Archives For Points to Ponder

Points To Ponder

3 Practical Steps to Forgiving Yourself

by Lifeway Men

Over the years, helping men deal with anger, grudges, bitterness, rage, and hatred has always been an amazing experience, watching the Holy Spirit address past issues and lead guys to new freedom. Watching men forgive fathers, mothers, siblings, wives, ex-wives, children, bosses, and so on breaks the bondage of them “holding someone hostage” in their hearts.

But the one person that all of us men struggle the most to forgive, and often can’t, is ourselves. Letting go of the past, getting rid of regrets, and stopping the beating and bleeding from “the condemnation club” often feels impossible to do.

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When God Doesn’t Listen

By Drew Tankersley

Perhaps one of the most frustrating phenomena of parenting younger children is their inability to listen.  As a parent of an 11-year-old and a 7-year-old, I know all to well the irritation of a child who is completely distracted and patently oblivious to the requests of their parental unit.  Technology is the greatest culprit of distraction in our house. 

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3 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Pray for the Persecuted Church

By Ruth Ripkin (International Mission Board)

Stories of the persecuted church around the world have grown in number of late. This one regarding Christian arrests in Iran ran just last week. An article that appeared on CNN earlier this year claimed that 2015 held the distinct honor of producing the highest rate of Christian persecution in history. Of course, the case of Iranian American Pastor Saeed Abedini has topped news cycles for the last three years. 

These stories aren’t going to go away; Jesus informed his followers that persecution would come (John 15:18–25). It’s not a new thing—just ask the early church—but many within the rather insulated West have been unaware of its existence for a while. As we continue to awaken to this reality, we need to think about how to understand persecution. More importantly, we need to learn how to persevere through it and pray for those who face it around the world. 

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Americans Love God and the Bible, Are Fuzzy on the Details

By Bob Smietana (Lifeway Research)

Americans don’t know much about theology. Most say God wrote the Bible. But they’re not sure everything in it is true.

Six in 10 say everyone eventually goes to heaven, but half say only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. And while 7 in 10 say there’s only one true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—two-thirds say God accepts worship of all faiths.

Those are among the findings of a new survey of American views on Christian theology from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

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Points To Ponder

Tennesseans face possibly the most monumental vote in our state’s 218-year history, and it will be an indictment on Christians if Amendment 1 fails to pass. It’s that simple…and that monumental.

The photography phenomenon, known as “duck face” seems to have taken the social media world by storm recently. It started on television, in fashion magazines, celebrities picked up the trend. And NOW it’s trickled down to your little girl! Is it OK?

Best is, of course, a value judgement. We have kept it for this project because it is so obviously subjective. “Best” does not just cover a book’s intrinsic worth: it also prompts a consideration of what a book can achieve. Throughout our debate, we found ourselves balancing a title’s historical position with its place in our memories. A different set of judges on a different day — perhaps even the same set of judges — would certainly have come up with a different list. But, perhaps, not that different. Although there is no science in literary (let alone spiritual) criticism, we none the less approached the search for the 100 Best Christian Books in a scientific way.

Jesus promises us that if we ask, seek, and knock the Father will give us good in return (Luke 11:9-13), even if the good isn’t apparent for 40 years. And because Jesus regularly asked those who came to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51), we know that he wants us to be specific with our requests. So, here are seven helpful, specific things to pray for your children:

Quotes from my readings banner

In the book The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall & Tony Payne write the following about every Christian being a missionary.

They write, “The Christian without a missionary heart is an anomaly.”

Just in case you don’t know, dictionary.com defines “anomaly” as the following: a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form. someone or something that is abnormal or incongruous, or does not fit in.

Both of these gentleman are arguing that there is no difference between a Christian and a missionary and I could not agree with them any more. It is every Christians responsibility to help spread the gospel and HIS glory to the ends of the earth – whether across the street or around the world.

They continue, “The missionary heart will be seen in all kinds of ways:”

  • In prayers for the lost, in making sure our behavior offends no-one, in gospel conversations with friends, and in making every effort to save some. We are slaves without rights, even though we are free ( 2 Corinthians 4:5 | Philemon 2:7 ).
  • Disciples are called to a distinctive, ‘salty’ lifestyle characterized by good deeds and righteousness. By living this way we shine as lights in the world, attracting praise not to ourselves but to God our Father ( Matthew 5:13-16 ).
  • We are called to pray for the bold proclamation of the gospel in the world ( Col 4:2-3 ).
  • Our conversations with outsiders should be gracious yet provocative, giving appropriate answers to the questions that are prompted by our way of life ( Col 4:5-6 ).
  • The sound doctrine of the gospel produces a radical Christian way of life that gives no grounds for slander, and makes the teaching of the gospel attractive to the world ( Titus 2:1-10 ).
  • Like God’s chosen people Israel, Christians both corporately and privately are to make God known to the nations by declaring his mercies in the gospel and by living a holy life ( I Peter 2:9-12 | 3:1-2 ).
  • Even in the midst of persecution, believer are to surrender to the lordship of Christ and gently give a defense of the hope we have in the gospel ( I Peter 3:15 ).

“We have to conclude that a Christian with no passion for the lost is in series need of self-examination and repentance”.

“It is very striking that Paul calls upon ordinary believers in Corinth to be imitators of him, as he is of Christ. And this imitation is not in some general sense, but in actively seeking the salvation of others. They are not to seek their own advantage “but that of many, that they may be saved” ( I Corinthians 10:33 ).

They finish with this awesome statement:

“Their whole aim was to be the glory of God in the salvation of others”.

Points to Ponder:

  • How are you using your life for Christ?
  • Are you a Christian anomaly?
  • How are you shining the light of Jesus to this world?

Quotes from my readings banner

For the past several months I am slowly making my way through Kyle Idleman’s book “gods at war: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart”. Mr. Idleman writes about several different “idols” that can easily take God’s place in our hearts and how we need to keep our eyes and hearts focused on God.

In the latest chapter I have read, Idleman talks about the god of money. He says,

The reason money so often ends up being God’s chief competition is that we tend to ascribe divine attributes to it. We look to money to do for us the very thing God wants to do for us.

In this chapter, he is talking about the parable in Luke 12:16-19.

And he told a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample good laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink and be merry.’

Idleman continues and gives us three attributes that we have a tendency to place on money instead of God.

Our Source of Security

The gods of power work for one shared premise: we can take care of ourselves. We can handle all our needs. The Lord is nice, but he really isn’t necessary. We don’t need to pray for our daily bread because we’ve got a pantry full of it. The gods of success appeal to our self-sufficiency.  

Our Source of Satisfaction

Most all of us have this appetite for money or possessions. And we think that if we could satisfy this appetite it would go away – if we could just make the money or buy the car – but that’s not how it works. Instead, the more you feed it, the hungrier it gets.

Our Source of Significance

The god of money wants us to believe that our significance comes from what we make of ourselves. But we find out true identity in Christ. He has marked us as his own, and that’s what makes us valuable. That’s where our value is found. He forever determined our value when he died on the cross for us. But when we worship the god of money, a person’s worth is determined not by the symbol of the cross, but by the symbol of a dollar sign.

The rich man in Luke 12 put his trust in his money and possessions. The sad part is that the he thought that he would build larger barns and then just sit back and relax and enjoy the rest of his life in ease. That is not what happened. If we continue to read the next few verses, we see God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rise toward God.

Points To Ponder:

  1. How do you view money?
  2. Is the money you do have your’s or God’s?
  3. Is money your source of security, your source of satisfaction & your source of significance?

 Matthew 6:21 – “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

Points To Ponder

Should We Pray for Revival? – desiringGod.org

Ours is not the first generation to recognize the spiritual declension among us, or to see the need for God to awaken his church and touch our land. From the saints of the Old Testament to leaders in our time, prayer for revival has marked believers who understand the need for the Spirit surpasses our ability and intelligence.

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 3 in 4 in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God – Gallup.com

PRINCETON, NJ — Twenty-eight percent of Americans believe the Bible is the actual word of God and that it should be taken literally. This is somewhat below the 38% to 40% seen in the late 1970s, and near the all-time low of 27% reached in 2001 and 2009. But about half of Americans continue to say the Bible is the inspired word of God, not to be taken literally — meaning a combined 75% believe the Bible is in some way connected to God. About one in five Americans view the Bible in purely secular terms — as ancient fables, legends, history, and precepts written by man — which is up from 13% in 1976.

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7 Biblical Tests for Christians and Music – TheExchange.com

Christians disagree about music style as much as any other issue in the body of Christ. More than likely, you’ve experienced this firsthand. As I’ve already written, conflicts over music have been common through out church history. Christians have listened to and enjoyed all of kinds of music. But should they?

In seeking to determine what is the right music for a church, it’s important that we use biblical principles in our evaluation. That’s not always easy—the Bible doesn’t contain music notes. God never gives us His musical preferences.
While it may be difficult, I do believe it’s possible to evaluate musical preferences using God’s word. The following seven tests each relate to biblical principles that we can apply to our music to determine its suitability.

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Salvation Before the Cross – Answers In Genesis

How were people saved before Jesus Christ died on the Cross? The answer is easy, once you realize that nothing happens by chance—the solution was already in place even before the world began.

The Bible record presents two dominant themes: promise and fulfillment. Over and again we see God promising and then, true to His word, fulfilling. Even at the very beginning, when the fall of man first brought sin and death into the world, God graciously promised that one day Christ would step into history, as a “lamb . . . foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19–20), to shed His blood to save a fallen humanity.

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GREAT RESOURCE – Proverbial Thought (Amazon.com)

Proverbial Thought is a collection of commentary and personal reflection on the wisdom of each and every individual proverb through the entire book of Proverbs. However, the commentary and personal reflection contained in this work are in no way exhaustive. For that matter, even if we were to attempt to plumb the depths of Proverbs, “the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). It is up to you, the reader, how to use this book (and the ones to follow). You could use it as a devotional, reading an entry a day as you seek to start your day in the wisdom of the Lord. You could use it as an additional commentary as you study God’s Word for a lesson or sermon. You could even use it to gain insight into that occasionally difficult passage that has you stumped. But no matter how you use it, always make sure to first ask the Holy Spirit for enlightenment when you study Scripture.