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Bruce Howell
 
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“I prayed for faith and thought that some day it would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith didn’t seem to come. One day I read in Romans that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” I had up to this time, closed my Bible and prayed for faith. Now I opened my Bible and began to study and faith has been growing ever since.”
D.L. Moody

 
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Michael McCartney
 
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I found a great article which addresses the question “Does God Play Favorites? On page 1562 in the Quest Study Bible: Listen to what it says: The whole Bible teaches that God is fair and just (Psalm 11:7). It also states that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:23), but that he wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, the idea of God’s purpose in election (v. 11) raises some hard questions, such as “How can God choose some and pass on others?” People have attempted to explain God’s election in several ways. Some hold the view that God elects some to be saved because he knows beforehand that they will choose to accept Christ (8:29). Their election, according to this view, is based on God’s foreknowledge (Arminianism). Others conclude that God, in his wise and sovereign will, chooses some but not others for reasons we cannot understand. His selection may seem unfair, but that is simply because we have limited perspective. Humans, bound in sin. Do not naturally seek God (3:11), but when God’s grace comes to the elect, it frees them to choose God (Calvinism). Still others emphasize that God elected Jesus, his Son, and that all those who are in Christ by faith share in that corporate election. What about Pharaoh (vv. 17-18)? While the Bible clearly states that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (v. 18; see Exodus 9:12), it also records Pharaoh’s own decision to harden his heart (Exodus 8:15). The mystery of how God works in election is not easily resolved. Difficult questions continue to confound us. In the end we may need to confess that our understanding is limited, that we may be missing some key part of God’s plan that would allow us to understand election better (page 1562, Quest Study Bible).

 
Contributed By:
Matthew Kratz
 
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Can This Be Christmas?
What's all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and curry?
Why all the lights--the Christmas trees?
The jolly "fat man," tell me please!

Why, don't you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

So this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He's not here--you'll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, "Come in to stay."

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.

I'm tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I'll go instead to Calvary.

And there I'll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ--this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.

In endless bliss we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ--not Christmas!

(Source: M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible Class found in Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)

 
Contributed By:
Steve Malone
 
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Max Lucado says, “The Bible has been banned, burned, scoffed, and ridiculed. Scholars have mocked it as foolish. Kings have branded it as illegal. A thousand times over, the grave has been dug and the dirge has begun, but somehow the Bible never stays in the grave. Not only has it survived, it has thrived. It’s the single most popular book in all of history. It has been the best-selling book in the world for years.”


1 Peter 1:24,25 - “All men ar...

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Contributed By:
Lynn Floyd
 
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Two of our greatest presidents said some pretty important statements about the Bible. George Washington said, “It is impossible to righteously govern the world without God and the Bible.” President Ronald Reagan said, “Within the covers of one single book, the Bible, are all the answers to all the problems that face us today—if only we would read and believe.

 
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John Stott in Authentic Christianity noted: "We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgments instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior."

 
Contributed By:
Alan Affleck
 
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Any armour, including the Armour of God is useless without a sword - for the enemy can keep attacking until the armour gives way - how important then is it to be acquaint with the Sword of the Spirit.

 
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Comments About Muhammad Originate in Key Islamic Source

Two former Muslims responded June 12 to complaints from Islamic groups that a speaker’s comments at the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in St. Louis were "bigoted" and "hateful."

National media have widely reported that Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., described Muhammad as a "demon-possessed pedophile" during a June 10 sermon and that Vines inferred that Islam teaches the destruction of non-Muslims.

Clarifying that Vines not only quoted from their recent book, "Unveiling Islam," Emir and Ergun Caner said Vines also quoted from the Hadith, a highly respected source for Islamic teaching among Muslim clerics and followers worldwide. The Hadith itself verifies that Muhammad married a 6-year-old girl and consummated the marriage when she was 9, the professor-brothers said.

"It’s simply a matter of quoting [Islamic] sources," said Emir Caner, an assistant professor of church history and Anabaptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. "If we are wrong in our understanding of the Islamic scriptures, we would be happy to be corrected."

The specific Hadith citation concerning Muhammad’s pedophilia is in volume 7, book 6, number 64 and 65, said Ergun Caner, an assistant professor of theology and church history at Criswell College in Dallas.

Both Emir and Ergun Caner were Sunni Muslims who became Christians in 1982.

"The comments in question cannot be considered bigotry when they come from Islamic writings," Ergun Caner said.

A lengthy passage from the Hadith, volume 1, book 1, chapter 1, shows that Muhammad himself believed he was under demonic influence, but it notes that Muhammad’s wife is the one who deemed his experience as "divine," Ergun Caner said.

Concerning terrorism and Islamic jihad, Emir Caner noted variant interpretations by Muslims themselves. Some see jihad as a "spiritual war," and others, "physical," he said.

"Some Muslims want to allegorize their own scriptures because they don’t want to defend jihad," Emir Caner said. "But if you take the Koran at its word, or Muhammad at his word, then you’ll find physical jihad."

The highest level of Muslim heaven -- which has 70 perpetual virgins on couches -- is reserved for Muslims who "shed their blood," said Ergun Caner said, referencing Hadith 135.

Islam’s tilt toward violence, Emir Caner said, also is reflected in the
Koran: "Slay the enemy where you find him, Surah 9.92," whereas Christians are commanded to love their enemies.

"A so-called Christian who bombs an abortion clinic or shoots an abortionist and says God told him to do it does that act against the Bible," Ergun Caner said. "But the Muslim who commits acts of violence in jihad does so with the approval of Muhammad.

"When 9/11 happened, we were all shocked. But where was the international outrage when jihad killed 3 million people in Sudan?" Ergun Caner asked.

As former Sunni Muslims, the Caners cite the major differences between Islam and Christianity as the "personalness" of God, and "grace as opposed to works."

"Jesus Christ ... is ultimately personal and wants to have a relationship with me," Ergun Caner said.

The Koran says Allah "is as close as your jugular vein, which is a place of fear, not of faith,"...

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"The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for a theologians to swim in without ever touching the bottom" St. Jerome

 
Contributed By:
Troy Borst
 
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Steeped study time from autoillustrator.com

Consider the difference between a strong and a weak cup of tea. The same ingredients water and tea are used for both. The difference is that the strong cup of tea results from the tea leaves’ immersion in the water longer, allowing the water more time to get into the tea and the tea into the water. The longer the steeping process, the stronger the cup of tea. In the same way, the length of time we spend in God’s Word determines how deeply we get into it and it gets into us. Just like the tea, the longer we are in the Word, the "stronger" we become.

 
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