God's Word

Finding Hope in a Hopeless World

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  • I’ve always wanted to do something that made a difference in other people’s lives. When I was young my heroes were Albert Schweitzer, Jane Addams, and Harriet Tubman, which is why I chose to pursue a master’s degree in social work:  I wanted to ‘save the world’!  And at the time, I thought I could. I falsely believed that man had the ability to ‘save others’.I was reminded of that former and incorrect belief last week when I read news reports regarding the tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.  My heart was broken not only for Philip, but for all those who’ve been deceived into thinking that ‘fame and fortune’, and the ‘pleasures’ of this temporal world can satisfy the deepest longing of their souls. I ached knowing that Philip, like everyone else who has ever lived, was hungry for significance—true significance—that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus, the One and Only true Savior of the world.Instead of receiving the salvation he’d craved, Philip was allured by the momentary rush of drugs and ensnared by Satan, whose ultimate goal is always death.  He bought the lie that using drugs would bring him pleasure. Our society has also bought a lie: that manmade and man centered ‘programs’ can ‘save’ alcoholics, drug addicts, or anyone else in need.  They cannot. Programs have their place, but we must realize that Jesus is the only One who can truly save and satisfy the souls of men and women.What is at the root of the epidemic drug addictions, suicides and depression plaguing our culture? I believe it’s that many people no longer believe in God as their Creator and they don’t know that they can have a relationship with Him.  The impact that the teaching of evolution has had on our society over the past century cannot be overestimated.   “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) If people are taught to believe that they just ‘evolved’ out of the ‘muck and mire’ and therefore this life is all that there is, why wouldn’t you live for earthly pleasures and to satisfy your every selfish desire?  And then be despondent and feel hopeless when you discover that those selfish pursuits do not satisfy the deepest longings of your soul?God warned us in Colossians 2:8, “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.”  He wants us to know and believe in Him because He loves us; He knows that nothing other than a relationship with Him will ever bring the peace and joy  that we crave in our lives and that we were created to enjoy.Unlike past generations, our public schools no longer teach that we are created by a loving, all-powerful, Sovereign God who has a plan and purpose for our lives.  In the absence of that belief, mankind is naturally going to live aimless, meaningless, hopeless lives.  We are reaping what we have sown:  purposeless lives that have arisen from a belief in a false, empty, manmade theory.In contrast to this world’s empty philosophies, those who know God are given direction and significance because they know:Who made us, and whose we are:
    • “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people…” Psalm 100:3
    •  ”Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124: 8
    • “…everyone who is called by my name,  whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7
    That we were created with a purpose:
    • “For we are God’s handiworkcreated in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
    •  "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it;” Genesis 1:28
    •  “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13b-14
    That the One Who created us is Sovereign; He is the ruler of the world and trustworthy: 
    •  ”Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” 1st Chronicles 29:11-12
    • ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
    •  “…the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords…” 1st Timothy 6:15
    •  ”For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:37
    That we are loved:
    •  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” John 15: 9
    •  ”This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1st John 4:10
    That when we feel aimless or hopeless, we can trust in God Who alone can save us and provide for our every need:
    •  ”Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5
    •  ”And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.” Isaiah 45:21
    •  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
    It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent.”   Jeremy TaylorHave you been deceived by the empty philosophies of this world and put your hope in that which is fleeting, or is your hope anchored in God who created you with a glorious purpose; Who loves you with an everlasting love; Who is all powerful and trustworthy; and rules and reigns forever and ever?

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Fallacies Behind the Abortion Holocaust

As we recognize the 41

st

 anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion and paved the way for the 

legal

murdering of over 

55 million

 babies in our nation, it is important that we stop to consider the fallacies that made that ruling possible. Keep in mind that the ruling has led to the following: 

3,300 abortions daily

, which translates to 

137 abortions per hour every hour,

 or a baby being murdered every 

30 second

s. It has been said, “The most dangerous place in America is inside a mother’s womb.” How have we gotten to this place in America, a nation which was founded upon Biblical principles and with respect for the commandments of God?

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The court case of Roe vs. Wade was based upon several lies, some more obvious than others:

1) Plaintiff Jane ‘Roe’ lied and said she had been raped when she found herself pregnant and was referred to activist lawyers who were aggressively looking for pregnant women. The very premise of the law was based upon the violation of God’s command to ‘not bear false witness.’ Exodus 20:16 See also Exodus 23:1-2.  By God’s grace, ‘Roe’, aka Norma L. McCorvey,  repented of her involvement in Roe vs. Wade, and became pro-life in 1995. She is now a vocal opponent of abortion;  in 2005 she even filed a petition to have the ruling overturned, but it was denied. She is a walking testimony of how God can transform a life!

2) The assumption that a woman has a right to do with her own body whatever she wants.  God’s Word tells us that He created us in His image (Genesis 1:27); for His purpose and pleasure (Isaiah 43:7); that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and not our own because they have been bought with the price of Jesus’ blood and we are to honor God with our bodies (1st Corinthians 6:19-20). “Know that the Lord Himself is God: it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100:3, NASV)

3) That a woman knows what is better for her body than God Who created her, and also formed her baby.  Isaiah 55: 8-9 clearly tells us that God’s ways are so much higher than man’s way, and Isaiah 45:9 reminds us that it would be audacious for a lump of clay to tell the potter what to do.

4) That a pregnancy unplanned for or unexpected by a woman somehow caught God by surprise, and that He is powerless to help her and her baby. The Bible is the story of God’s extravagant provision for His beloved children.  Throughout scripture we see God faithfully providing for people, His most prized creation.  If we humble ourselves, look to Him, and surrender our lives to Him we can rest assured that, “… God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)  His greatest provision is Himself, and He has promised to ‘never leave or forsake you’(Hebrews 13:5) if you put your trust in Him.  The God Who created the world and gave you His beloved Son can be trusted to give you all that you need (Romans 8:31-32)!

5) That man determines when life begins rather than God. ”For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

6) That a child is merely 'tissue', a ‘fetus’, an ‘embryo’, an ‘inconvenience’, or even a curse instead of the incredible blessing that God tells us a child is. ” Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3  (see alsoDeuteronomy 7:14)

7) That our words do not carry power, and that we will not be held accountable for the words we use. Proverbs 18: 21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”  Matthew 12:36 warns us that we will be held accountable for every careless word. Using the words ‘fetus’ or ‘embryo’ or ‘pro-choice’ gives the mistaken impression that abortion is something less than what it is…murder of a childcreated by God and in His image, and for His purposes. Abortion is murder, which God forbids (Exodus 20: 13). It is a sin, that although it can be forgiven if one repents of it, grieves the heart of God who loves both the mother and child, and longs for them both to have abundant, as well as eternal life. God created and loves life, whereas Satan is a murderer, the ‘Father of Lies’ (John 8:44), and the one who comes to ‘rob, steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10)

8) That mankind can mock God by sinning against Him and get away with it. God will not be mocked; we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6: 7-8). “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, … (Proverbs 6:17)  The Bible clearly states that there is judgment for nations that violate His Word as well as for individuals. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.” (Ezekiel 35:6)

May we be found faithful to pray that our nation wakes up to the lies that we have believed, confess our sin against God and His children, and repent so that God might relent and be merciful and not bring the judgment we deserve upon our land!

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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4 Ways To Approach the Study of God's Word...

4 Ways To Approach the Study of God's Word

With…

  • Prayer, that He would give us a discerning Spirit, with eyes that see and ears that hear what He wants us to learn.
  • Humility, recognizing that we have so much to learn about God, and in some cases what we think we know may be incorrect.
  • Seriousness, This is eternal life that we might know Him!  John 17:3“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
  • Gratitude, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  Psalm 8:4   Thanking God for His Word that enables us to gain wisdom and His Spirit that guides us into all Truth!
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My favorite bible study materials include:

“Gems from the Greek”- By Rick Renner

The ESV Study Bible

The Apologetics Study Bible

John Maxwell Leadership Bible

Biblehub.com/Biblegateway.com/Gotquestions.org/Blueletterbible.com

Khouse.org

What are some of your favorite bible resources?  Please share!

Written by Jamie Shaver

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Are You Remaining on The Path?

One of my favorite pastimes is listening to praise music as I walk with my dog through the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park trails that are near my home. It is awe-inspiring to behold the majesty of God’s creation as revealed in the wildlife, the dense woods, the open fields, and the picturesque streams that run through the park.  As a history buff, I relish knowing that I‘m walking on the very grounds where civil war soldiers once trod; seeing earthworks they dug; and likely viewing ground where some even shed their blood in battle. One day as I was walking I noticed a sign in the park that reads, “Remain on designated trails only. Opening new paths will lead to the destruction and historic features of the park.” The need for such a sign implied that there had been a problem with people leaving the trails and the likelihood that destruction had already occurred because people had chosen to leave the trails.

I imagine it’d be very tempting for Civil War enthusiasts to go off the trail to explore and perhaps do some digging in an attempt to find things like bullets, canon balls, and other Civil War relics that have been known to be found in the area. I assume it’d be tempting for others to leave the trail in an effort to get a closer look at the myriad of wildlife: turkeys, foxes and white-tailed deer abound; beavers, herons, and snakes can be spotted at the ponds and creeks in the park; and it’s a virtual bird-watcher’s paradise.

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It occurred to me that God in His Word has given us warnings to remain on the path of righteousness that He has set before us. He knows that we too can be easily tempted by our desires and by what we see to leave the path He has laid down for us to follow. He desires for us to remain on His path because He loves us and knows that straying from the path He has set before us will always lead to our destruction, as well as to the destruction of others.

He wants to give us life and to protect us from harm, especially eternal death: "In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death." Proverbs 12:28

He longs for us to experience the greatest joy possible—His Presence! “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

Those who are wise will listen to God’s Word of instruction and they will avoid the temptation to go off of His path: “Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.Do not enter the path of the wicked,and do not walk in the way of the evil.Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.” Proverbs 4:13-15

God longs for us to have the heart that cries: “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.” (Psalm 119:35) That is because God’s Word guides us, and if we follow it, ensures that we will keep walking on the right path so that we do not stumble or go astray to our destruction. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119: 105

Sadly, just like there are those at the National Park where I walk who do not heed the warnings to remain on those trails, there are those who rebel against God’s command to remain in His Word and in Him. “There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths.” Job 24:13

When I’m walking at the park if I remain on the trail it is highly likely that those behind me will remain on the trail as well. However, if I choose to go off the trail others behind me may well think it’s acceptable to follow me off the path. Similarly, if we choose to walk according to God’s Word we will remain on the path to life, but our rebellion against God’s word will lead others astray too and to their destruction as well as our own. “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17-18

Jesus—the ‘Living Word’—is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is ‘the path’ on which we should remain. Following Him and remaining in Him will keep you from destruction and will assure you of abundant and eternal life.

Are you feeling as if you have lost your way? Do you need to get back on the ‘path of life’ that is only found in following and remaining in Jesus?

“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. 

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Where Does The Time Go?

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Where does the time go? Do you ever race through a day and then wonder “where did the time go?” I think that about much of my life, especially as I prepare my three kids to begin school again next week. Where has summer gone? Next, I’ll be commenting that I can’t believe it’s already Christmas, and so it goes! Although I believe most of us have uttered something similar at some point in our lives, I stop today to question as one who is determined to know exactly where the time does go.

So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.~ Acts 3:5

We give our attention to things that we expect to receive something from. Think about it, we are often told to give attention to, or pay attention to. The words give and pay remind us that there is a cost to putting our focus or attention in one place.

As the days and nights “fly” by I want to challenge you to the challenge I’m also giving myself. For the next 3 days, set a timer on your phone (or elsewhere) to go off every 30-minutes. Ask yourself “what did I just spend 30 minutes doing?” Then, write it down. Then ask, what did I receive from giving my attention to this?

The most common complaint I hear regarding quiet time with God, studying His Word, praying etc. is “it’s hard to find the time.” I believe it’s hard to find the time because we aren’t focused on our time, how we currently use it and how it can be better spent.

Below are several scriptures that share God’s thoughts on the subject of our attention.

Proverbs 4:20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.

Proverbs 5:1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding,

Proverbs 7:24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth:

1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Where is your time going? What can you cut out to give more attention to the things which will last for eternity? I know we’ve all heard many times that we can’t take anything with us when we die. I disagree. We can take His Word with us! His Word never dies! I pray for all of us that we find even more time to pay attention to His Word, when we do we can surely expect to receive something beneficial from it.

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Written by Jamie Shaver

 

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Tempted? Tips to help you or a child resist temptation

My son had been caught lying in school, and as a punishment his iPod had been removed until further notice.   Since trust is earned back gradually, my husband and I determined that we would allow him to earn back playtime on his iPod slowly, over time.  After several weeks of good behavior with no lying he successfully earned back Tuesdays for 1 hour.  After another week of good behavior he has earned back Sundays for 1 hour.  We expect that eventually he will have earned back every day of the week.  

Well as I was getting ready for bed tonight my son came in asking a question.  This was a very interesting question since he and I both knew he had already reached his max amount of time earlier in the day.  So this is the conversation that followed:

Son (asking at 9:30pm) - “Mom, is there any way you can find out on my iPod how many minutes I’ve played on it today?”

Me- “Why are you asking?

Son- “Because I want to know.”

Me- “Why?”

Son- “Because I just wondered if there was a way to find out.”

Me- “What are you thinking of doing?”

Son- “Ummmm.”

Me- “Are you thinking of playing on it tonight instead of sleeping and wondering if there is any way I might find out?”

Son- “Yes.”

He was thinking of sinning and wanted to know if he could “get away” with it and not suffer any consequences.  The game was not sinful, it’s a good game; however, disobeying your mother and father is sinful and he is not allowed to play more than 1 hour.  So I asked:

Me- “Even if I didn’t “catch” you and I never found out, would you have really “gotten away” with it?”

Son- “Not really.”

Me- “True, because God would have known you were playing that game.  You know that Satan is the tempter and he always comes to steal, kill and destroy.  Since you love Jesus, and are saved, Satan cannot steal your eternal destiny, but in this instance what could he have stolen, killed or destroyed?”

Son- “My happiness, because when I really do earn all my days back I would have known that I didn’t really deserve it because I cheated and played at night when you thought I was sleeping.”

Me- “O.K., so Satan would have robbed your joy of finally achieving every day of the week back.  What would Satan have killed?”

Son- “Uh, I’m not sure.”

Me- “He would’ve killed your internal “peace” because you cannot have true peace if you’re knowingly choosing to sin.  What would Satan have destroyed tonight?”

Son- “I don’t know, but I know I wouldn’t have felt good about it later.”

Me- “Right, he would’ve destroyed your ‘goodness’.  God wants to give you and have you enjoy all the fruits of loving, serving and obeying HIm.  Remember the fruits?  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control?”  

Son- “Yes.”

Me- “Well, if you had disobeyed me tonight Satan would have stolen that fruit that God wants you to bear in your life.  Little by little, the more and more you choose to disobey in any area of your life, more and more of that fruit will be stolen, killed and destroyed.  All sin begins with a thought.  I’m thankful that you shared your thoughts with me.  God’s Word also tells us that when we are tempted He will provide a way out from under it, and we are told to flee temptation.   How can you “flee” your iPod tonight since you are tempted to use it?”

Son- “Ask you to keep it in your room.”

Me- “Good idea.  I love you”, I said as I reached for the iPod in his hand.  

Son- “Love you too, Mom.”

Later I thought about myself and my relationship with God (as often happens after I discipline my own kids) and realized that I would be better off if I asked myself those same three questions when I’m tempted to do something that I can sense God is telling me not to do.  Often times God asks us to not participate in, listen to, watch, eat, read or buy a certain event or item.  These things are not always sinful by themselves, but God speaking in our hearts, asking us not to do something makes it sinful if we indulge.  Even though I have become much better at obeying God’s voice in my heart, I must be aware that the devil will never stop trying to tempt me.  Next time I find myself in a moment of temptation with the great deceiver, I am going to:

Flee

Ask God for His Word to resist Satan

Ask God to reveal to me all that Satan is trying to steal, kill and destroy with this opportunity to disobey Him

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.- John 10:10

Is there anything that Satan, the thief is trying to ‘kill, steal or destroy’ in your life?  Jesus came to give you life, and life to the full! 

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Claim your victory in Christ and you will bear much fruit to the glory of God by calling on His great name and using the power of His Word in your life!  

Written by Jamie Shaver

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

Studying God's Word

Have you ever read the bible and found yourself wodering “What does that mean?” or thinking “Now I’m totally confused!”  Don’t lose hope.  God’s Word is alive and we can be certain it is the will of God for you to know, understand and apply His Word to your everyday life.  Choosing to study God’s Word is different than just reading the Bible.  You can read the bible without studying it, but you can’t study the bible without reading it.  So here are some tips on studying God’s Word.

Begin with Prayer: Pray that God will speak to you through His Word; that He will help you discern the meaning; and use His Word to produce fruit in your life that will bring Him glory.  Pray for wisdom. God has filled us with His Spirit (John 14:16-17) who speaks to us, leading and guiding us into all truth (John 16:13.)

Read the Bible: Set time aside daily to read God’s Word. 

Talk Back and Ask God Questions: The bible is God-breathed, and if you come across a passage in scripture that you don’t understand, stop reading, and share your thoughts with God.  There have been many times that I have said out loud, “God, this makes no sense to me, what does this mean?”   God is faithful!  He can reveal the meaning.  There have been times when God answers my question immediately through other scriptures that I read that day.  Other times I will be in church and the pastor will have a sermon which explains that verse in detail and my question is “finally” answered, or other instances when I take my questions to a godly source for counsel. (a mentor, bible teacher, or commentary)

Ask Yourself Questions: What does this scripture teach me about God? What does this passage teach me about the church, world, myself, or my desires/motives? What do I need to confess and/or repent of? What have I learned from this passage that will help me focus on God & His glory? What action is God asking me to take?

Search for Answers: I use tools like biblegateway.com, gotquestions.org, and blueletterbible.org to do word/topic/question searches and read commentaries.  If I sense that God is telling me I’m acting prideful, I will do a “word study” by looking up the words: pride, humility, self-centered, humble, arrogant, etc. in a search tool like biblegateway.com to learn more verses that may help me understand better what God has to say about a particular topic or theme. Take an active part in finding the answer to questions you ask both God and yourself while reading His Word because that’s the best way to learn and “own the truth for yourself.”

Participate in Bible Studies: This has helped me answer many questions and learn much more about God, His Word and what it says. 

Memorize: “Lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul” Deuteronomy 11:18, KJV.  When you begin memorizing scripture you are putting it in your heart where you can later rely on it for wisdom and guidance.  This helps you to better know God’s Word and how to apply it daily.

Attend Church: Hearing the Word preached in a message is another way to study, learn and apply God’s Word. 

Apply what you learn:  Take action and apply God’s Word to your life.  When you begin to “do” the Word in your life, it will take your experience and knowledge of God and his precepts to a new level.  2 Timothy 16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  

Experiencing the truth of God through applying His Word is a life-long study habit that is sure to bring glory to God, and bless you and those around you!

Written by Jamie Shaver

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?