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Found 34 results

  1. I have this silly concern and constant worry about my decisions displeasing God. So many of my goals and things I want to do aren’t necessarily Christian based. I like doing things such as watching certain shows that have cussing and sexual content in them....but they are so entertaining....I’ve been told that even the little things I like to do, such as working out, is based on vanity. But I really just love working out because it makes me feel complete. I’m even a little afraid of getting in a relationship because of the fear of feeling something sinful such as lust or immoral thoughts. Back when I was younger, I didn’t mind these things much. But now, I’m at an age where I should know better. I don’t want to live this way anymore. I need to find an inner peace. God Bless.
  2. As I said on my profile, I came to Christ at a young. But, as we all know, the initial approach is only a beginning. This seems like a good spot to share some of that growth. It's a bit of a long story. So, get a cup of tea, sit back, and relax. Picture yourself with a massive jar of pennies. You want to know how much is in the jar and the only way to find out is by hand counting, one hundred pennies for every dollar. After a while your hands pick up the scent of the coins, a gross coppery smell. Now, picture that in your mouth. That's what blood tastes like. When I was ten years old, I was playing with a jar of flour. I blew into it gently, visualizing it as fairy dust. My mouth filled with blood. I ran to the sink and began spitting it out. But it was gushing faster than I could spit. My sister saw the incident and ran for our mother. Thank God, she was a nurse and could contain the bleeding with thick wads of paper towel and pressure. She sat me down and said I needn't be afraid because Christ bled too. Once I calmed down we piled into the car and headed for the ER. But they could find nothing wrong and the bleeding had stopped. Though the evidence of it was all over my shirt. They sent us home. Mom wasn't satisfied and who better to turn to than the creator of the human body? After some prayer, God told her to call my dentist. She explained what happened and they told her to bring me in if it happened again. A week later it did and we went to the dentist. Thank God, he referred us to an oral surgeon instead of making careless assumptions. The surgeon we saw was delighted because he had just put down the latest book on my condition that very day. Arterial Venus Malformation. I'll keep the explanation brief. It's an aneurism (an over sized blood vessel) in my right jaw. For over a decade after, we took six trips down to Boston and six hours back. Sometimes it was for surgery, other times it was just appointments for discussing procedures. This was something I was born with and I knew the Lord had his reasons. But, I won't deny a hot vein of anger that surged. Why was I on this never ending carousel? Why was it this hard? What was this grander purpose behind my woes? During one of my many times at Mass General hospital, we were in the waiting room when an older woman asked mom how the bedside cots were. It turns out, she and her daughter were seeing the same doctor for a similar issue. We were later placed in the same room. I was wearing an ice pack and felt the usual drowsiness. Yet, you can't imagine how hard it is to sleep on that hard mattress with the constant beeping of monitors. On top of that, you have a lovely nurse coming in every hour to say, "Can I check your vitals, honey?" Anyway, the older woman told her daughter that she was going down for coffee and the girl pleaded desperately, "No mom, please don't leave me alone." Instantly, my prayer was answered as I remembered a time when I was the one pleading for my mom not to go, even for just a minute. I felt moved to speak and called out to them on the other side of the curtain. "I know that this hard right now, but it'll be ok." I then told her about how the mouth is one of the spots in the body that heals fastest. Or something like that. Afterward, I sat back and just like the ripples on a lake, I could see a little of what my journey did for those around me. That girl was a little less scared. I remembered the doctor from Israel who thanked me for letting him examine my case and how helpful the information would be in his own country. There was one nurse who changed her entire career path based on my case. I remembered the cross made of popsicle sticks that I gave my doctor and how he said, "I could've used this three years ago." Those were just the instances I knew about. What about all the others I didn't know about? How far did those ripples extend? What other shores did they touch? What would I lose if all of it had never happened? I don't have all the answers, but I'm in touch with the one who does and, even when I don't comprehend, I can know that He is working. Some day, it'll be rolled out in full and I'll marvel at His wonders. "Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live." Psalm 116:2
  3. Does God favor some people over others. Like people who have it all and people who don’t? Just curious, I’ve been thinking a lot and the question always pops up in my head when I think about issues in the world.✨
  4. Creator of Mankind Podcast Episode 5: Eternal Life Through Christ Part 1 http://shoutengine.com/CreatorofMankind/eternal-life-through-christ-part-1-72436 https://itunes.apple.com/ph/podcast/eternal-life-through-christ-part-1/id1448028459?i=1000428055668&mt=2 I never heard these talked about in the churches or the pulpit. But this is very important for a Christian. Please comment and share. I need your opinions and reactions.
  5. Good evening and Blessings in Christ I'm a disable veteran with several medical issues please keep us my family and me in prayer we had to get our refrigerator and stove fixed and now we need to get an alternator for my van and fix a water leak near our hot water heater we have no hot water or heat at this time. Please pray that I will always be strong and faithful throughout any storm and will stand firm always when the enemy hurdles his fiery darts at me. For I’m not ashamed of the gospel Jesus is my all and all: I pray to never begin my day without thinking that perhaps he may interrupt my daily routine and begin His own. I am not looking for death. I am looking for Him. Today might be the last day when Jesus returns.: The Joy I have the world did not give it to me......And the world cannot take it away. Have a God-day God is good all the time...and all the time God is good: Thanking all of you and advance for your prayers and giving God all praise and glory Truly Blessed:
  6. Hi peoples, I am concerned about someone who really really needs to quit smoking. Please can you pray that they would be able to quit for good by a miracle of our loving God. This could be an instant miracle or a miracle that works over time but has the same result. The latter maybe so that this person can learn how it is done and thus help others to quit too. Please pray he has a happy and healthy long life.
  7. Hello! Please excuse the long post, hear me out here... Let me start with a little backstory so you know where I'm coming from. I produce music (honestly blessed with the talent but I try to stay humble about it), DJ, and I enjoy almost anything with business. Last year I made a decision at a church camp to be open to any career choice that God gives me. Ever since that week, I fell in love with music production (particularly producing and performing electronic dance music). I truly, honestly have faith that this is for my future! Now I am at a huge fork in the road within my path with music. Should I pursue a career in secular music or Christian music? (Please hear me out) I have been putting some serious thinking, praying to God, and reading His word for the past half-year but nothing has come of it. Or I just haven't seen it yet. I don't know. Concerning a secular music career: I understand that we are called to be separate from the world. But with a secular career, you have a much broader range of people to be your audience. With a much broader range of people following you, you can be a good Christian example in the world to people who are living carnally. A "light in darkness" per se. I believe God has blessed me with the boldness and courage to proclaim to the world that I am not afraid to be a Christian and I am not changing my mind. With a secular music career, you have much more influence over a broader range of people that need it. This is especially the case in the world of live electronic dance music, where a hedonistic lifestyle is extremely prevalent. Like I said earlier, I have given careful thought to my next steps, I have prayed countless times over it, and I have consulted the Bible countless times over it. No answer has come of it yet. Or I just haven't seen it. A lot of the advice I've received is to "take the leap of faith and just go for it". However, I have done that with the decision to go all out for a career in being a DJ/producer for God's glory. I can't apply that to this fork in the road because I don't know which one to just "go for". I've been seriously, madly confused about this for months and I want to know which way God wants me to go. Any advice at all is so, so much appreciated. Thank you so much for your time, and have a blessed day.
  8. Whomsoever that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. That means anyone whether lost or found, saved and unsaved, what is your views on this?
  9. What is your take on it is never too late for anyone who is alive? Does this include people who have been baptized as well?
  10. So I actually participated with this topic on another forum and loved all the replies.....a good reminder to be thankful in all things.
  11. Hello all, I'm new here. I hope you all are as well as can be and I'm also hoping I can get there. I apologize for coming right on out of the blue with complaining. I've been looking for answers to this question for awhile now (Google searches=not helpful) and the question has only gotten bigger and more pressing. I am aware that it may be my current situation at the moment that is the cause of my concern. I look forward to changing it as soon as I can. Here goes, I guess: I am 19 years old. I suffer from social anxiety and depression, and anger is a problem with me as well. I've thought of suicide quite a bit, but I know that I'll go to Hell if I do. I've had suicidal and homicidal ideations and they scare me. As much as I want to tell my parents about it and get help, I'm sure they'll tell me I'm being dramatic (based on 'conversations' I've had with them before). I feel really trapped and sometimes I wish I could erase my entire being from existence altogether. I've been raised in a Christian household since birth. Both my parents, especially my mother, are Christians. Though they aren't perfect and don't have the best way of handling conflict, they are good parents. However, I harbor some resentment towards them and my younger brother. I am still trying to forgive them a bit each time as I feel they were inconsistent and hurtful with the way they interacted with me and each other. We don't sit and talk things out. It's usually a yelling match where the one with the most authority (dad or mom) decides everything and everyone else has to shut up and go with it. As a result, things were/are somewhat out of order and feelings were/are stepped on. My brother, who is the youngest, does things to aggravate me but my parents don't care unless it affects them somehow. He does things that are less than considerate and less than sanitary. It has been this way since he was old enough to walk. He'd destroy my things and get excused because 'he did't know better'. None of my things were replaced and some of those things were one of a kind (artwork I made) . Back then, I hated that he'd destroy my stuff. Now however, I don't think it's the fact that my stuff is gone, but the lack of respect for me that really upsets me. He is now 16 years old, things haven't changed much, and he just does not listen. My parents are tired of my 'complaining'. I can't talk to him and have him take me seriously because he has (indirectly) been taught that it is ok to take everything as a joke, including me. It hurts. I don't like him. I share a room with him. I want to get away from him. I want to move out as soon as I can because I think distance will do me good. I can't take so much of this stress anymore and I'm scared that it will greatly impact my health. I already have digestive problems and get frequent migraines. I'm not interested in college, however because of the fact that it seems to be getting more expensive but the degree one might get from it is less credible to future employers. I've people at my church on my case about it and even random people (who hop right on that subject once they hear my age or when I graduated). I just want to leave and be in peace. My circle of friends is small and shrinking by the moment and I'm sure I'm losing my best friend right now, as we are both on different paths. I feel very alone, though I have been assured that God is with me. I am numb there. I cannot feel him. I cannot feel anything for him or anything I've read in the Bible. I pray and I pray and I end up sobbing because I just can't feel anything but frustration and upset. I am not sure I will be able to make any new friends as I have never been an interesting person. No matter what I do, I never seem to be able to attract others' positive attention. I regret having been the 'good student'. My brother misbehaves and everyone pays more attention to him. He has lots of friends and people who like to be around him. The one time I did feel the least bit important was when I was in middle school and telling 'not so clean' jokes. Lots of people wanted to hang out with me then. When I stopped (I heard that 'coarse joking' is wrong), my 'friends' left me. No one wants to hang around with the 'innocent' Christian girl. People treat me like I'm 5 because they think I haven't heard/seen NSFW things before. I feel excluded and I hate it. I am bored with life. I want to have fun but there isn't much I am able to do until I am able to get a job, save up enough money to move and sustain myself, and find something that I can do as a Christian that is actually fun. I'm volunteering at places right now and that's a nice feeling (seeing others happy because they've received help). I want to be happy too, though. I can't remember the last time I truly felt gleeful. Life has lost it's thrill and I am not sure when or how I will be able to find it again. I apologize that this is so long. Thank you for reading it, though. I will be glad to receive any helpful feedback on this.
  12. So I have been thinking a lot about death with all these health issues. Truth is it could be anytime or a long ways off. Yes I am pretty ill, but I also know a guy who is still stubbornly living 20 years after a congestive heart failure diagnosis. He just freaking refuses to die. A lot can be said for the power of the human spirit. My husband put it very well: you can't go before your time even if you want or try to. I met a guy in the hospital who had six attempts in six months and was alive, sitting at the table with us. I was impressed and told him flat out there was a reason he was alive and he had to find it. Later that hospitalization, he found out his GF was pregnant with his child. He was gonna be a daddy. I have never forgotten that. You also can't prevent death when your number is up. When it is time to go, you go. And with very few exceptions, nobody knows when that is. So what does this have to do with me? Between spiritual attacks from evil people, (no not even going to attempt to explain that)and serious health issues negatively impacted and perhaps even caused by the evil people, a whole bunch of forces are converging to end me. The Lord Jesus Christ conquers all, but I am uncertain what He will choose to do here. I do know I have a lot of work yet to do, and I am also certain He will leave me here until I have accomplished it. But how long that is, I don't know. I think I struggle with this because I am in constant emotional pain, and this is connected to physical issues in that this stress makes them worse. Also I still, even after surrendering it to Jesus, struggle with suicidal thoughts. When the pain is really bad, I just want to quit and go to Heaven. But truth be told, I am near or at the peak of my usefulness to Him, so I need to stay and fulfill my destiny. I guess life for anyone is a battle. If I don't win mine, many people will be harmed, directly or indirectly. So I have to stay as long as He needs me to. I choose to do this. I type this with tears in my eyes. I feel so inadequate for this. But the Lord says His power is made perfect in weakness. So here we go. And if you also are struggling with suicidal thoughts, don't do it. OK? ❤ Love, Seren
  13. Open Letter to Rock Bottom Dear Down in the Dumps, You are not in a nice place to visit or indefinitely live. I know, I have been there too many times. Since then I have burned my passport and remain grounded, gladly. The local authorities and citizens do not understand my alien presence. They cannot keep this message out. I will explain later. You will not complain sooner. Listen, look and warm yourself up to light versus darkness. Defect from that infected wasteland. Walk this way for freedom! Before I believed in anything worth mentioning, I desperately decided to buy into "Allen Carr's 'Easy Way to Stop Smoking.'" Heck, he wrote I could even smoke as I read the book! I took a leap of faith out the hole of butts and ash. I actually enjoyed and laughed at old cues to spark a dart. Nic fits were only a fading memory of how and what I used to be like. I had been deprogrammed from doom and reprogrammed for life. Thank goodness, because all drags from cigarettes had become depressing slave wage reminders of death. I could not prove or understand it but I believed it had worked, setting me free. I see that now was a good sign, open door and ray of hope. Major problems had potential solutions. I believed things could be better. Before I met and surrendered to Jesus Christ, I waged war with myself and the world. I abused my being with alcohol, marijuana and drug experimentation. I sat much of my life in front of a screen playing questionable games. I cheated on God, my future wife and myself with pornography and masturbation. I was living the bad dream of a wicked party scene. My heart had holes, my mind was free for the taking, my body was in ruin and my soul was lost and bound. Mental health issues coincided with the start of all of the above. By my fourth psychiatric ward stay I actually enjoyed doing my time and running the show. Pride, lust, anger, gluttony and slothfulness as deadly sins were aiming to win. It was either end up a casualty of spiritual warfare or be saved by divine intervention. Enter my Saviour, Lord, teacher and protector. I read the Bible out of curiousity. I thought I should for its major influence on the world and world view. Believing and in it does not change that in any case. Tragedy struck when my parents' dog died in my arms. What I was doing with my life and would come after hit me hard. God had spoken, my deaf ears had been opened. I quit pot on the spot. I mourned Baloo's death and a life I was not getting. I compensated by binge drinking. I started getting drunk in the morning. I was listening to Harvesters FM, a Christian radio station constantly. They suggested AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. I went and got on the sober wagon. Gaming got the boot. Pornography and masturbation were confessed, apologized for, repented from and rebuked. All of the above related to asking Jesus Christ into my heart and life through a simple, sincere to the point prayer. The Bible was now more than history and what Christianity was based on. It was God's word speaking to me, changing my life for His pure glory, perfect plan and purpose. Not the story of my life, but Jesus Christ's death for the church as his wife. It is thee book that's truth never changes as always relevant. Now I am part of the book of life, hallelujah! Not the end, Gregory Keith Jonathan Brumwell 2018 Testimony Saved by Jesus Christ as of December 18, 2016, GKJB-1973 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. - John 3:11 New International Version (NIV) 31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. - John 5:31 New International Version (NIV) 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. - John 1:7 New International Version (NIV)
  14. Life can be a guessing game, a chess game or a tiring thinking process of what that person's next move may be. I'd rather walk my walk as giving love and trust.
  15. "He will NEVER leave us or forsake us" for this I am thankful. This verse has has literally helped me through so much. Even though I strayed from fellowship and HIS presence, it is reassuring to know "HE NEVER leaves me." Thank you Father for your unconditional LOVE...I long to be in your presence again. Thank you for this site and the people you have chosen to create it. Even though I have not been faithful to you, you are always faithful to me...you have NEVER left me. I hope this is your will and your way for myself and many others to fellowship, learn and fulfill your will for my(our) lives. Teach me to LOVE others the way you LOVE me, UNCONDITIONALLY. Amen Deuteronomy 31:6, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; "He will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:8, The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Isaiah 41:17 "The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. "Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do;I will not forsake them." Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
  16. Keys to everlasting life!!! This IS the truth of salvation and is absolutely worth 17-min of your time! Jesus revealed this revelation progressively. For a long time I had to preach and live by faith, not fully understanding why this doctrine of fully surrendering to Jesus was not works-righteousness based and left room for grace by faith. Now I understand it's because the humble will live this way. The humble will realize they cannot do anything without Jesus Christ, like Jesus said. The humble will lay down their lives, pick up their cross, and follow Jesus to life, daily! As the Bible makes clear: God resists the proud, and to the HUMBLE God gives GRACE! And is it not by grace that we are saved?! It is. So humility is absolutely key to salvation. Humility is what is good and right in the sight of God. Humility is what leads to the kind of life that allow the work to get HIS eternal work done through us. Humility is everything, for without it we become enemies of God, and God WILL resist us, and I cannot imagine any of those that God has resisted entering in to Heaven on the day of judgement. I guess time will tell. But to me, the scriptures make it crystal clear, and I am going to pursue this race home to God with the most zeal and to the highest degree possible for me to run. I am not playing around or risking my eternal soul. Humility is the path I will choose, by the grace of God, by humbling myself in brokenness of spirit, in poverty of spirit, in front of Him and seeking HIS way home, as HE leads me!!! God is awesome, wonderful, and amazing! At the end of the day, there is nothing better than God's plan for out lives. His will is perfect; He is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, truly we should be jumping at the chance to surrender our lives to a God such as this, and I ABSOLUTELY AM! God has proven His goodness to me time and time again! There is no other way to TRULY live and get the most out of this life than to give it ALL over to Him! So to those who choose to do their best to take their every word and action from God, I think that is wonderful! Let us continually humble ourselves in front of Him, and follow His way home! It's going to be a marvelous journey to say the least! God bless you all, in Jesus' mighty name! -Daniel James 4:6 (NIV): But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." James 4:6 (KJV): But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Titus 3:5: he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-eg4L5L4S8
  17. Having experienced the torments of Hell, I can verify the legitimacy of this testimony, but more importantly, discernment tells me it's real and genuine. I encourage those who watch this not to go down a rabbit hole of Hell testimonies all at once, it can be overwhelming and very depressing, please be led by the Spirit by discerning the voice of God on all pursuits, but Jesus has taken people to experience these experiences for a reason. May you learn from these testimonies and be convicted (if necessary) and not condemned by responding to that conviction accordingly, (remember God chastises those He loves!) and may the Lord bless you mightily in Jesus' mighty name! Revelation 20:15: And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Luke 12:5: But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Revelation 21:8: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
  18. Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ. I want to let you know that I need for you to pray for me. Because I am facing a impossible time in my life, as well as other difficult problems. Please pray that the Lord would help me to be closer to Him,protect me,deliver me,be more faithful to Him, guide me, & to safe guard my future. I also ask that Satan's plans for me & my family's life fail. Please remember us in your prayers. Tell your friends,family,pastor and church to pray for me & my family daily. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. Your Brother in Christ Anthony. <3
  19. Marriage of the Israelites was very different from our western marriage of today. Although there is a great amount no known know about Israelite marriage, it customs and bindings, the biblical references that speak on this essential topic us that many Israelite marriage customs were very different than those our modern western societies. Number one,it is known that Israelite girls were expected to have maintained their virginity when they got married—and according to Deuteronomy Chap 22:1 could even be put to death if they were found not to be—men were allowed to marry multiple women. It is hard to know how common polygamy, unacceptable as it is now, which entailed a husband the right of being married to more than one woman, really was in ancient Israel. Also, certain evidence tells us that compared to wifes, the husband had more control over whom they married. For example, Samson chooses his own wife in Judges 14, even though his parents disapprove of the match speaks of a somewhat strong, somewhat independent degree of independence for men for selecting a mate. Most likely, young girls of age were married around puberty whereas young men were somewhat older than who they were marrying. Though unions were generally based more on economic or social considerations than romantic ones, some texts, including the Song of Songs, show us that ideas of passion and romantic love were also not only present but strong in ancient Israel. Number two In order to marry woman, a man would give her father a gift called the Mohar that would officaily seal and begin the betrothal between betrothed. Betrothal was, and today still is, a much firmer commitment than today’s engagement. Though one might think of the betrothal Mohar as a purchase price, this is inaccurate. Anthropologists call this gift “bridewealth.” It is found in many societies throughout the world and is not considered human sale by the people of those cultures—Israelite wives were never thought of as slaves in biblical times, though Israelite men sometimes did their marry slave women or servants. Some length of time after the betrothal, wedding festivities, often involving several or even weeks of feasting, would occur. The relationship between husbands and wives was not as equal in the ancient Near East as in modern Western Society, including Israel. Ba‘al, one of the Hebrew words for “husband,” also meant “lord” or “master,” and many Israelite men had life-and-death power over women in the case of adultery, which in ancient Israel involved a woman having sex outside of her marriage or a man having sex with another man’s wife. Men, though, could have multiple wives and concubines and were allowed to go to prostitutes, thus monogamy was a one-way street in this culture.And is the main reason prompting Jesus to to say the rules for divorce in the Gospel of Matthew... Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." Finally, i say in a firm, final summarization , not all biblical texts are in agreement on every issue regarding marriage perhaps it changed with the constant struggle between conservatism and liberality in different tribes climates and Eras, More suggesting that different Israelite communities and authors had diverse and sometimes colliding viewpoints on more male dominant or gender equal marriage and that Israelite viewpoints evolved over time. Many biblical customs would be unfamiliar or even objectionable to many people living in our present- day Sex obsessed western societies today. Still, when we read the impassioned romantic poetry of the Song of Songs, we realize that some things, don't, never can, and never will change with love and marriage, Thank you.
  20. I have a problem, and I don't know how to deal with it. That is that I hate my dad and I dunno how to 4giv him, and this hatred consumes me all the time. There's a few reasons why I hate him, the main ones being that he continually shows through his actions (or rather inaction) how much he doesn't care about me and my sibs; and that he's a hypocrite. Basically, he chose to homeschool prolly b4 we were born, but he really limited what mom could do, and he didn't do much himself, we can't even have or use a computer. I have to sneak around just to use this phone. Bottom line, I'm turning 19 in a few weeks, and I have less academic knowledge than a 6th or 7th grader, and same for my sibs. And my dad, it's like he doesn't care what happens as long as we're under his control… and he hardly ever does anything productive, most of the time, unless he has to see someone, he'll just sleep all day, and watch TV and play games on his phone all night. And he says he wants things to change, but he's been saying that for years, and he never does anything, all his guarantees and words and assurances have all come to nothing, his words mean nothing to me anymore. And I say he's a hypocrite coz he claims he's a Christian, but he sure doesn't live like one… but he's got evry1 at church fooled, to a certain degree anyway, I mean, his easily-angerable-ness is obvious, but no one really knows about his life outside church, and of course, that's just the way he wants it. There's this other afternoon church we started going to a couple months ago, and as far as I can see, the only reason we're going there is bcoz they let dad sing upfront on stage no-questions-asked, just coz he has a 'good voice' (and a 'convincing story' about how he came here as a missionary) and that just infuriates me. And whenever he's up, at our usual morning church or this other one, he actually acts like he means what he's singing, all hands in the air and everything… he's full of garbage… There's been plenty of times I just wanted to talk to someone, but I was afraid that if dad found out that I had told someone something about him that he didn't want known, he would make us stop going to that church, coz he'd threatened that b4… and I didn't wanna risk it coz we're homeschooled, so that's the only place where I really know any1 (not that I really know any1 in close way, coz I can't tell them much about myself coz pretty much everything leads back to something about dad)… I'm prolly blaming for a lot more than is due him, but there is a lot that is not being conveyed here. Anyway, I wanna forgive him, not bcoz I wanna, but just bcoz I'm sick of hating, being filled with hate, but I've tried and I just dunno how… I do hate him less now than I did b4, but that's only bcoz there's a person I hate more than him now… myself… in all this time I've been focusing on him and hating him, I haven't seen that I'm becoming just like him, and now, a lot of the things I hate him for, I also do myself… I'm disgusted at myself, I hate myself for every part of me that is anything like him, one of the biggest is that I also have done nothing about the situation. Things have been the way they are for WAY too long, and it just feels like nothings ever gonna change, like he's never gonna change, so now, I'm pretty much living, no, surviving, hopelessly. I'm so sick of how pessimistic and negative I am all the time. And like, nothing even makes me wanna get up in the mornings anymore… I know I should pray about all these things, for my heart to be changed, for my dad, for my family, for the situation, but I feel like its pointless if I don't even believe I am saved. Up until almost a year ago, I did believe I was saved though, but I was deceiving myself, I saw what I wanted to see, but then I started seeing things how they really were. I've got problems just like evry1 else does, but any problems in this life are only minor, they pale in comparison with the major problem that every person starts with, being sinful and imperfect. And I'm pretty darn sure i still have that major problem, I don't have a personal relationship with Christ. And I don't even have a desire to. But I want to have that desire, coz I know that I need Him. And I've prayed the prayer more times than I can count, but I never change, I never let go. Clearly I don't really mean it in my heart. The only prayer i ever really pray now is: 'I need u Jesus, help me surrender to u and let go of everything else." When I prat this, its the only time I feel sincere, like I mean it, but everything else always feels fake and insincere. But I'm such a hypocrite… I tell Jesus almost every day that i need Him and I can't go on living like this without Him, but I never do anything about it… it seems like I know that I need Him, that He is the truth, and the Word is the truth, but I just don't believe it, or maybe i just don't care enough to do anything about it, and every1 knows dead faith is useless… I dunno, maybe I just dunno how to believe, how to trust, how to have faith… I'm such an idiot… I really needa get rid of this unforgiveness, bitterness and hatred, coz I feel like it's (at least seemingly) holding me back from going anywhere with Christ. Apart from Him I am nothing… I need help, I dunno what to do… I hope someone can advise, encourage, pray, correct, counsel, etc.
  21. From The Voice Of The Martyrs.... In Muslim nations today, speaking on a religious subject considered to be contrary to Islam can mean death. Ironically, Muslim worshipers face a death penalty themselves. The Bible teaches that the penalty for sin is spiritual death. Apart from Christ, everyone faces eternal death. Thankfully, however, Christ has paid the death penalty for all who believe, even Muslims. Jesus Christ took our place at the hand of the executioner by being crucified on a cross. His death enables us to have eternal life with God in heaven. Thank God today that your death sentence has been commuted and that you have been pardoned. And pray for those in Muslim nations who may kill Christians on earth, but without Christ, face their own eternal death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (New International Version) Any (Kind) Thoughts? “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48 (New Living Translation) ~ Love, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:24-27 (King James Bible) Your Brother Joe
  22. This is just part of my story. At 20 years old I believed I had life figured out. I knew how to put cash into my pocket and a roof over my head. I was able to do what I wanted whenever and wherever I wished.There was nothing I wanted from church, so in my mind, I didn’t need it. Same with God. I determined to think positive, work hard and keep moving forward with my ultimate goals always in mind. The formula was simple: get cash in whatever way possible, and keep it coming. Why would I need God? I had science. I knew why the sky was blue and the sun came up every morning. I didn't need to read a book that was thousands of years old and had no relevance to my modern life. If you were to ask me how the world was created, I would have said the big bang. If you asked me what caused the big bang, I would have answered, “It just happened.” That was my limited way of thinking because my world was so small. I had become a criminal at a young age. Organized crime is not just about committing crimes, it is a way of life that takes over. Everyone in the life looks at every situation through tinted glass: how can we benefit on a large scale. Everyone around me did the same. I cut my hair, shaved and dressed like I was told. Every person I was around was part of the life, or I didn’t consider them a friend. I wanted to expand and become more successful which means I wanted more cash each week. I asked my capo, Jimmy, to put me with Mark - an older gambler who ran a sports book. In other words, Mark was a bookie. I had sold parlay cards and other sports gambling products so I knew the world. Mark showed me how to set up my book and balance it. I learned the lingo and the kind of bets gamblers would place. The next year I was ready to go out on my own. My first year I did well because I had older guys like Mark helping me along. The next year I did even better and I expanded. Everyone gambles and it does not hurt anyone - this is what I told myself over and over again. This was a big lie because a person who is addicted to gambling will do anything to feel the thrill. Even when faced with ruin, these people kept gambling. I soon swallowed up smaller bookies and they began working for me. The money came easily because I was the house and the house always makes 10% on any bet. I used the extra cash to loan out and gain more cash through loans. Gambling is unlike any other business because you are not out any real product, only figures on a sheet of paper. After twelve years I couldn’t stand my life at all. I wanted out of the life, but I was not willing to go through the uncomfortable period it would take to change. The criminal's dream is to find something that will bring in the same amount of cash that they are making except the profit becomes legal. Until I realized that my way of thinking was broken and had to change, I would go no place fast. It wasn’t until my dream became getting out of the life altogether, profit or not, that I would find the answer. God’s timing is perfect, but I didn’t know that at the time. The FBI offered me a chance at a fresh start, and that was the turning point. I spent the next 8 years trying to undo what I spent my life before doing. While I was still a part of the criminal world for the next eight years, I was no longer there as a criminal but as an informant for the FBI. God gave me a fresh start, but it took me almost another ten years of trying to start over on my own before I turned to Him. The challenge for me was to let God guide me instead of trying to find my own way. It is a process that I am still going through and will be going through for the rest of my life. I know that everything I encounter is part of His plan, and I have to surrender my plans to His. When I look back at my life, I see a lot of mistakes. I also see God's hand at work. Success, I have learned, is all relative to what you consider successful. The things our world considers success we learn in the Bible are very different from what early Christians, like Paul, considered most valuable - knowing Christ as our savior. Philippians 3:7-14 (NIV) 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I have learned some very hard lessons and all that I have learned about true success has helped me in two ways. The hard work and positive thinking is still a part of my life. I learned that I cannot be successful with doing what I feel is right, true success comes from knowing we are flawed and Christ bridged the gap between our flaws and God, offering himself as a sacrifice. All the success you think you have or aim for will never be enough until you ask God into your life and make knowing and serving Him your definition of success.
  23. In God We Trust. It has been minted on coins since 1864 and printed on paper currency since 1957. How many of us really trust God? I admit that I struggle with trusting God completely every day. When I was a teenager I treated God like a formula. I would say to myself or others, “I don't need to pray, it doesn't work. If it did, I would believe.” I came of age during the mid-1980s, a decade that promoted greed for gain. My goal was to increase my power. Money gave me the power to control people, so it was a means to an end. Over the years my life would be spared by a number of seemingly “lucky” incidents. Even after I quit the life of crime in 2004, I still looked back on my life and thought I was just “lucky” to have survived. I had no idea what I should do with my life in 2004 so I reverted to greed to get ahead. I also vowed to be a good person and do the right thing. I felt I was on the road to success. I wrote a book, I sold it to a major company. I wrote a screenplay with an Oscar-winning writer. I got on television and I was going to be on a reality show. Even with all this, my life was empty and I wasn’t happy. I was headed toward another major crash in life. I had recently married a woman who was everything I ever dreamed. Yet, with the way I was, I would have blown my marriage like I had everything else in the past. In my old life, anytime anything did not go my way, I would just cut my losses and walk away. Try again. I felt the need for something different. The way I was living had let me down again and again. It was Christmas time, and I felt drawn to the church. I told my wife I’d like to attend a Christmas Eve service, and we both thought of the same church in San Marino that we had walked by one time. It was in that church in San Marino that I found God. I didn't understand it at the time, but he had been with me the whole time, since I was a kid. I had just never opened my heart to him, I had been trying to do life my way instead. Now that I made the decision to live my life for God instead of myself, I had a lot to learn. We began not only attending church and Sunday school, but also any Bible study classes or teaching events the church offered. One day I was listening to someone speak and he said, “My wife and I prayed about it, and then we received our answer from God.” This opened up my mind to the possibilities of prayer. So my wife and I prayed together about what we should do in our lives. This was the first time I put my trust in God in many years. We did get a clear answer to our prayers, God opened several doors and closed several others and we decided to leave Los Angeles. We set a date seven months away, when our lease was up, and began planning the big move. Our commitments and jobs paralleled our moving timeline and God provided the things we needed financially and otherwise. We trusted in God. Sometimes it was easy to trust because life was going our way. The next few months would be harder to keep our faith strong, but we worked at it each day. While things seemed to fall in place when we arrived, times got tougher and it's still a work in progress. We have to remind ourselves that God’s timing is perfect and it is not about what we want, but what He wants. When David wrote in Psalms 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” he was writing from experience because he was a shepherd. He knew that you must constantly watch out for the sheep, or they would get into trouble. A good shepherd provides them with good land to graze and clean water to drink. He also must guide them. DCIM100GOPRO Do you trust in God? Is he your shepherd or are you trying to find your own way? Not sure? It is when our beliefs are equal to our actions that we are trusting God. How can we share with others what it means to trust in God?
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