Pastor confronts West Va. middle school over student assignment to declare Allah as only true god

By Teri Webster May 19, 2018 8:44 pm [ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

This photo illustration shows a young Muslim woman praying. A Christian pastor of a student at a West Virginia middle school was upset this week after his daughter received an assignment to declare Allah as the one true god. (Ibrakovic/Getty Images

A Christian pastor confronted a West Virginia middle school this week after his daughter came home with an assignment that asked her seventh-grade class to “write their submission to Allah as their one true god in Arabic calligraphy.”

Specifically, students were asked to “practice calligraphy by copying the Arabic form of the Shahada by hand,” according to published reports. The Shahada refers to the “Islamic profession of faith that declares belief in one true God and Muhammad being a messenger of God.”

Brielle Penkoski, student at Mountain Ridge Middle School in Gerrardstown, brought the assignment home and showed it to her father, Rich Penkoski, a Christian who runs an online ministry called Warriors for Christ.

“I saw the assignment of writing the Shahada in Arabic. Their excuse was calligraphy,” he told The Christian Post. “I was like, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ First of all, calligraphy was invented in China 3,000 years prior to Muhammad. The fact that they were trying to get my daughter to write that disturbed me.’”

“I said, ‘That is not happening. My daughter is not doing that,’” Penkoski said. “My daughter told me that if she didn’t do the assignment then she was going to get a [detention] slip.”

Penkoski told the Post he contacted the school and was told the teacher, Katherine Hinson, gave the assignment as “optional reading.”

Penkoski said he believes the school may have changed the requirements because he complained.

“Why would they print all that out and then tell them they don’t have to do it?” Penkoski said. “When they were given a packet [on Christianity], which didn’t go into that much detail, they did have to write an essay. So you’re telling me they don’t have to do it now that I called you on it? It makes no sense and it is not consistent.”

The next day, on Tuesday, the teacher reportedly re-issued the assignment with some areas of the paperwork crossed off. Penkoski’s daughter, Brielle, told him the class was still asked to do the calligraphy assignment.

For the second time, he called school principal, Ron Branch.

Branch told the concerned parent there would be no repercussions for students who do not complete the activity for the course on world religions, the report stated.

What else is the school teaching?

This is not the first time Penkoski complained about the school’s teachings. Last year, his daughter was shown a class video about suicide prevention that featured a scene with two male high school students in bed together, the report stated.

The Berkeley County School District later said the video was not approved by the district, and the content was not approved. The Post cited other school assignments that have sparked outrage.

Is this happening elsewhere?

Seventh-graders in the Maury County School District in Tennessee were issued an assignment in 2015 that asked students to write “Allah is the only god” as part of teachings on Islam’s pillar of creed. The conservative legal group American Center for Law and Justice, indicated that more than 7,000 Tennessee residents complained about the assignment, the report stated.

Earlier this year, New Jersey students in a World Cultures and Geography class watched videos that allegedly featured Islamic propaganda and even encouraged conversion to Islam.

In 2016, a Maryland couple sued a school district claiming that it was guilty of indoctrinating students when teaching about the five pillars of Islam by “requiring” them write out Islamic statements of faith

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Desperation Leads To Deliverance

Notes Deperation pt4

In Mark 5 we learn of several people: the man from the tombs who is possessed, Jairus and his dying daughter, and the woman with the bleeding disorder. Jesus, throughout His life made a great many “Bold Statements” to the people He taught, instructed, healed, befriended, etc. While the title of this post is not a bold statement which Jesus made…it is, however, a bold statement made due to plain observation of His many encounters with those who were desperate.

Each of these people had desperate problems, desperate needs, and (most had) faith in Jesus to heal.

Everyone had the notion in their heads, at one point in time, who is this Jesus? Who is He that He can heal? Only God can heal, only the healers and men of God can heal…who is this Jesus?

Gods handJesus, the Son of God, who has authority over sicknesses, ailments, death, hunger, the disposition & health of one’s soul, etc. YEAH, that Jesus. It is hard to believe that when one makes their way through the biblical accounts of Jesus, His travels, His trials & turmoil, His teachings & sermons, His healing of the sick and disenfranchised…hard to believe that anyone could ask such a thing. Considering the fact that even after His crucifixion & death, in the area of Jerusalem that His teachings were continued by His Apostles and followers. Jesus1If that which was taught about or by Him was wrong why was there no outcry against it? If He were not crucified to death, buried, and rose again…why then did not those who said, “this did not happen!” Why did they not produce His body? There were many assertions and theories on this, but then they go beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it should be in the back of one’s mind when listening or reading of the great things accomplished by Jesus and His followers.

Getting back on track…

First, we encounter the possessed man from the tombs. He who was possessed by Legion. Jesus commanded Legion, Come out of the man, unclean spirit! (verse 8) And, of course, Legion asked to be cast into the herd of pigs. And Jesus allowed it; then the pigs were sent running off the cliff. Now, you or I…today, would see this as a travesty that so much bacon would be wasted. But, as it was brought to my attention, that this was a great economic problem for the owners of the pigs. Why? You might ask…because the pigs were used in many of the pagan rituals and therefore, Jesus just deprived them of great money making possibilities.

And of course, the man who was possessed desperately desired to go and follow Jesus in verses 18-20. Why? because he had firsthand knowledge and experience of such power and healing that Jesus could perform [my interpretation and understanding]. The gratefulness and the gratitude that he had toward Jesus…could have been second to none! But each of us has a voice to be heard by certain people, apparently the recently healed man of possession needed to have his voice heard by his people…God’s will be done!

Second, we come in contact with one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus whose daughter was dying. Now this is something. a ruler of the synagogue sought out Jesus to heal? But when it comes to one who is near and dear to us, we will not concern ourselves with such a matter, despite what our fellow synagogue leaders think of such a man as Jesus. But family is family…to many, family is everything. Jairus even showed such courage and faith by saying, My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.(verse 23)

While on the way to heal Jairus’ daughter we come in contact with the third person of faith and desperation, the woman with the flow of blood issue.She who used up all her money to be healed. She could neither work nor be around people because she was labeled, “unclean.” So, by the mere touching of the hem of His clothes, she truly had faith that she would be healed…now that is faith, a truly strong faith! But such would not go unnoticed with Jesus.

As with the woman, do we not (in our youth) fail to ask for permission and find it more useful to wait (if caught) to seek forgiveness? But she knew that she was wrong in what she did, as she was “fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.” And once again, God was glorified! And Jesus responded, Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.

So, now back to the second person he ran into…Jairus. His faith was what was to heal his daughter. Those who came from the synagogue ruler’s house said, Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” This raises a question, or two, but those go beyond the scope of this post. One that comes to mind is: If this synagogue ruler was such a man of faith, why didn’t his whole household know of Jesus? Perhaps, I would speculate, that he didn’t want to be unfaithful to his brethren of the synagogue and Jesus was the last person he thought of in this time of trouble. As many of use might do. 

But Jesus in classic form said, Do not be afraid; only believe.” Which was assurance to His caller, the synagogue ruler, and perhaps his entire family. Then Jesus followed on with this, Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping. To which many around just laughed and ridiculed Jesus, considering such a thing just idiocy. After all, this crowd of people, many of which I speculate had seen the body of the girl and suspected or knew the girl to, in fact, be dead. But are we not called to believe despite what we have seen, or believe without seeing?

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” ~John 10:37-38 NKJV 

 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[a] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:29 NKJV

…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed… ~Romans 4:16-21 NKJV

Face it, we are all raised to be skeptical of those things we do not see. We are also taught that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. Sadly, we live in a skeptical world and this is one of the things we must overcome as we grow older and seek out God in our own way. There are a great number of things that preclude the possibility of knowing God, as we are taught to believe in the theory of evolution and other very smart and educated people who do not count God as a potential, or possible, First Cause for our existence. While some, and yes even some Christian sects discount the classic First Cause argument. But, let us return to our original posting…

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” This had to be a grand spectacle for all to see! Immediately the girl arose and walked which, of course was not told to us until the writing of this Gospel.

These three instances spoke volumes to us all, that Desperation Leads To Deliverance. While my message is slightly different from the sermon presented by my Pastor (Scott Beckenhauer) the essence of it remains the same. We each follow a path in our lives, good and bad, but eventually we begin to ask the bigger questions which eventually lead us to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

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Desperation can lead us down a very dark and bleak road in our lives, or we can see a glimmer of light and hope at the end of the tunnel which takes us on the trail that leads to hope, faith, love and charity. God awaits all of us to arrive at the finish line, but not all will get there. We are all invited, but not all will accept His generous offer of Grace.

What about you? What is your heart seeking? Where do you desire to go?

Got God? Got Jesus? Got Holy Spirit?

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Apostasy in America

apostasy [uhpos-tuh-see]  (noun, plural apostasies)

a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.
~dictionary.com

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The Christian basis of America has been eroding in this country for a great many years, whether you’ve noticed it or not. Quite honestly, it probably began as soon as this country was formed upon it’s first actual and true legal act as a nation…the Declaration of Independence.

the first official act of this nation declared the foundation of government in these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident***.” While such declaration of principles may not have the force of organic law, or be made the basis of judicial decision as to the limits of right and duty, and while in all cases reference must be had to the organic law of the nation for such limits, yet the latter is but the body and the letter of which the former is the thought and the spirit, and it is always safe to read the letter of the constitution in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.– US Supreme Court, majority opinion; Gulf, Colorado & Sante Fe Railroad Co. v Ellis, 165 U.S. 150, 159-160 (1897)

With these bold assertions, by Thomas Jefferson, in this one statement alone has created a whirlwind of argument among all within this nations:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Just these six words by themselves as a statement of fact or assertion creates the confusion and debate while coupled with the fact that we acknowledged the use of and the continued belief in slavery. Which was proof enough that not all men were, in fact, created equally. Upon the writing of the Constitution of the United States (Article V), the governing body for expediencies sake kicked the can down the road until 1809 in order to obtain a 100% consensus of the states. And this was just the beginning…

Now, fast forward to the 1950s-1960s and the expansion of hedonism within the confines of America, another breakaway from our Christian roots. Flower Power, Free Love, etc. Move a little forward to the 1970s with the expansion of drugs in America and the expansion and tolerance (of course this will become a 30 or more year battle) of homosexuality. Paralleling years of 1950s-2010 which was the further expanding of governmental powers where the rights and liberties of the people are abrogated. 1970s-1990s where homosexuality is receiving expanded roles in movies and television, thereby making it more acceptable to the American public and due to the parts they played they are funnier than straight people, too! Now to the 1990s-present where LGBT community is forcing itself into our lives, while simultaneously portraying itself (ant their followers) as victims and assaulting and battering those in the church and straight communities who take an opposing view of their lifestyle choice. In essence, agree with us (the LGBT community) or we have the right to assault, accost, and batter you in free form defense for our lives. [hmmmmmm…where have we seen this attitude?]

Now, we have the LGBTQP…M-O-U-S-E community force feeding America, through prime time television shows that gay is good, pedophilia is normal, queer is okay if you are queer (but don’t let any straight person call me queer, or I will be offended all the way to the Supreme Court!)

Also, let us look at all of the women Pastors within the Christian community. Now, I have not really placed much thought toward it, per se, but have held much of the belief of what Pastor J. Vernon McGee held on this subject. He said, during one of his commentaries, “It is a shame that there aren’t men who were willing to do these jobs and perform the preaching mandated by God.” [slightly paraphrased based upon my memory of his comment.] However, Matt Slick of CARM.org brings home the truth of the matter with this: Women pastors and elders…what does the Bible say? This entire segment concerns women in pastoral and elder positions and places them in the proper perspective. Accordingly, they are not to have positions of such power…the bible is quite specific in this, along with so many other concerns. As Pastor Rober Jefress stated in the above debate, “God’s word never evolves. It never changes…” He further went on to quote the KJV of the bible, I will use the NKJV adaptation:

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. ~Psalm 119:89

I am not mitigating nor demeaning the vast numbers of great women throughout our history on this mortal coil called earth, no. There are great women, many of which performed God’s will in a great manner to aid His chosen people. Zipporah, Rahab, Ruth, Ether, Rebecca, Mary, Martha, etc. Many women have powerful teaching, but if they are out of the will of God by violating His word…are they truly in alignment with God’s will?

And let us not forget the infusion of gay aligning and gay & lesbian leaning pastors within the Christian churches of America.  Do they seriously mean to not just reinterpret, but re-write the biblical text by omitting the parts that offend them? Perhaps the women pastors are doing the same? I suppose arguments can be made in all cases in order to argue the point allowing any one of us to change what God truly meant by His word…wouldn’t you think?

Spousal abuse could also present a valid case for permitting divorce. After all, a man is charged that he is to “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself” [ref: Ephesians 5:25-33 NKJV] Abuse, whether it be physical or emotional is not love. Do people make mistakes within their marriage? Yes, they do, so not all abuses are bad enough to call for a divorce, or dissolution, of the marriage vows and bond which God has put in place.

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I hope this blog posting does not confuse you or turn you against me. This is what God’s word discusses. This is what we are to be learning. We are to be in alignment of the truth and we are to be the beacon of truth to the lost sheep of God! Pick up a book, change the station that will teach you something, listen to the radio, podcasts, etc. But first start your day with the Bible and the Word of God! There are far more sub-topics concerning the issue of apostasy in America, let alone in the Christian religion, but I believe you get the gist of my intent. Therefore, I will let is go for now, just because it is such a hot potato topic. Read your bible and study it, it will click.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

…the way, the truth, and the life…

There is but one way to enter in to heaven, and that is through Jesus the Christ!

oneway4

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6 NKJV

In the words of Dr. Michael Licona, or some variation as I recall, “If there is a true religion, then I owe it my allegiance. If there is the one true God, then I owe Him my true allegiance.”

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Now, there are great reasons to believe that Jesus is the true Son of the Living God. The historical aspect, archaeological aspect, textual reliance and other witness accounts, perhaps the witness accounts of those who are extra-biblical and non-Christians. Perhaps, in comparing the numerous different religions is enough for you and the claims. What of the numerous documentaries comparing Christ to those perceived and asserted other gods, which were supposedly risen from the dead in the same exact way and so on. Unfortunately, if you do the homework and make the comparisons yourself you will find that those assertions are false.

  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did not the Sanhedrin show His dead and mutilated body to the people?
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles preach the resurrection message to the people in Jerusalem? (Where the punishment was certain death by stoning.)
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles die cruel and inhumane deaths without denying their Lord and Savior?
  • There are those who believe in the “Swoon Theory,” but there is too much to discredit such a belief.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.~Romans 1:16 NKJV

So, what is salvation? According to Matt Slick, CARM.org, “Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner…All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God.  This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.” One allegorical representation of the weight of sin upon our soul is:

A Chinese evangelist was once preaching on salvation and the weight of sin. A heckler did what hecklers do best, attempt to shame or embarrass  the evangelist. The response was epic: “If you have a corpse lying in his coffin, will he feel a hundred pound weight on his chest any more than a fifty pound weight?” ~ROMANS, vol. 1, pg. 170, David Grey Barnhouse, (1989)

We are warned by the Apostle Paul for the benefit of our souls that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV) And at the same time we are promised eternal life being the gift of God, His gift of Salvation through His grace! All we have to do is ask for it and freely receive it. It is that simple, but people do not trust free or simple things. By considering the previously mentioned allegorical representation of sin upon our souls, this statement by the Apostle Paul should help solidify the matter. Our hearts should be weighted down AND we should be looking for the EXIT sign to get out of the cage/prison which we have cornered ourselves into, through every means of deceit, trickery, lying, deciding, etc. YES, we decided our way into a corner and must decide our way out of that very same corner. The decision should be easy and the solution is even easier! Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, believing He is the Son of the Living God, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.

It is easy to accept, but rather hard to believe, isn’t it? That is why we must seek for ourselves…researching and studying the word of God. Because we were mandated to:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ ~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Which means we are to love God all our essence and being and by loving Him with all our mind, we are to love Him NOT with blind faith but rather with well informed, studied and researched faith. Loving Him with all our logic and reason! Many people, not just Atheists, believe that to believe in God we give up our reason and logic for blind faith upon the word of the bible alone. That is just not true at all!

God destined us to determine for ourselves through free will to guide our own paths. That includes turning off the primrose path by making mistakes and sinning, because God desired us all to love and honor Him with all of our heart by our free will choice. We will never be perfect, until God makes us so. But we must keep living the life as though we can be perfect by modeling the life of Jesus the Christ. By ascribing ourselves to the word of God and by living our lives accordingly. Not by the law, as presented in the Old Testament, but according to the simple teachings of Christ as presented by His Apostles & Disciples. Those words in the New Testament give a great representation of who Christ was and how He lived. If we use Jesus as the model, how could we go wrong?

Two final caveats:

  1. If the Apostle Paul was changed so dramatically on the road to Damascus from a Christian hating and torturing Jew to become one of Jesus’ greatest Evangelists and Apologists…how can we doubt such a change? How can we doubt such a drastic and dramatic change?
  2. The deaths of the Apostles were gruesome and heinous, to say the least. But no one recanted their faith or belief that Jesus was, in fact, the One True Son of the Living God, the Messiah, whom the Jews had been awaiting. That is another factoid which we must keep in mind. (Consider when the Watergate Scandal was plaguing the Nixon Administration each each of the major players involved made a plea deal and received felony indictments. Each turned on their master.) It defies logic and reason to discount their sincerity!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Some other things you may enjoy from great teachers:

Is Jesus the Only Way? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Is Jesus the only way to be saved? (CARM)

The Assurance of Salvation by Matt Slick (CARM.org)

I came across this site and article, which has changed my perspective on my belief in salvation. I had posted some time ago (Once Saved, Always Saved? Part 1 & Part 2; Aug-Sept, 2015) where I had a problem with the essential belief in “once saved always saved.” This article, along with others by Matt Slick, have through well thought out arguments have changed my mind (for the most part.) I still have certain concerns, however these are personal issues; perhaps, I am trying to hang on to the old in fear of the new, I do not know. Please enjoy…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ORIGINAL ARTICLE<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The Assurance of Salvation

by Matt Slick

One of the more annoying problems in Christians’ lives is the issue of assurance of salvation. We’ve all been there.  We’ve all wondered if we are really saved or not.  We’ve looked at our lives and actions and thoughts and sometimes just said, “How can I be saved if I am like this?”  I’ve counseled many Christians who have doubted their salvation and who have worked themselves into a worry and sometimes even depression over the issue.  I’ve always thought that the solution was pretty basic.  I ask the person, “Why do you think you might not be saved?”  Almost always the reason is, “Because I have a sin in my life.  Because I can’t beat this one sin.  Because of my thoughts.   Because I keep failing.”  “Okay,” I say.  “So you know you’re supposed to be doing better than you are, right?”  “Yes,” they say.  “I am supposed to be doing better and I’m not.  This is why I doubt that I am saved.”  So, I give them this illustration.

Let’s say that we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean.  We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water.  There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them.  It lands just a few feet short.  We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in.  “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it!  Grab it!”  One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short.  “Grab it!” we yell again.  He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again.  The other man is simply floating face down in the water.  He isn’t struggling at all.  But, the first man is trying for that life preserver.  He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is.  That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?”  Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.”  “Right,” I say.  “He is struggling for life.  Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin.  Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle.  The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ.  If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved.  But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.”  Usually, the eyes brighten at this point.  I then keep going.

“Do you believe there is only one God in all existence, all places, and all times?”  “Yes,” they answer. “Do you believe in the Trinity, that God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”  Again, “Yes.”  I continue.  “Do you believe Jesus is God in flesh?”  “Yes.”  “Do you believe Jesus is the only way to salvation?”  Again, “Yes.”  “Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later?”  Another, “Yes.”  “Good,” I say.

1 Cor. 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”  I continue by telling them that a natural man is someone who is not saved.  Now, these are absolutely, definitely spiritually discerned truths that they answered yes to above.  They are that there is only one God and that God is a Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later.  In other words, the fact that the person confesses these things and believes them is further, very strong evidence, that he is spiritually alive.  Usually, the person is encouraged even more.

And finally, I tell them that Jesus gives us eternal life (John 10:27-28) and He does not fake us out when we ask to be forgiven and for Him to be Lord of our lives.  He said in Luke 11:10-13, “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. 11Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” In other words, you get what you ask for from the Lord (except for sinful and selfish things, of course); He does not bait-and-switch.  If you ask for eternal life from Jesus, that is what you get–no matter how you feel, no matter how your emotions may mislead you.  The truth is that God’s Word tells us that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to us if we ask.  The Holy Spirit only indwells believers.

We all have our struggles and we all need to take into account the fact that we are still sinful and we are going to struggle with our sin.  But, if you begin to doubt your salvation because you don’t “feel” saved, then stop trusting your feelings and start trusting God at His Word.  Ask yourself if you are struggling against your sin.  If you aren’t, maybe you aren’t saved.  But, if you are, then that is a sign of life.  Ask yourself if you believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, and that He died and rose from the dead.  If you do, that is a sign of spiritual renewal.  Ask yourself if you believe what Jesus said about Him not faking you out, about Him giving to you the Spirit if you ask. If you do, then that means you are believing Him at His Word.  Take your eyes off your feelings and failures and put them on Christ, His Word, and His sacrifice.  Trust in Him and Him alone…. not what you feel, not at what you fail.  He didn’t save you because of your works or your “goodness.”  He did not save you because of what is or is not in you. He saved you because of what is in Him: love and truth.

Matt Slick

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

…what I hate, THAT I do

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. ~Romans 7:15-20 NKJV 

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Talk about a recipe for disaster, eh? The Apostle Paul describes here to us that even he has problems staying on the straight and narrow road to God’s righteousness. And he was an Apostle, though some may differ in their opinion on that. This just goes to show us, layman or common men of God, that we are susceptible  to sinfulness and sinful thoughts. We are men, we exist, therefore we think. There was sometime ago I posted that the average man thinks approximately 70,000 thoughts per day; however, based upon further searching that is a bit high…it is more like 20,000 thoughts. In either case, we are constant thinking creatures, as well as deletion creatures. We delete many of these thoughts because of what we tend to focus on at any given time.

Since this topic is the sinful nature of man:

the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” ~Genesis 8:21 NKJV

When we sin, many, not all men, will tend to dwell upon what they have done. The old adage that we are our own worst critic, is quite true in this respect. We will, those of us that think on our actions and sin, will dwell upon them and mull over them for what seems to be an eternity. So much so that we will whip ourselves into a frenzy of despair or even depression. We all have those moments of disdain toward ourselves. The circular questions which lead us nowhere but to an blocked road without an exit.

  1. Why do I keep doing this?
  2. Why can’t I get past that?
  3. What the hell is wrong with me?
  4. When will this madness stop?
  5. Why do I keep failing God?
  6. Why do I keep failing myself?
  7. Why do I keep failing my wife?
  8. Why do I keep failing my family?
  9. Why do I keep failing my kids?

And the list if never ending dismay can continue until the end of eternity. So of ten we are so focused on the problem that we fail to look toward any solutions. Start asking different questions. More empowering questions. Such as:

  • What can I do to make better use of my time?
  • How can I avert further problems with THIS particular sin?
  • What can I do to glorify God?

The list of how to stop sinning list and the circular questioning list each can go on and on. The fact is that we sin, our imaginations are evil in nature (this we were told in Genesis 8:21 NKJV), but Jesus gave us an out from this problem. Yes, He did touch on the subject with His own  followers (i.e., the Apostles) where He said, in Luke 22:46 NKJV, “Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”” We can follow Jesus’ lead and suggestion to steer away from sin through prayer!

However, many of us do this wrongly. What I mean is that when we pray, we need to pray to God for the Spirit of understanding, wisdom, knowledge and workmanship in order to do something that will essentially glorify God in the long run. Unfortunately, many of us tend to pray not to do something (i.e., to not sin in this or that way again and again.) What we need to do is to pray to glorify God by doing His will, through knowing and understanding His word and gaining the necessary wisdom. Face it, we have all done it as some point in time. BUT now is the time to stop doing things the wrong way. When we gain the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding, and the Spirit of workmanship to do so, we need to pass that on to those around us. Those who also are potentially having the same problem of what I call a “prayerful rut.” A “prayerful rut” Is much like mis-attributed quote to Einstein’s definition of insanity:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Well most of us tend to pray to God in Jesus name to not do “x” or not do “y”. YOU-ARE-WHAT-YOU-THINKWell, guess what? When you do so you first place what you do not want to at the forefront of your mind and, thereby, keep it close in your thoughts.

Like Dr. Robert Schuller spoke, you are what you think about all day long. If that is so, why not think about what you want to, or choose to, do? Eh, what a concept! We need to look at what we desire to become along with praying about becoming such a person, and we need to envision ourselves becoming such a person at all times throughout our day. In so doing, you place those thoughts, as well as, those pictures at the forefront of our minds. By doing this you have a much better chance of becoming what you seek to become than by focusing on what you desire not to do. Also, since our minds work with pictures far more efficiently that with words, prayers, and inanimate thoughts, our minds focus on the pictures and images.

We all have that tendency to do what we desire not to do and not do what we ought to do. But we can change that by focusing on how to better handle and control our sinful natures. I hope this post was helpful to you all! All my prayers to you and the for the betterment of this country, as a whole!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Stereotyping Others

stereotype

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. ~Mark 9:38-41 NIV

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” ~Luke 9:49-50 NIV

This should tell us that we are not to stereotype our brothers and sisters in Christ. We each separately have a gift to share or aid in the glorifying of Jesus and fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives. Though Mark and Luke were not direct Apostles and followers of Jesus, they had access to Apostles that were directly following Christ. Mark was mentored by the Apostle Peter and Luke was mentored by the Apostle Paul; and if that is not good enough for you, Luke was with the Apostle Paul when he met with the Apostles. We should feel quite comfortable learning from each Apostle and accepting of the historicity of the words presented by each forefather of the Christian faith. So, both of these accounts have the authority of research and knowledge of those who witnessed and followed Jesus.

While we disagree with those who profess another faith, yet they follow Christ…who are we to stereotype or compare them to others who may be preaching heretical teachings or pushing  heretical doctrines which are not promoted in the biblical text? Should we not leave certain matters to God’s judgement and follow the path in which we teach God’s mighty and glorious word? Is that not our primary purpose?

Do not misunderstand me, there are times that we must, absolutely must, stop heretical teachings in their tracks and stand up against the perpetrators of such nonsense and false teachings! We are all called into the priesthood, so-to-say:

…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~1 Peter 2:5 NIV

“…because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” ~Revelation 5:9-10 NIV

Our purpose is to glorify God and be priests of the One True and Living God! And how is it that we accomplish such a thing?? Study of the word. Study of theology. Study and memorization of scriptures. Study on subjects of evangelizing and apologetics, as well as logic. Study on the subject concerning the proofs of God’s existence and those subjects related to the life of Jesus, reading as much as we can by our forefathers within the Christian community. For example, I may not agree with the doctrines of any particular church, or faith, but their forefathers within the church may have written a treasure trove of information on the understanding of any particular subject which we are studying at that moment. Do not cast aside something written by a man of our past just because he was a member of, part of the history of, a particular church or theology. It is up to us to read and learn as much as possible, and by God’s understanding and discerning Spirit we must decide for ourselves if the information is worthy to be used and remembered.

Use it or Lose It ImageWe are called to serve God! I imagine there is no simpler way to put it. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are our Master. Notice I did not say Masters, because we are speaking of the Trinity…but that is for another blog posting! And we are called to serve with our gift(s) that God has provided us. Some of us have but one gift and there are others who have been blessed with more than one gift to use. Some are blessed with a gift and another is given to replace that gift to further serve to His Glory! Our problem is that many of us do not pay attention to what our gift(s) is/are and if not used to glorify Him, they subside and wane away.

I would like to think that my Gift is writing, but sometimes I wonder. But I believe I am fulfilling my purpose as a person called to the royal priesthood. There are times you just aren’t certain that you have what it takes to fulfill God’s purpose in your life until you start doing that thing which is tugging at your heart’s strings. There may be something else that I will be lead to do another time down the road, who is to say? Until then, I will continue to accomplish my writing, blogging, and posting and pray I am accomplishing God’s will and that I glorify Him in all that I do…despite all of my failures in His eyes.

Instead of stereotyping people, we should take this to heart where Jesus said:

Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? ~ Luke 12:57 NIV

The only person we should comparing to anyone or to anything is ourselves! We should compare ourselves to the words of God and the actions Jesus had taken. As Jesus had been our Godly example of how to act.

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. ~John 13:15 NIV

If we compare ourselves to another, what makes us think that he or she is doing what is right in God’s sight? Of course, we can compare ourselves to Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, etc. we have the possibility that we are fairing better than they, in God’s sight. But where in the bible does it say that only these people do not go to heaven? And in one theological frame of reference, noting the book of James, sins being equal before God (being repulsive and abhorrent) we are separated from God when we sin; regardless of how we sin!

compare yourself

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD