for all intents and purposes is non-existent, the remainder I will touch on in order to see how they compare to say…Facebook or Titter. Thus far, I am unimpressed…Facebook for it’s platform and functionality is by far the greatest of the social media platforms.

But I continue looking into other platforms while sifting through my iTunes apps store:

(All those highlighted in RED are those that I continue to toy with.)

Christians Like Me is a platform that reminds me of MySpace…does it even exist anymore?? Yes, as a matter of fact it does. Chunky but functional. I will be playing around with it to see what it has to offer. The others, not so much.

FAITH BOOK & Conversant Life due to the fact that they are overseas based would be the answer as to why my AVIRA Security indicates that they are unsecured and are open to the public, even though they do not show the information you type in to sign-up or sign in.

MyPraize (www.mypraize.com) claims, “…is a free Christian social network with the best of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube.” This is both app form and online My initial playing with it on-line was rather chunky, as well as, my attempting to maneuver around. I sought help, but it didn’t seem to grant me any. Not the same in trying to make friends, but I will continue to play.

Christbox.com in both app form and online is chunky but functional. It reminds me of an upgrade to a bulletin board system back in the 1990s. It has some functionality of Facebook, but it is not facebook-like by any stretch of the imagination.

WWJDNOW is a simplistic messenger repository for prayers.

Way2Jesus is, also, a simplistic version of Instagram, in my opinion. No bells and no whistles…just picture posting and check-ins.

ThePowerOfOne is an app platform where your church, or organization, signs up to use. It enables a group/church/organization to maintain contact with one another through their set-up. Uncertain, specifically, how and through what it will make the connection.

iC (Instant Christ) I would say this is a hybrid of LinkedIN & Twitter rolled into one. Similar but with limitations. It has a nice and appealing look, but could be better, they have the ability.

MissionHub is more like a Goal making Reminder board. It is good for what it is, an aid to help you walk with Jesus by following the steps you have created. I will send notifications, but instead of using the phone notifications it is all via email.

FaithLife Much like LinkedIN. You share, you create different groups for discussions, church, books, bible study, etc. It could be a great way to network for church groups, churches, bible study groups, etc. But it is not necessarily limited to these. Helpful and seems to be self explanatory and fairly user friendly.

Precarii is a prayer app. Seems to be a very powerful prayer circle of friends. I have no friends and I set up my first prayer…and WOW! The responses were awesome! 31 people came to my following and prayed for my first prayer request. What a circle of diligent and ardent Christian Prayer Warriors! KUDOS!

VOKE A video sharing app, I would probably liken it to Instagram/Snapchat, but it does not have all of the added features that either one, or both, have to work with.

CollectiveFaith Unlike many other apps, you seem to have to sign-in every time you try to use it. I find this rather inconvenient on one hand, but more secure on the other.

MyDub I was not impressed, while I was setting up an account it required a password with 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number & 1 special character. I did so and it kept erroring out saying my password did not meet criteria. That being said, I emailed them and lo-and-behold the email was dead. There were no guiding principles.

Shine this app has the feel of a hybrid between LinkedIN and Twitter, maybe just LinkedIN…you decide. You create a chain of invites and build up your Christian network. You share, you discuss and you create groups.

$$ PrayerPower seemed like it was going to be an interesting and good prayer circle application set-up, based upon the grouping people and adding them through their cellular phone numbers; so you end up messaging (I assume) for all of your prayerful needs. Much to my chagrin it turned out to be a fee based. Sorry, paint me the king of cheap…I LIKE FREE!

PrayerWall Is an app that is a prayer platform where you pray with others, kind of liken it to Twitter. Not bad overall, but it also serves as a prayer reminder. Neither good nor bad…it just is so.

FaithLife is an app which is tied to LOGOS Bible Software. While I find their software intriguing, but no time to really try it out as well as it is an a-la-cart system of pay for this and pay for that – well set up in itself, but just need to get use to it. But as far as the FaithLife app, not quite certain how to use it, yet. But there are groups to join and I assume friends to be made. We shall see.

 

Many of these platforms have great potential to overtake Facebook and it’s lead in the world community, but there needs to be greater innovative ideas put into place! It is my firm opinion that each of these platforms could supersede Facebook just in the allowance of all speech without repercussion. While I, along with so many others, believes that one could share his or her opinion without all of the “colorful metaphors” that are used in today’s vernacular. But the transference of ideas is what is most important, in my opinion. Facebook lead because of it’s freedom to speak one’s mind without any problems, but now (in the advent of the 2016 election campaign & the liberal mindedness of the leaders in many of these corporations) have begun a war to stifle freedom of speech. Consider, for example, Google employee James Damore who was fired for freely speaking after Google promoted freedom and diversity of speech…hmmmmmmm…that was just the beginning.

I pushed off the posting of this blog an additional 2 weeks to give me the time to try each of the platforms. Thus enabling me to see what they were and how they handled. Hope It was helpful to you…it was helpful to me. Though, I will not tell you which is best or the worst of the bunch, that is not my purpose here. I am presenting to you other options for what seems to be liberally run and conservatively limited & censored platforms. It will, in fact take me a longer time to determine that which I like and that which I find sub par for use. Could these take the place of Facebook or twitter? Yes they could, but will they? That is the $64,000 question! Will there be a platform to take over? Eventually, I think there will be, because I think people are vying for such a thing to happen. They need their outlet of privacy and other forms of outbursts. Will it be a pay or fee system, it very well could be…BUT why pay when you can throw your tantrums for free?

Hope you were  able to get something from this. Hope it was an interesting possibility placed before you!

Godspeed my friends!

MK Murphy

Prayer is the Foci of All Things

Prayer is the foci of all things! Meaning prayer, or lack of, is at the center of all our blessings or problems. Each of us tend to have a bad time because we do not focus on God and all of the blessings that He has provided each of us every day! Many of us are having problems despite our focus on God and being grateful and thankful for the blessing we possess. How can we focus on God, be grateful or thankful to God, or for that matter praise God for all that He has given us without prayer in our lives?

Consider this, for a moment, just talking to God can be considered prayer. The meaning of prayer can be rather simple or complex, dependent upon who is doing the defining.

Bible Quotes on Prayer

effective prayer works

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.1 John 5:14

And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.1 John 5:15

Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.2 Chronicles 6:21

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.John 17:15

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.Mark 11:24

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7

More Bible praying quotes at the BibleStudyTools.com Prayer Bible Verses page.

The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’” – Billy Graham

While watching a series on PureFlix, Unlocking the Secrets of an Intentional Life (Season 1), which began as something to watch after work & before bed…after all, I had about 30 minutes to kill off. But it is an interesting series (as of now I am 3 into the series of 6.) But the premise is to develop new habits through making intentional decisions, thereby uncovering your purpose and potential in all areas of your life to glorify God in your life. My “one thing”, or habit, that I have chosen to develop through this is the power of prayer by setting aside time by the end of my day, at the very least, to be thankful and grateful to God and to petition Him for me to be more submissive to His will and to rejuvenate my heart, soul and spirit with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I am during this period of time trying to also set aside the time in the morning to be grateful for the breath of life. You know the old adage:

Targets-Zig

It is as simple as that! The classic Zig Ziglar quote that makes you chuckle, ponder, reflect and think all at the same time!

In order to accomplish anything, we must first know what it is that we want. A novel idea for some people who just desire to dream. After you know what it is that you want to do, you need to break them down into small steps (ahhhhhh…the dreaded To Do List!) This includes when we desire to change our habits or other problems we desire to fix in our lives. But any-hooooooo…let us get back to prayer.

So prayer is something that I need to do more of and my ignorant angering frustrated actions and reactions should slowly go to the wayside. Or so I hope.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. ~Romans 12:10-13 NASB

According to the Apostle Paul, we should be devoted to prayer, why so? Because if we are to truly seek God’s will and purpose in our lives…we must seek HIS face and Spirit! Through this guidance is the only way to accomplish such a task in our life.

In order for us to understand God, His Word (the Bible), find our purpose, and what we should do while we reside on this mortal coil called earth…we must pray, we must read & study the Bible, and reflect on the ultimate meaning within the context of the Biblical text.

THIS is the prime reason that we should be following a Bible reading plan at all times, it is also a reason as to why we should be members of a home church, and why we should be members of a Bible study group. We should be surrounded by those who are like minded Christians (not to mean you will never have disputes, but with respect to the Bible that we should be in unity as Paul described in Ephesians 4:1-16 and at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:10. In this respect we are to agree with the Word of God and it’s intended meaning…not what we think it means. The Books of the Bible say what they mean to say, but all too often people try to see extra biblical meanings and tend to teach or believe heresies, very potentially. THIS is also why we are to study the Word of God! To prevent such heretical beliefs.

We as Christians, as a community, society, a country, and as a world need to get back to our basics by praying to God (request, supplicate, praise, seek, etc.) with all aspects of our lives, as meaningless as we feel they may be. Seek His will and your purpose through prayer. This is how we can become closer to God! This is my one thing goal to accomplish…to become closer to God, daily!

Until next we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

God is with you wherever you go

Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:7-9 NKJV

crossing the Jordan joshua

While we are no longer under the law, but grace, Jesus gave us the guidance that summed up all the law and the prophets:

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. ~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

But should we not know the word of God? Yes, for the short answer! It is easy to glean from the bibles we have. And so many believe we cannot truly know that the bible is what it was, because we have copies. But we can know. With all of these copies existing today, we truly can know. First off, most of what was stated was first leaned via the oral tradition, which meant it was memorized (to a certain degree) but provided you maintained the intent of the speaker. In oral cultures like this people often memorized LARGE amounts of material. Passing on information orally was the NORM in ancient Palestine. This means that people living in such an environment developed memory skills that sound amazing to our modern ears. Next we can ascertain the understanding and the original from what was printed ,also gleaning from the text that were anomalous mistakes from other comparative copies. The Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest known copy of the Greek Bible, written approximately 1600 years ago. You can use this, too, in order to understand what was written, even though it was written about the 4th century. There are several other concerns that are brought up in debates, or arguments, over the validity of the bible. Topics such as:

  • We don’t know who wrote the bible.
  • Bible not written by eyewitnesses
  • Bible was written late.
  • etc., etc., etc.

There is very strong evidence that the case for traditional authorship was valid and true. The external evidence throughout history accepts and promotes that each of the Gospels were written by those who have entitled them. [I.e., Matthew wrote Matthew, Mark wrote Mark, Luke wrote Luke, and John wrote John.] Papias (60-~130 AD) and Irenaeus (120-202 AD) support it. The internal evidence is rather indicative of it’s truthfulness:

  • The criterion of Embarrassment suggests traditional
    authorship for 3 of the 4 Gospels

    • Matthew wasn’t an apostle but was a tax collector –
      regarded as suspect – thus probably not invented Many of the specific events concerning the life of Jesus can be historically verified such as the Last Supper, the death by crucifixion, and the discovery of the empty tomb.
    • Mark wasn’t an apostle, why make him an author?
    • Luke wasn’t an apostle, why make up that name?
    • So we have three relatively “unspectacular writers”
      Why would someone make up names like this? Why
      not make up a more authoritative name? Peter? Paul?
      James? Thomas?
  • Furthermore, details in Gospel of John suggest the:
    • Author was a Jew with detailed knowledge of Hebrew
      feasts customs and scriptures
    • Author was a Palestinian with his knowledge of local
      geography
    • Author was an Eyewitness – given the repeated compelling
      references to people, places, etc.
    • Author was an Apostle – given his acquaintance with
      the activities of the Twelve.
    • All of this sounds a lot like John!
  • All of this amounts to a very strong case for traditional authorship!
    So whoever says “we don’t even know who wrote the Gospels” would have to shoulder a tremendous burden of proof to go against all of this evidence.

~Scott M. Sullivan, PH.D., How to Defend the Bible, pages 8-9

Despite frequent claims to the contrary, the evidence remains strong that the Gospels were written by the authors to whom they are traditionally ascribed – apostles or close associates of the apostles.” — Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, p. 41.

objections-gospels

The objection of the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses is false, but is irrelevant even if it were true. Why is it false? Strong evidence suggests that Matthew and John were actual eyewitnesses and is supported by evidence of traditional authorship. The Gospels by Luke and Mark are not eyewitnesses and they do not claim to be, their purpose was to present the truth.

Now, why this objection wouldn’t matter even if it were true? How many of our history books were written by eyewitnesses? Relatively few, at best. Why? Because you do not need to be a witness to present factual truth and history. Also, Mark and Luke had access to eyewitnesses. Mark was a follower of Peter and because of his closeness to him he also had access to other Apostles which were also eyewitnesses. Luke, on the other hand, was close to Paul and followed him. Now, many will claim Paul was not an eyewitness. Yes, this is true, to a degree. However, Paul had a special relationship with Jesus and was truly touched in a different way. But those who disbelieve in Paul cannot overcome the sudden transformation of Paul from Christian killer and executor to martyr for the cause of Christ. Also, Paul had access to the original Apostles.

The objection that the Gospels were written late is a bit of a fallacy. “Late” gospels-greekis a relative term. When someone says “late” ask them what they mean. What the average person on the street usually means by “late” is a few centuries. This is flat out not true about the Gospels. There are strong arguments for a relatively early composition of the Gospels (showing that all of the NT was written before 70 A.D.!) but we don’t need to even go into those since the commonly accepted “later” dates do not pose a problem
for historical accuracy. According to the most commonly accepted later dates the Gospels were written about 35-65 years after the death of Jesus.

Consider this: Most of what was written about Alexander the Great was written 4 centuries after his death. That is a long time between his life and his death. But most people believe that he existed, that he lived and that he was a great leader. The biographies about Jesus (the Gospels) were written within 35-65 years after His death. But there is evidence that would push that even earlier (approximately in 40s AD) than the conservatively accepted dates of their writing.

This was but a topical overview touching on only a few objections. There are a great number of resources out there, especially within the topic of apologetics from which you can learn much.

Think about this for a moment more, if you can get beyond the objections that prevent you from reading the bible; then you can start reading the bible and start believing what it says and the promises espoused within it! That is a big jump, or leap in faith, for anyone. But grasp that concept and begin your journey of reading and believing. Your life will change, though you may be riddled with doubts during your journey…do not fear! God is big enough and powerful enough to help you overcome those doubts. There is always someone near to you who can guide and help you understand what causes you confusion.

I hope and pray this was helpful and interesting to you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

Where was God in All this Tragedy?

Why_Does_God_Allow_Suffering_Title_Pic

When a mad bomber sets off a bomb killing and maiming many, the people blame the mad bomber. When a drunk destroys the lives of family members and takes the life of the other driver, the people blame the drunk driver. When a man goes on a stabbing spree injuring and killing others in a large crowd, the people blame the man wielding the knife. However, in our Politically Correct culture when a man, woman, or child takes a gun into a “Gun Free Zone” and unleashes a whirlwind of bullets killing and injuring the innocence of life at a school, the people blame the gun. Why are people so skewed with respect to the weaponry used?? on February 14th, 2018, there was great travesty in Parkland Florida – a shooting by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Now, I could go on with this topic for several blog posts, just based upon: What happened, what is being revealed, what is not being said, and who is being blamed. But on a far more serious and segue into the more important topic at hand…where was God in all this tragedy? To who should we cast our eyes for protection?

So, let’s address the elephant in the proverbial room…where was God in all this tragedy? God was right there in the thick of it! He was in the heart of every teacher that ran toward the gunfire, with fear but ever so courageously, in order to protect their students. With great adversity and trial God is shown in the courageous actions of Aaron Feis, Chris Hixon, and Scott Beigel. Admittedly, we may never understand the reasons for any, let alone all, of the evil and suffering that occurs throughout our lives, it is that simple. As a man of faith, and sometimes doubt, I believe that God in His infinite wisdom and in His glory has some morally sufficient reason for such things as these.

Could God have created a error free world without hate, without such travesty? Yes, in my opinion He actually did…it was that little known Garden of Eden from which mankind was kicked out for not abiding by the rules of the garden. It was without pain, fear, travesty, and death. And then Adam and Eve broke the golden rule of God:

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”~Genesis 2:16-17 NASB

And according to the prophet Isaiah, who said:

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. ~Isaiah 59:2 NASB

This was an affront to God, man violated His law. Seem a bit harsh? Think about it for but a moment…how are you saved? Through the blood, the substitutionary blood of Jesus! By believing and claiming such, through the holy word of God, and faith (as that of Abraham) we are saved. It took the blood of Jesus, who hung on a cross for all of our sins…ALL OF THEM. Every sin which you ever will commit and ever have committed during the course of your life. God saw it all. And Jesus subjected Himself to the torment and torture of the cross out of love for all His creation! So, does getting kicked out of the Garden seem all that harsh in comparison to what Jesus endured for your sins, now???

God is a strict, but loving, God. He provided the sacrifice for our iniquities, suffering the gruesome consequences for not obeying His word. Had He not done so, we would still be sacrificing animals for our sins.

Getting back to it…God created the perfect world and we, mankind or more specifically his ancestry, botched things up. And even now, we as the species of man are not doing such a great job of following God’s commands and word. Even while being saved, we fail Him each and every day, with each and every thought we think and breath we take.

God was also with each and every student, both the survivors and the deceased. You are probably wondering why didn’t God do anything about this? Well, actually He did. The police were called to Nikolas Cruz’s home on 39 separate occasions (23 of which for violence, one of which he aimed one of his guns at the head of a child in the household in which he lived.) This was a police failure on a paramount scale. God gave man free will and regardless of what goes on, man has the ultimate choice. Then there were the FBI hotline tips that were not followed up on. Another Law Enforcement failure. The School Resource Officer failed to act in a timely manner and has since resigned. Then there were the Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were hiding behind their vehicles with guns drawn while gunfire was going on inside the school when the local police arrived.

When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the school and had not entered, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school. ~CNN Politics

According to Scott M. Sullivan, Ph.D., who is a Christian Apologist wrote on this subject within his Course on Suffering:

  • Christians must admit both that they think both, that:i. An all-powerful and all-good God existsii. Evil exists (evil is not an illusion)

  • In other words, Christianity holds both of these to be true. But morethan that. Christians also must admit that not only does an all goodand powerful God thinks there should be evil and suffering in theworld, but more particularly that GOD WILLS physical evils to happen(physical evils don’t fall outside of God’s control) and PERMITSmoral evils to happen (God cannot will sin for He is all-good but Hecan and obviously does allow it to happen.)i. GOD WILLS THE LAWS OF NATURE THAT CAUSE EARTHQUAKESii. GOD WILLS THE LAWS OF CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGYTHAT RESULTS IN DISEASEiii. GOD PERMITS THINGS LIKE MASS KILLINGS, TORTURE,RAPE AND GENOCIDE etc. ~Suffering Course Introductory Courses in Apologetics

 

If all evil were prevented, much good would be absent from the universe. A lion would cease to live, if there were no slaying of animals; and there would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution.” ~St. Thomas Aquinas, S.T. I.22 ad.2

And furthermore, the observation of St. Thomas Aquinas is such that:

God is so good that never would he allow evil to exist, unless he were so powerful as to be able to draw good from evil. Hence it is due to neither impotence nor ignorance on God’s part that evils occur in the world, but it is owing to the order of his wisdom and to the greatness of his goodness, whence come the many and divers grades of goodness in things, many of which would be lacking were he to allow no evil to exist. Thus there would be no good of patience without the evil of persecution, nor the good of the preservation of its life in a lion, without the evil of the destruction of the animals on which it lives.” – Aquinas De Pot III.6

We must keep in mind that we, mankind, are finite. We can only truly speak on those things we have experiences or knowledge of or about. God, on the other hand, is infinite. Meaning God sees from the beginning to the end as though it were a unimaginably large panoramic picture. We can only see from our beginning of perceiving of a subject. There is a big difference with respect to the perception of these two.

And though we do not like evil, how are we able to determine how much evil should be in the world???

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

Because of our limited understanding and perception how can we expect to know the morally sufficient reasons behind that which we deem as evil? And it is quite possible that nothing may not be realized until 10, 20, 30, 50, or even 100 years after the incident. Perhaps there are to be a series of incident that cascade off of one another over the course of decades. There are those who will go to hell and those who go to heaven.

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~1 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB

And considering that God desires all men to be saved, why aren’t they? God gave us free will and the gift of choice. That being said, the gift of salvation must be chosen and freely accepted. Consider the man who refused a presidential pardon, George Wilson (1833). This is why “THE ROMAN’S ROAD TO SALVATION” is such a popular and easy method to aid others in their road to salvation…the basis of which is that we must choose life (salvation), unlike George Wilson.

WHY DID GOD CREATE THOSE HE KNEW WOULD GO TO HELL? Here, St. Thomas Aquinas’ will never be popular with respect to his answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true – ALL PEOPLE WILL GLORIFY GOD – those in Heaven glorify God’s mercy, those in Hell glorify God’s justice. Thus, even those in Hell fulfill the very purpose of creation.

I hope this was helpful and informative.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

“Free Will”

Am I truly free to act upon my will, or not??

free_will

free will
 
noun
noun: free will; noun: freewill1
  1. the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.
    synonyms: self-determination, freedom of choice, autonomy, liberty, independence More

    “they take for granted their blessed right to free will”
    voluntarily, willingly, readily, freely, without reluctance, without compulsion, of one’s own accord, of one’s own volition, of one’s own choosing
    “I pursued a modeling career of my own free will”
adjective
adjective: free-will; adjective: free will; adjective: freewill
  1. (especially of a donation) given readily; voluntary.
    “free-will offerings”

ref: Systematic Theology, pages 330-331 #9

We have Free Will to do what we want, what we desire, to our heart’s content, BUT we must also be willing to accept the consequences of our choices and our actions. There are those who espouse that Free Will is the ability to make free choices without the hindrance of external coercion.  It is my opinion that Free Will is the ability to make choices despite external coercion. The Apostle Paul wrote, in part, to the Church at Corinth the following:

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NKJV

So, clearly we can do all things, but if we know they are wrong, morally or ethically, we are not to participate in them nor act upon such things. For it is with the perspective that God holds that we should see all things! Free Will is one’s basic choices that one makes in determining what one will do, or where one will go, or what path (morally) a person chooses to take.

Clearly, we can take the position that God is in control of all things, because He is all powerful. But He created us with the intent for us to glorify, love and praise Him with all of our heart, soul and mind. That being said, He will not for us to do anything against our will. However, there is one caveat, that God will urge some toward a specific task to be accomplished (namely Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Job, Jonah, David, among numerous others.) This is because God intends you, or I as the case may be, to accomplish something great. You can continue to choose to take the wrong path and one of two things will happen, either God will choose another to  accomplish the task that you were to accomplish OR you will choose the right path and fulfill your task and glorify God in your actions. Some have asked, what if Jonah had chosen to take another hiatus from his assigned task from God? Some have answered that another Big Fish would have been sent. Others have said God would have assigned the task to another. Me, I would have thought that God would have sent the same Big Fish to swallow Jonah, again; in order to teach him the lesson he should have learned the first trip.

Free-Will4

While God can know what your choices will be in the future has no affect upon your future choices, unless He acts upon His will in order to make you choose another choice – as in the case of Jonah. Regardless if God takes any action to have you change your decision, or not, is irrelevant. In that, your choice is still your choice. You choose to do what is right or what is wrong, simple as that. If God inspires you to make a different choice, the choice [in reality] remains yours to be made. Others tend to influence us in our decision making abilities all of the time. Salesmen, telemarketers, your friends, political pollsters, etc. But in the end of each interlude, the final decision is yours…the buck stops with you!

God’s ultimate will is unwrapped before us every minute of  everyday despite our choices. God sees everything from the very beginning to the very end. We are finite in our abilities and therefore are finite in our ability to see the big picture, even if it is spelled out for us (as it is in the biblical text.)

God has given us simple instructions: Love Me with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and to love your neighbor as yourself. But before that God gave the simple instruction of:

“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” ~Genesis 2:17 NKJV

It was much easier to not eat from one tree than to love our Creator! Think about that for a moment. To love God means you have to give up all those so-called fun things we tend to do, despite the fact they do nothing for us or help us to aid anyone else in the mean time. We will spend more time looking for a parking space than seeking the will of Him who created us, or trying to understand His word that He gave us. His word is there to read, but do you read it? Furthermore do you understand it? It’s ramifications??

Free Will, in my opinion, is a matter of making choices despite all outside interference(s).

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

REFERENCES:

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem

Dictionary.com

What is free will? by Matt Slick

Free Will

If God knows our free will choices, do we still have free will?

If predestination is true, then how can there be free will? by Matt Slick

The Argument of Sufficiency of Scripture

Sufficiency of Scripture

See chapter 8 Systematic Theology

God has granted us sufficiency of His word throughout history. Man has enough in God’s word in order to learn and understand what God desires of us and we have enough information how to live the Christ following life we need. Furthermore, there is sufficient information for each of us to hear the word of God, understand we are sinners, to confess our sins before God, and be saved unto Christ! What is the legitimate definition of  “The Sufficiency of Scripture”?

sufficiency

What is the purpose of scripture? Well, in the second letter to the Apostle Timothy by the Apostle Paul it was stated:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.~2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

Hence the purpose of scripture is to teach those who already believe and have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Now, can it be used by those who do not believe? Yes, yet we do not even need the bible, or scripture, to prove the existence of God.

We can find everything that God has spoken on, ultimately, any given topic; either directly or indirectly or inferred. For example, in the sixth commandment “You shall not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17 NIV) Blatantly states that we are not to murder anyone. But what is murder?

There are many definitions of murder include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation. However, the nuts and bolts of murder is unlawful killing of another, whereas killing is an act by which someone dies due to an accident without forethought or malice as part of the equation.

But by way of inference we can deduce that we are not to harm another in any physical way. Jesus spoke on this, in fact, Jesus stated emphatically that we are subject to judgement if we are angry with our brother. Furthermore, we are subject to the fire of hell if we even say, “You fool!” to our brother. (ref: Matthew 5:20-22 NIV) This is but one example of inferring from scripture and all we can learn from the same.

The sufficiency of scripture also promises us that the amount of scripture given to us at each stage in our history is and was sufficient for us to learn what was being taught to us and that it is proper and sufficient for our redemption through Christ. We learned in the Mosaic teachings this basic understanding:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. ~Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV

God has this tendency to reveal to some people more than the rest of us. Just look throughout history and this will be an understood fact. You may be one of those who believe that the bible, while being canonized was a severe censure of the word of God, but in reality, if you believe God is all powerful, all knowing and all present…then He has the ability to protect His message to all the world from the likes of those who believe they must control the thoughts of men. And in so doing, those same men will change the contents of the books of sacred scripture, but God will get His message through to all His children.

sinful1God gave each of us the same brain, but it is up to each of us to love God with all of our minds. And how do we do such? Great question…and here is an answer! We must take charge of our mind and subject our thoughts to godly things, subject our eyes to godly things, and subject our bodies to godly things. We must bask in God’s word by learning all we can, we must also subject our minds to understand the godly words and understanding all that is good. Reading good books, wholesome and truthful. We must subject ourselves to those who have studied God’s word before us and learn what they have had to say in order to understand. Of course, that does not mean that we must agree with their assessments but it will help us to be of one mind and heart!

There is the problem of those who are health and wealth preachers who tend to preach heretical teachings. They tend to obfuscate the true word of God through smoke and mirrors allowing you to misunderstand the true nature of God through the all deceptive pattern of wealth…that always catches a person’s attention. Because if they believe that God truly wants us to be rich and wealthy…they are hooked and are in for the long haul.

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.~Deuteronomy 4:2 NIV

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.~Deuteronomy 12:32 NIV

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. ~Proverbs 30:5-6 NIV

Does God desire us to be rich? Yes, but He wants our wealth to be in His kingdom. We temptation-gardenwere warned by Jesus not to be so attached to wealth and riches on this earthly plane. Jesus was very clear on this. God does want us to be rich and many who do great things are rewarded in earthly riches. But we all need to remember that:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.~Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

We are equal in God’s eyes, in that, not one of us is righteous.  But getting back to the point is we are not to add to scripture, nor take anything away from it. By doing so you clearly intend to mislead those you are teaching and you will be held accountable for such teachings. The prophet Ezekiel warned us:

When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.~Ezekiel 3:18-19 NIV

We are reminded throughout, that we are not commanded to believe in anything outside of the scriptures about God Himself or His redemptive works. Everything is within the confines of the 66 books of the bible. We are also taught that there is nothing sinful that is not forbidden by the scriptures. As written by the Apostle Paul, on the Believer’s Freedoms:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. ~1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV

We can do all things, but is it wise to do all that we desire to do? As children of God we should be desires and have a passion for those around us. Helping and aiding all those near us…our neighbors! Our brothers and sisters in Christ!

We are also reminded that God does not command any of us to do anything that is not explicitly in the biblical text, or implied by the same! Because God is all good, He will not command us to do what is evil. He will not guide us to lie. Because the seed of God is truly righteous.

Do-what-God-has-told-you-4We are taught, implored to do really, that we should emphasize what the scriptures tell us and to be content with what God has told and taught us within the scriptures. We are to touch the lives of those around us with God’s word, because God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. And more often than not, we are the only connection that others will have to God. Trust me, God will open those opportunities to you to touch the life of another.

Until We Meet Again, Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD