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Is the Devil God’s Agent?

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, ...

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Family Foundation

If God is in Control, Then Why…?
By Craig Hill; 295 pages
Regular Price: $15.00

Excerpt from Craig Hill’s Blog ‘Is the Devil God’s Agent?’ published on September 17, 2013.

When you listen to some Christians speak about the tragedies of life, you might conclude that God uses the devil for our own good.  And even if they don’t believe God authors tragedy, they believe He is complacent and allows the devil to do what he will so God can teach us something.

After all, doesn’t Romans 8:28 say this? ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’

Most Christians want to comfort people who are suffering in the midst of tragedy and devastation.  Optimistically, they look for the good things that God has worked in the midst of the tragedy.  And when they find one, they use it to explain why God allowed or caused the destruction in the first place.

Therefore, it may seem like Romans 8:28 is an appropriate scripture to use when bringing comfort to those who are suffering, and it is.  But not for the purpose of explaining why God ‘allowed’ the tragedy. If you subscribe to that line of thinking, your heart will ultimately blame God for devastation and destruction on the earth.  Why, because this type of thinking takes Romans 8:28 out of context and then contradicts other key principles in the Bible.

Saint Michael and the fall of angels – painting by Johann Georg Unruhe ( 1793 ) – detail: Fallen angel via Wikipedia

For example, 1 John 3:8 says, ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.’  Destroy is a very different concept from use or teach.  If God were using the devil to teach us something, then He would be in conflict with His own purpose for the life of Jesus.

Craig Hill calls this kind of thinking, backwards theology.  Just because you see firemen on the scene of every fire, does not mean that firemen cause fires. Likewise, God is never the author of the works of the devil, and He never uses the devil to teach us anything.  He sent Jesus to destroy the works of the devil and the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and teacher.

To further gain a true biblical understanding of the interaction of God, Satan, circumstances, and their impact on your life, Craig Hill encourages you to read his book on just this topic entitled, If God Is In Control, Then Why? It will change the way you view God and tragedy on the earth.

About the Book

IF GOD IS IN CONTROL THEN WHY..? deals with that difficult question about the nature of God that plagues the minds of most people. Whether you are a lifetime believer in Christ or you have just begun looking for answers, the question, ‘If God is in control, then why…?’ has probably been one you have heard or asked many times in your life. Craig Hill has gifted insight into God’s Word and an ability to teach through riveting real-life stories. This book brings understanding to the issue of God’s sovereignty and will set your heart at peace, allowing you to trust a just God in an unjust world.

E-book versions for Kindle and Nook for this book are now available. Audio Book is also available.

About the Author

Having a specific interest in ministering to marriages and families, Craig Hill pursued an internship and later a volunteer staff position at the New Life Counseling Center in Denver. He subsequently taught counseling and missions on the faculty of the Marilyn Hickey Bible College. In 1987, the Lord raised up Craig as Senior Pastor of a local church where he and Jan served for seven and a half years, until he was called by God to devote his full-time energy to the ministry of Family Foundations International.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/is-the-devil-gods-agent-6848818.html

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All you need is love… and maybe a little wisdom

This morning I replied to a Tweet that said the important question is whether a person is “alive” before death.

I suggested that it might be more fruitful to talk about being “awake” before death because to imply that someone isn’t alive – i.e. dead – seems a bit judgmental and final.

“Awake” and “asleep” are softer terms than “alive” and “dead.” And rarely do strong proclamations or insinuations do any good in helping ourselves and others.

So afterward, I walk to my local parish. And funnily enough the theme (and wording) for today’s Mass was about the soul not dying!

It made me think…

What did Jesus really say? The Bible has so many additions, glosses, translations, contexts, versions, and deletions that sometimes we can’t be sure. Even scholars and linguists quibble over the precise meaning of biblical terms (probably partly why I never bothered to learn Hebrew and Greek).

Dead Awake

Dead Awake (Photo: Wikipedia)

After a short while I came to the tentative conclusion that we’re all different and have unique roles to play in the grand scheme of things. So even someone who seems spiritually “dead” could be doing something vital. And even someone who seems spiritually “alive” could be out to lunch on other important issues.

Instead of a “this or that” approach, I think it’s more realistic to view people as complex, evolving creations. This involves a multi-dimensional or, if you like, a multi-factorial model of consciousness instead of a binary one.

With a multi-model we would be less inclined to judge and more open to finding out the inherent strengths in others. And more importantly, we might be better disposed to love, even if the “dead” or “sleepers” irritate or harm us.

Now let me be clear. I’m not talking about being a doormat. Nor am I suggesting we don’t defend ourselves or speak out against perceived injustices. I’m just talking about making practical instead of ultimate judgments.

For sure, I steer clear of people if I have reason to believe they’re borderline and possibly violent. You get people like that in big city churches. But I don’t hate them. And I don’t think they’re hell bound or simply going to disappear at death.

Loving people who have insulted or hurt us is not always easy. It might take a while to work through our own resentment. But I find that choosing to love usually works best for everyone, provided it’s done with discernment.

Discernment is a Catholic term with two related meanings. On the one hand it means finding out God’s will for us. On the other hand, discernment is learning to recognize the good and evil influences acting on our souls. Like anything, sincere seekers tend to get better at this over time.

So what will you choose?

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EP Today – When teachers get creepy

eptoday-copyWay back, when Earthpages was a website instead of a blog, the main page had a feature called “EP Today.” Some of my early web pals might remember this.

I’ve decided to go back to that name for commenting on current news and general interest stories.

So here it is. Our first reinstallment of EP Today!

Today I’d like to briefly touch on the (imo) silly idea of the perfected being. The more I get into the spiritual life the more I recognize the importance of humility. Also, to think that someone is more evolved or pure than another may carry potential dangers. Some gurus and charismatic figures can really disrupt family relations.

I remember living in a small town about 100 miles out from Toronto. A group of local devotees would drive every weekend, abandoning their spouses and children, to be with a high profile NYC guru. That’s a pretty long drive to make every weekend!

At a gathering designed to welcome and orient potentially new disciples, some devotees’ family members showed up and openly spoke out. They said the guru was stealing the hearts and minds of their loved ones. I was surprised. The concerned family members seemed almost angry. And I must admit, back then at my young age, I leaned toward the side of the devotees whose manner suggested that their families just didn’t quite get it. They weren’t enlightened enough to understand…

But about 25 years later, I can empathize with the complaining family’s perspective. Imagine if your wife or mom was rushing off every weekend to be with a NYC guru? Wouldn’t you be a bit concerned? I would.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The difficulty, as I see it, is this:

Most gurus claiming to be perfect often emanate some kind of soupy, numinous power. It’s not clear like the Holy Spirit. But it’s still there. A buzz, if you will. And sensitive but naive followers pick up on that buzz and are impressed. They’ve never encountered numinosity (spiritual power) before. Or perhaps they’ve never experienced anything better. So they believe, mistakenly, I’d say, that the guru’s ‘light’ is ultimate.

To me, true spirituality isn’t hero worship or getting spiritually drunk or stoned. Instead, it involves realizing that we carry each other, and on many levels. Healthy spirituality is not a one-way street with some pampered, contented teacher at the top, supposedly raising up disciplines who are far beneath them. No. The dynamic is multidirectional. And anyone who says otherwise is probably naive or, if they’re squatted at the top of an unhealthy guru-disciple relationship, an egotist and possibly a mind-abuser.

So many sham gurus and questionable spiritual leaders seem like bullfrogs posing as kings and queens. They rule from tiny little mudponds, like that creepy turtle in Dr. Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle. And until an oppressed turtle speaks up, the kingpin or Queen Bee will keep scamming cash and mental energy from the gullible and inexperienced below.

Would anyone in their right mind really want to have anything to do with that?

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How to Determine Your Spiritual Gifts

By Rhonda Jones

Every believer has at least one spiritual gift according to I Corinthians 12:7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” God has given every one of us at least one spiritual gift to edify the Body of Christ. Although we all have a spiritual gift, we often do not know exactly what that gift is or how it should be used. Four Biblical passages provide the basis for teachings concerning spiritual gifts, specifically Romans 12:1-12; I Corinthians 12:1-31, I Peter 4:7-14and Ephesians 4:1-15.

Spiritual gifts are meant to serve the Body of Christ in the pursuit to fulfill the great commission. The three categories of spiritual gifts include the motivational gifts, service gifts and the manifestation gifts. The motivational gifts are often referred to as the speaking gifts such as evangelism and exhortation. Gifts of service usually involve ministries that supply a need, like the food or usher board ministries. The manifestation gifts include gifts of healing, speaking in tongues or any gift that produces a result that can be seen or touched.

Learning what gifts God has given you through the Holy Spirit is a life changing experience. Once you know what gifts God has placed in you, it is easier to move into the purpose for which God has created you. If you are not confident in knowing what gifts you possess, there are steps to bring you closer to knowing your purpose.

Candlemas Day

Candlemas Day via Wikipedia

Step One: Listen to Your Heart

What are you happiest doing? What are you good at by nature? Knowing what brings your heart joy is the first step to discovering your spiritual gift. Often we operate unknowingly in our gifts, but on a much smaller scale than God would desire. Your natural reaction to a situation will offer insight to what gifts you possess. A person with the gift of exhortation will immediately begin to encourage someone facing an obstacle, while a person with the gift of intercession will immediately turn to prayer. A person with the gift of service will try to find a task that would lift some of the burden. Make a true observation of your heart; it will not lead you in the wrong direction as long as you are seeking God.

Step Two: Spiritual Gift Assessment

After you observe your heart, the follow up step is an assessment. A self-analysis of your strengths and interests will assist you with understanding specific areas of ministry for your talents. Evaluations vary in number and complexity of the questions and in their scoring methods, but often the results are relatively accurate. Assessments only provide a basis, they are not meant to replace seeking God to reveal your spiritual gifts. Primarily assessments spotlight gifts, such as faith, wisdom, discernment, or other qualities designed to glorify God. Free assessments are available with immediate results on the web.

Step Three: Pray

If you believe you have discovered your spiritual gift, ask God to confirm your discovery. The Bible tells us to do all things with prayer and supplication! Sometimes we learn how to do things and we learn certain responses, but it is not our true gift. God is the one who placed the gift inside you and he will let you know if you are on the right track. Even after you discover your gift, you must continue to pray. Prayer will help you remain faithful and humble in the use of your gift. Prayer will allow you to walk honestly and whole-heartedly in your gifts.

Step Four: Exercise your Gift

After you have discovered your spiritual gifts, learn to exercise them. Exercising what you believe to be your gift is the final determining factor of whether you posses a certain gift. For example, if you discover that intercession is your spiritual gift, but you find that you can never find anything to pray about, this may not actually be your gift. Likewise, if you believe you have the gift of exhortation, but feel like encouraging someone might be intruding, this may not be your gift. If you believe you have a gift, exercise it. If there is not a sense of fulfillment or joy just from exercising the gift (and not from affirmations by people), you may need to continue to seek God to reveal your gifts to you.

After you determine your spiritual gifts, continue to pray. The most important thing to remember is that gifts are given to edify the body of Christ and should never be used to promote negativity or competition. Ultimately, the gift still belongs to God and any power associated with the gift comes from God. Equally, any results from the use of your gift are up to God and are at his discretion. You do not bear the weight of “making” your gift work. You simply pray for opportunities to use your gift and an understanding of your gift.

About the Author

Learn about Guided Christian Meditation CDs and resources that will enhance your life and relationship with God. Are you ready to transform your life and live with more purpose and passion? Visit Detox Your Life Now and & Awaken Your Inner Spirit to learn about this 10-week Christian faith-based program.

Article Source: How to Determine Your Spiritual Gifts


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RENEW Your Mind: My Story

By Marshae

God showed me the importance of renewing my mind in 2012. This was all before I had a personal relationship with God. It all began the day my brother died on Jan 25. I had recently moved to Atlanta for a job as well as to fully engage into a sexual lifestyle. On the day of my brother’s death, I begin to go into a deep depression. By April, I’d lost my job and my cousin and I was falling behind on bills because of my depression.

I decided that I was going to kill myself that April. I guess I should take a second to backtrack so that you will understand where the depression came from. I lost both parents before 10, so I was extremely tired of death at this point and my childhood was not the greatest after losing my father. I felt all life was about was coming her to die, so why would I wait, let me just take my own life. The day I decided to do it, I’d just taken 4 sleeping pills (I’ll be honest, I still was scared to do it) and working to take more when my phone rang.

It was a friend of mine I had met when I first moved to Atlanta and became very close with, he knew the mind frame I was in and was practically begging me to listen to a sermon of a new Pastor he had heard. I decided to listen to it. I remember stating before I played the sermon, “I know I should give, I know I should love, I know I should forgive, tell me something I don’t know!” Let’s just say God answered that for me that day. The sermon was called “Whose Report will you Believe.”

I was barely able to finish the sermon because of the sleeping pills. I know I feel asleep after the sermon, but I immediately called him the next day of waking up. I had never heard so much wisdom in my life, I talked to him for two hours and then Pastor Otha of Lionheart Church, invited me to the Church. I went to a bible study and again so much wisdom was given I re-dedicated myself back to God that night. After church service I introduced myself to him and I told him: “I lost my job, I need a job, Can you help me?”
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His response was, “Give a person a fish, he eat for a day, Teach a person to fish, he eat for a lifetime, I’m going to teach you how to pray and manifest anything you need from God.” He showed me how to pray and explained a few things to me. That was in April. I received a part time job in May, but continued to do as instructed. In September 2012, every single thing I had prayed for came to past. There was not one thing I had on my list of things that I needed that God did not answer.

Not only did God give me my dream job but He also changed my life in every aspect. He truly did make me a new creature as the scripture says and the main concept of why this was possible was God showing me how to renew my mind daily in Him. There was a lot of things I had to unlearn and allow the Holy Spirit to show me. Because I was willing to learn these things God did some pretty amazing things in my life and He is still doing some amazing things. I am looking forward of all the amazing things He will continue to do. I pray that whoever reads this article, that you decide to renew your mind so that you may know the hope to which He called you to!

About the Author

Hello, My name is Marshae. I am the Founder of RENEW Your Mind Ministry and just trying to spread the gospel and education of God through as… (show bio)


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Living in the shadow of Judas

Español: Beso de Judas.

Español: Beso de Judas (Judas Kiss) Image: Wikipedia

By Gerry Legister

When a person like Judas dies his character lives on in other individuals, who are portraying symptoms of those same characteristic traits, they are reborn all over again with similar deep rooted guile.

Jesus answered them, “I chose you, the Twelve, didn’t I? Yet one of you is a devil.” John 6:70

Don’t hesitate to flee when you see the evil shadow of someone sinister trying to cover you, when a tree cast its shadow over a tiny part of the ground, nothing good grows there. Shadow is a dark place cause by the absent of light, and if you live in the shadow of someone, you may follow their bad examples and hardly get notice for the good that you are doing.

Don’t live in the shadow of a brother or a sister, there achievements and their abilities belongs to them, but you are unique and no one can take your place. God has placed you on this earth for a reason, try to find out what are the cause and reason that you are here.

We properly know the story well enough to repeat it over and over to our children. It is a sad story, and one that we are all familiar with, and the expression is that a person who is called a Judas is not a nice person to know, for he sold his soul to the Devil.

Some people may have strong disagreement about the final eternal state of the person who was called Judas, one of the twelve apostle of Jesus, who notoriously betrayed his master with a sentimental kiss, his reward for doing so was a mere thirty pieces of silver, hardly enough to make deposit on a new house.

The reason sinners don’t come to Christ easily, it is because somewhere in the back of their minds there are nagging doubts about certain things that they see Christians are doing, which just doesn’t seemed right, some do their wrongs in clandestine corners.

Others are bolder with their notorious behaviour, and they will climb the professional stage, and make their act believable, by reinforcing it with pride of ethics and the legality of their position.

Many who ply their craft this way, see the church as a business for profiting off the world, and whoever gets in their way will get tread upon. This could be the person who has help trained and nurtured them, until they were able to stand in the assembly of those they could only have admired before, but sooner or later when an investigation is on the table, the fame makes them unable to resist the bait, and like the ruthless practices of some business operations, they are persuaded to crush anyone who gets in their way.

They have all accounts prepare for scrutiny, for the love of money is the root of all evil 1 timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, are thirsty for position in society and in their career prospect, have wandered from the faith and betrayed their integrity, sold their family and friends for what they can get out of it.

Sometimes it’s not so much the money that they are looking for, but the sheer satisfaction of seeing an individual being destroyed and humiliated, this makes them feel important, and make others look on them as someone who has an interest in seeing things improve.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” John 13:27

But the backlash is that they will pierced themselves with many grief’s later on down the road in life when they have been found out. Craving for the position of others that they were not called to serve in, but they will use extortion and start hiding behind money, and this makes the greedy bring ruin to their home.

The deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:19

The Judases of this century do not operate by careless leverage, they use indirect diversion, career demolition experts, financial backing of those whom they are serving, with carefully planned surprises. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

For example none of the other disciples of Jesus knew what Judas had in his heart to do, they were not aware of the dark gutter into which he wanted to plunge Jesus, his mild tempter gave no clue, but his soul was in utter darkness. In comparison to Peter; who was walking in the light, being loud and brassy, but meant no harm to anyone, Judas was quiet and unassuming, nevertheless, he had found himself in a privilege position, and he was going to make use of his good fortune.

Most of the time the person you least suspected is the one with the jealous agenda.

False friends can show signs to make them appear genuine, they make every effort to be perfect in everything that they do, hardly putting a foot wrong, and you would only know that they are false, when you scrutinise their attitude towards certain things, they are armed with great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the very elect, they are trust worthy, reliable, would never knowingly let you down.

But beware of the wolf in sheep clothing, they will sell you out for position, prestige and money. Friends selling out friends for a handful of barley, what sorrow awaits them? For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother Able? And like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, Dathan and Abiram, they will perish in their rebellion. Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

Some people will have ask the question, did Judas had a choice or was he predestined to do this evil deed? It’s not such a bad question when you think that there are people living today, who harbour those same type of behaviour as Judas did, we cannot say for certainty that we have seen the last of Judas, for he may yet rise again in the resurrection, but what we can agree upon, is that Judas was one of the chosen disciple of Jesus.

For many are invited, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14

Many people are called to be disciples of Christ, but not all are chosen, and whiles they are called, they may not venture to believe in the deity of the Lord, they may just be kingdom admirers, with no real relationship with the Holy Ghost, for if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you would want to behave in a way which demonstrate loyalty to the cause in which you are involved with.

The scripture points to the evidence that Judas never believe in Jesus and he may not have been convinced that Jesus was the messiah, But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

The nature of Judas was easily read by Jesus, this foreknowledge of issues is no accident, and Jesus was conscious about what was going to happen to him, he was well informed about his betrayal by one of his own, his death and resurrection. And failing the sympathy for Judas, for many of us having this knowledge would only have led many into enmity.

The lack of faith by Judas speaks volumes, and the same holds true for many today who are living in the shadow of Judas. When you read the synoptic gospels, there is clear indication that Judas not only lacked faith in Christ, but he also had little or no personal relationship with Jesus. But those consistent with a good relationship with Jesus were always listed first.

The pairing of Mary and Judas creates a rhetoric of contrast, for they are both so very different.

The only brief dialogue documented between Jesus and Judas, involves Judas being rebuked by Jesus after his greedy remarks to Mary. When Judas accost Mary for wasting an expensive perfume on Jesus, it was out of his greed to steal he exposed his true feelings about his spiritual commitment. But Mays humble devotion is contrasted by Judas critical stinginess of insincere ambition.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

We will be just like Judas if we fail to recognize that Jesus came into this world, to die for our sins and destroy the works of the devil, and only he alone can provide forgiveness for our sins.

So in the final summary, let us hear the conclusion about Judas, and be warned about close alliance with those characters. The Old Testament prophecy said.

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” psalms 41:9

Judas was consumed with envy and greed to the point of betraying the trust and loyalty of Jesus, and his fellow disciples, as we have seen in John 12:5 Judas may have desired to follow Jesus simply because he saw the great crowds of people following him, and perhaps believed he could profit from the collections that are taken for the group. In addition to that, Judas he had entertained political ambitions.

He may have followed Jesus hoping to benefit from assumption that most people had at the time, believing the coming Messiah was going to overthrow Roman occupation and take on a position of ruling over the nation of Israel. But Judas betrayal was known to God, and it was planned before hand as the means by which Jesus would be killed.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/living-in-the-shadow-of-judas-7206687.html

About the Author

I love creative writing, it is just a wonderful way of expressing myself. I have been writing from a tender age, and therefore it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. To share my articles with others. Writing is a treasured passion inside of me that will never die. I hope one day I can say something that will help others to appreciate the gift of life. In a career spanning over 20 years in Pastoral work. Gerry has decided it is time to enhance his spiritual outlook on broader subjects, and has recently collaborated on a new spiritual manuscript with a friend, compiling and presenting a thorough research work on the book of Revelation.


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New Pope will have to face same old Church

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A lot of people entirely dismiss the Catholic Church. But that’s not really fair. True, there are problems. And many of them will take a long time to repair. But there are about 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. And it seems unlikely that all of these people would attend Mass merely for aesthetic or sociological reasons.

If Catholicism were just a crazed cult like some folks say, it would have died out after its founder (Jesus Christ) died. Sociologists note that cults always dwindle away and die after their charismatic leader passes.

So what’s going on? Could it be that, as the Church claims, the Holy Spirit lives and breathes within the ancient liturgy? I, myself, believe that it does. But that doesn’t mean that there’s still not a whole host of very human problems in need of repair. – MC

Whoever he may be, the 266th pope will inherit a gerontocracy obsessed with turf and Italian politics, uninterested in basic management practices and hostile to reforms. (washingtonpost.com)

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