"Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for his friends."
The veteran's love for his or her country is much like a Christian's love for their Savior.... Read More
After we accept Christ as our savior, like the soldier, we serve a higher calling and a service some can't understand or identify with. As Christians, like the soldier, we often do not understand tragic events that occur in our lives. We may experience a tragedy, loss of a loved one, or some event that may alter our life's plan, but we serve a greater cause for a greater purpose--just as the many dedicated followers of Christ who have gone before us...
- Author: Bill Lowery
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A Moment In God's Presence Makes Glad The Longing Heart And Unlocks It To Be Poured Forth In Praise Upon His Altar...
His heart and yours, in union—a state of critical mass. Love unconfined! To bask in its glow, unconsumed in its presence.
Radioactive and eternal, never to diminish. Such power, His love, to give life and not death, perpetuated eternally.
His glow greater than the sun, illuminating all in His presence. This is our God!
THIS IS PRAYER!
AND SO PRAY:
"Shine on me, Heavenly Father! Light my way into your presence. Melt my soul with your radiance. Cause my heart to skip with
gladness; and it will pour forth its praises as an eternal river upon your altar!"
- Author: Ken Livingston
Read entire In His Presence prayer guide.
2 Corinthians 7:10
"Godly sorrow worketh repentance."
Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature's garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature's thorns never produced a single fig. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."...
True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of His love.
True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally--as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it--shun it in everything--not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against Him.
Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.
- Author: C.H. Spurgeon
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"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;
(for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
. More implicit and thorough trust in God.
. If you are weaned from the world.
. Fewer reluctant feelings when called to exercise self-denial...
. Less temptation to sins of omission.
. Deepening intensity and steadiness of zeal for God's causes.
. A growing graciousness in accepting the whole will of God...
- Author: Charles Finney
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There are many today who would doubt or deny that this is true. There has even been an attempt to cover up and, in some cases,
to destroy the legacy of Christian thinking that has gone into the formation of our republic...
July 4, 1821 - John Quincy Adams:
The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond,
the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. From the day of the Declaration ... they (the American people) were bound
by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct...
Read entire article and more in our award-winning
Top Articles Feature.
The following is taken from the Book, Adam2: A Guide For The Walk Home, written by our founder.
It is A Commentary On The Gospel Of John, complete with a background look at the contemporary Jewish groups active in Jesus' day.
It includes a summary of each chapter, a redacted study of each disciple, a brief study of Gnosticism of the time, pertinent timelines,
and much more. Each chapter of study includes extensive Biblical references to the notes on the chapter.
A chronological excerpt of each section will be posted here at the beginning of each month. You can access free of charge at any time
a complete online digital version
for your further study. In addition, a link will be provided to purchase the book on CD to install on
your own computer for convenience of study and print. All we ask is that you observe the stated copyrights as with any book you buy over
the counter, limiting your print to only one hard copy for your own personal use. If further hard copies are necessary,
please contact us for an additional nominal fee. Thank you for your interest in this study. Our hope and prayer is that
through the work of the Holy Spirit as you study you will be blessed by it, and if so, recommend it to a friend.
Let us look this month at the group: Essenes from the book: Adam2.
I. MAJOR JEWISH GROUPS IN JESUS' DAY
Amidst the backdrop of the events, times, and people of our previous discussion arose the Essenes.
Is it any wonder, then, that during such a period of political and religious uncertainty and curtain of cultural clashes,
would arise a group who would separate from such a fragmented society? However, the precise origins of the Essenes are
about as obscure as that of the Pharisees. It is believed by most scholars that these ultra-separatists broke away from
the prevailing religio-political practices of Judaism in the Maccabean era, forming small colonies, or cells, throughout
the region, and in some cases, isolated communes. Very little was known of these purists Josephus so highly regarded
until the discoveries of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 and later excavations of the Qumran community located in close proximity.
This community, or commune of a monastic sect located at the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, between Jerusalem to the
northwest and En-gedi to the south, has since been believed by most to be that of the Essenes themselves. If so, then,
the numerous documents discovered there shed a wealth of information on their doctrines, beliefs, practices, nature,
and lifestyles. Although in none of those documents is a self-described reference to the name we are most familiar,
as with our Christian ascription
it may very well have been one assigned by outsiders. If so, as with our New Testament documents that are absent of such
Christian self-designations, it is quite natural that these are as well.
The etymology of the name assigned this group has been the source of debate for centuries, with still no clear consensus
on the matter. Because our space is limited, it is recommended the reader examine the studies of Marcel Simon, professor
at the University of Strasbourg in France, for his scholarly examination of the many possible roots of this name.
For our purposes, we will simply say in agreement with his findings, that it most likely came from the transliteration
of the Hebrew word, hasid, coming from the Aramaic, hasya in the singular, or hasen in the plural,
which at its core means, "a pious one." If Philo (Hellenist Jewish philosopher in Alexandria, Egypt, 30 B.C.-A.D. 45)
is correct in his assessment of the Greek, Essaioi, which could itself be a transliteration from the Hebrew,
hasaim, then another characteristic meaning is seen—"the silent ones."
As mentioned above, unlike the previous groups studied, neither the name nor an example can be identified within our New Testament.
Because of his ascetic wilderness lifestyle (who also, like the Essenes, is never reported frequenting the
Temple in Jerusalem), some believe that John the Baptist was a member of this sect.
He is also connected with a disciple named Banus, to whom Josephus confesses to having spent some time with in his teens
while examining each of the Jewish sects before deciding with which to align. This is one explanation for Josephus' high regard,
that reflected in his writings, for the Jewish Christian sect developing in Judaism (and in particular for Christ - Antiq. 18.3.3, p. 379).
Although there is irrefutable evidence of their existence prior to and during the time of Christ (Josephus numbers them at 4000, - Antiq. 18.1.5,
p. 377), no one really knows why, unlike the other major groups previously studied, they are not there mentioned.
Some have offered their exhaustive theories, the most common being: their chosen separation from the Temple life at
Jerusalem and their lack of contact with others outside their own communes. It should be mentioned here in support of
this theory, there are several other Jewish sects we have chosen not to study that were viable at the time of Christ
that also are not mentioned in our New Testament writings. Nevertheless, for the reasons that will be obvious to the
reader as this study unfolds, we have chosen to include only the Essenes.
Continuing reading Essenes and Work..►
Let us begin with the conditions of Judea at the outset of the Maccabean revolt (167 B.C.). Several things must be
remembered at this point that were converging factors for the rise of the Essenes, first that seen as a result of the
anonymous scribes who evolved from Ezra's day into the Great Assembly who legislated Jewish life from the Mosaic Code.
From the very beginnings of the Hebrews in Egypt
other nations have struggled to come to terms with the definition, purpose, and place of these people in an ever-changing secular world.
This, they themselves have struggled with as well throughout their history. However, to the religious Jew, the Covenant Code at
Sinai made this perfectly clear. Listen to one contemporary Rabbi:
With the calling of the first Jew, Abraham, a new covenant [the old being the Rainbow Covenant with all people -
came into being, initiating the Jew into his function within nature and humanity...At Sinai, God entered into a covenant,
B'rit, with the people of Israel. Torah is the sacred writ of that covenant. Torah tells the story of how
our forefathers were admitted into the covenant and how they struggled to construct their lives under it...As a people
standing under divine covenant, Israel is unique. No nation in the world can claim a similar distinction...Life must be totally
dedicated to Mitzvah [commandment—the first being, to "love you then the lord your God!"] and, if need be, surrendered in
martyrdom for His name...We must serve with every ounce of strength, with all the capacities of body and mind. We must equally
serve Him with our worldly goods and possessions...We are a people and a faith, and both elements form an organic unit.
The people have fashioned the faith, and the faith has sustained the people. This has been very difficult for non-Jews to understand,
even those of goodwill. Most non-Jews can grasp the idea of Judaism as a religion, but cannot place peoplehood within the
framework of theology. Yet the Jewish religion and Jewish peoplehood are one and inseparable. In other faiths, separation from
the church and its obligations cuts the bond to the community of the faithful; in Judaism, the neglect or even the denial of
religion does not place a Jew outside the bounds of the people. (Trepp, pp. 1,2,4,5,6)
For comparison, another Jewish writer adds: "A Christian child is born pagan, becomes Christian through baptism, and baptism
itself is provisional until at confirmation the confirmand makes a conscious commitment to the Christian faith. A Jewish child,
in contrast, is born Jewish...[Therefore] there is in Judaism an altogether crucial togetherness of what may be called faith
and fate". (Fackenheim, p. 29)
In America, our culture has evolved over the centuries from that first cherished doctrine of its foundation—freedom of religion—to
come to mean for the growing irreligious of our day whose voice seems to be the loudest and who wields power—freedom from religion.
Hence, we have the modern secular man, or woman, who views religion as only one aspect of the total community, albeit to many,
an unnecessary and intrusive one, as clearly evidenced in their attempts to relegate it to a non-influential role in every
other aspect of American life. With the Zionist movement of this century, even the modern Jew has begun to view the separation
of the religion of Judaism and the existence and survival of their race as a whole. It was this movement, which began out
of survival in a hostile Europe (fathered by a Viennese journalist named, Theodore Herzl, at the turn of the 20th century),
that is responsible, in part, for the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in the holy land following World War II (1948).
To the religious Jew, as described above, this is a threat to the very existence of their uniqueness as it has heretofore been,
and a violation of that Covenant Code at Sinai. Their view was, and to the Orthodox remains, only under the Messiah's leadership,
when he finally appears, are the Jews to retake and resettle the land of Palestine. Theirs was to be a Davidic government as
prophesied in scripture, not this ever-growing political Zionist movement. And so the debate continues, to the proponent of each:
modern secularism and the root experiences of Judaism are mutually irreconcilable.
- Author: Ken Livingston
America: Secular State or Christian Nation?
In recent years we have heard much discussion as to the collective religious nature of our country, with
even our top elected officials declaring as though with pride America is not a Christian nation. Many so
called scholars and pundunts argue we never were founded upon Christian principles—God forbid, the Bible
and its judicial applications for us found in the Ten Commandments. Yet at the same time they argue we are not,
they are organized in eliminating any and all references to Biblical and Christian precepts and practices
originating from its principles—ironic, if not flat out hypocritical, declaring on the one hand something
untrue while on the other acknowledging by their intense actions for eliminating and banning the very thing
they say isn't so!
It is plain to the novice student of American history, if they possess a sliver of intellectual integrity, the
most obvious facts found on record from our early beginnings. Today's liberal secularist would have us think
Christianity is a modern movement to take over our government, hailing its beginnings with the emergence
of the Religious Right when many Christians coalesced to become politically active a few decades back. They
ignore a voluminous record found within the archives of our country's preserved documents, many on record in our
Library of Congress.
As you read, you
will hear today's Supreme Court's deafening silence when they rule on any modern case regarding our Constitution's
interpretation and the intent of our Constitional founders. So, for the record, just what did our founders have to say about
teachings and practice regarding our government and civil way of life...
America's Founders and Presidents Speak for Themselves
It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!
The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected in one indissoluble bond civil government with the principles of Christianity.
The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
We have staked the future of government not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions on the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the ten commandments of God.
Read Entire Article...►
- Author: Ken Livingston
The following is taken from the Book of Old Testament Summaries.
Words of (Solomon?), son of David, king of Jerusalem, concerning the vanity of the life and labor of man under the sun.
It seems that everything is in a cycle; man is born and dies and another generation comes while the Earth remains.
The sun rises and sets; the wind goes and comes again; the rivers fill the sea, but it is never full.
Nothing is new and we forget quickly what was before. God has given every man the troublesome task to
seek the end of all things through wisdom (that he might find rest for his soul in God).
Every work under the sun is vain and does not give this rest to the spirit of man.
(Nothing under the sun can quench a longing spirit. For what it yearns can only be found in the bosom of its Creator.)
The more knowledge one has the more sorrowful he becomes. Solomon knows this by his own search for it.
He first searches satisfaction in pleasure, then laughter, mirth, and wine, all to no avail.
Next he turns to acquisitions of great houses, gardens, pools, servants, cattle, gold, silver,
treasures of kings (harem), singers, and musicians. He obtained all his heart's desire, and looking upon
it, declared it to be vanity, without profit to man. All done after this, would only be anticlimactic (vs.12).
But he learned several lessons: Wisdom excels folly; A wise man has light, the fool darkness; One thing is common:
both the wise and fool perish alike. The wise is remembered no more, as the fool, therefore, it was vain to get wisdom.
Thus knowing this, he abhors life and its labor; for the next generation will receive its benefits, not him,
unknowing whether he will be a fool or wise as he. This is a great evil: that another should possess and
enjoy the fruits of his labor. With great despair he finds no rest for his heart, concluding then there is
nothing better for man to do than eat, drink, and enjoy himself of the good of his labor: for God gives such to the wise,
but to the sinner He gives sorrow. Still, all is vain and troubles the spirit.
He proceeds to list 14 pairs of dichotomous purposes which have their own time under the heaven:
He has seen these tasks given by God, each appearing beautiful in its own time. Man's heart is filled with these worldly things
that hide God and His works from him. Man derives no lasting good from these, only in doing good. God's gift is to enjoy the
fruit of one's own labor. God's work is supreme and eternal. All of man's work is temporal and can add nothing to it.
All men are alike. Sin is universal. The wise has iniquity as the fool, and all will one day be judged alike.
Man is no better than the beast: for God's breath is in both; and when He withdraws it they both will perish.
So, one should be content in his own portion for now, not being able to see what will come after him.
||Born and die.
||Embrace and refrain.
||Plant and pluck up.
||Get and lose.
||Kill and heal.
||Keep and castaway.
||Break down and build up.
||Rend and sew.
||Weep and laugh.
||Silence and speak.
||Mourn and dance.
||Love and hate.
||Castaway stones and gather.
||War and Peace.
He now considers the oppressed who have no comforter. The dead and unborn are in a better state than these.
He also sees every man's work is envied by another. This is vain. It is better to be satisfied with what one has,
however small, than to trouble one's spirit with great worldly care, or working just to gain more.
He now compares the state of the single laborer to that of partnership; there is strength in numbers.
The poor but wise is better than a foolish king. Observing the march of man through time, he sees that
each generation forgets the previous.
Read Entire Summary...►
He offers excellent advice for going into the house of God. Be not quick to speak, but listen.
Be careful of what you say to God or in His name. The fool is known for his many words.
Be careful to fulfill any vow taken, not making excuses when failed, for this is a great sin.
Better not to vow at all and fear God. God sees all injustice, and the Earth's profit is for all.
Whatever one loves, he will never be satisfied with his present portion of it. Sleep will escape him,
unlike the laborer who takes rest from his work. He follows with a contrast between a man with a sorrowful
heart and one which is joyful. He sees a great evil: the rich man's unquenchable thirst for more.
It destroys him, robbing him of sleep and rest, filling him with sorrow and worry, knowing that eventually
he will die and leave it to another. For we die as we are born, naked, with nothing in our hands.
Again it is better to take rest from one's labor and eat and drink of one's portion from God.
This man's heart is joyful unto the Lord for what he has, unlike the other who is sorrowful for what he doesn't have.
A common evil, a disease, is that many men are given great riches who never cease from their thirst for more to enjoy it,
then die and leave it for another. This man enters the world blind, speeds through it, never looking up, ever accumulating,
and dies in darkness never seeing the light, or having a clue as to the true purpose in life, his soul never being filled.
It is better to see and be content than never be satisfied with one's portion. Riches of no use are vain.
Every kind of man that will ever live has already lived and God knows each; therefore, what one knows better
than God what is good for man in his life? God, not man, knows man's future and what is best for that man, hence,
why should or how can a man contend with God about his present state?
One's reputation is better for his soul than all the medicine of the world. Man is born to suffer and dies to rest in peace.
A funeral will teach man more about life than all the merrymaking combined, showing one that better is the end of a thing
than its beginning, thus teaching him patience. The wise man has life and considers his days, as God ordered them,
and is not taken by surprise. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; therefore, fear God and don't think you know everything,
but don't act like a fool either, destroying yourself in both cases. No one is sinless, so be careful not to say anything about
someone you wouldn't want to hear said about yourself. More to be feared than death is the snare of an evil woman.
There is not one woman in a thousand that will not snare the soul of a foolish man. Although God has made man in His
own image, every man's imagination is evil.
No one is wiser and more powerful than God whose commandments are to be kept, if he is to escape evil and be prepared for judgment,
not knowing when his will come. No one can control his time and no one can escape it. Because God does not punish sin immediately,
at times, the heart of the evil one will continue in sin, thinking he has escaped God's eye. But with those who fear God
it shall be well. A great perplexity is seen: the apparent injustice between the righteous and the wicked. Again man should
be happy with his present state, as God has provided, seeing it is impossible to know all the secret things of God under the sun.
- Author: Ken Livingston
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Has church been getting you down lately? Do you have more questions than answers about the major
shift in your experiences in worship, in the objects, music, and even the sermons? We may be able to help.
Know first, you are not alone! More people are awaking to a deceptive practice that
began years ago. In addition, we have put together 5 articles to try and answer some
of those questions and help with your understanding. The first are more practical in nature as they
relate to your questions. However, the 5th is more specific in identifying a major factor behind the
changes you are experiencing. We hope this will not be the end of your exploration of this
growing cancer on the church. If you're fine with it, we wish you the best but some of us
have not nor will buy into it.
You may print and disseminate in whole or part but without modification and citing their original source.
, enjoyed the quizzes. Keep it up
Thought I'd let y'all know...thanks
God Bless and keep up the good work