The Seductive Lie of Immodesty, and Re-Claiming Your Identity in Christ

by Marie Notcheva  from Grace and Truth – Comments

The Seductive Lie of Immodesty and Re-Claiming Your Identity in Christ

This is not another article on Matthew 5:28, hem lengths, or the horrors of uncovered shoulders. Today I’m writing more as the concerned mother of a teenage girl than as a biblical counselor. I want to take an unflinching look with young people of both sexes at the reality behind immodest dress; the desire to be desired; and where it can lead.

Sixteen-year-old “Vanya” was raised in a Christian family. A former AWANA protégé, she is a superb student and overall good-girl. When she started high school and began social networking, however, she noticed “sexier” girls wearing the fashions her parents forbid. She became dissatisfied with her own looks, associating beauty with short, tight, and low-cut.

On Facebook, pictures of teen girls with cleavage and entire legs showing would receive hundreds of “Likes” within hours. When Vanya posted pictures of herself fully-clothed, few people would “Like” them. She began to change her style….subtly at first; then more openly. Her makeup became heavier; her shirts more revealing; her jeans tighter…until her parents confronted her. Was this “love of fashion,” as she claimed, or a desire for male attention—at any cost?

Her “mature” look attracted the attention of 28-year old family friend George. Texts and phone calls turned romantic, all behind the backs of Vanya’s parents. She snuck out of the house to meet the man—for a long walk in the woods. When caught, she tearfully confessed, “He was the only guy who I could really talk to! He understood me and cared about me…we were going to wait until I was 18 and then get married!”

By the grace of God, Vanya’s parents discovered and stopped the situation before anything more serious happened, but Vanya was devastated. Vanya was seeking emotional intimacy and George seemed to provide it. (Whether George was seeking easy sex is open to speculation, but 28-year-old men do not seek emotional intimacy with 16-year-old girls.) Despite being raised in church by believing parents, Vanya was deceived by the lie that dressing and acting seductively will secure the kind of approval (and intimacy) she longed for.

Like all Christian mothers, I want my daughters to dress in a way that reflects love for Jesus. (This is a real challenge when current fashion involves wearing one’s underwear on the outside.) Wanting to avoid ‘legalism,’ I’ve often said that if we have the Holy Spirit within us, guiding us in purity, it is not necessary to carry a tape measure into the dressing room. Attempting to give some Christian liberty backfired in the name of “fashion” and “fitting in.” This battle for purity is one of the biggest reasons American evangelicals choose to homeschool, a choice I respect. However, my husband and I have decided to fight the battle by preparing our children to be on the front lines—living in this world, and ultimately responsible for their own choices.

As a woman who has counseled, parented, and evangelized teenage girls for years (on two continents), I can say with certainty that sensuality is the most common reason teenage girls who profess faith sometimes fall away. In simple terms, when they ‘count the cost’ of following Christ, they decide purity is too high. Of course, few would confess bluntly to such a decision, but the reality plays out in their lives. In school; with their friends; online—being seen as “sexy” becomes more important than being seen as a daughter of the King.

The natural, God-given desire to be beautiful and loved has been perverted, a cross-cultural phenomenon to which Christian girls are not immune. A British friend wrote, “There needs to be more teaching for the young people on honouring God in all areas of their life. There are some girls who are expressing faith, yet still wearing short dresses, striking provocative poses.”

Girls as young as 13 post pictures of themselves in dresses that cover no more than towels, sporting the infamous “duckface” pout (is that supposed to be sexy?). The social-media gamble for attention is a double-edged sword. Girls compete with one another to be the most “attractive” (equating sex appeal with beauty); guys pay attention and encourage. The same girls then jealously destroy each other’s reputations.

We cannot blame the media or ‘the world’ for the lure of immodesty, or for the lie that it promises love. The blame lies in our own sin-deceived hearts. While the world offers an evil and corrupt moral code, there is no getting around the fact that each one of us is responsible before God for our own sin (Ezekiel 18).

Young ladies, you were created to glorify God. You are made in His image. Your true beauty, which comes from your union with Him, is of great worth to your Heavenly Father (1 Peter 3:4). Stop objectifying yourselves and live out your position in Christ. Young men who truly love you will care far more about your holiness than the shape of your legs.

Young Christian men, 1 Timothy 5:2 applies to you whether you are involved in ministry or not. I am not going to lecture you on the dangers of lust; your pastors have already done that. Rather, I appeal to you as an older sister in Christ and a mother. Your Christian sisters are looking to you for approval, and they are just that—your sisters. Every time you hang a poster, wear a T-shirt, or “Like” a picture of an immodestly-dressed woman, you are celebrating impurity. You are also sending young women a dangerous message— their worth lies primarily in being physically attractive.

Stop it!

Tell them you value their friendship; appreciate their intelligence; admire their devotion to Christ. See the beauty in their smiles and the joy in their eyes; not the size of their chests or the daringly-short skirt.

Glorifying immodesty is a symptom of a deeper problem—the belief that sensuality attracts love; which will lead to lasting satisfaction. It reveals a heart that screams “Look at me!” rather than “Look to Jesus.” Ankle-length skirts and denim jumpers do not eliminate the heart issue of impurity, but embracing the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” is a good place to start.

Join the Conversation

As an adult, how do you work with your own children or with youth in your church to help them to develop a Christ-centered life of purity?

Can We Finally Start Talking About The Global Persecution Of Christians?

Can We Finally Start Talking About The Global Persecution Of Christians?


Read at

“All Religions are the same!”

If you watched the video by Koukl earlier

( you will better understand this blog by Pastor Matt on his blogsite.


I read an interview with the great actor Anthony Hopkins in which he stated it wasn’t up to him to judge the truth and falsity of any religion and, after all, they’re all really the same anyway.  What I wouldn’t give to have been there to subject Sir Anthony to “The Columbo Method.”  If you are unfamiliar with the method, it is a series of three simple questions inspired by the fictional detective and created by apologist Greg Koukl in his book Tactics (Zondervan 2009).  The questions are: “What do you mean by that?”, “How did you come to that conclusion?” and “Have you ever considered…?”

This method works especially well for statements like the one made by Hopkins because, frankly, people who say such things haven’t studied religions very carefully because they differ radically!  For example, the Dali Lama stated, “Buddhists do not accept a creator.”

Philosopher Paul Copan writes, “By definition, truth excludes something—error or falsehood. Christians and Buddhists can’t both be right on this matter; either God exists or he doesn’t. Muslims and Christians can’t both be right about Jesus’ death. Certain Hindus hold to reincarnation followed by ultimate personal extinction; by contrast, the Christian’s view of the afterlife involves death, judgment, and then union with (or separation from) God.” True for You but Not For Me (Bethany House 2009).  Other religions may contain certain truths (e.g., meditation can be helpful)  but they all can’t lead to God. In fact, most claim absolute exclusivity.

Consider Acts 10:1-48.  It records Peter being sent to visit the Gentile Roman soldier Cornelius.   The solder was a good man, even respected by the Jews and was generous with the poor BUT he still needed to hear the Gospel!  Christianity doesn’t teach you just to be “a good person” but to a follower of Christ who worships Him and Him alone.

Many in western culture know little about different religions and they assume they all teach a person to love.  They don’t (classic Buddhism teaches escape) but even if they did why should their similarities count more than their differences?

Moreover, there is a real arrogance in saying all religions are the same for it assumes a God like stance where you have objectively and perfectly analyzed the various faiths and see what none of their adherents can…that the paths all lead to the same place.

In the end, Christianity is the only religion that can be successfully verified historically and satisfy a person existentially.  In fact, if we examine ourselves and the teachings of Christianity, we see that we are made for the faith!  We all feel the need for forgiveness, belonging, meaning and security and Christianity is the only religion that provides it!  Other religions expect you to do the work to earn salvation or enlightenment but Christianity doesn’t depend on your efforts but the effort of Jesus Christ on your behalf.  By simply placing faith in Jesus, your punishment for all wrongs you have ever committed are paid for on the cross.  Moreover, Christ imputes, or gives, His perfect life to you so that you are judged by it instead of your own.  This is why Christians call it “good news.”  After placing your faith, it is just a matter of living a Spirit led life of saying, “Thank you” and “I love you” to our saving Lord.

There is nothing else like it.

A Prayer about the Joy and Pain of Accepting Change

Heavenward by Scotty Smith  –  Comments


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb. 13:8

Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t like change. I like newness, excitement and adventure; but, when it’s all said and done, I love to come home to the predictable and manageable—to my favorite chair and comfortable routines. So I need fresh grace to accept change, because there’s so much change going on everywhere I look.

Another freshly planted “For Sale” sign confirms old friends are moving away. A favorite tree, whose leaves gave the relief of shade and a vibrant tapestry of fall color, is taken down by a storm. The restaurant which served great food, rich conversation, and the ambiance of perpetual welcome had to close. I don’t like it, Jesus. Job changes, health changes, relationship changes, season changes; change is disruptive. Precious things just don’t become vintage things overnight.

How thankful we are that there’s one part of our lives that will never change, and that’s you, Lord Jesus. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. That certainly doesn’t make you predictable, and even less so manageable. But it does mean that we can trust you without any reservations whatsoever. In fact, it’s only in knowing you that change is put into perspective.

The one change we should welcome, like a best friend, is our need is to become more like you, Jesus; and that process is the most disruptive and painful change we will ever go through. Yet with the knowledge that one Day we’ll be as lovely and as loving as you, we gladly surrender to the work of the gospel in our lives. Grace frees us to pray, “Lord, may it hurt so good, if growth will reveal your beauty and glory in my life.”

Likewise, Jesus, the better we know you, the more we come alive to your promise to make all things new. Change has no sovereignty; only you are Lord. Nothing is random in this world. Nothing catches you off guard. The scary becomes the sacred when we’re wearing the lens of the gospel.

Jesus, help each of us see and accept changes as part of a far better story than we could ever hope to write. You are making all things new, right now—right before our very eyes, if we have eyes to see and a heart to accept it. Because of your life, death, and resurrection, we’re heading towards a place, family, and eternity in which it will all make sense and everything will be the way it’s supposed to be. Hasten that magnificent Day!

Until then, Jesus, may we love you with abandon, serve you without question, and order our lives after your delights. So very Amen we pray, in your merciful and matchless name.

Amazing Grace

from Truthbomb Apologetics

Video: “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin

Note: The movie scenes in the video are from the movie Amazing Grace that tells the story of William Wilberforce and his battle to end the slave trade in the British Empire.  The movie is highly recommended.

Further, William Wilberforce’s book Real Christianity is also highly recommended!

Charles Stanley quotes

Logostalk brings us 10 Compelling Charles Stanley Quotes:

”God has a master plan for your life, and that master plan does not change either. It is a plan designed specifically for you. It is a plan that God intends for you to live out fully, beginning at the moment of your birth and never ending until the moment of your death.” (Discover Your Destiny)
“If we walk in the Spirit daily, surrendered to His power, we have the right to expect anything we need to hear from God.” (How to Listen to God)
“You may go through difficulty, hardship, or trial—but as long as you are anchored to Him, you will have hope.” (In Touch with God)
“After brokenness, our lives can be more fruitful, more purposeful, and more joyful. A genuine blessing can come in the wake of being broken.” (Developing Inner Strength)
“Apart from Jesus, there is no peace—not within a human heart, and not among human beings or nations. With Jesus, we can experience peace that passes our rational minds and settles deep within (Phil. 4:7).” (Preparing for Christ’s Return)
“If God can gain glory for Himself from the unjustified murder of His Son, can we not trust Him to somehow glorify Himself in and through the things we struggle with on a daily basis?” (How to Handle Adversity
“Jesus wants you to lean on Him and hand over your burdens, all of them. When you do, you’ll experience a lightness of spirit that knows no bounds.” (Seeking His Face: A Daily Devotional)
“Forgiveness is based on the atoning work of the Cross, and not on anything we do. God’s forgiveness does not depend on our confession, nor does His fellowship. Confession is a means for releasing us from the tension and bondage of a guilty conscience.” (The Gift of Forgiveness)
“As you confront your problems rather than avoid them, your faith is nurtured and stretched. Your confidence grows; your fears subside.” (Enter His Gates)
“From the world’s perspective, there are many places you can go to find comfort. But there is only one place you will find a hand to catch your tears and a heart to listen to your every longing. True peace comes only from God.” (Into His Presence)

Faithful to the end: An interview with Eugene Peterson

This is about a friend of my close friend. They ran together while attending Seattle Pacific university (way bak in the Dark Ages). I like his writings, and, although I am aware of the disputes over The Message, I still find it helpful at times. His other writings are also very good.


 Show caption

One of America’s best known Christian theologians, Eugene Peterson, reflects on 81 years of life and ministry.

Eugene Peterson is one of the best known theologians of our time. Most famous for penning The Message, a contemporary rendering of the Bible, he is also author of many popular books such as A Long Obedience in the Same DirectionWith the release of his memoir, The PastorPeterson has begun reflecting on life and the ways in which Jesus-followers can respond to God’s call. Here, we discuss his unlikely call to ministry, the work of a pastor and what, if anything, he wishes he could change about The Message.

JM: In The Pastor, you describe your journey into ministry. How did you first sense God calling you into service?

EP: Well, I never really thought I’d be a pastor because I had so many pastors I didn’t respect. I just assumed I would be in academic work, so I started doing that—I went to seminary and graduate school to be a professor. And then I became a professor at the seminary in New York City where I graduated. But they didn’t pay me very much. Greek and Hebrew professors aren’t very high on the pay scale. So I got a part-time job in a church, because I had been ordained but just to be a professor. I’d never been around a pastor who was a man of God, to tell you the truth.

I was teaching Greek and Hebrew on Tuesdays and Thursdays and after awhile I did this for three years. But after the second year I thought, “Wow, the church is a lot more interesting than the classroom. There’s no ambiguity to Greek and Hebrew. It’s just right or wrong.” And in the church everything was going every which way all the time—dying, being born, divorces, kids running away. I suddenly realized that this is where I really got a sense of being involved and not just sitting on the sidelines as a spectator but being in the game. So I gradually reshaped my sense of what I was doing and became a pastor.

JM: With your experience in both the church and the academy, I wonder what advice you would give to young seminary students today. If you were asked by one to describe what is at the heart of the work of pastoring and shepherding, what would you say?

EP: I’d tell them that pastoring is not a very glamorous job. It’s a very taking-out-the-laundry and changing-the-diapers kind of job. And I think I would try to disabuse them of any romantic ideas of what it is. As a pastor, you’ve got to be willing to take people as they are. And live with them where they are. And not impose your will on them. Because God has different ways of being with people, and you don’t always know what they are.

The one thing I think is at the root of a lot of pastors’ restlessness and dissatisfaction is impatience. They think if they get the right system, the right programs, the right place, the right location, the right demographics, it’ll be a snap. And for some people it is: if you’re a good actor, if you have a big smile, if you are an extrovert. In some ways, a religious crowd is the easiest crowd to gather in the world. Our country’s full of examples of that. But for most, pastoring is a very ordinary way to live. And it is difficult in many ways because your time is not your own, for the most part, and the whole culture is against you. This consumer culture, people grow up determining what they want to do by what they can consume. And the Christian gospel is just quite the opposite of that. And people don’t know that. And pastors don’t know that when they start out. We’ve got a whole culture that is programmed to please people, telling them what they want.  And if you do that, you might end up with a big church, but you won’t be a pastor.

JM: You’ve written dozens of books over your career. Which one do you consider to be your magnum opus, and why?

EP: You know, I didn’t know it was when I was doing it, but I suppose The Message could be that book. The odd thing is when people ask me, “What do you like of what you’ve done?” I never think of The Message. Because I never felt like it was my book. You know, a writer likes to write really well. And you like to really have your own things. I was always second place to Isaiah, and coming in second to Mark, and to Paul. I never was writing what I was proud of. I was just pleased I was able to get into their life and do it in my way. But I really never even think of The Message as being my book.

When I finished my work at Regent College, I’d been teaching there for six years. And I’d written all these books on pastoral life and lay life. But I didn’t have any structure in mind. I just wrote these kind of as they came to me, and what I was doing and thinking about and reacting to. But I thought, the whole world of Christian life, spiritual theology, is not really very healthy. It’s mostly about being yourself in charge of things. There are a lot of really good scholarly books which are profound, but I’m thinking about pastors most of the time. And so I thought I’d like to gather up everything I’ve done in a sequential and comprehensive way. So I got the idea of writing five books—Jan calls it the “Peterson Pentateuch”—to see if I could get the whole world of Christian life, in this society, in this culture, and have it deeply biblically-oriented, with a Trinitarian structure and everything, and do it in language that people could understand. And so I did five books. I call them Conversations in Spiritual Theologyand I really feel satisfied with those books. I think I said best what I’ve been saying all my life, but I’ve done it in an organized and sequential and comprehensive way.

Peterson's "The Message" has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.

Peterson’s “The Message” has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.

JM: You mentioned The Message, your paraphrase of the Scriptures, which has been such a blessing to so many and an international bestseller. When you read it now, are you pleased with it or are there passages you wish you could go back and render differently?

EP: I’m a little hesitant to say this, but when I was doing that—maybe I should say that I could never have done that without being a pastor. I knew the languages really well, but I focused on getting into the idiom of the congregation as I was writing the translation, which took me 12 years. I always had the sense that I was working out of something I didn’t know much about: the metaphors. And it just kind of flowed. So I learned that language by listening to people from my congregation, and I guess I had a sense that there was something going on besides me. It never ever really dawned on me to do a translation of the Bible, so when the publishers approached me, I said “no” immediately. And then they kept talking and calling and I started praying and I thought, “Well, maybe this is my work now.” I’d been a pastor for 30 years in one church, and I was 60 years old. I thought, “Well, maybe this is it.” So, I did. And I’m really glad I did. But to tell you the truth, I don’t read it much. Every once in awhile I pick it up and start reading and think, “How did I think of that? I never knew that before.” I’d say I’m mostly pleased with it.

JM: Your book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, has become something of a Christian classic since it was released more than thirty years ago. How have you seen discipleship change over the last three decades and what advice would you offer people who want to live that long obedience in the midst of an instant society?

EP: I hate to be pessimistic, but it’s declined. At this point the world is making a bigger impact on people than discipleship is. And so I think you end up working with small starts and long finishes. I can’t believe A Long Obedience has had as long of a life as it has. Another thing that’s hard for me to believe—you know I’ve not written for a popular audience—I’ve written 35 books and they’re all still in print. Well, not all of them, but 35 of them! That’s almost unheard of these days. So there are people who are reading my books who I wouldn’t have guessed. It pleases me that some people are listening to something, which I think is biblical and Trinitarian and in some ways anti-cultural.

JM: I heard A Long Obedience was almost not A Long Obedience

EP: A Long Obedience had been rejected by 20 or so publishers. And InterVarsity said yes. So I went to Chicago, to the press, and they said, “It’s a great book but you can’t use that title—its is not a lively title. ‘Obedience’ is not a word that makes people jump up and down.”

So I said, “Look, it’s not my title, it’s Nietzche’s title. And it’s in iambic pentameter. It’s a piece of poetry. And wouldn’t you just love it if we got that title and Nietzeche came back from the grave and saw that and thought, ‘Wow, somebody used this great sentence of mine for a book.’ And then he looks at it, and he realizes it’s about God. Who he thought he’d buried a hundred years ago. And so this grin goes off his face.” Anyway, I’m glad I disappointed him.

JM: In November, you’ll turn 81 years old. What has the aging process taught you about life and how to be faithful to the end?

EP: It’s kind of nice, to tell you the truth. Last November, I was 80 and I thought, “I’ve been under writing deadlines all my adult life.” I loved writing—I didn’t really like the deadlines—but now I don’t have to do that anymore, so I decided I wouldn’t. So my wife, Jan, and I just called it “quits” to traveling. I don’t really enjoy travel; it’s really a lot of work these days. So I’m done with that. And I’ve had this huge sense of spaciousness as a result—I didn’t know you could live this way! The only difficulty is that I don’t have very much energy to enjoy it as I used to. We’re in a lovely place: our children are doing well, our grandchildren are a lot of fun. And I have friends all over the world.

JM: Eighty-one years is a long time. As you enter your final season of life, what would you like to say to younger Christians who are itchy for a deeper and more authentic discipleship? What’s your word to them? 

EP: Go to the nearest smallest church and commit yourself to being there for 6 months. If it doesn’t work out, find somewhere else. But don’t look for programs, don’t look for entertainment, and don’t look for a great preacher. A Christian congregation is not a glamorous place, not a romantic place. That’s what I always told people. If people were leaving my congregation to go to another place of work, I’d say, “The smallest church, the closest church, and stay there for 6 months.” Sometimes it doesn’t work. Some pastors are just incompetent. And some are flat out bad. So I don’t think that’s the answer to everything, but it’s a better place to start than going to the one with all the programs, the glitz, all that stuff.

JM: I know I speak for millions when I say, “Thank you for being faithful. Faithful to the end.”

– See more at:

The Cure for a Spiritually Dry Heartby

by Ali Kennedy at Fuel for the Journey


My husband gave me a little silver stone-studded cross before we were engaged. It was a “promise necklace” symbolizing the love and commitment from the man I would soon marry. I loved it and treasured its beauty around my neck each day…until one evening I went to take it off and it was gone! The necklace was there but loop connecting the cross to the chain must have loosened, and the cross was nowhere to be found.

It wasn’t until more than a year later, it turned up again. I was unpacking a suitcase, and beneath all the clothes, suddenly there it was, the little stone-studded cross, shining brighter than ever. It hadn’t been lost after all, just buried beneath of heap of…stuff.

Basking in the joy of finding this precious treasure once again, it reminded me of how we can often experience a similar thing in our spiritual lives. The treasures once given to us in Christ — peace in our hearts, rest in our souls, joy in suffering, passion for God’s Word, a heart to serve Him, enthusiasm to share our faith with others, desire to spend time with Him, boldness to exercise His power through spiritual gifts — get buried beneath the busyness of life. Our jobs, relationships and responsibilities soon clutter our hearts which once burned for God. The fire, passion and desire for Him slowly die out and we think, Well, this must be how it is as you get further along in faith. But is it? Is this what God intended for His people: to be lit aflame by Him and for Him, only to have it die out weeks, months or years later?

When we look to the Bible, the short answer is: No! God desires for us to experience the fullness of Him and His riches — not part of the time, but all the time. The Apostle Paul prays fervently, that God’s people would be filled to the max with God in their daily lives. That we,

“… may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19b, AMP) 

Whoa. Let’s review: Filled through all your being with the fullness of God…Having the richest measure of the divine Presence of God…Living each day wholly filled and flooded with God Himself. Like me, you might be thinking: Gee, that sounds nice, but let’s get real — that can’t actually be a reality amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

The answer is, yes it can. We can be filled to the fullest measure of God each day. The question is, do wewant to be? Part of it has to do with realizing that the richest spiritual blessings have already been given to us as a gift in Christ, by grace. But just like my cross necklace, the gift which was given to us in love, can get buried beneath the clutter of life. That is what Paul continues to preach to the believers in the church (that’s us) — that we have a part to play in keeping the clutter out, so that the treasures can shine ever brightly, as God intended them to.

If we’re honest, there are times along our spiritual journey where we feel “dry” and lifeless in the Spirit. Rather than being filled with God’s Presence, we feel like we’re running on empty — tired, weary and complacent. This is inevitable and part of living in a fallen world. But, when we recognize we are in such a place, we need not worry or fear, but simply bring it to God in prayer, asking: What is it in my life Lord, that might be covering up the treasures you have given me, in Christ? What might be blocking or hindering Your presence and power from flowing through me? I desire to be filled and flooded with Your love each day. Lord, please help me get back to that place!

I have found in my own life, that this sort of desperate prayer is the only thing that can bring me out of seasons in the desert. When we truly desire to experience the fulness of life in the Lord once again, we must be willing to pause, listen, and wait on God to show us the “clutter” that might be causing the fullness of His treasures –spiritual fruits, gifts, blessings and power — to be laying dormant and lifeless within us. They ARE there; they’re just covered up.

Here a few areas in my own life, which continue to have a huge impact on my life with God. I have noticed that when any of these things decrease, so does God’s presence and power in my life. Take a look and evaluate these areas in your own life as they relate to the health of your soul:

  1. Time with God. When I allow others things to get in the way of my time with God, my soul suffers. Keeping a regular practice of spending time with God, helps to keep us connected to God and His Holy Spirit. A good friend of mine always says we must “fight” for our relationship with God. This is so true, given all the distractions competing for our time and attention each day. Set a regular time to meet with God — to pour out your heart to Him, study His Word, listen to Him and allow His Spirit to fill you during this time. It’s a must!
  2. Investment in Spiritual Things. The things in which I choose to invest my time and energy absolutely impact my relationship with God.  The Bible puts it this way: “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8). When we are intentionally investing or “sowing” into things that feed our Spirit like church, serving others, building godly friendships, sharing our faith with others etc., we are promised that God’s Spirit will bring life to our souls. We will be “alive” in Him. Who doesn’t want that?
  3. Quality of Worship. When I go through the routine of singing songs to God, but my heart is not really engaged, this only perpetuates dry land in my heart. But when we purposefully engage in worship regularly, even daily, focusing our minds and hearts on who God is and what He has done for us, oh how are hearts are re-filled and re-fueled with His Presence! God loves to touch hearts who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Incorporate times of worship into your life, whether while driving to work, running, in your own room or wherever. Blast those worship tunes, sing your heart out TO God, and allow His Spirit to stir you to passion for Him once again. Nothing is more wonderful!
  4. Sin Confession. No one, except Jesus, is perfect. Therefore, we all have areas of imperfection, weakness, flaws, mistakes –things that are downright ugly and unpleasing to our Lord. Getting in the practice of being aware of our own sin, confessing it, and repenting (turning away from it), are sure ways to keep the lines of communion with and communication to God clear and unclogged with life’s junk and gunk. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” My husband and I have started kneeling by our bed each night and confessing our sins before one another and God. Man has it made a difference! We feel our souls are cleansed each night and this helps us feel closer to each other and God. God’s life cannot dwell in its fulness when we have unconfessed sin. Confess and be healed!

These are just a few of the things, that when active in ours lives, can help to keep the clutter at a minimum, so that God and all His treasures can burst forth on a regular basis. It is possible! I pray that we would all desire and seek the greater things of God, refusing to be content with the dry, parched, desert conditions in our hearts.  Jesus Himself says,

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

May we all be filled afresh by the fulness of God this week as we go to Him and drink!

1 John 1:1-4

by Paul Adams at In Christ Jesus blog

By the time John wrote his epistle, errors regarding what it meant to be Christian were threatening the Church. So with a pastor’s heart, he writes to encourage readers that we can have assurance of salvation based upon bringing our lives under the scrutiny of three tests:

  • Obeying God (moral)
  • Believing the truth about Jesus (doctrinal)
  • Loving others faithfully (social)

Distinctions between John’s Gospel and First John make it clear that he seeks to bolster our confidence. Whereas the Fourth Gospel was written primarily for unbelievers to prompt faith in Jesus (Jn. 20:31), 1 John was written primarily for believers to provide assurance of eternal life (1 Jn. 5:13). And, while his Gospel emphasizes Jesus’ deity (Jn. 1:1, 18; 20:28), John’s first epistle emphasizes Jesus’ humanity (1 Jn. 1:1; 3:16; 4:2; 5:6). John says repeatedly that we can have assurance of eternal life (1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20).

Verse 1
In order to catch his readers’ attention, John begins abruptly. He writes not only from knowledge, but also from his profoundly personal experiences with the “Word of Life.” John recounts that he had heard, seen, looked at, and touched his Subject. Three possibilities as to the identity of this “Word of Life” are:

  1. The gospel message, which conveys new life
  2. The person of Christ
  3. Both 1. and 2.

Option 3 is best. Most likely John’s readers would have identified the “Word of life” with the “Word made flesh” of Jn. 1:14. Indeed, eternal life and Jesus were practically synonymous for John (Jn. 17:3; 1 Jn. 5:20).

Moreover, Jesus said of himself that he is life eternal (Jn. 11:25; 14:6) and Paul said that Christ is the gospel message (1 Cor. 1:23). Therefore, the “Word of Life” is the message of the gospel incarnated in Jesus the Son of God.

By the time John’s epistle was written, the early stages of a heresy called Gnosticism had begun to surface. This heresy taught that the physical, material world was evil and only the immaterial, intangible world was divine. So, the divine could never become human. And, since being human entails being physical and material, some were teaching that the divine Son of God could not have been fully human. John wanted his readers to know that this teaching was false and that his audible, visible, and tangible witness to the “Word of Life” is conclusive proof that “the Word of Life” was material, divine reality.

Verse 2
John states that Christianity is not a human fabrication, nor an elaboration of some other world religion. Rather, Christianity is a revealed religion (“the life appeared”). Were it not for God graciously choosing to reveal himself finally and completely in Christ, we would all be blinded by the darkness of our imaginations (cf., Rom. 1:20-23; 2 Cor. 4:3-6).

John’s experience reminds us that although Christianity is not a “private” religion, it is an intensely “personal” one. Consequently, we testify not only to what God has done in history, but to what God has done in us (cf., Acts 26:12ff; Rom. 5:8).

Our experience of Christ should be similar to that of John’s:

  • we “see” the truth of the gospel
  • we “testify” to it (= affirm it to be true)
  • and we “proclaim” it to others.

John assures his readers and us that the truth about salvation is both objective and subjective. It is grounded in the personal and historical; the perceiver and the perceived; the experience and the experienced.

However, lest we forget that experiencing and proclaiming Christ is merely a means to an end, John reminds us that God is bringing about his objectives in our salvation.

Verses 3-4
John states two intended purposes for proclaiming the Word of life:

  1. “Fellowship” (to share and actively participate in a close union or bond; to partner with another). John says that fellowship with him and his apostolic colleagues necessarily depends upon a relationship with God through Christ. It is impossible to have genuine, biblical fellowship with other believers and not have fellowship with God through his Son Jesus (and vice versa). Christians are related to one another as a branch is related to a vine. We are spiritual family. To Consider: What happens when the human or divine elements of fellowship become one-sided? Human fellowship minus divine fellowship is like a tree without roots. Likewise, divine fellowship minus human fellowship equals false piety. To Consider: Evangelism that does not involve fellowship will leave new disciples with a serious case of malnutrition (cf., Heb. 5:12-14). Similarly, fellowship that does not issue forth in evangelism will leave a static and lifeless “holy huddle.”
  2. “Joy” (not a cheap glow that depends upon circumstances). Biblical “joy” is a quiet, inner confidence that our salvation is secure (Ps. 28:7; Is. 12:3) Biblical “joy” is delighting in all the blessings of a relationship with God and his people (Philip. 4:1; 3 Jn. 3)

What was experienced, seen, heard, felt, and subsequently affirmed, proclaimed, and written down is the historical and deeply personal reality John calls the “Word of life.” This “Word of life” is none other than the gospel message incarnated in Jesus. This “Word of life” is:

Revealed, experienced and, proclaimed, the effect of which is: fellowship with God, his Son, and God’s people, resulting in the joy and assurance of our salvation.

Book Review: What Every Christian Needs To Know About The Qur’an by James White

from Apologetics 315 site

Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world with a membership of over one billion worldwide and over five million in the United States. The growth of Islam within the United States is challenging the way many evangelicals witness to people. The growing complexity of relationships between the United States and the Arab world after the events of 9/11, and the growing tide of terrorism, warrant an exploration into what true Islam is. In his new book What Every Christian Needs To Know About The Qur’an, Dr. James White writes to help Christians “understand the Qur’an’s teachings as it impacts our interactions with Muslims and events throughout our world” (12).  He wants to “draw out the Qur’an’s teachings on the key issues that separate Muslims and Christians and that form the basis of our dialogues and differences” (12). Dr. White does this by looking at the history surrounding Muhammad, the Qur’an itself, Allah, the Trinity, and Jesus, the prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible, and the transmission and text of the Qur’an.

Dr. White has debated leading Muslim apologists the world over and is well-known for being an authority on the matter. His book demonstrates not only a high degree of scholarship and knowledge, but also helps the Christian understand what Muslims actually teach. What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an has provided a model for how Christians can think biblically and seriously about Islam from a biblical worldview. This book will aid readers in several ways. First, in this reviewer’s assessment, while the scholarship of this book is top-notch it is not over the head of the average person, however, it will force them to think seriously about the issue and challenge them to open up a Bible. Second, this book will help Christians engage in meaningful and honest discussion with Muslims about what Islam teaches and why they believe its tenets. In this reviewer’s opinion, this book fills a huge need by helping readers learn what Islam really teaches straight from its sacred text. Finally, and most importantly, the book engages the reader at the worldview level by helping Christians understand not just what Muslim’s believe about a variety of topics, but also the mindset of the Islamic faith. When one factors in the combination of things just mentioned, this book will prove to be a powerful boon to God’s people to help strengthen the Church in its task to be ready to give an answer to Islam with gentleness and respect.

Dr. White in Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an helps Christians learn what Islam teaches from the Qur’an itself by helping them understand the worldview and mindset of the Muslim people without attacking them. Through fair and accurate use of the Qur’an and other relevant documents, the author teaches about Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the afterlife and several other vital topics. Whether brand new to the study of Islam or studying it a long time, What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an has something for each group. Reading What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an will help the reader understand not just the challenges of Islam but how to answer Muslim challenges with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus from the Word of God.

Apologetics 315 Book Reviewer Dave Jenkins is the Director of Servants of Grace Ministries. He enjoys biblical, systematic and historical theology and apologetics. More of his writing can be found at