universal love

Universal Love of God

A guest post by Nic Bryson

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

universal loveI’ve wondered how the world can be so prejudiced. We as humans look on the outside but God looks on the inside.

We look at the color of a person’s skin, their disabilities, or the way they are dressed. At the same time God is looking at the person that is on the inside and how caring and compassionate they are.

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). In this scripture, again, God is saying that no one is less equal or inferior but that we are all the same.

Another good reference is, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” (Romans 10:12). Here again He is saying that He cares not about race.

Back in the Bible times there was prejudice also, it’s not just a recent thing in the past few centuries. The Jews and the Gentiles are just one example of it.

The Jews were the “superior” race (because they were God’s chosen people), and the Gentiles were “inferior.” Although when Christ came and preached the word to everyone, like these scriptures say, He did not look on the outside of the people He was preaching to, but on the person.

We think that no one is prejudice anymore, but just the other night my family and I sat down to watch a video that my father brought home.

It was about two men, who worked together side by side everyday, who were taken by a news crew from 20/20 to test the different responses of people depending on the color of skin.

They took them to the same places and each of them did the same things as the other. Yet, they still received different responses, all of them favoring the man whose skin was lighter.

In the same way, it happens everyday around us  and we say that people are not like that anymore, but they are. I just hope that one day we will be able to say it does not happen and that statement be completely true.

finish line

Fighting the Good Fight

A guest post by Randy Teller

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8).

finish line

Living the Christian life is the best fight we will be in.

Paul uses metaphors throughout his letters to Timothy, talking about athletes, training, winning, and awards. I’m sure this was a common subject in New Testament times because of Olympic games, just as it is common today.

Our life is a battle against sin and Satan. Everyday we must arm ourselves with the tools of battle (Ephesians 6:13-18). Just as an athlete must train regularly to compete for their gold medal, we, too, must train regularly to compete for our gold medal, Heaven.

As it is with all types of training, you must constantly push yourself to do better than the day before. When we become complacent with our spiritual lives we are no longer growing closer to God.

Do you pray?

Can you pray a little more?

Do you give?

Can you give a little more?

Do you serve others?

Can you serve a little more?

Physical training is important for physical well being and spiritual training is important for spiritual well being (I Timothy 4:8).

As we train and develop our bodies for this contest, it is also normal to train longer and harder than the actual race or contest. A wrestling match is only 6 minutes long. A wrestler will train for hours every day to prepare for those few minutes.

He does it for one reason: to go the distance.

It does no good to be ahead, only to stop short of the finish line. There is little respect for the athlete who is ahead the entire race only to quit just before the end of the race.

We are in that type of event. It is of no value to lead a spiritual life only to fall away just before reaching the finish line…Heaven.

The Christian’s race is different because it doesn’t matter when you start; just make sure you finish the race. There are many runners in a long distance race and while winning it is a special privilege, finishing the race is the mark of true character (Philippians 3:13-14).

Yes, physical and spiritual training are both vitally important. However, as with all contests, there are rules and regulations that must be followed. This ensures that all contestants will be judged fairly.

Personally, I cannot tell the difference between a double toe loop and a double axel. To the judge it is as obvious as night and day.

As Christians, we, too, have a judge, but we have two advantages.

First, our judge is honest and righteous at all times.

Second, if we don’t get it right the first time, we can ask for and receive a second chance; God does give us rules to live by each day (II Timothy 2:5).

The apostle Paul was a spiritual champion. It is not to say he had a perfect, easy life (II Corinthians 11:23-27). He did, however, have a most precious goal in sight: the crown of righteousness, the gift of eternal life in Heaven.

In his last days he was at peace because of three things: he had fought the fight, finished the race, and had kept the faith.

May God bless you with the desire and ability to say the same.

How to Determine Truth

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,

2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,

3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;

4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

(Luke 1:1-4)

Simple Switch: Examine carefully what has been written to know the exact truth.

(Have you ever asked yourself, “how can I get saved?” If not, I highly recommend that you look at this).

Why Attitude is Your Driving Power

It’s not where you are that’s holding you back; It’s an unsettled mind that refuses to act

You can go anywhere from where you are; The key is attitude that’s hitched to a star

So dare and take that first step today; And success and happiness will come your way (Turner 10-11)

(Turner, J.J. Attitude Power: Keys to Personal Attitude Adjustment. McDonough: Solutions Publishing, 2008. Print.)

——-

After reading the first couple chapters to this book and this poem, I decided to do a brief word study on the word “attitude” as it is used in Scripture. From this I have found some interesting facts. First of all, wherever the New American Standard contains the English word “attitude” in the New Testament, these have come from one of two Greek words.

The first is in root word form. It has one of three definitions. It is pronounced fro-neh-oh (Bauer 1065-1066):

  1. To have an opinion with regard to something, think, form/hold an opinion, judge
  2. To give careful consideration to something, set one’s mind on, be intent on
  3. To develop an attitude based on careful thought, be minded/disposed 

The second is a derivative of the root. It has one of two definitions. It is pronounced fro-neh-sis (Bauer 1066):

  1. The faculty of thoughtful planning, way of thinking, (frame of) mind
  2. The ability to understand, understanding, insight, intelligence

Second of all, the English word “attitude” only appears four times in the New American Standard version.

  1. Luke 1:17
  2. Philippians 2:5
  3. Philippians 3:15 (Here, attitude is found twice)

Are you interested to know the three major conclusions?

One, the passage in Luke uses the second (derivative) word, fro-neh-sis, and its first definition. Here, Luke is describing the faculty of thoughtful planning, way of thinking, or frame of mind. What a cool thought: Attitude is a thoughtful plan, a way of thinking, a frame of mind.

Two, the passages in Philippians 2:5 and 3:15 use the first (root) word, fro-neh-oh, and its first definition. Here, Paul is describing attitude in the sense of thinking, making logical judgment, forming solid opinion. What a cool thought: Considering Philippians 2:1-11, attitude is making up the mind to be like Jesus, who took the form of a servant and became obedient to the point of death on the cross. Considering Philippians 3:14, Paul is calling for Christians to make up their minds to “press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Three, there are about 28-29 derivatives of this root word, fro-neh-oh (Logos Bible Software. The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Logos Bible Software, 2011). After conducting a search of all of these derivatives in the New Testament (Logos Bible Software), the list below is a gathering of all the English words that have been used by the New American Standard translators in the place of each Greek derivative. What a cool thought that “attitude,” through the Greek language, has a close association with the following English words:

  1. Despise
  2. Wise
  3. Shrewd / Shrewdly
  4. Setting
  5. Sensible
  6. Prudent
  7. Right
  8. Foolishness / Foolish / Fool
  9. Setting
  10. Attitude
  11. Merry
  12. Celebrate
  13. Joyously
  14. Glad / Gladness
  15. Rejoicing / Rejoice
  16. Scoffers
  17. Humility
  18. Sober
  19. Courteously
  20. Views
  21. Think / Thinking
  22. Set
  23. Mind
  24. “wise in your own estimation” (Personal favorite: Romans 11:25; 12:16)
  25. “be haughty in mind”
  26. Observes
  27. “to be of the same mind”
  28. Makes
  29. Feel
  30. Intent
  31. “to live in harmony”
  32. Concern
  33. Self-abasement
  34. Discreetly
  35. Self-restraint
  36. Look
  37. Conceited
  38. Discipline
  39. Sensible
  40. Deceivers
  41. Encourage
  42. Disregard
  43. Despising
  44. Harmonious
  45. Madness (II Peter 2:16)

Consider a simple switch in attitude. Whether you are a Christian, or not a Christian, make the choice to be like Christ and share His attitude. Why not have a better attitude?

How One Person Affects the World

I truly believe that any human being, including you, can affect the whole, entire world. Here’s how.

My wife and I recently returned to Denver from a family vacation at Lake Tahoe. We had expected to land 20 minutes earlier than we did, due to inclement weather. Still, it was a good, regular flight in the end. After our plane parked on the tarmac, we waited for all the people to file out. We knew our time would be extended due to the fact that we were sitting in the very back of the plane. To pass the time, I figured I’d do what was best—daydream by looking out the window. When I did, I saw something rather rare. The plane next to us had police cars with their lights lit up on both sides. Near the middle of this plane, was a full military color guard holding flags that were raised and blowing in the wind. About the time I saw this sight, I heard the flight attendant say, “They’re taking one of the bodies back to their family.”

Jessica and I can easily get to Aurora in less than 30 minutes from where we live. Obviously, this tragedy hit very close to home. As Jessica and I made our way to the baggage claim, my mind was consumed with the thoughts that come from seeing a sight like this. Once we got to the conveyor belt, something was not right. No baggage was on any conveyor belt we passed, and the same was true for the one on which our bags were supposed to come out. The digital prompter was showing a long list of flights that still had baggage yet to arrive. Wondering what could be causing the delay, I came to two potential conclusions:

  1. This slowdown in operations has been caused by the inclement weather delays, and the subsequent backup of flights.
  2. This slowdown in operations has been caused by what is happening on the tarmac, out of respect for the one being transported and the military guard present.

This second potential conclusion was what caused the following line of reasoning: “Wow. One person affects 12 people, and those 12 families are going to be affected for a long time. Obviously, this one person’s actions has affected more than just these 12 families because—if these bags are being delayed out of respect for the one being transported—then everyone in this airport is not getting their bags as early as they otherwise may have had them. What if I had been in a rush to get my bags today? What if I had been in a rush to get my bags because I needed what was inside them? What if what was inside my bags was something that would vastly increase my chances of getting hired in a new global outreach company? What if I was unable to hold a successful job interview with this global outreach company, all because I did not get my bags on time? What if getting my bags just a few moments later was what kept me from making that job interview on time, reducing my hopes of getting that job even more as a result? What if getting that job would have allowed me to make a brilliant breakthrough in helping thousands of people across the globe, over the next 50 years of my career? What if I was able to help establish a system whereby that company would continue to impact the world for the many years to come after I am dead and gone? Wow. All of that could have been prevented by one person’s choice to affect 12 people in the first place.”

I truly believe that the divine being, God, can affect the whole, entire world. Here’s how.

Jesus appointed 12 men to be His apostles (Matthew 10:1-4). He commissioned these men to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Matthew 28:18-20).

I believe it is time we stop thinking that one person cannot make any difference in this world. I believe we should all make the simple switch to do all that we can to not only believe that this is true, but also to utilize the opportunity God has given us to make it happen. Most importantly, I believe it is time each of us consider the power that dwells within the One divine God to make all the difference in our own lives.

“I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Truth to the Trickers

 

“And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any’ (Matthew 22:16).