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The Summit Lecture Series Slider

To purchase the entire Summit Lecture Series, Vol. 1 on DVD, go to: summit.org.

Biblically, there are two eternal destinies: eternal fellowship with God and His redeemed creatures in the new heaven and new earth; or a place for those who are outside, as Revelation 22:15 puts it:

Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

This is a place for the unbelievers, those who deny the Gospel, those who persevere in ungodliness. They, along with those listed in Revelation 22:15, go off to eternal punishment.

However, Mormons talk about three levels of eternal existence.

There is a Celestial Level for the “valiant Mormons”. Then there is the Terrestrial Level for the “less valiant Mormons” and the basically decent people. Finally, there is the lower level, or “Telestial Level”.

Mormons do talk about at torment, or kind of hell that people experience if they are ex-Mormons – in other words, if “they have known the ‘restored gospel’ and deny it”. These people, according to Mormon doctrine, suffer either eternally or for a certain amount of time in hell. There are contradicting sources out there regarding whether or not Mormons believe this hell is eternal or temporary.

Either way, what is wrong here is that, according to the Bible, there are only two eternal destinations for all people.

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

The damned go into eternal punishment, and the blessed who serve Christ by serving their neighbor go into eternal life. Both of these are perpetual and conscious.

It is the “Great Either/Or for Eternity”.

The Bible makes no mention at all of three or four levels of eternal existence.

Image: Rob Sivulka

Image: Rob Sivulka

Yet, sadly and tragically, Mormonism denies the way to be reconciled to God and to have everlasting fellowship with the Triune God and all of His people. They do this through the false gospel of Mormonism.

Now… how do we reach those involved with cults?

Firstly, know what you believe and why you believe it. Study the Bible. Study Christian apologetics. Understand where the cults differ from Biblical Christianity. Ron Rhodes’ book, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions is a great read. It goes through all the major cult groups very thoroughly, historically and Biblically.

Secondly, be prepared for spiritual warfare. This is not a game. Put on the Armor of God:

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Remember that we love people and we want to win people over to Christ. But we have an enemy who is the “father of lies”. Satan masquerades as an angel of light and pretends to be righteous. Therefore, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit because the Spirit, as Jesus says three times in John’s Gospel, is the Spirit of truth. So, by the Holy Spirit, we can discern the difference between truth and error.

We know this based on what the Bible clearly says.

Thirdly, always treat people involved with cults lovingly, as fellow human beings who are desperately in need of salvation. Don’t view anyone as a weird, strange, bizarre person who should be avoided. View them as someone who needs to understand the truth about Jesus Christ and His love for us.

Know this – there are people out there who think that they are Christians… they think they are saved from an eternity of separation from God. Yet, truthfully, they are not. This applies to Mormons who truly believe the Mormon teaching.

Now it could be that some Mormons read the Bible more than the Book of Mormon and who, somehow, understand Jesus as the TOTAL Savior. And, hopefully, as they investigate the Mormon teachings as well as Scripture more and more, they will come to the understanding that Mormonism is a theological historical cult.

We need to discern the beliefs of cult adherence and gently, firmly, and lovingly challenge them with the Gospel truth. We also need to show them where their doctrines stop making sense, such as the eternal generation of gods. Philosophically, this makes no sense.

Why would someone seeking truth believe the Book of Mormon over the Bible when the Bible is so well attested archeologically, historically, and in so many other ways?

So, we need to try to reason with people, realizing we are engaging in spiritual warfare and we need to depend on the Spirit of truth and we need the full armor of God because this is not a game. It is very serious business.

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The Summit Lecture Series Slider

To purchase the entire Summit Lecture Series, Vol. 1 on DVD, go to: summit.org.

Joseph Smith said:

“God was once a man like us. God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on Earth, the same as Jesus Christ did.”

That is not Biblical and there’s no reason to believe it.

You see, a guy (Joseph Smith) goes out seeking God. He supposedly has a vision of God. An angel comes to him and tells him about some tablets and then helps him translate the tablets with the “seer stone”; and then the tablets are taken up into heaven. Then this guy goes around telling us what the “restored gospel” is. That’s how the Mormon Church has come up with things like this.

There is no historical or archeological verification for where Mormonism deviates from Christianity. They have bizarre doctrines that include Gods begetting Gods, infinite regress, and a belief that God merely assists us to achieve salvation. Sometimes Mormons will say, “After we have done everything, God will make up for the rest.”

This is not true.

God does it all for us, in and through Jesus Christ and through Him only.

Cults redefine and distort the work of Jesus. They deny Jesus’ full atonement for sins and the significance of His resurrection, as making Him the Lord of the universe. Now, if you were to ask a Mormon if they believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus, they would say, “Yes.”

What you really have to ask is “What does His resurrection mean?” Does it mean Jesus is Lord at the right hand of the Father in perpetuity for eternity?

For Mormons, the answer is no, because they believe that other Gods can be formed later. In fact, good obedient Mormon men can become Gods. So, while they do believe in the resurrection, they do not believe in the total authority of Jesus Christ shown through His resurrection, denying its meaning and significance.

Whenever you talk to someone who is a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or anything of the sort, you have to have them define and illustrate their terms. Sometimes, Mormons are unaware of their doctrines, with the church keeping them hidden from its followers. This is why you have to be conversant and understand what you are talking about.

Lastly, all cults deny the Gospel of Christ and assert a false gospel. Spencer W. Kimble, a former president of the Mormon Church, once said,

“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God, that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.”

It’s not insignificant that one of the past leaders of the Mormon Church clearly denied the Gospel.

It is written in Galatians 1:6-10, where Paul warns the church:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than the one you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

So, Paul is saying in direct clear language that we already have the true gospel of reconciliation and eternal and to not let anyone turn us away from it, even if it seems to be an angel from heaven. As we have talked about before, Joseph Smith claimed to have an encounter with angel named Moroni who revealed to him new truths. Similarly, Muhammad claimed to be given new revelations from the angel Gabriel when he began Islam. If they had tested the spirits biblically, people would have recognized Smith’s and Muhammad’s claims as false gospel.

Joseph Smith heard or invented a false gospel and he did not test it against Scripture. As a result, we have over 11 million souls – and growing – in Mormonism, denying monotheism, the full deity of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and the only Gospel of salvation. Yet, they come in the name of Jesus. They present a wholesome, winning image, and have a strong commitment to community and their Church.

However, in the final analysis, none of that matters, because they are denying the Gospel. They are not true followers of Christ and they, like everyone else, need to hear the good news of Christ.

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The Summit Lecture Series Slider

Ron Rhodes perfectly summarized some of the things that devout Mormons have to do in order to be fully exalted in his book The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions:

“Once they enter mortality, they [Mormons] are faced with an unbelievable list of requirements to progress towards godhood. The list includes repentance, baptism (which renders them “born again”), membership in the Latter Day Saints church, innumerable good works, keeping the Mormon “Word of Wisdom” (which prohibits the use of coffee, tea, alcohol, or tobacco), eternal marriage (so that as gods in the future, they can procreate and give birth to spirit children), and a variety of temple rituals. These temple rituals include the endowment ritual (in which one is given a new name, learns secret handshakes, and is given protective sacred undergarments) and baptism for the dead (whereby one can be baptized on the behalf of a dead relative who believes the gospel in the spirit world following death. They must also progressively become more “perfect” and “worthy” by living a perpetually clean life – requirement for being granted entrance into the temple. Each of these plays a critical role and is necessary in the Mormon system of salvation.”

Let me contrast that with the good news of the Gospel. In Ephesians 2:8-9, we read Paul’s summary of the gift of the Gospel and how it is received.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

Isn’t that clear? Jesus drew people to Himself for salvation. He said, “Believe in Me”. We cannot possibly, as sinful and corrupt beings, justify, authenticate, or prove ourselves before God by good works. Nor is it a combination of grace and good works. The Biblical understanding is: we are saved by grace, we receive it by faith, then we become disciples of Christ and we do good works. We further the kingdom, we love God because we are citizens of God’s kingdom – because we know God as Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit lives within us and leads and directs us.

So it’s natural (supernatural, really) that we would bare fruit. And the fruit that lasts (the good works) is a confirmation that we are born again, redeemed, and reconciled. It does not add to our status as being reconciled or redeemed.

You are justified through the merits of Jesus Christ alone. You receive that by faith, knowing that you are inadequate, sinful, and guilty. But, Christ took all of that upon Himself on the cross.

THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS!

And Mormonism denies it.

Don’t be fooled. What is one of the reasons why Mormons try to be so squeaky clean, good, wholesome and wonderful? They want to progress to godhood. They have to do these things in order to eventually become gods themselves.

Now, does this mean that all Mormons are hypocrites and nasty and horrible people?

NO!

But, you have to realize that their motivation is “works based”. It is not a “grace based” life in Christ. This is so fundamental for discernment.

Every cult denies the Gospel. They say they believe it, or they say that they are restoring it; but in fact they are defacing it. They erase and replace it with a counterfeit.

Cults also always redefine the person and work of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

While Scripture says that Jesus was God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

…No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. (John 1:1-3, 14, 18)

We believe that Christ is truly God. And, if you look at Colossians 1:17-18, Paul says that:

He [Jesus Christ] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

The Mormons teach that Jesus was once merely a human who attained godhood through a long process. So, there was a time when Christ did not exist.

This is thoroughly unbiblical. Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity, has ALWAYS existed. Think of Jesus’ own words in John 8:58,

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Jesus Is Gods Selfie

Image: Tony Evans

Jesus Christ is eternally God the Son. Then, He took on human nature for us, for our salvation, and to further the kingdom of God. However, Mormonism says that we should pray to the Heavenly Father, but they do not and are not suppose to pray to Jesus.

That’s quite telling.

The Bible has examples of people praying to the Father and to the Son, and really, theologically, there is no reason to not pray to the Holy Spirit because He is equally God, along with the Father and the Son. But, Mormons do not pray to Jesus. He is not their total Lord and Savior.

Moreover, Mormon theology is very family-oriented, even with respect to God. Because humans become gods and then procreate other humans who become gods. According to Mormons, this goes back to the infinite past. Therefore, they are not monotheists. They do not believe in one God. They do not believe in the Holy Trinity – one God in three Persons.

We know from Scripture that the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and supernaturally conceived the human nature of Jesus. But, Mormons believe that the heavenly Father literally had sex with Mary in order to procreate another god.

I told you they are family-oriented!

This is not the God of the Bible. This is not Jesus Christ.

 

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Christian teaching about church relationships, men and women relationships, parent and child relationships within blended families

It’s so important to be aware of how divorce effects children differently when a family is in the turmoil of a separation or divorce, in order to help your child cope in ways that are most beneficial to them in regards to their age.  Today we will discuss how divorce impacts teens, 13-18-years-old.

As teens, grow so does their desire to be independent.  However, they still need you.  Though it may seem they are rebelling against you and what you stand for, they are attempting to identify what is important to them. Teens of this age range are working on solidifying their identity and establishing their sense of “self” in relation to rules and regulations of society.  They may push the limits on rules to determine whether you will continue to enforce your values.  For parents, it may be a difficult time as we realize our child doesn’t seem to need us as they once did.  Compared to younger kids, our teens seem to want less of our time, less of our advice and opinions and less of our togetherness.  They want to be with their peers and perhaps have found someone they are interested in as more than just a friend.  It is partly through these relationships that your teen discovers who he is, what he wants in relationships and what he will seek out in community.

Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

When divorce happens, teens of this age range may feel embarrassed by the family break-up and may react by idealizing one or both parents.  Younger kids typically continue to love both sets of parents and views divorce as the enemy; teens tend to hold their parents accountable for the divorce.  They may become critical expressing that “if dad had not done that” or “if mom would have done this”, our family could still be together.  Teens often feel their parents did not try hard enough in their marriage and now everyone is suffering.  They do not feel that the divorce just happened, in their own need for control, they may blame one or both of their parents.

The teen years are a time when kids begin to think about their future love life.  When parents divorce, it may hamper the teens indulgence to dream and hope about love for themselves.  If mom and dad got divorced, they believe their own chances for success are diminished.

This age group is more likely to place peer needs ahead of family and may not want to visit the non-resident parent.  As the resident parent, encourage time with your ex for your child.  The parents are getting divorced, not the kids and your teen still needs both of you.  Though emotionally they are breaking away from the family, they still need to know you are both available should he need you.  Never speak poorly of your ex to your teen and never ask them to take your side, it may come back to haunt you.  They absolutely should be allowed the privilege of maintaining relationship with both parents even if they express anger towards one.

Do not allow yourself to become the victim in the divorce – you are responsible for your emotional needs.  Do not expect or allow your teen to feel they need to take care of you emotionallyThat is not their job.  As parents, we should be serious about helping our kids emotionally through the divorce, not the other way around.  However, I have seen this very thing way too often.  KJ wanted to become friends with his son rather than be his dad after the divorce.  He shared all of his grief and pain with Reg and looked to him to make him feel better.  This was very unfair to his son.  Reg has only one dad and now he wants to be friends?  KJ should have watched out for his son and protected him emotionally, not expect him to carry his own load and now his dad’s too.

How can we help our teens to move forward in spite of the divorce?

  • Never criticize your ex in front of your teen.  Your child knows you and can tell if you mean what you say.  For her sake, control your nonverbal cues so that they do not contradict what you are trying to portray.  Rolled eyes, smirks, slamming doors, in response to an ex are interpreted correctly by your teen.  More than younger kids, teens grow very tired of fighting and see parents who engage in bickering and name calling as immature or even worse.  Take the high road.
  • Maintain a calm, positive attitude in front of your child.  Not to say they can’t ever see you upset but the usual atmosphere of your home should be a positive environment.  As the adult, you have the power to set the tone for your home.
  • Establish and stick to a realistic and normal daily routine.  Teens deal better with stress if they can maintain a degree of predictability.  In their minds, it’s quite different when they bend the rules and they probably will, but they need to know what the usual routine is and what is expected of them.
  • Anticipate signs of stress.  Watch for signs of depression and take seriously any talk of suicide.  Notice changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns or if they have a diminished interest in people or the activities they used to love.  Remain lovingly firm about behaviors that are not acceptable but give generous amounts of support, reassurance and understanding.  If need be, seek professional assistance.

    Image: Wendy MacKay

    Image: Wendy MacKay

  • Encourage your teen to talk about her feelings but be prepared for questioning, criticism and maybe for the first time, your teen’s disappointment in you.
  • Talk to the other adult’s in your child’s life to ask how they interpret how your teen is responding to the divorce.  You may be surprised to learn that your teen behaves differently around others than she does at home.
  • Your teen may become very possessive of you and may be threatened by new relationships you form particularly of the opposite sex.  So remind them that they are and always will be very important to you.
  • Make time for your teen.  Take them out, just the two of you, and enjoy something they enjoy.  A meal, a movie, a walk, whatever.  Let them know you are interested in how they are doing.
  • Set consistent limits that are balanced with more freedom and choices.
  • Allow them to have input about visitation, but not so much that the teen is burdened by having to decide custody and access schedule.

If you notice your teen withdrawing from the family, having difficulty concentrating or engaging in high risk behaviors, I would recommend you get them professional immediately.  Don’t wait until they make a choice that will effect them for the rest of their lives.

Acts 20:32 says – and parents you can pray this over your kids:

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified”.

Pray the word over your kids and receive God’s promises by faith for your kids.

 

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Babies begin to learn from the ages of 6 – 8 months that they are a separate being from their parents and others.  Before now, baby probably could be passed around from one person to the next without any fuss.  But as he is learning to distinguish between himself and others, he may develop stranger anxiety.  So before you leave baby with someone new, make sure he feels comfortable and secure.  Babies of separation and divorce seem to have a harder time of accepting the transition of going to new people so be aware of your child’s emotional need and remain with them and the new face until baby feels secure.

Image: MyBaba.com

Image: MyBaba.com

Attachments are very important during this time.   Infants can distinguish between their parents and other caregivers.  They are aware when a parent leaves and can become increasingly fearful of separation from their parent.  Even if the child does not notice when you leave the room, they will eventually notice you aren’t there.  He may develop a fear of strangers and could have some nightmares.

Transitioning from one parent to the other may become a difficult time as well.  The child may become clingy to one parent or the other and may become irritable.

There are some things to be done to help your child to transition from one home to the other and feel secure:

  • Though both homes will not be the same nor be run the same, try to maintain your child’s routines in both homes.  Meal times should be the same time in both homes, naptime should be the same time, playing and bedtime should be the same times.  If you cannot ask your ex to keep the baby on the same schedule, please write it down so she or he will know the usual routine for baby.
  • Keep familiar things with the child.  Let her take her favorite blanky, bottle, stuffed animal or toy.  Whatever things will make the transition easier for baby, take them but make sure you get them back.  Taking some familiar things between the two homes will bring comfort to your child.
  • You may want to shorten the time baby is gone from the primary caregiver to about four hours until she is older.  The goal is to develop security and trust in your child and being with a loving caregiver consistently can grow security and trust in your baby.
  • Both parents should take the time to write in a notebook baby’s progress and any concerns about how she is doing.  This will help in the present but will also be a reference to check back on.
  • Sing lullabies to your baby and cuddle often.  You are very important to your child and their development.  If you are too busy to just be with your baby and play and cuddle, consider some lesser important things that you can remove from your life.  Those lesser things are a distraction of what’s really important and that is the wellbeing of your baby.  Illicit help from other’s if need be.  Hire a tween to do your housework and laundry.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says:

“We live by faith and not by sight”

Image: iStockphoto

Image: iStockphoto

We are helping our babies now by faith so that they will have a good start to life and develop healthily.  I want to encourage you as you care for your little one.  You are making a huge difference and caring for him or her is the most important thing you can be doing at this time in your life.  So relax and enjoy your child and keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.

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Christian teaching about church relationships, men and women relationships, parent and child relationships within blended families

I met a lovely young woman this past weekend who we shall call “Monique”.  She is divorced with a young daughter.  Her husband left her two years ago for another woman.  He moved out of their home they had bought together, and right into the new woman’s house.  Monique had to short sell her home due to the divorce and chose to move into a two-bedroom apartment.  She has suffered a lot of loss.  The death of her marriage, selling her beautiful home, and the loss of time with her daughter.cheating husband

Anyone who has been cheated on can identify with this type of hurt and betrayal.  What happened to “til death do us part”?   The emotional crisis that can arise comes with questions like “Am I enough?” Or  “What does she have that I don’t?”  or “Why did he fall out of love with me?”  All of this is enough to tear a heart a part.

Monique’s parents were divorced when she was young, so she remembers what it is like for the child of divorced parents.  It’s hard.  You love both of your parents and you just want them to like each other.   Her dad and stepdad hated each other but the mistake they made was to let Monique know this and she felt put in the middle.child caught in the middle

Put in the middle of adult issues.  Is that fair?  Of course not.  No child should have to shoulder the burden of their parent’s decisions and try to fix them.  Why?  Because they can’t and emotionally they are not developed enough to carry adult size problems.

This amazing young woman decided a year after their divorce to take some time for herself and figure out what she wants to do with her life.  She examined her own heart and she made some very hard choices.

She decided, for her daughter’s sake, that she is going to be friends with her ex-husband.  She determined that her daughter, as far as she can help it, will not be put in the middle.  Her daughter will be allowed to love both of her parents and enjoy her time with her daddy without being pumped for information.  So she called her ex and asked if they could get a cup of coffee together.  She asked him to forgive her for her part in the break up of the marriage and she told him that she has forgiven him.  She said, “For our daughter’s sake, I would like for us to be friends and be friendly toward each other.”  He agreed that would be healthy for their daughter.

They recently attended a school program together and their little girl was so delighted…she exclaimed with a big smile on her face “You and Daddy are really coming together?”

This woman could have chosen to become bitter – and really, who would have blamed her?  She was dumped on.  But she chose the higher road and because of that, her daughter is the winner.  When we get caught up in hating our exes, the only ones hurt from that are our children… and perhaps our own hearts.  A bitter person becomes an ugly person no matter how pretty they may be on the outside.  And no one wants to be around a person like that for long.  I have no doubt whatsoever, that this young woman will find another partner at the right time.  Someone who will cherish her for the woman she is and the choices she has made.

Our human nature wants to take the road of getting even, lashing out and bad mouthing our exes.  That’s our sin nature and it can be determined to get it’s own way.  But the strength and character Monique has displayed will benefit not only her daughter but also herself.  She is being a healthy example of how to love, forgive and let go.

Torn piece of paper with the word "Forgive" in the woman's palms.

“ Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

If you are finding it difficult to forgive your ex for whatever reason, then maybe you just need someone to come alongside of you and walk with you for a season.  Sometimes our hearts are so wounded we seemingly can’t let go.  I have walked the journey of choosing to forgive so I understand and can help you in your journey to freedom of the past.  Don’t let someone else’s bad choice hold you back any longer.

Please contact me here or at nouveaulifecoaching.com

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Reflections of Grace Slider

We have been looking at the following scripture up close and personal.

Isaiah 26: 3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you!!

Last week we got up to “him whose mind is steadfast.  This week we are starting with:

“Because he trusts in you”….. the Hebrew word trust is batach, to attach oneself.  To confide in, feel safe, be confident, secure.   Picture a baby with her mom or dad, don’t we want to trust God like that child who is utterly dependent.

  • Let’s pray for a deeper trust to have an open mind so God can work in our lives.   His plan for us is not to harm us but to prosper us!!  Jeremiah 29:11…
  • Invite Him once again to be the watchman over your mind.

Now let’s look at this word out of 2 Corinthians 10:5taking thoughts captive

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

  • Divine power to demolish strongholds!!  The word for demolish in Hebrew implies a kind of destruction requiring tremendous power—divine power.   You might think of it this way:  A stronghold is anything we hold onto that ends up holding us.
  • Much of the reason believers end up in a yoke of slavery is because we swat at our own strongholds like they are gnats.  Strongholds are like concrete fortresses we’ve constructed around our lives block by block, ordinarily over the course of years.  We created them, whether or not we were aware, for protection and comfort.  Inevitably these fortresses become prisons.  At some point we realize we no longer control them but they control us..

When did you last break a stronghold in your own strength and end up feeling powerless and totally defeated?   Do you see any patterns?demolishing strongholds

  • Human effort is useless in demolishing strongholds.  No amount of discipline or determination will do it.  Satanic strongholds require divine demolition.  Discipline and determination often help in opening your life to the supernatural power of God, but only he can provide the divine dynamite.
  • Interesting point I have seen is that Satan’s power comes from his power to bluff.  Once we learn the truth and how to use it, he loses his hold.

Think about a stronghold you have experienced my friend.  What part did insecurity play in it?

Insecurity played a major part in the strongholds the enemy built in my life.  An important part of learning for me to live in victory has been discerning the heart rumblings of insecurity.

  • My stronghold of weight story is included in this podcast that I have been sharing each week.
  • To be filled with Him works its way to our whole being, spirit, soul and body.   We are trying to fill that hole in our soul with food.   And it has created an endless cycle of defeat in our lives.
  • Our greatest inmost desire is for the love of God, even though we don’t realize it most of the time.  The Hand of God carves out places in us only He can fill.   Oh what a day of rejoicing when we really get this.  He can fill us up when food cannot!!  He wants to flood your life with His unfailing love.

I had to learn to pour out my heart to God and acknowledge every hollow place.  I had to surrender my eating habits to Him every day

“When you make a daily practice of inviting His love to fill your hollow places and make sure you are not hindering the process, God will begin to satisfy you more than a double cheeseburger.”    …Halleluiah!!

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Jesus in HD Slider

We are going to begin this week’s PODCAST precisely from where we left off in last week’s podcast.

We left off last week by considering together this most enigmatic verse:

“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)

If you are at all uncomfortable with that, then the rest of this story will make no sense, and will leave you with an even greater discomfort.

But if you are willing to allow for the fact that “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered,” then you are in for this great big blessing: The grand and glorious realization that Jesus, just like you and just like me, learned in real time what it means to live a life of obedience to God the Father.

We stressed last week, and I will ever-so-briefly remind you now, that Jesus was fully human, just like us.

Last week we discussed some of the implications of Hebrews 4:15, where the writer emphatically affirms this ever-so-comforting reality:Jesus Praying Tired

Jesus “understands all of our human weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings and temptations we do, yet He did not sin.”

Jesus experienced every human emotion, felt keenly every human feeling — including our feelings of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, abandonment, betrayal.

I mean, you just wait until we get to the Garden of Gethsemane, at which time there will be no doubt that in Jesus 100% deity meets 100% humanity, with all that that word humanity implies.

As we saw so vividly last week, life threw at Jesus unexpected challenges, unanticipated conflicts, undeserved difficulties, uninvited troubles… Just like life throws at us.

Jesus learned, just as so many of us are now learning, that sometimes, perhaps even most times, our richest life lessons can be taught only in the crucible of calamity.

By the reading of books our minds become broad. But it is only as we walk the pathway of pain that our souls become deep.

Something that Jesus learned. Something that we are each learning.

“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.”

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Christian teaching how to influence the culture in the culture war.

Some people who are “Born Again”… and KNOW that they are born again… You see, you’ll know that you know when you are. But, when you’re not sure, then you probably aren’t. But some people who are and know that they are are what I call a “Point In Time” Christian.

A Point in Time Christian is someone who may not remember the exact date, but they remember the circumstance – it may have been at a revival meeting or Harvest Crusade, it may have been kneeling beside your bed with your Grandpa, it may have been at camp, or even in front of your television… either way, you remember the circumstance when you prayed and asked Jesus Christ to enter your life.
This accounts for about two-thirds of people who claim to follow Christ.
But here’s the problem with being a “Point in Time” guy: there are more of them than there are what I call “Process Christians”, so therefore, Point in Time Christians tend to want Process Christians to have a time, date, and place. Why do they want this for them? Because it’s the way that they got saved, so Point in Timers want to make sure that Processors are in fact saved so that they can be sure that they are in… as if the Point in Timers are fruit inspectors at the holy gates or something.
So, Point in Timers make life really tough for Processors.
Now, Process Christians are people who acknowledge that at some point in time they were born again, but they are not exactly certain when that was. All that they know is that right now they know that they know that they know. They’re just not sure when it happened.

Either way, the Bible is very clear that if we want to spend eternity with God and be saved from an eternity without Him, then we must be born again.

In John 3:9-15, we learn that this didn’t make sense to Nicodemus. He asked Jesus,What Do You Mean Born Again?

“How can these things be?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and you do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak that We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that it, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”

In other words, Jesus said, “I’m putting it as plainly as I can. I know what I’m talking about here. I am God!” Jesus continued:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus comes right out of left field with this line.
Consider your basic, everyday, run of the mill snake.moses snake on a stick

In the Old Testament, Numbers 21 tells the story that Jesus is referring to. You see, every time that the Hebrews messed up, God had to lay a heavy on them to get their attention. At one point, they grumbled about the food He had provided for them, so He laid a real big heavy on them. He sent some little red snakes to bite them.
Every time a little red snake bit somebody, they would die.
The Israelites cried out, “Oh, Moses! This is the heaviest heavy that God has ever laid on us. Go pray like crazy and ask God to lighten up!”
Moses returned with some good news and some bad news: The bad news was that God was not getting rid of the snakes. Every time God got rid of the snakes or their equivalent, the people stopped trusting God. The good news was that if they made a bronze stick with a golden snake on it and if they looked on the snake after getting bit, they would be healed and would not die. God gave them the world’s best snakebite kit, but he didn’t get rid of the snakes.
The Hebrews had four responses.Snake Bite
Some refused to follow God’s instructions, followed their own thinking, and died.
Some thought that there must be other options to being healed from the snake’s venom. There’s no way that God’s instructions are THE ONLY way to be saved. They died.
Some took off and ran far away from where all the snakes were thinking that they could run away from the situation at hand. But the snakes were there, too and they were bit. But by the time they turned to look for the golden snake, they had wandered so far away that there were hills between them and camp. They couldn’t see it. They died.
But, some, after being bit by the snakes, did as God told them and immediately looked upon the golden serpent. They didn’t die.
They did things the way that God said to do them.
And, Jesus, who is God, said, “You must be born again.”

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Reflections of Grace Slider

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you!!” (Isaiah 26: 3 )

Let’s take a look at this word up close and personal:

  1.  “You will keep” …Satan is very cunning.  Our knowledge alone will not keep us protected.  What we need is a watchman.  And we do have Jesus who is willing and able if we will set our minds on him.
  • The Hebrew word for keep is nasar, meaning to guard, keep, and protect.   The Holy Spirit is the perfect watchman over our minds.
  • Surrendering our thought lives to God is not just a means to more consistent victory.  It is the safeguard against being given over to defeat.
  • Give God your whole heart and mind.World-Peace-Scrabble
  1. “in perfect peace”  The Hebrew term translated perfect peace means ‘shalom’ meaning to be safe, be complete, whole , secure…it denotes a satisfied condition, a state of peacefulness, and a sense of well being.
  • Just as surely as the kingdom of God prospers when we are steadfast in Him, so do our hearts and minds.
  • God is faithful to His word.  If you remain steadfast in Him you will be built up.

3.  Him whose mind is steadfast”.    We see events from our own perspective and context.  Have you noticed how two people can look at the same experience so differently?  They put the picture of what happened in different frames and act accordingly.  Our reaction depends on how we framed the event.

  • When temptations and troubling thoughts come the steadfast believer chooses to lay her hand on God’s word and know that it is the truth.
  • The Holy Spirit never fails to bring our minds comfort when we fight this fight.  He promises actually, His perfect peace.

Included in this podcast is my stronghold of weight story I have been sharing each week.

  • Remember, anything that cheats you of what God has for you in this life could be a stronghold.   He wants you free to enjoy His provisions for you spirit, soul, and body.

Write these scriptures down and meditate on them.God-loves-you-sparklers

  • Did you know?

You are deeply and completely loved. (Romans 8:38–39)

You are totally and completely forgiven. (1 John 2:12)

When God sees you, he sees the righteousness of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

You mean the whole world to him. (John 3:16)

He thinks you are beautiful. Right now. (Song of Songs 4:1)

He is committed to your restoration. (Romans 8:29)

You are not now, nor have you ever been, alone. (Hebrews 13:5)

Meditate on these scriptures friends. They will completely change the way you think about yourself.

For more information, visit ReflectionsOfGraceHome.com

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