Monday, August 14, 2017

After Jesus, What's Next: 10 Guide Posts for Christian Living

So I've come to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior.  I've come to understand his atoning sacrifice on the cross. I've come to believe that Jesus resurrected and is alive in heaven right now.  I'm beginning to study my Bible and pray twice a day.  I'm attending a good church weekly and I've even gotten plugged in with a small group.  I'm volunteering for ministries at my church, and serving my community through volunteering at other non-profit organizations.  What more do I need to understand about the scriptures?  What should my practice be in life?  What do I need to understand in the long term about being a Christian?  How should I live my life?

I'm glad you asked my friend!  But I suppose I asked myself, though hypothetically I'm asking on behalf of someone else who may or may not exist.  But that's alright.  I'm sure it's a common question.  So let's dig into it. 

We can get into a habit of so over-emphasizing the conversion experience of coming to know Christ, and preaching the gospel, and trying to get people saved that we forget that there an entire life to be lived after that moment of belief.  After that day of my salvation, I had to learn how to live as a Christian.  I was saved at age 27, meaning I've got a lot of life left to live!  I'm 32 today, and just beginning to understand what it means to live for Christ. 

Let's look at ten areas of concern, when considering how we ought to live, after Christ.

1. My Will vs. God's Will - This is a fundamental truth of the new testament, in that coming to know Christ is to turn our whole lives, plans, goals, and desires over to God.  We turn our will and life over to God.  But what does that mean in practice?  Essentially it means that we no longer live according to our will, and what we want, but we begin to live seeking through prayer and scriptural meditation to seek God's will for our lives and then carry out that will.  

Romans 12:2 (ESV) says "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (emphasis, me)

So take an example in my life, I wanted to be a novelist and a journalist in the worst way.  But when I came to know God, I needed to reconsider my plans.  And as I prayed, went to church, listened to sermons on Youtube, read books, read the Bible and such, I realized God's will for me was to go into ministry.  Knowing that I could either argue with God and go my own way, or submit to God and do it His way.  So I did it His way, even though I was uncertain about how it would all come together.  That's faith, striking out when we don't even know how we're going to get there.

2. Sexual Practice - You'd be amazed how many times in the NT letters it talks about sexual immorality.  It's obviously a huge concern for us as we struggle in the flesh.  God tells us to get married, to not be out carousing with random people, God's word tells us not to engage in orgies or sexual relations with family members, and to abstain from sexual relations with those of our same gender.  There are numerous sexual teachings in the New Testament, mainly in the letters.  So we're called to be very cautious about our sexual relationships.  

God knows us all too well, doesn't He?  He knows exactly what areas we struggle in and exactly what our weak points our.  This is an issue we like to sneak by with sub-par conduct.  Yet it says so clearly in the scriptures: "Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." - Ephesians 5:3 (NIV) Not even a hint. 

3. Wait on the Lord - Learn to be exceedingly patient.  I'm not kidding, and I'm not being flippant.  Get used to being very patient, and waiting for things long term.  We think in terms of days and weeks.  God responds in months, years, decades and beyond.  

There have been times in my short walk as a believer that I've felt like God had forgotten me, left me behind, or that He wasn't responding.  I've noticed that there are times that God is silent, and it isn't because something has gone amiss.  God is intentionally silent.  

Don't give up, and don't be easily swayed to abandon your walk.  Be faithful even when it seems like your alone.  

Don't become overly upset when God doesn't answer a prayer, or when you don't understand what is happening.  Be utterly faithful.  And submit yourself humbly before God, responding as Job did when he said, "God gives and God takes away, never the less, blessed be the name of the Lord."  

In times of struggle please the Lord utterly by saying, "I don't understand Lord, but I love you and I know you are holy."

4. Get Wisdom - Even if it costs you everything, gain wisdom.  Read books, watch documentaries, watch Youtube videos by great minds, diligently study the scriptures, make use of study Bibles, learn and grow in your own understanding.  Put the Bible into real practice.  Get together with an inner-circle of diligent followers of Christ and really try to practice the faith.  Study the various parts of the philosophy of Christian life and figure out to put it into practice.  Discover what it means to hold a Christian worldview and then see the world through those eyes.  

"The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding." -Proverb 4:7 (NIV)

5. Center your mind on His Grace - There is a fear that I struggled with in my faith, a fear that I would lose Jesus, a fear that I'm just too sinful for Jesus to save, or that I've secretly committed sins today that God doesn't know about or won't forgive.  Center your mind on His amazing grace.  

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." -Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

If your just amazed, just baffled by God's extensive, scandalous grace for all your sins, and even your present struggles against sin, that's exactly how you should feel.  That's why it's called amazing grace, because we can't deserve it.  We can't even understand how God could absolve us and welcome us into His family, yet He does all this in the victory of Christ Jesus at the cross.  It's amazing grace.  So have faith, continue walking with Jesus, and remember, He won't lose you.  Be diligent and repent from sin, trust in Christ alone, and you will be well within the arms of God forever.  Fear not. 

6. Give Thanks in all Circumstances - The secret to a happy life is having an attitude of gratitude.  We're so blessed in so many ways, yet we focus on what is wrong.  We indulge in self-pity and feel sorry for ourselves.  Yet we are so blessed.  When I thank God in prayer for how I am blessed in my life, I can't possibly feel gratitude and joy for all the Lord has done.  Cultivate that attitude of gratitude.  

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." -1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

7. Trust the Word - There are so many efforts today to rewrite God's word, to change God's word, to alter doctrines and theology to fit the culture of our day and what they desire.  There is so much temptation to yield to emotion and fear, and selfish desire.  Don't be one of those people. Trust every single word of the Bible.  If and when you don't understand something, pause, and consider: Maybe I'm not understanding a deeper context.  Or maybe I'm wrong.  It's OK to be wrong, I do it all the time!  Trust God's word. He has preserved it.  And it is eternal, it doesn't change with the times.  It is timeless. 

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work." -2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

8. Love and Show Mercy - This one should be obvious enough to most of us, though we're all quick to jump to judgment in many situations of life.  Can you forgive people who have seriously harmed you?  What about family members and friends?  What about drug addicts, alcoholics, and the real bad sinners?  What about pedophiles, drug dealers, rapists, murderers, and the very worst of the worst?  Jesus Christ came for them too.  The cross can absorb the worst sins.  The very worst.  Be scandalous in how you love and show mercy.  

In fact the word of God says that we will each stand before God to give an account for our lives.  And it says if we were harsh and judged others, condemned, and refused to show mercy, then God will use that standard to judge us.  

As it says in James 2:13 (ESV) "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment."

9. Don't Run Your Mouth about Others - Easy enough to say, harder to do.  In fact it's very difficult to avoid gossip.  It's so fun to indulge in, it seems.  Can we shut it off, when it's hard?  Can we resist it?  Our temptation is to scold others when they gossip, but give ourselves special permission to do so, perhaps about friends, or family or church members?  

What if your in a conflict of sorts with someone else?  Do you talk to them directly, or about them to others?  

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." -Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

I know, this is a tough one.  I've been guilty of this in the past many a time.  But we must learn, and I must to grow and do better in the future.  Thankfully His grace goes with us. 

10. Live a lifestyle of Repentance - It's not so bad.  In fact I find it enjoyable, in the results.  After I repent, and Jesus helps me repent, then I feel joy, peace, and grace as I find freedom from sin, obsession, and addiction.  It's so nice, so great to have those chains broken.  What seems impossible to be free of in your life?  It's exactly that, that Jesus will set you free from.  Jesus will break those chains that seem utterly unbreakable.  Essentially, I'm saying constantly keep growing.  This is something many Christians simply don't do.  Be one of those rare Christians who is always growing and changing to become more like Christ.  

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." -2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)

A Final Word - I encourage you in one additional matter: Love what you do, and labor for what is eternal.  Too many of us focus on the physical world around us, our marriages, our families, work lives, vacations, entertainment, home life, car repairs, friendships, political affairs, cultural affairs, but none of these things are eternal matters.  Realize this friends: The ultimate reality is beyond the material affairs of this world.  The eternal city of God, the New Jerusalem is a reality.  It's real.  And we'll all be there.  You'll walk on your feet, your soul, your body and mind will be there, renewed, set free from sin, and guilt and fear.  Focus on this reality, and labor for this reality.  Don't become muddled down in the affairs of this world.  Only consider how you can explain the eternal truths of the kingdom of God and translate them into the culture of this world.  That is our concern, the propagating of the living gospel.  The souls of humanity hang in the balance.  We must focus with a constant unblinking eye on the eternal affairs of God, which is of Christ Jesus, to gather all those He has predestined in election for citizenship in the eternal new city of God, in the new universe, and on the new Earth.  That is of paramount concern.  The affairs of this life will pass away, God's kingdom will be our soon coming constant reality.  Don't lose focus on this kingdom, and keep your eyes centered on Jesus Christ.  Focus on Jesus and all the wonders of His glory and you will never falter on this journey, year by year, to the eternal country, a better country. Home.  

Related Posts:
  1. Eternity & Christ: The Promise of Life
  2. The Paradox of Victory through Surrender: Rise Above
  3. The Heart & Mind of Humanity: Reflections on Suffering
  4. Coming into Maturity: Grace, Love, and Service
  5. A Cause Worth Dying For: Materialism, Millennials, and the Radical Mission
  6. Life after Death: Law, Eternity, and the Changed Mind
  7. Wisdom from Above: Living in Light of the Victory of Christ
  8. The Mindset of Christ: Teach Me How to Live, Lord
  9. Sex, Cuisine, and Television: Overcoming the World
  10. What is the will of God?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Biblical Christianity vs. Progressive Ideology: A Threat to Western Christianity

There are several dangers to biblical Christianity that have come about through progressive ideology. Progressive ideology essentially stems from non-biblical positions about the nature of truth (that it is relative), the nature of people (that people are basically good) and the nature of scripture (that it should change with the times.) It's rooted in enlightenment thinking, modernism, and post-modernist thinking especially, which has surged across Europe and the United States in the last 30 years. Progressive ideology stems from the culture and politics of western civilization, slipping into the churches across the west and affecting the core teachings of many important movements.

The direct dangers are in the lowering of the truth of scripture into the realm of philosophical relativism (there is no truth) and the general ideology of progressivism (a series of political and social causes guided by a regressive utopianism that seeks to constantly reinvent society.) They tend to change how we view scripture; Instead of every word of the Bible being the inspired word of God that we regard as the authority over us, the progressive stands over the scripture and thinks of the scriptures as stories, that may or may not be factually true, and interprets and re-interprets the scriptures to fit with their own beliefs and ideas about how the world is. So instead of the Bible guiding us and being the authority over us, the roles are swapped and the person is guide and judge over the Bible, changing and reshaping the Bible as they see fit, generally to make it fit in with modern cultural views on issues like marriage, abortion, gender, sexual practice, and general philosophy of life.

Essentially the Bible can be reinterpreted to mean anything, on any issue, in the progressive worldview.  Of course not all under this ideological umbrella are the same, some will have a slightly higher view of scripture or a lower view of scripture. But we're speaking in general terms.  

That is what we need to stand against in the west today, because once the Bible is lowered and removed from a position of authority in our lives, anything goes. Everything suddenly becomes up for revision, creation, moral teachings, life and liberty, even the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Everything goes on the chopping block, maybe not all at once, but the door is opened to that possibility.

Progressive ideology tends to affect many areas of the churches of the United States and Europe. The teachings of Freud, Marx, Hagel, Kant, and other atheist thinkers tend to be the roots from which progressive ideology grows and spreads.  In the United States, people like Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Croly, FDR, and Saul Alinsky have pushed forward progressive ideology on the political front.  

Progressives tend to support politically: Bigger government, large administrative bureaucracies, democratic socialism, redistribution of wealth, unlimited welfare, abortion on demand paid for by others, free healthcare, free college, and unlimited unbridled immigration irrespective of national laws.

The fact that churches have been affected by progressive ideology is simply a logical consequence due to the affect that western civilization itself has been thoroughly transformed and reshaped by progressive political and cultural ideology.  That is the simple fact.  Far from starting off in the church, it's simply a growth from culture into the church.  

Key issues today that progressives advocate for are things like switching the church's position on gay marriage to support and affirm gay marriage. This would mean pastors would marry gay couples, gay/lesbian/transgender individuals could become pastors, and pastors would probably be required to ignore the scriptures in the Bible that forbid homosexual practice. Another key issue would be legalizing and supporting abortion. Imagine church abortion clinics, or churches arm in arm with Planned Parenthood, helping to abort unborn children by the tens of thousands. There are dozens of other issues pertinent, climate change, gun control, redistribution of wealth, increased taxation, and swiping for church's tax exempt status.  Perhaps one of the most disturbing trends are the persistent attacks on religious liberty by progressives in the political sphere.  Ironically progressives attack conservative Christians for advocating for religious liberty, a right which they exercise on a daily basis, which is currently on the chopping block, at the altar of political correctness, gender ideology, and LGBT ideology.

The dangers are great from the progressive ideology, but very often the issue seems to take care of itself.  Progressive churches collapse in on themselves, and people stop attending, because people are looking for the truth, not a truth, not a relative opinion, or a viewpoint or a universalist one of many ways to the summit, but people are looking for solid truth, a rock to stand on, and progressivism offers a wishy-washy "love above all else" which jettisons truth, ethics, and revelation for the sake of not offending anyone.  

Love is indeed a key, core value of the biblical Christian worldview.  But biblical Christianity is more than simply "love is love" in isolation, it's a spectrum of core ethical concepts including grace, mercy, judgment, obedience, moral precepts, faith, sacrifice, self-denial, and biblical love.  So when love is elevated above truth, above grace, above obedience, above the Bible, and even above Jesus Christ himself, it becomes an idol, a false teaching, a worldly love, that is in fact, not love at all.  

So what is biblical love? Biblical loves involves a great deal of truth. While worldly love would insist on accepting any behavior, endorsing any practice that pleases the culture, and never offending anyone no matter what, biblical love is deeper than that. Biblical love is that Jesus Christ was slaughtered for our transgressions on the cross. Biblical love is that Jesus spoke truth to power, and yet gave grace to the weakest. Biblical love is warning someone when they are in danger of hell. As biblical Christians we must be proponents of biblical love, which is in the context of grace and truth.  Sometimes love is hard. Sometimes love means speaking a difficult truth.  Sometimes love means telling someone something they don't necessarily want to hear.  The trouble with progressive Christianity is that they take worldly love, set it above all else, and use it as a bludgeon to attack the truth statements of scripture.  This is not love, but something else.  

In conclusion, to me it seems obvious that the word of God is objective, timeless, and inspired entirely of God, and has been preserved by God, as our guide book to knowing the living Jesus Christ, and understanding how Jesus wants us to live.  This means even the most difficult scriptures that we struggle with are also the word of God.  There are many scriptures that I don't like, that I struggle with and wrestle with God to understand what they mean, but I keep holding out that fundamental trust that the Bible is in fact right, and if I don't understand something, maybe it's me who is wrong, not God's word.  That's a faith we have to hold up, and it's reasonable, because as finite limited humans we can't see every angle.  We don't see the whole picture, there will be things we don't understand.  And that's OK.  Because we're not God.  And essentially what the progressive does, is the sin from all the way back in the garden, they reject God's authority, and play god for themselves, reshaping and changing what is right and what is wrong to suit themselves.  Let us never make that mistake.  It was the mistake that ruined the garden, and sent Adam and Eve into the wilderness.  They rejected God, embraced a sweet tantalizing lie handed to them by Satan, and as a result all of reality became fallen, and paradise was lost.  So let us humble ourselves, hazard all on God's word, the Bible, and trust it above ourselves and our own limited judgments.  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ten Amazing Apologetics Presentations

1. Life's Four Big Questions - Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray

2. What's your worldview - Impact

3. Truth in a Post-Truth Culture - Abdu Murray

4. The Moral Argument - Reasonable Faith

5. Did Jesus rise from the dead - Impact

6. Signature in the Cell: Debate - Stephen Meyer 

7. Is God good - Impact

8. The Fine-Tuning of the Universe - Reasonable Faith

9. Cosmology: A Religion for Atheists - William Lane Craig

10. Does God Exist: The Design Argument - RZIM

Related Posts:
1. What is Truth? A Battle of Worldviews
2. Science & Faith: The Existence of God
3. God's Overarching History: The Big Picture
4: Theology: Understanding God
5: Sociology: The Divine Image, the Family & The Social Order
6: Redemption of Man: The Cross (Paradise Regained)
7: Practicing our Faith: Principles to Live By
8: Government & Law: The United States: A Dream Realized 
9: The Future Destiny of Man: The New Heavens & New Earth
10: Everything is about Jesus

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

If You Deny Me Before Men: A Rebuttal to Martin Scorsese's Silence (2016)

Silence (2016) screenshot.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37–39).

Have you had a chance to see Martin Scorsese's "Silence" rated R?  I had a chance to view it recently, while on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta.  The screens in front of each seat offered free entertainment.  And I asked the Lord if there was something I ought to watch that might be instructive to me.  And so I began watching Silence, not even knowing what it was about.

Silence is the story of two Jesuit missionaries who head to Japan to look for a missing missionary; their mentor who had supposedly given up the faith.  Warning, spoilers in this post.  

Now I don't have a lot to say about this movie.  It's by Martin Scorsese who put together "The Last Temptation of Christ" which depicted a Jesus who is not God and who is only a sinful man; Which is factually inaccurate and historically false.  It's no surprise then that "Silence" turned out to be a film with some mixed messages.

The movie Silence is actually based on a novel, and the novel is actually inspired by real events that took place in Japan in the 1700s.  Japan's leaders at first embraced Catholic missionaries, with hundreds of thousands being converted, but later persecutions broke out.  Read more about the history of these events here

Father Rodrigues and Father Garupe, two young padres go in search for their old mentor Father Ferreira in Japan.  They come to Japan, led by a drunken Japanese man named Kichijiro and discover churches in hiding hungry for the word, salvation, and hope.  They serve bravely in several towns, then split up while under persecution from the dreaded Japanese inquisitor.  The inquisitor sees the natural religion of japan as Buddhism, and sees Christianity as a threat.  

Father Garupe is martyred for his faith and Rodrigues is put through a series of persecutions and eventually comes face to face with Ferreira who he discovers has in fact renounced his faith.  

My flight arrived at Atlanta at this time and I had to miss the ending of the 3 hour+ movie.  I was enthralled at this point, and amazed.  I thought what a wonderful witness this movie is to the suffering and victories of Christians during persecution.  I was very excited. I determined to purchase the movie as soon as I possibly could.

I purchased the movie used from a redbox and brought it home and watched it.  The ending was quite disturbing.  Rodrigues is forced to watch five persecuted believers hanging upside down, the blood dripping from incisions in their necks.  Rodrigues, with Ferreira next to him is told he must renounce his faith to save these believers from death.  

A portrait of Christ is put before Him, and he is told to stomp on it. Oddly enough, Christ then speaks through the portrait to Rodrigues telling him to renounce his faith.  Rodrigues renounces his faith, the people are set free and Rodrigues serves the Japanese alongside Ferreira for the rest of his life, takes a Japanese wife and children.  He continuously signs declarations of renunciation of his faith.  Again and again he steps upon the picture of Christ to please the inquisitor.  He dies and is given a Buddhist burial.  But then the camera zooms in to his dead body in the Buddhist basket, and it shows a little cross clutched between his folded hands.  

The implication is that despite Rodrigues renouncing Christ publicly, constantly, and helping the Japanese prevent other Christians from getting into the country, that somehow Rodrigues was still a Christian in his heart and thus somehow still saved.  

I found this a confusing and misleading conclusion to the story. The message is a harmful one to our present generation, in my view.  The message seems to be that under persecution it's OK to renounce Christ, and that you can just pretend and be a Christian in your heart to the end.  That is not true, according to God's word.  The word of God says quite clearly:

Matthew 10:32-33 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. "

These are the word of Jesus Christ.  And Jesus is the last one who would whisper to us and ask us to deny our faith.  In fact, all the great martyrs across Christian history all died refusing to deny their faith, including all the disciples of Christ aside from John who died of old age.  

Just to name a few who were killed for their faith and refused to renounce Christ: The first martyr Stephen, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, St. Agnes, Perpetua, Joan of Arc, St. Thomas Becket, William Tyndale, Jim Elliot, Arthur Bell, and of course the twenty-six martyrs of Japan who died in Nagasaki. 

What did all these saints have in common?  When pressured, when threatened with death, when threatened with the death of friends and family and fellow believers, they all refused to renounce Jesus Christ because they understood an eternal perspective: that suffering today is nothing compared to the glory that awaits in the next life.  To live is Christ and to die is gain.  That is the truth about martyrdom.  And any fool who renounces Christ under persecution has lost a great deal indeed.  They've traded worldly relief, for eternal glory when it would've been much wiser to embrace the most severe suffering for the sake of upholding Christ and suffering for Him.  

Christ gives us the strength in those moments to endure. Scorsese's "Silence" portrays an earthly perspective when showing Rodrigues forsaking Christ to prevent the death of would-be martyrs for Christ.  I would hope and I do believe at that moment that any true follower of Christ would be filled with Holy Spirit strength to understand that those dying would receive a great reward in heaven and that they ought to offer up their lives.  My hope would be that the strength of the Lord in the Spirit would give me the strength to say: "I will never renounce Christ.  What you do, do quickly."  

The title of the film "Silence" seems to refer to the fact that Rodrigues wanted an audible message from God, and more so, reflects the struggle about the problem of evil in the film: Why does God allow such terrible things to happen to His children?  Rodrigues struggles with the silence of God throughout the film, but seems to come to understand that Jesus was not silent, but was with him through all of it, suffering alongside him.  That is a true message, certainly, the master is always silent during the pupil's test.  

Yet the message of renouncing Christ and working for your enemies is quite disturbing. So I'd encourage you in this: If and when you face persecution and death at the hands of evil men, remember: You must never renounce Christ.  Hold to Christ, if you confess Christ before men, Christ will confess you as His friend before the Heavenly Father.  Never forget that.  We must have the witness in us.  

The writer of Hebrews recounts the examples of powerful biblical faith in chapter 11 of that book when he concludes his descriptions of the great saints of faith saying: 

"How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[d] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground." -Hebrews 11:32-38. (emphasis added by me)

In conclusion, stand for your faith. Don't deny Christ, it does have consequences. Does that mean that Christ can't forgive that? No, Christ can forgive all sin.  We need only come to Him, ask His forgiveness and repent.  Recall that Peter denied Jesus three times when Jesus was being persecuted and falsely accused. But Peter repented, and he was later crucified upside-down. He professed Jesus to the end, despite denying Him earlier in his life. We can repent even of denying Christ, but that repentance must include action that shows we've become faithful once again. Like Kichijiro in the film, we can repent and ask God's forgiveness many times, but if our repentance isn't accompanied by a change of actions, it means nothing.

So finally I'd like to encourage you to pray for Japan. Japan has gone through terrible persecutions. Even today Japan is one of the most unchurched countries in the world, being 98% non-Christian. Please pray for the people of this country, that they would come to know Christ. And always confess Christ before men, because then Christ will confess us before the Father.

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  3. Purity of the Heart & Holiness
  4. To Carry the Gospel: Am I Called to be a Pastor?
  5. Tripping to the Bottom: Darkness, Delusions, and Trauma
  6. Something is Missing: What it's like to be Drugged
  7. A Movement of Millennials: The last hope of Western Civilization
  8. 10 Video Shorts on the Evidence for Christianity
  9. Take a Stand Like Daniel: Being a counter-culture Warrior
  10. Youth in the Suburbs: Children of the Shadows

Monday, August 7, 2017