Tag Archives: God

The Church, should we pay taxes?

31 Oct

Let’s talk about something that’s very controversial. In our modern times, the fear of economic failure is at the top of every politically minded individual’s list. These individuals make up many of the religious organizations through-out our country. The question I and many others are asking is, should the churches and religious organizations pay their share of taxes? As we know most religious organizations and churches are for the most part tax except. The question is, should they be paying taxes and should we be reconsidering not only the constitutional aspects of the question but also what the word of God says about it?
In Mark 12:17 (NIV) we read this. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The statement comes from a discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees and is also found in Matthew 22. Jesus was asked whether or not everyone should pay their share of taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus responded by asking whose portrait and inscription was found on the coin held by the Pharisees. The y responded that it was Caesars portrait and inscription and thus Jesus made the above statement in Mark. Could we compare the same question to money today? Whose inscription is carved into every coin? What symbols are found on every bill? What would Jesus say about this topic?
Obviously this topic is one that can come with much resistance and with much negative feedback, but should we as Christians rethink things just a little? As we know tax exemption was not always around. It wasn’t until around 1954 that the idea was introduced by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. This introduction was labeled 501c3 exception status. The problem with such tax exemption is it also detailed certain requirements of any organization approved for the exemption. One such requirement was that no 501c3 approved organization would be involved in any political candidate’s campaign or approval or disapprove of any candidate uses the religious platform. The requirement goes on from there.
A question we as the church body should ask ourselves, is have we as Christians, traded our voice for the benefit of more money for our churches? Have we traded the authority of God for the benefits of more comfort and for less religious resistance? Have a majority of our churches done wrong by applying and excepting this tax free status? I think it’s a question that at least deserves a moment’s thought don’t you? May we ask ourselves if the church’s voice has grown much more silent in the last 60 years or so?
Obviously the added revenue from all the religious organizations and churches would improve the financial status of our great country if applied correctly, but could it possibly hurt in other ways, that is a question to also ask ourselves. Currently much of the burden that should lie of the backbone of the church currently resides on the backbone of our federal government. Things such as feeding the hungry and housing the homeless are responsibilities that should be the focus point of all churches and not simply to what color carpet we should install this year in our sanctuary. Would the church as a whole be ready to stand up and act as the big brother of the helpless and the hurting in a manner much higher than we see today? To become an active voice again, the church will most definitely have to be ready to do so.

This question on taxes is not a small group thought, but is found throughout the country in growing numbers. I am a most definitely a Christian and my personal opinion is that we should reconsider our tax exemptions. I say this as a man that feels the Church’s voice has been suppressed by actions such as this and in order to regain the respect and authority the church once had, it will have to also use its resources to help the very country in which grants its religious freedom.
Some would say we as Christians should stay out of all politics all together. I ask this question however. If there are no Godly people or no godly representation found in the elected people, than how can we as Christians expect anything but evil things in return? If we want God back in our country, than we must have Godly people willing to be a voice for his church and that voice must be carried to the doors of the white house.

 

This is an article from the HUB PAGES,

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Numerology, atrology etc, it’s not child’s play, it’s dangerous.

30 Oct

Try to name a newspaper or secular magazine today that doesn’t contain some sort of horoscope. The world has diluted astrology so much that many Christians forget that it is actually has its roots in an occult practice of fortune telling. While some people look to the stars to get advice, the scripture may make some Christians think twice about relying on the practice.

Astrology began as a form of fortune telling, which the Bible considers an occult, and at times, a useless practice. Astrology is based upon the use of stars and planets to “read into” a person’s past, present, and future. For many astrologists it is a belief that the position of certain celestial entities have an impact on our lives. For other astrologists there is a belief that there are gods in those celestial bodies that impact our lives. The Bible does warn against worshipping other Gods, though few Christians support the idea that the stars and planets are actually representations of other Gods.

However, the Bible does state that occult practices are wrong, and that we should not seek out fortune tellers, mediums, and practitioners of occult practices. While most of the predictions we see in the paper are fairly benign guesses, there is still concern among some Christian groups about astrology. The main concern is when Christians look to astrology for advice over God. If Christians look to astrology first then they are taking their eyes and trust away from God. Yet most Christians only glance at a horoscope to laugh at the generalized predictions, feeling no need to delve further into occult practices or divining the future.

Exodus 20:3 – “Do not worship any other gods besides me.” (NLT)

2 Kings 21:6 – “Manasseh even sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practices sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.” (NLT)

Deuteronomy 4:19 – “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. (NIV)

The Bible states that the stars, along with the sun and moon, were created to give light to the Earth. God is the one who gives Christians advice. However, the stars can be quite useful, as in the case of the wise men needing to find the baby Jesus, in providing location. In this case, God used the star to light the way.

The Bible is actually quite critical of astrologers, asserting that they cannot save people as God can. In Isaiah, the Bible points to this issue when God proclaims that Doom will come to Babylon and there is nothing the astrologists can do to save the people from it. However, in today’s era of generalized horoscopes, most Christians do not use astrology as a way to predict major events.

Genesis 1:16-17 – “God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, to shine down upon the earth. He also made the stars. God sent these lights in the heavens to light the earth.” (NLT)

Isaiah 47:13 – “All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.” (NIV)

I will move the rock

29 Oct

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s mind such as: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.”

Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure, these thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. “Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort, and that will be good enough.”

And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done.

“I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

At times when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what he wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in him…

By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but it is still God who moves the mountains.

God, You call us to obedience everyday. Sometimes, I want to see beyond obedience. I want to know why, how and when. Yet, it is usually long after the obedience that I begin to realize what Your plan was back then. So help me just be obedient for today. I am learning, Lord that by being obedient today, I am stronger for tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Your failures do not define you

26 Oct

What happens when people act in direct opposition to what they know is right? This activity happens on a number of levels. When a person who’s trying hard to lose weight consistently binges on pizza and ice cream, disappointment ensues. When an individual commits a crime, victims suffer and the perpetrator risks jail time. When a husband or wife chooses to engage in an extramarital affair, the marriage is damaged—sometimes beyond repair—and children suffer the consequences. When a CEO decides to overlook or sometimes even encourage accounting inconsistencies, giant corporations fail, high-level indictments follow and investors lose their savings.

What do all of the scenarios outlined above have in common? Every one of these accounts, as well as countless other failure-filled stories, can trace its origin to the book of Genesis. Today’s reading gives us a glimpse of the first failure to follow a direct command from God and the devastating results of that failure. We see the repercussions of this disobedience reflected in the daily news—and, if we’re honest, reflected in our own darkened hearts.

At first, Adam and Eve were sure of God’s instructions. There was no doubt. They knew exactly what God wanted because they received their marching orders straight from the Creator himself. Still, a simple challenge (“Did God really say …?”) from the serpent shook Eve’s confidence to the core. Once she questioned what she knew to be true, she became vulnerable to Satan’s temptation. When she and Adam then acted in violation of God’s direct command, sin invaded what had been an unimaginably perfect paradise.

Spiritually speaking, what are you sure of beyond the shadow of a doubt? What do you know to be true? Where does your certainty come from? These are important questions to answer because you face tests every day that can undermine your Biblical marching orders. People may question your mental capacity: “How can an educated person believe in intelligent design when there’s so much evidence to support evolution?” Others may accuse you of being narrow-minded: “How can you say Jesus is the only way to God?” Some may appeal to your sense of freedom: “Doesn’t God want you to have any fun?” Still others might attack the source of your trust: “The Bible is full of inconsistencies, and you’re choosing to base your life on this book?”

How prepared are you for the assaults that will come your way? Do you have a tight grip on God’s truth? Think about this today: How will God’s truth impact your actions—from the time you set foot on the floor in the morning to the minute you go to bed tonight?

To Take Away

  • What are your core faith beliefs—the spiritual truths you are sure of? Take a minute and write down three or four statements that sum up these truths.
  • When was the last time someone challenged your faith? How did it affect you?
  • How did you respond to the challenge? What would you do differently next time?

Read Genesis 3:1-15

If I were the Devil

24 Oct

If I were the Devil I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man’s effort, instead of God’s blessings;

I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;

I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;

I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;

I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;

I would make it socially acceptable to take one’s own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;

I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;

I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a law suit;

I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young;

I would get sports heroes to take on the job to advertise them;

I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family, the backbone of any nation;

I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable…..If the family crumbles, so does the nation;

I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;

I would try to convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;

I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;

I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;

I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.

Paul Harvey………….Good Day.

The power of negative thinking

24 Oct

Have you ever thought about the negativespeech and actions we give off a day? As much as 77% of everything we think is negative and counterproductive and works against us. People who grow up in an average household hear “No” or are told what they can’t do more than 148,000 times by the time they reach age 18. Result: a negative, unGodly, and  a lack of belief or faith.

It’s always easier to see the darker side of the situation because it’s just the natural way for us to think. But I challenge you today to “Force” yourself to say and think about only the positive things that will lift others up. If you think this is some new-age thinking process, I give you this passage from the Bible that supports my challenge: Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Our negative thoughts and actions not only work against what God represents, but it also works against ourselves and others. Have you ever sen someone that is always talking negatively? You’ll notice when they approach people, it’s like turning on a light in a bug infested room, everyone scatters. That only adds to their already low self-esteem. Remember that God made us in His image, so that should inspire and drive us to be positive and honored. In short, knowing that we have the Lord Jesus in our lives and on our side, should fill our thoughts with nothing but good positive thoughts, leaving no room for “Stinking Thinking.”

Go out there today and lift someone up. Be a “Positive Paul” and watch how people flock to you rather than away from you. For those people who are always trying to find the worse in a situation, pray for them. Let them see your Godly attitude, and I assure you it will rub off on them. If it doesn’t, then pray that they will find the joy of the Lord in their lives and to be able to experience happiness. Believe me when I tell you, it’s better to be known as Sparky rather than Sparkless.

Have an amazing day and live it for Jesus.

If I’m not healed of a sickness, does that mean my faith is weak, or I’m a bad Christian?

22 Oct

I recently had someone “Command my Lupus to be gone in the name of Jesus.” Well obviously it hasn’t gone anywhere, but the big surprise came when he said it wasn’t gone because of a lack of faith. My first instinct was to believe this false teaching and feel like a failure, but then I got a dose of reality and remembered that sometimes our afflictions are for a reason. In my case, “I consider it all jpy” so that I may minister to others with the disease.

Many Christians have firmly believed that God would heal a loved one only to become discouraged because they remain sick. or pass away. . They prayed in faith. Some believed that they had confirmation from other believers or from other miracles. So they were genuinely surprised, even dumbfounded, when the loved one died. What they had believed with such certainty turned out not to be true. Their faith could not heal the person — only God could heal, and he chose not to, despite their prayers, their faith, God’s love and God’s promises.

When such disappointments happen, a new trial sets in. If faith in the healing turned out to be a mistake, what about faith in Christ? Was it also a mistake? That is one of the dangers of the “word of faith” teaching — it links faith in our Savior to faith in specific predictions.

Did Jesus promise to heal every disease? He did not heal Epaphroditus, as least not as fast as they wanted him to (Phil. 2:27). Even in his earthly ministry, Jesus did not heal everyone (John 5:3-9).

Didn’t Jesus die for us, forgiving our sins? Doesn’t that mean that we have no reason to suffer? Some say so, but we should test this line of reasoning with another fact: Jesus died for us. Does this mean that we should never die? We already have eternal life (John 5:24; 11:26). But the fact is, every Christian dies. There is something wrong with the line of reasoning. We do not yet experience everything Jesus accomplished for us.

There will come a time when we will be raised imperishable. There will come a time when we never experience pain. There will come a time when we receive the full benefits of Jesus’ redemption. But that time is not yet. Now, we share in Jesus’ sufferings (1 Pet. 2:20-21).

Jesus promised persecution, not freedom from pain and sorrow. When Paul was beaten, stoned, and imprisoned, he felt pain. Paul had great faith, but also many sufferings (2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 3:10; 4:12). Although Jesus atoned for all sin, Christians still suffer despite their faith — and sometimes because of their faith.

We suffer from persecution, and we suffer the incidental pains of living in a world in which sin is still common. Sin hurts innocent people, and sometimes we are the innocent people who are hurt. Sometimes it results in early death, sometimes in slow and pain-filled death. We may suffer physical damage from a burning, a beating, a car accident or asbestos fibers. Our health may suffer from exposure to cold, from smoke in a house fire or chemicals in our food. We may suffer from wild animals, large or small, or even microorganisms. God has not guaranteed to protect all his people from all possible problems.

Is it always God’s will to heal people who have faith in Christ? The biblical evidence is that he sometimes does, and sometimes does not. Stephen was killed, James was killed. Eventually all the first Christians died of something. Yet, how many times did God save them out of danger before they eventually died? Perhaps many times.

Have you ever wondered about preachers who claim to heal all infirmities, yet they themselves wear eyeglasses? There is no reason why biblical promises would apply to one kind of ailment but not the other. The scriptures sometimes cited in support of a universal promise of healing do not make any exceptions for eyesight, age, accidents or anything else. But both Scripture and experience tell us that these verses were not intended as universal guarantees.

Yes, some have been healed, sometimes dramatically. These are examples of special favor, grace and mercy. We should not take these examples of exceptional grace and create universal promises out of them.

And we especially should not imply that people who aren’t healed do not have faith. Sometimes their faith is demonstrated through their suffering — they remain cheerfully confident that God will do what is best for them. Whether they live or whether they die, whether they have prosperity or poverty, they trust in God. There is nothing wrong with their faith. What is wrong is a teaching that implies that they are somehow not doing enough.

Just a thought for today,

Pastor Mike