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Archive for October, 2010

What would Jesus wear for Halloween?

October 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Ok, I was going to ignore this “holiday” but I couldn’t leave it alone. It’s Halloween, or The Devil’s Holiday. This is one of the biggest weekends for the sale of alcohol. People love this holiday because they can dress up like prostitutes, pimps, or pirates, have fun at parties, get candy, do pranks to unsuspecting persons, trick people, and mock death – but should Christians celebrate this holiday?

What would Jesus do?

Better yet, ask yourself this radical question: What would Jesus wear as a costume for Halloween? Would He dress up as a witch or a demon or a ghost or a warlock or a skeleton or a zombie or a pirate or a vampire? Jesus came NOT to celebrate death and evil but to SAVE us from it! Death is the consequence for sin and the EVIL of mankind not something to be mocked and celebrated. This is a twisted holiday in every way.

If you cannot imagine celebrating it and you claim to be a FOLLOWER of Christ and one of His disciples, do what Jesus would do: ignore this day and quietly celebrate the eternal LIFE you have been given.

-Mark (sin, Satan, and death are real to me and none of us can avoid the grave – unless Jesus returns for His bride before we die and I hope He comes back today!)

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Everyone wants the end result but no one wants to…

October 30, 2010 1 comment

…put in the hard work and sacrifice required to get there.

This is true of counselees and it’s true of me! I want the result but do I want to pay my dues?

In other words, people want well-behaved children. They want that end result. However, they are not willing to spend the time training their children and disciplining them with the rod and reproof.

Others want to be drug-free but they don’t want to put in the hard work and effort to get to that point.

There are no quick fixes or easy answers. There are no magic pills to take.

God’s answer is this: “OBEY ME. Do what I say,” says the Lord. A life of godliness is practiced over time and yields the peaceable fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 against such there is no law. You will not get arrested for producing the fruit of real love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Let me encourage you to do what is right and is required today. In 10 years, you’ll be glad you did!

-Mark (saying “no” to my flesh and “yes” to the Holy Spirit)

Rom. 12:2 – in the church!

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I find myself teaching biblical truths to Christians who mistakenly think it’s heresy because they are so conformed to the pattern of this church world. In other words, sometimes the Gospel seems like heresy to people who are not used to hearing it and watch more TV than they read their Bibles! Just a commentary on how distracted we all can be in our society since we have sports, hobbies, and other activities to pre-occupy our time and take us away from spending time with the Lord alone.

So, when you tell people that mankind is sinful and in desperate need of a Savior, and then that the Holy Spirit indwells a new believer to enable them to be transformed into the image of Christ, sometimes people are hearing this message for the first time. They did not realize that they did not have to stay stuck in bondage to sin.

Therefore, sometimes I must apply Romans 12:2 to Christians: “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.”**

Some Christians are conformed to this world and must be transformed in their thinking to find that perfect will of God. This is the primary message of compassionate, biblical counseling. People are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit working in partnership with God’s Word of truth.

-Mark (so grateful that God has transformed me, is transforming me, and will transform me – all for His glory alone)
**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ro 12:2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

God is faithful to save our children!

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

While I am often unfaithful, God is always faithful to do what He says He is going to do in His Word and by His Spirit.

We went to church tonight at a revival and the guest preacher began his sermon from I Thessalonians 4. The sermon was on the end times and was very good.

What was cool was that our family had read the entire book (merely 5 chapters) of I Thessalonians LAST NIGHT for our family devotion time! Then, we go to church, and our children had already studied the passage so the sermon had more meaning to them tonight! In fact, one of them prayed to surrender his/her life to Christ! Praise the Lord! He is faithful to fulfill His Word!

So, let me urge you: prepare your children for the upcoming sermons! If you know what text your pastor will be teaching from, then read over it and study it with your children ahead of time so that when the Word is preached, they will better understand it. Prepare your children and then trust the Lord to save them. He may save them DURING your family devotion or He may wait until later like He did tonight for our child.

For us, this was a great lesson in being obedient to God in teaching our children the Word and letting His Spirit work to save our children in His perfect timing! To God alone belongs all glory and praise!

-Mark (blessed be the Lord Who is faithful!)

Amazing Grace

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Isn’t it great to know that God’s forgiveness is GREATER than all our sins!

Praise His Name!

-Mark (amazed at His grace in my life)

Hard Bondage in Mortar and in Brick

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I read this title in one of my children’s Bible study book: “Hard Bondage in Mortar and in Brick.” It came from a lesson in Exodus 1:7-14 that tells the historical account of how the Israelites were in bondage to the Egyptians.

But when I saw it, I thought about today’s church in America. We are in “hard bondage in mortar and in brick” meaning our money is tied up in buildings rather than in ministry. Are we advancing the Gospel in remote areas of the world or are we more interested in comfortable seats for ourselves?

It’s a tough question. Are we using God’s resources for our own benefit or to advance the kingdom of God?

I’m not against buildings per se. I know we like them and want them. But are they absolutely necessary? Can’t we just rent out buildings to meet in and meet in homes or in smaller venues as smaller groups?

Just asking a tough question to make us think. I am not trying to change the world – just advance the kingdom. We need to be about our Father’s business not just our own comforts.

-Mark (free of the brick and mortar bondage)

Philosophy not Psychology! Even CSI recognizes it!

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I was told that on CSI last night, someone referred to Carl Jung (the psychologist) as that “great philosopher.” That is PRECISELY what Carl Jung is – a philosopher! I’m glad the show was honest enough to admit it.

Most people view psychology as a “science” but is it really? Where is the objective data that is done in the medical field? Most of psychology’s data is subjective and based on human self-report not on objective data. The DSM-IV diagnoses are often given based upon self-report or observation, not on bloodwork and the like.

So, it is ACCURATE to call psychology a philosophy because that is what it is 95% of the time! And it is accurate to call Carl Jung a philosopher because that is what he really is!

One more note: what does God say in His Word about philosophies of mankind? Colossians 2:8 tells us: See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

So beware of philosophy and psychology WHEN they oppose GOD and His divinely inspired Word of truth!

-Mark (grateful to God for His rock solid truth and that I don’t have to rely on fallible ideas of mankind, especially in the area of counseling and biblical soul care)