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The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Further Conflict Over Jesus’ Claims

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication[b] at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’[d]? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

Starting a New Chapter in Your Life

What does it mean to start a new chapter in your life?

How do you know when one chapter ends and another begins? Is it a physical boundary that you cross, or a mental boundary that you cross?

For many people, we identify “starting a new chapter in our lives” with major life events such as graduating school, starting a new career, getting married, moving to a new place, having kids, or retiring – but the truth is we can “start a new chapter in our lives” whenever we want.

We can have an infinite amount of new chapters in our lives. It all depends on when you’re willing to let something go, and when you’re willing to step in a new direction.

Starting a new chapter is ultimately something created in your mind. It’s the meaning you attach to the event that allows you to perceive the event as something that changes you or opens up a new door in your life.

One interesting thing I’m discovering more and more in psychology is the use of rituals or “symbolic behavior” to help people get over the past and open up a new chapter in their lives.

For example, there was a fascinating study published this year in The Journal of Experimental Psychology that looked at the many different ways people use rituals to help themselves overcome feelings of grief and loss.

They looked at 2 groups of people: individuals who had just experienced a failed relationship or a break up, and individuals who had just experienced the death of a loved one.


“Failed Relationship” Rituals:

  • Burning old pictures and letters.
  • Stopped listening to old music that reminded them of the person.
  • Returning to an old location, like where they had their first date, to “reflect” on the relationship.
  • Writing a letter expressing your feelings to the person (but never sending it).


“Death of a Loved One” Rituals:

  • Doing activities that they used to enjoy doing with that person.
  • Creating a song, poem, or piece of art and dedicated it to them.
  • Watching movies and listening to music that reminded them of the person and brought up positive memories with them.
  • Still setting up the dinner table for the lost family member or relative.

Rituals like these can be a very effective way to alleviate grief and loss, because they help the person find more “closure” with the experience – and once they have that, they have an easier time moving on and embracing the future.

Another really interesting thing about rituals, and using rituals to “start a new chapter in your life” is that there is no “right” or “wrong” way – all that matters is that they meansomething to the person doing them.

To an outside person, a ritual can seem silly, ridiculous, or just plain stupid, but if the person doing the ritual finds meaning and comfort in it, then it’s a valid method toward helping them create a new chapter.

Our minds are extremely sensitive to meaning. And often times, something that we see as meaningful can have a much greater impact on our lives than something we only see as rational or logical.

So to really create change in yourself and your life, you have to play more with meaning. And this entails creating “rituals” for yourself, or acting in more “symbolic” ways – because the truth is that is what our brains really respond to.

 

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HE PROMISE OF PEACE IN THE MIDST OF STORM

GREAT PROMISES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
(Key verse: Isaiah 26:3)

This promise was given by God in the darkest period of Israel’s history, yet it will be a great help to us now when we are surrounded by much gloom and depression, constantly threatened with the three enemies of doubt, fear and worry. When all is going well it’s easy to read a promise like this in a superficial way, but when disappointment and trial comes these words become precious. There is no promise in the Bible to suggest that here on earth we shall ever experience freedom from trouble, war, trial, temptation, anguish, loss etc., but something far better is promised: it is the promise of perfect peace in the midst of all these. Of what value would freedom from these troubles be if we had no inward peace? Yet it’s possible in the fiercest battle for the trusting soul to experience a deep-down calm, an inward peace and a quiet confidence –- look up Isaiah 30:15. Do you long to experience perfect peace?

1. NOTICE WHAT THIS BLESSING IS THAT IS OFFERED TO US

It is described as ““perfect peace””, but can we define that? Yes, it is a condition of freedom from disturbance; it isperfect harmony reigning within us. The Hebrew word ‘‘shalom’’ has in it the idea of soundness of health, so that to be filled with perfect peace is to be spiritually healthy and free from discord within our souls. There can be no room for jealousy, envy, uncontrolled temper, selfishness, pride, intolerance, harsh criticism, fear or anxiety in the soul that is filled with peace; all these things are disturbing factors in our hearts and discordant notes. The peace which God offers and which by His grace we may experience is very practical. It is a great calm which He commands (Mark 4:39). God calls His peace ““perfect peace””. In what sense is it perfect?

  1. It is perfect in its quality. That is to say, it is perfect in the kind of peace it is. There is an imperfect peace; there is the imperfect peace of ignorance when we imagine that all is going well, whereas in fact all is not well (Jeremiah 6:14). There is the imperfect peace of stagnation. The pool of water may be calm and peaceful but underneath it is foul and green with slime. Many men and women know only a peace like that, and one day the shock of God’’s judgment will stir up their pool and they will find that they have no real peace at all (Isaiah 57:14). Then there is the imperfect peace of dependence, which is a peace dependent upon some thing or some person in this world. The ‘‘thing’’ may fail, the ‘person’ may die –- and where then is their peace? In contrast, God’’s peace is perfect.
  2. It is perfect in its quantity. That is to say, the supply of it is sufficient and it exactly meets our need. The marginal rendering of “perfect peace” is “peace, peace” –- that is double peace. Notice the significance of this in Philippians 4:7 where we read that this double peace is the peace of heart and of mind; and that is the kind of peace we need, a peace that garrisons our mind and calms our heart. It is also double peace in the sense that it is peace with God (Romans 5:1) and the peace of God (Philippians 4:7), and we can never know the peace of God until we know peace with God.
  3. It is perfect in its constancy. It is permanent and not intermittent. The promise says, “”You will keep…”” –- compare Psalm 121:4.

 

2. HOW DOES THIS PERFECT PEACE COME TO US?

  1. By Christ Jesus. In Philippians 4:7 we read that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source from whom God’’s peace flows into our souls. It is the possession of the Christian alone; there is no peace for anyone who does not possess Christ and who is not resting on the finished work of Christ for salvation, thereby ““making peace through his blood, shed on the cross””. Read Colossians 1:19-20.
  2. By the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ procured peace on the Cross of Calvary and it is offered to us by Him as the source; but it is conveyed to our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). As the Holy Spirit fills and floods our lives, so He produces this fruit within us.
  3. By His Word. Have you ever noticed the great promise made in Psalm 119:165? A better rendering of ‘’stumble’’ is ‘‘disturb’’. How often things and people disturb us! But here is a promise of perfect peace to those people who love, meditate in and obey the Word of God.
  4. By our obedience. Please look up Leviticus 26:3-6 and be sure to notice that the most important word here is the word ‘‘If’’’. God guarantees to us that if we will do our part He will surely do His part.
  5. By plenty of prayer and praise. Notice that the promise of Philippians 4:7 is preceded by the conditions mentioned in verse 6.

 

3. TWO CONDITIONS MUST BE MET IF WE WOULD EXPERIENCE PERFECT PEACE

Who will God keep in perfect peace? The one ““whose mind is steadfast” and the one who ““trusts””. Both these expressions denote faith but one is a head word and the other is a heart word. What is the difference? With the head we believe that God is the author and giver of peace and that He is able and willing to give it; and with the heart we trust Him to do it, so receive it by faith.

Isaiah 26:3 begins with God and ends with God; it begins with ““you”” and ends with ““you””, and the trusting soul goes in between. Perfect peace is the Lord Himself within us –- not an experience, a doctrine, an ‘’it’’, a code of belief –- but the Lord Himself!

Read This When You Are Having A Bad Day.

1. No one promised life would be perfect.

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” -Leo Tolstoy

Don’t condition your happiness on meeting every expectation you set for yourself. It is good to be ambitious, but you’ll never be perfect. If you expect otherwise, your life will be rife with disappointments.

2. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” -Molière

Don’t kid yourself into thinking success will come quickly. It isn’t easy to be patient, but anything worth doing requires time (often, lots of it!). If you get frustrated, remind yourself why your goal is important.

3. There is a lesson in every struggle.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
-Haruki Murakami

Don’t complain about how terrible your life is. It is tempting to do, but stressing out won’t make you feel any better. If you search for the lesson in your present struggle, you’ll be able to make positive changes that would prevent similar situations in the future.

4. Without hard times, you wouldn’t appreciate the good ones.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger

Don’t get sad if you lose. It is hard to find much to smile about when you fail, but how else would you improve yourself? If you look at failure as a part of your evolutionary process, you’ll stay positive and pursue your goals for as long as it takes.

5. It’s okay to cry sometimes.

“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Don’t be afraid of crying. It isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather an acceptable way to let go of your upset feelings. If you let those feelings build up without release, you’ll have a much harder time dealing with them later.

6. It’s not okay to worry forever.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” -Corrie ten Boom

Don’t worry about everything. It is human nature to obsess with all the things that could go wrong, but this will result in a self-inflicted mental nightmare. If you forget about the things you can’t control, you’ll be empowered to to concentrate on the things you can.

7. No one’s life is as picturesque as it looks.

“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” -Marcus Aurelius

Don’t compare your life to what another person reflects online. It is okay to interact with your friends online, but don’t believe everything you see. If you feel like your life pales in comparison, realize that you are comparing yourself to a highlight reel of their lives.

8. It takes courage to ask for help.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. It is tough to put yourself in a vulnerable position, but opening up to a friend will help you deal with your troubles. If you feel like a burden, remember that no one would have achieved much if they didn’t ask for support when they needed it.

9. You deserve love and happiness.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Think of something you are thankful for right now. It could be the cup of coffee you had this morning, the sweet puppy you’ll be going home to tonight, or the healthy set of eyes that allowed you to read this article. It’s so easy to lose sight of these little things when we’re upset. I challenge you to break that trend. The next time you get upset, think about something that makes you happy. Repeat this behavior until it becomes second nature. Your negative thoughts will have no power over you if you learn to stop lingering on them.

“What does the Bible say about war?”

Many people make the mistake of reading what the Bible says in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not kill,” and then seeking to apply this command to war. However, the Hebrew word literally means “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice; murder.” God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations (1 Samuel 15:3; Joshua 4:13). God ordered the death penalty for numerous crimes (Exodus 21:12, 15; 22:19; Leviticus 20:11). So, God is not against killing in all circumstances, but only murder. War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a necessary thing. In a world filled with sinful people (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Sometimes the only way to keep sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent is by going to war.

In the Old Testament, God ordered the Israelites to “take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites” (Numbers 31:2). Deuteronomy 20:16-17 declares, “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…as the LORD your God has commanded you.” Also, 1 Samuel 15:18 says, “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.” Obviously God is not against all war. Jesus is always in perfect agreement with the Father (John 10:30), so we cannot argue that war was only God’s will in the Old Testament. God does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17).

Jesus’ second coming will be exceedingly violent. Revelation 19:11-21 describes the ultimate war with Christ, the conquering commander who judges and makes war “with justice” (v. 11). It’s going to be bloody (v. 13) and gory. The birds will eat the flesh of all those who oppose Him (v. 17-18). He has no compassion upon His enemies, whom He will conquer completely and consign to a “fiery lake of burning sulfur” (v. 20).

It is an error to say that God never supports a war. Jesus is not a pacifist. In a world filled with evil people, sometimes war is necessary to prevent even greater evil. If Hitler had not been defeated by World War II, how many more millions would have been killed? If the American Civil War had not been fought, how much longer would African-Americans have had to suffer as slaves?

War is a terrible thing. Some wars are more “just” than others, but war is always the result of sin (Romans 3:10-18). At the same time, Ecclesiastes 3:8 declares, “There is…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” In a world filled with sin, hatred, and evil (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Christians should not desire war, but neither are Christians to oppose the government God has placed in authority over them (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17). The most important thing we can be doing in a time of war is to be praying for godly wisdom for our leaders, praying for the safety of our military, praying for quick resolution to conflicts, and praying for a minimum of casualties among civilians on both sides (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

“What does the Bible say about knowledge?”

Answer: The word knowledge in the Bible denotes an understanding, a recognition, or an acknowledgment. To “know” something is to perceive it or to be aware of it. Many times in Scripture, knowledge carries the idea of a deeper appreciation of something or a relationship with someone. The Bible is clear that the knowledge of God is the most valuable knowledge a human being can possess. But it is also clear that simply being aware of God’s existence is not sufficient; the knowledge of God must encompass the deep appreciation for and relationship with Him.

We know from Scripture that knowledge is a gift from God. Proverbs 2:6 tells us that the Lord gives wisdom that comes from His own mouth—the Word of God—and that the wisdom of God results in knowledge and understanding. James adds that those who lack wisdom have only to ask for it and God will give it abundantly and generously. God’s desire is for all to know Him, appreciate Him, and have a relationship with Him; therefore, He grants to all who truly seek Him the wisdom that leads to knowledge. Further, because knowledge is God’s to give, those who reverence Him will receive it. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The word fear here is not dread or terror but a reverence for God, respect for His law, His will, His rule in our lives, and the fear of offending Him, which will lead us to obey, worship and praise Him.

God gives the gift of knowledge out of His infinite store of knowledge. Psalm 19:2 tells us that God’s creation reveals the Creator’s knowledge: “Night after night [the skies] display knowledge.” The vastness of God’s knowledge and creative power are on display continually and are clearly seen in what He has created, as Paul reminds us in Romans 1:19-20. Not only is God’s knowledge infinite, but it is absolute: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! / How unsearchable his judgments, / and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33). When God came to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ, He became the embodiment of knowledge: “. . . Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

Human knowledge, apart from God, is flawed. The Bible also refers to it as worthless because it isn’t tempered by love (1 Corinthians 13:2). The knowledge man possesses tends to make one proud. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Therefore, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, without seeking God, is foolishness. “Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom . . . but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief” (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18). Worldly knowledge is a false knowledge which is opposed to the truth, and Paul urges us to “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21). Human knowledge is opposed to God’s knowledge and therefore is no knowledge at all; rather, it is foolishness.

For the Christian, knowledge implies a relationship. For example, when the Bible says that “Adam knew Eve his wife” (Genesis 4:1, NKJV), it means he had a physical union with her. Spiritual relationships are also described this way. Jesus used the word know to refer to His saving relationship with those who follow Him: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). He also told His disciples, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). By contrast, Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews, “You do not know [my Father]” (verse 55). Therefore, to know Christ is to have faith in Him, to follow Him, to have a relationship with Him, to love and by loved by Him. (See also John 14:7; 1 Corinthians 8:3; Galatians 4:9; and 2 Timothy 2:19.) Increasing in the knowledge of God is part of Christian maturity and is something all Christians are to experience as we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-knowledge.html#ixzz3IxwZFyri

Deuteronomy 31

1And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. 2And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 3The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said. 4And the Lord shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed. 5And the Lord shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 7And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 8And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. 9And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. 10And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. 14And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. 15And the Lord appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle. 16And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? 18And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. 20For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. 21And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware. 22Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. 23And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee. 24And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, 25That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, 26Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. 27For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death? 28Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. 29For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. 30And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.

What does the Bible say about interracial marriage?

The Old Testament Law commanded the Israelites not to engage in interracial marriage (Deuteronomy 7:3–4). However, the reason for this was not primarily racial. Rather, it was religious. The reason God commanded against interracial marriage for the Jews was that people of other races were worshippers of false gods. The Israelites would be led astray from God if they intermarried with idol worshippers, pagans, or heathens. This is exactly what happened in Israel, according to Malachi 2:11.

A similar principle of spiritual purity is laid out in the New Testament, but it has nothing to do with race: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Just as the Israelites (believers in the one true God) were commanded not to marry idolaters, so Christians (believers in the one true God) are commanded not to marry unbelievers. The Bible never says that interracial marriage is wrong. Anyone who forbids interracial marriage is doing so without biblical authority.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., noted, a person should be judged by his or her character, not by skin color. There is no place in the life of the Christian for favoritism based on race (James 2:1–10). In fact, the biblical perspective is that there is only one “race”—the human race, with everyone having descended from Adam and Eve. When selecting a mate, a Christian should first find out if the potential spouse is born again by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:3–5). Faith in Christ, not skin color, is the biblical standard for choosing a spouse. Interracial marriage is not a matter of right or wrong but of wisdom, discernment, and prayer.

A couple considering marriage needs to weigh many factors. While a difference in skin color should not be ignored, it absolutely should not be the determining factor in whether a couple should marry. An interracial couple may face discrimination and ridicule, and they should be prepared to respond to such prejudice in a biblical manner. “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” (Romans 10:12). A colorblind church and/or a Christian interracial marriage can be a powerful illustration of our equality in Christ.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/interracial-marriage.html#ixzz3CSDkLzRC

“What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?”

Answer: First of all, no matter what view one takes on the issue of divorce, it is important to remember Malachi 2:16: “I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel.” According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment. “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6). God realizes, though, that since marriages involve two sinful human beings, divorces are going to occur. In the Old Testament, He laid down some laws in order to protect the rights of divorcees, especially women (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Jesus pointed out that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because they were God’s desire (Matthew 19:8).

The controversy over whether divorce and remarriage is allowed according to the Bible revolves primarily around Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. The phrase “except for marital unfaithfulness” is the only thing in Scripture that possibly gives God’s permission for divorce and remarriage. Many interpreters understand this “exception clause” as referring to “marital unfaithfulness” during the “betrothal” period. In Jewish custom, a man and a woman were considered married even while they were still engaged or “betrothed.” According to this view, immorality during this “betrothal” period would then be the only valid reason for a divorce.

However, the Greek word translated “marital unfaithfulness” is a word which can mean any form of sexual immorality. It can mean fornication, prostitution, adultery, etc. Jesus is possibly saying that divorce is permissible if sexual immorality is committed. Sexual relations are an integral part of the marital bond: “the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31). Therefore, any breaking of that bond by sexual relations outside of marriage might be a permissible reason for divorce. If so, Jesus also has remarriage in mind in this passage. The phrase “and marries another” (Matthew 19:9) indicates that divorce and remarriage are allowed in an instance of the exception clause, whatever it is interpreted to be. It is important to note that only the innocent party is allowed to remarry. Although it is not stated in the text, the allowance for remarriage after a divorce is God’s mercy for the one who was sinned against, not for the one who committed the sexual immorality. There may be instances where the “guilty party” is allowed to remarry, but it is not taught in this text.

Some understand 1 Corinthians 7:15 as another “exception,” allowing remarriage if an unbelieving spouse divorces a believer. However, the context does not mention remarriage, but only says a believer is not bound to continue a marriage if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave. Others claim that abuse (spousal or child) is a valid reason for divorce even though it is not listed as such in the Bible. While this may very well be the case, it is never wise to presume upon the Word of God.

Sometimes lost in the debate over the exception clause is the fact that whatever “marital unfaithfulness” means, it is an allowance for divorce, not a requirement for it. Even when adultery is committed, a couple can, through God’s grace, learn to forgive and begin rebuilding their marriage. God has forgiven us of so much more. Surely we can follow His example and even forgive the sin of adultery (Ephesians 4:32). However, in many instances, a spouse is unrepentant and continues in sexual immorality. That is where Matthew 19:9 can possibly be applied. Many also look to quickly remarry after a divorce when God might desire them to remain single. God sometimes calls people to be single so that their attention is not divided (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). Remarriage after a divorce may be an option in some circumstances, but that does not mean it is the only option.

It is distressing that the divorce rate among professing Christians is nearly as high as that of the unbelieving world. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and that reconciliation and forgiveness should be the marks of a believer’s life (Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32). However, God recognizes that divorce will occur, even among His children. A divorced and/or remarried believer should not feel any less loved by God, even if the divorce and/or remarriage is not covered under the possible exception clause of Matthew 19:9. God often uses even the sinful disobedience of Christians to accomplish great good.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/divorce-remarriage.html#ixzz3AkyunwR5

Biblical Steps to inner healing

God wants to take your wounds, pain, hurts, and sorrow! Before we begin, I want you to know that God desires to heal our wounds and take our pain and hurt from us. You know how you can love somebody so much, that you wish you could take their pain or suffering from them? That’s how Jesus feels about us… He loves us so much that He paid the price for our emotional healing in the work on the cross! Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” He carried our sorrows in His work on the cross. The NT Greek tells us that the word sorrows here literally refers to anguish, affliction, grief, pain, and sorrow. Jesus took these things and paid the price with His own blood for us! You need to know that God desires to heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds. This is what the Bible tells us: Psalms 147:3, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Do you want to receive healing from emotional wounds, pain, sorrows, grief, and anguish? It is vital that we take advantage of what Christ has done for us, and learn to cast our cares upon the Lord. Not some of them, but ALL of them; knowing that He cares for you and wants to take those things from you. 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Release those hurt, painful and fearful emotions into the hands of Jesus Hanging onto fear, hurt and pain can actually block the healing power of the Holy Spirit in your soul. It is vital to open up and allow the Lord to heal your wounds. Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Jesus paid the price for the healing of our souls and to set us free from the bondage that we have come under from the bruises that we’ve received. It is important to God that we receive this inner healing… His Son paid a costly price for it! Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In the above verse, it’s not speaking about a heavy physical burden, but a burden in a person’s soul. This is made evident in the later part of this passage where it says, “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Jesus is telling us to come unto Him and give Him our heavy burden, and take His yoke which is light and easy to bear. Allow your painful emotions to be released as you give them to the Lord. It’s okay to cry, sob and let the damaged emotions come out as they are given to the hands of the Lord. Holding on to the pain and hurt will only prevent you from be healed. James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” If you can find a person to confide in, it can also be very helpful to share your burden with them and receive prayer for healing. There is tremendous healing that can take place as you share your pain with a fellow brother or sister in Christ! Realize the love of God for you; this will help you open up and receive inner healing Knowing the true nature of our heavenly Father will help us to trust Him and open ourselves up so that we can receive the healing that only the Holy Spirit can provide for us. Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” After Christ has suffered and died for us, why would He withhold healing our wounded souls? We can confidently open up to Him and know that He has our best interests in mind simply by looking at what He went through on the cross for us. You are loved by God, not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are. The Bible tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He longed to have a relationship with you even before you became His child! Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus said that the greatest love a man can show for his friends, is when he lays down his life for them. Jesus laid down His life for us – that is how valuable and dear we are to Him! John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Did you know that God loves us with the same love that He had towards Jesus Himself? Yes, believe it or not, this is true! I want you to look up this verse in your Bible: John 17:23, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” It is absolutely essential that we learn of and realize the love that our heavenly Father has for us. Without knowing the love of God for us, we cannot be filled with His fullness: Ephesians 3:17-19, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Realize God’s will for your mind and receive it! 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Abuse, trauma, hurt and pain are all works of the devil. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and restore His children to the fullness to which He created them to fulfill. When Jesus was here on earth, He went about doing the will of the Father in heaven, and this included healing all who were oppressed of the devil: Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Jesus desire for you is to heal your broken heart and set you who have been bruised at liberty: Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” He wants to restore your soul from all the damage that has been done to you: Psalms 23:3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Extend forgiveness towards those who have hurt you Unforgiveness will hinder or block the healing power of the Holy Spirit. It will bind you up and separate you from God’s forgiving and healing power. It is vital to release those feelings that you have against others, so that the Holy Spirit’s healing and forgiving power can heal and restore your soul. Unforgiveness is a deadly poison that separates us from God’s forgiveness in our own lives and gives us over to tormenting spirits. It is hard to receive healing when one is in such a position. Consider these passages in scripture concerning the deadliness of unforgiveness and bitterness in our lives: Mark 11:25-26, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” As we can see, unforgiveness will block God’s forgiveness from operating in our own lives. Inner healing requires God’s forgiveness. Matthew 18:32-35, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Unforgiveness will put us into the hands of tormenting spirits. This is the last thing we need when we’re seeking healing for our souls! As if that isn’t enough, unforgiveness also puts a person in spiritual darkness and separation from God, and defiles us spiritually: 1 John 2:11, “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” It is absolutely essential to release feelings of bitterness and unforgiveness, in order to fully receive healing for our souls. Forgiving others will welcome the healing power of the Holy Spirit into our lives. Realize who you are in Christ Realizing your identity in Christ is absolutely vital to our healing process. You need to know that you are a new creation in Christ, freed from the darkness of your past, forgiven of your sins, and freedom and healing are yours because of the Blood that Christ shed for you! I encourage you to go through my teaching entitled, “Who we REALLY are” for more information. Stop feeding on lies of insecurity, guilt, and pain (Jesus took your pain!) My father often uses the story of two men on our shoulders, and whichever one you listen to will crowd the other one out. This is absolutely true concerning how we handle God’s voice and the devil’s voice. Just recently the Holy Spirit gave me a powerful revelation, here’s what He said to me: “You need to be discerning of the voice of the devil… it is your responsibility not to give consideration (or pay attention) to it!” (Wording may be slightly different, but that is the exact message) It is absolutely vital that we NOT listen or pay attention to the voice of the devil in our minds. God’s Word tells us that we need to be taking every thought captive to the obedience to Christ: 2 Corinthians 10:4, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” One thing you can look out for is condemnation and fear. Both of these come from the enemy. “What if” thinking is always a giveaway that there’s a demon doing the speaking. For more information about condemnation, I recommend reading my teaching on Condemnation vs Conviction. Forgive yourself – see yourself as God sees you Forgiving yourself is a vital step that we must take while seeking inner healing. We need to love and appreciate the person that Christ has made in us! It is vital to see ourselves for who we really are in Christ. If you continue to beat yourself up for your past failures, after the Blood of Christ has washed them away, then you are, in reality, denying the very work of the cross! Here are a few (of many) good verses to mediate on in God’s Word: Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Hebrews 10:22, “…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.” Colossians 1:22-23, “…he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.” (NLT) For more information on forgiving yourself, I recommend going through my teaching entitled, “Forgiving yourself.” I also highly recommend my teaching entitled, “A love relationship w/Jesus.” Speak to the pain and release it into Jesus’ hands Lastly, go to the pain, the emotional wound that is hidden within you, and confront it with the healing love of Christ. Knowing that Jesus has paid for your emotional wounds, hurts, pains, and sorrows, tell the inner hurt, painful memories, and emotional affliction to leave in the name of Jesus. Then call upon Jesus to remove those things from you. You might pray something like this, “Lord Jesus, I love you, thank you for bearing my burden on the cross. I ask that take these inner hurts, painful memories, and emotional wounds from me right now. I submit them to you, and accept your peace in place of those things which I am giving up.” The next step is to seek deliverance from any spirits that are involved in your mind or emotions. These spirits must be confronted and cast out in Jesus’ name. You may attempt this yourself as a self-deliverance, or seek a qualified deliverance minister to help you with this step. If you begin to experience overwhelming or strong demonic reactions from the below prayer, or if the spirits aren’t coming out, then it is recommended to seek deliverance from a qualified minister. If you are not yet a believer in Christ, then I do not recommend confronting any evil spirits until you do. Without Christ, the demons are nothing to mess with, they are powerful spiritual beings, and without Christ, they are not yet disarmed in your life (see Colossians 2:13-15). If you would like to accept Jesus right now as your Lord and savior, go before Him now with a prayer like this, “Lord Jesus Christ, I realize I am a sinner. I believe you died and shed your blood for the remission of my sins, so that I may have eternal life. Right now, I turn from my sins and ask that you come into my life, changing me into a new person and washing all my sins away. I receive you as my personal Lord and Savior. Amen.” A simple self-deliverance prayer might go something like this, “I now come against any unclean spirits that have been influencing my mind, will and emotions, and I take authority over these spirits