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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
“Of thirty Roman emperors, governors of provinces and others in high office, who distinguished themselves by their zeal and bitterness in persecuting the early Christians, one became speedily deranged after some atrocious cruelty, one was slain by his own son, one became blind, the eyes of one started out of his head, one was drowned, one was strangled, one died in a miserable captivity, one fell dead in a manner that will not bear recital, one died of so loathsome a disease that several of his physicians were put to death because they could not abide the stench that filled his room, two committed suicide, a third attempted it but had to call for help to finish the work, five were assassinated by their own people or servants, five others died the most miserable and excruciating deaths, several of them having an untold complication of diseases, and eight were killed in battles, or after being taken prisoners.
Among these was Julian the Apostate. In the days of his prosperity he is said to have pointed his dagger to heaven, defying the Son of God whom he commonly called the Galilean. But when he was wounded in battle, he saw that all was over with him, and he gathered up his clotted blood and threw it into the air, exclaiming, thou has conquered, O thou Galilean.” (Boise 25)
The Bridger Generation, those born between ‘77 and ‘94 and the second largest generation in history, is growing up in homes with no moral certainty, no absolutes, no sense of why right is right and wrong is wrong, and no certain hope for eternal life and God’s abiding presence today. Christians can despair about the current state of religion or lack of religion in our generation, or the church can see this moment as an opportunity to win a generation before they turn to other belief systems. (Dr. Thom Rainer, Central Church.com 10/1/03)
FRUITFULNESS AS GOD’S WORK
A few years ago, the Associated Press released a study done by an agricultural school in Iowa. It reported that production of 100 bushels of corn from one acre of land, in addition to the many hours of the farmer’s labor, required 4,000,000 pounds of water, 6,800 pounds of oxygen, 5,200 pounds of carbon, 160 pounds of nitrogen, 125 pounds of potassium, 75 pounds of yellow sulphur, and other elements too numerous to list. In addition to these things, which no man can produce, rain and sunshine at the right time are critical. It was estimated that only 5 percent of the produce of a farm...
The Spanish Parliament’s move to grant rights previously reserved for human beings to chimpanzees and other apes is a victory for those seeking to minimize the uniqueness of humanity, a bioethics specialist says. An environmental committee in Spain’s legislature approved a resolution on 5/25/08 calling for the government to abide by the Great Apes Project, a 15-year-old campaign to grant the right to life, freedom and no torture to chimps, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos. The measure has the support of a majority of Parliament and is expected to become law, according to Reuters News Service.
(BP News 7/1/08)
THE NOAHIDE COMMANDS
A Pagan could become > An Alien Believer > A God-fearer > A Jew (proselyte)
A pagan would be an idolater or worship many gods, or one not serving the true God.
An alien believer would be a gentile who wanted to be saved, repented from his sins and turned to the God of Israel in faith; he was expected to abide by the Noahide commands
A God-fearer was an alien believer who also observed the Sabbath, abided by the dietary laws of Israel, and participated in synagogue training and worship.
A Jewish convert (proselyte) to Judaism was a God-fearer who submitted to circumcision and was immersed (baptized). He would be expected to have sacrifices offered in the Temple and pay the Temple tax.
The Noahide commands deduced from the Covenant with Noah and all mankind after the flood (Genesis 9). The Rabbis stretched the text to imply the following standards: (1) no idolatry, (2) no incest/adultery, (3) no murder, (4) no blasphemy (profaning God’s Name), (5) no theft, (6) justice toward others, and (7) no eating flesh with blood in it and/or cutting off flesh from a living animal.
[Source for above, The Enduring Paradox: Exploratory Essays in Messianic Judaism by Dr. John Fischer, editor, pp. 176-178].