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Thursday, 17 July 2014

History of King Solomon


Solomon had the unique and distinctive privilege and opportunity to be king over 12 united tribes of Israel at its zenith, the short-lived glory days of Israel. Early in his reign, the Lord asked Solomon in a dream, “What shall I give you?” Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge God' people, wisdom and knowledge, and the ability to discern between good and evil.

God blessed Solomon with wisdom and understanding, and exalted him in the sight of Israel. His wisdom quickly became known worldwide and his wealth exceeded all the kings in the world. Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs, wrote 1,005 songs, the book of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. He accumulated knowledge of trees, animals, birds, fish and more. Men came from all nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

In his fourth year, King Solomon began building the temple of the Lord according to the blueprints that God revealed to David. It was constructed in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. The temple was approximately 90 feet long by 30 feet wide, and three stories high. David had contributed his personal wealth and extensive amounts of timber, stone, iron, bronze, silver and gold. Solomon, too, personally purchased imported lumber and stone. Almost 200,000 of his own people labored to transport materials to Jerusalem.The interior of the temple was decorated with detailed carvings and plated with over 20 tons of gold. It took seven years to construct, but when it was finished, it was one of a kind.

Solomon invited everyone in the kingdom to the dedication of the temple. A grand procession conducted the Ark of the Covenant to its location in the temple's inner chamber, the Holy of Holies. When the Ark was positioned, the glory of the Lord in the form of a cloud filled the temple. It was so intense the priests had to go outside.

On an elevated scaffold made especially for the occasion, Solomon prayed on his knees with his hands held high. When Solomon had finished praying, the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed all the offerings and sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the Lord shining bright, they fell to their knees and face down, worshiped and praised the Lord. There was a great celebration that lasted three weeks. When the dedication festivities ended, everyone went home joyful for God's blessings on Solomon and all of Israel.

The Lord appeared again to Solomon, assuring him that his prayer had been heard. God said that He would abundantly bless and dwell with Israel, if they kept Him first, and that He would be with Solomon, “If you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.” But God included a stern warning that there would be severe consequences if Solomon and the people of Israel turned away from Him and worshipped idols. “I will uproot them from My land which I have given them, and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight.”

The queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, and came to Jerusalem. Solomon answered all her questions. nothing was too difficult for Solomon to explain it to her. The queen of Sheba was impressed beyond words. Seeing how marvelously he lived, and everyone in Jerusalem, she told him that everything she had heard was true, and more. “Indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.” She not only complimented Solomon but praised God for His goodness to Israel. She and Solomon exchanged an abundance of gifts before her departure. King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.

Although God had forbidden marriages between Israelites and people of other nations (Deuteronomy 7:1-4) and had warned against having many wives, and becoming overly wealthy (Deuteronomy 17:17), in Solomon's latter years, he did all these things. He built places of worship for the gods of his foreign wives, and they turned his heart from the true God. He even participated in their rituals. This displeased God and He said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David. I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

This was soon to be fulfilled with Jeroboam, and Solomon's son, Rehoboam. Solomon reigned 40 years until his death, ending the golden years of Israel. (2 Samuel 12:24; 1 Kings 1:10-11:43; 1 Chronicles 22:6-29:28; 2 Chronicles 1:1-9:31) 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Bible verse for the day 11th July 2014


Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you, Declares the Lord, Plans to Propose you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future"

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Bible Verse for the day 8th July 2014


"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"



Monday, 7 July 2014

How to recite the Holy Rosary


The purpose of the rosary is to help keep in memory certain principal events or mysteries in the history of our salvation, and to thank and praise god for them. There are twenty mysteries reflected upon in the rosary, and these are divided into the five joyful mysteries, the five luminous mysteries, the five sorrowful mysteries, and the five glorious mysteries. You may also wish to pray the rosary online, with others or by yourself. as suggested by the blessed pope john paul ii the joyful mysteries are said on monday and saturday, the luminous on thursday, the sorrowful on tuesday and friday, and the glorious on wednesday and sunday (with this exception: sundays of christmas season - the joyful; sundays of lent - sorrowful).

  1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the"Apostles' Creed."
  2. Say the "Our Father."
  3. Say three "Hail Marys."
  4. Say the "Glory be to the Father."
  5. Announce the First Mystery; then say the "Our Father."
  6. Say ten "Hail Marys," while meditating on the Mystery.
  7. Say the "Glory be to the Father."
  8. Announce the Second Mystery; then say the "Our Father." Repeat 6 and 7 and continue with Third, Fourth and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner.
After the Rosary:

HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. O GOD, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

After each decade say the following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy."

Bible Verse for the day - 7th July 2014


No, the father himself loves you because you have loved me 
"and"
have believed that I came from God

Friday, 4 July 2014

5 Things You May Not Know About Jesus



1. Time has no meaning to Jesus


According to Colossians 1, when God created the world, He created it by, through, and in Christ. This means that all time, space, and matter are all in Him. Thus Jesus is Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, all at the same moment. Consequently, the crossing of the Red Sea and the consummation of the ages are all “now” for Jesus. He not only sees the end from the beginning, but He stands at the end and the beginning at the same moment. What an awesome Lord!

2. Jesus sang on the cross


First-century Jews always sang the Psalms and they were sung in their entirety. Jesus is found quoting the Psalms during His darkest hours on Calvary. In the book, we demonstrate that Jesus sang the Psalm on the cross.

3. His 12 disciples were teenagers

In the first century, when a boy reached his early teens, he became a man. Women married at around age 13. In our chapter on why Jesus chose the twelve disciples and what their purpose was, we cite renowned scholar Craig Keener, who argues that the twelve disciples were most likely in their late teens.

4. Jesus completed the story of Israel

Most Christians are aware that Jesus fulfilled certain prophecies in the Old Testament. But the fact is that Jesus not only completed the story of Israel, but He re-played it down to the details. For instance, Jesus was tested in the wilderness for 40 days just as Israel was tested in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus experienced the exact temptations that Israel experienced in the wilderness.  In fact, what Jesus said to Satan on three occasions were direct quotes from Moses to Israel during Israel’s wilderness temptation. Jesus chose twelve disciples, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. And on and on.


5. Accepting Him is a political statement



First-century Jews believed that the Messiah (which is translated “Christ”) was to rule the entire world and save them from their enemies. First-century Gentiles knew that Caesar was Lord (or Emperor) of world. He was also regarded as the Savior of the people who brought peace to the empire. Whenever a new Emperor took the throne, the Emperor’s emissaries heralded the news of the new Caesar. The word they used for this news was “gospel.” When the early Christians preached to the Jews, they announced the “gospel” that Jesus was the Messiah – meaning, He was the Ruler and Savior of the world. When the early Christians preached to the Gentiles, they proclaimed the “gospel” that Jesus was the new Lord of the world who was also the Savior who would bring peace.  So saying that Jesus is Christ and Lord in the first century were high-octane political statements that resulted in riots and persecution to those who claimed

Bible Verse for the day 4th July 2014



"WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE"

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A short history of Our Lady of Mount Carmel


According to the most ancient Carmelite chronicles, the Order has its origins with the disciples of the prophets Elias and Eliseus. They lived in caves on Mount Carmel. They honored the Queen of Heaven as the Virgin who is to give birth to the Saviour. 
     
When the reality replaced the symbol, the pious ascetics of Carmel were converted to the Christian Faith. In the 12th century, many pilgrims from Europe who had followed the Crusaders came to join the solitaries. A rule was established and the Order began to spread to Europe. Amid the many persecutions raised against the Order of Mount Carmel, newly arrived in Europe, Saint Simon Stock, General of the Order, turned with filial confidence to the Blessed Mother of God. As he knelt in prayer on July 16, 1251, in the White Friars' convent at Cambridge, She appeared before him and presented him with the well-known brown scapular, a loose sleeveless garment destined for the Order of Carmel, reaching from the shoulders to the knees. It was given as an assurance, for all who died wearing it, of Her heavenly protection from eternal death. An extraordinary promise indeed, but one requiring a life of prayer and sacrifice. Devotion to the blessed habit spread quickly throughout the Christian world. Pope after Pope enriched it with indulgences, and innumerable miracles put their seal upon its efficacy. 


The first of them was worked at Winchester on a man dying in despair, who when the scapular was laid upon him by Saint Simon Stock at once asked for the Sacraments. In the year 1636, a certain gentleman, member of a cavalry regiment, was mortally wounded at the battle of Tehin, a bullet having lodged near his heart. He was then in a state of grievous sin, but he had time to make his confession. Afterwards a surgeon probed his wound, and the bullet was found to have driven his scapular into his heart. When it had been withdrawn he soon expired, making profound acts of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin who had prolonged his life miraculously, thereby preserving him from the irremediable death of his soul. At Lourdes in 1858, the Virgin chose to make Her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorates Her apparition to Saint Simon Stock. And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when She said farewell to the three children. Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of Her cherished children on earth.




Bible Verse for the day July 3rd 2014



Look to the Lord and his strength;
 seek his presence continually.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A brief history of St.Thomas - The Apostle


As we prepare ourselves for the feast of St.Thomas let us recall who he is and why do we celebrate his feast on the 3rd July of every year. 

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle on July 3 every year. He is best known in religious accounts as “Doubting Thomas” because of his initial unwillingness to believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Catholic faithful are familiar with the Biblical story of the apostle’s later encounter with the Risen Christ, who asked him to place his finger at the mark of the nails on His pierced hands and side. St. Thomas then turned from his doubt and embraced the truth of the resurrection.
On September 27, 2006, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that Apostle Thomas’ case is important for three reasons: “First, it comforts us in our insecurity; second, it shows us that every doubt can lead to an outcome brighter than any uncertainty; and third, the words that Jesus addressed to him remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to persevere, despite the difficulty, along our journey of adhesion to him.”
St. Thomas was one of fishermen on the Lake of Galilee who Jesus Christ called to be His Apostles. He became a dedicated follower of Christ. After the Pentecost, when the apostles went their separate ways, he set off on missionary work and, according to tradition, he preached the Good News to the Parthians, Persians, and Medes, until he reached India, where he evangelized and built with his bare hands a house of God at the Malabar coast, which today boasts of a large native population who call themselves 

St. Thomas Christians or Nasranis. After his martyrdom in 72 AD, he was buried near the site of his death, and a grand church that still stands today was built to house his tomb.St. Thomas’ relics were enshrined in Mesopotamia in the 3rd century, and later moved to various places. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Abruzzo in Ortona, Italy, where they were venerated in the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle. He is regarded as patron saint of India and patron saint of architects and builders as well.
When the feast of St. Thomas was included in the Roman calendar in the 9th century, it was assigned to December 21, the date of his martyrdom. The “Martyrology of St. Jerome” mentioned the apostle on July 3, the date to which the Roman celebration was transferred in 1969, so that it would no longer interfere with the days of Advent. July 3 was the day on which his relics were transferred from Mylapore on the coast of Chennai (Madras) in India, to the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia.


Bible verse for the day July 2nd 2014

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Nitya Sahaya Mathave - Malayalam Christian Devotional Song with Lyrics




Lyrics:

Nithya sahaya mathave loka mathave- (2)
Nithya dukhaghal than kaalvari kunnil
Shoshanna pukkal vidarthename ennum
Shoshanna pukkal vidarthename

Nithya.....

Azhalintte paazhmaru bhoomiyil nin manam
Kulir maari choriyename -- (2)
Erulintte radhamodum paathayil nin karam
Ponnoli vitharename ennum ponnoli vitharename

Nithya............

Daahichu kezhunna paithaghal njaghalil
Sneham churathunna snehamathe- (2)
Nin kaaladi puki aswasam thedunnu
Nin sthuthi geethaghal paadi ennum
Nin avadhaanaghal vaazhthi


Nithya............

Bible Verse for the day


"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.”

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

When we forget the Gospel


The gospel is a message as Christians we cannot forget. It’s a message that we need to remind ourselves of daily. Paul makes this very clear in his writings to the Corinthians.

Being prone to forget things, he wrote to them, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel . . .” (1 Cor. 15:1). Paul goes on to talk about Jesus, because they were prone to forget about him. Like the Corinthians, we fall into the same cycle of forgetfulness.

We get caught up thinking about ourselves, our family, our friends, our critics, and the people involved in our life. Thinking about so many things in our life leads us to sometimes forget about Jesus. It’s not that we don’t know of him, but that we’re forgetful of him.

We can also forget about community, as well. Paul is writing to a church, saying, “You really need to help one another, serve one another, love one another, walk with one another, because you’re not going to make it on your own. You need the people of God to go with you.”

We can also forget about Scripture. Sometimes people can go days, weeks, months, or years without actually reading the Bible—the book that God wrote. Sometimes we can get really excited about other books that have been written, maybe even decent Christian books. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if we’re reading other books at the expense of the book God wrote, then it could be.

We can also forget about Scripture. Sometimes people can go days, weeks, months, or years without actually reading the Bible—the book that God wrote. Sometimes we can get really excited about other books that have been written, maybe even decent Christian books. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if we’re reading other books at the expense of the book God wrote, then it could be.

We can also forget about Scripture. Sometimes people can go days, weeks, months, or years without actually reading the Bible—the book that God wrote. Sometimes we can get really excited about other books that have been written, maybe even decent Christian books. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if we’re reading other books at the expense of the book God wrote, then it could be.

The key to fighting forgetfulness is to always come back to what is the truth and who Jesus is. Remind yourself daily that Jesus lived for you, died for you, and rose from death for you (1 Cor. 15:3–4). He did this so that you could be forgiven of your past, present, and future sins, and experience a new life in him.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

How to build a good christian relationship


Step 1: Identify those people you want to try to mend and start doing something about it.

Step 2: Tell him/her how you feel about your relationship and how you believe in God. You might want to have a long conversation and disagree on something because one may say they love God but doesn't want to go to church every Sunday and you do.

Step 3: Always end your conversation on the same page.Never leave the conversation with one spouse thinking something different.

Step 4: Always end your conversation on the same page.Never leave the conversation with one spouse thinking something different

Step 5: Always talk to God

Step 6:  Never give up on the relationship and don't have sex early

Monday, 14 April 2014

What is grace?


Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is where God shows us mercy, kindness, and patience instead of the judgment that we deserve for sinning against him. God's grace cannot be earned by our actions or sincerity. It cannot be lost by our rebellion or sin. Grace is based on the character of God and not on our sincerity, performance, or ability to keep the law of God. Otherwise, grace would not be grace. 
  • Rom. 11:6, "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."
  • Gal. 2:21, "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."
  • 2 Timothy 1:9, "who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity."
If it were not for God's grace, we would never be saved from his righteous judgment. It was the grace of God that worked in Christ who bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), so that we might be forgiven andjustified by faith (Rom. 3:285:1). Because of God's gracious kindness, all who put their trust in his work on the cross will receive forgiveness, salvation, regeneration, and the eternal love of God. Again, God's kindness to us is based on his character not on ours. His grace to us is completely and totally an act of his free will and not based on any ability, merit, or performance of our own.
God's grace is manifested to unbelievers also. Ultimately, all people deserve the judgment of God because all people have sinned (Romans 3:23). However, God does not execute his judgment upon all people right away. Instead, he is exceedingly patient and kind towards them. Please consider what Jesus said regarding loving our enemies even as God loves the unrighteous:
Matt. 5:43-48, You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy." 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you 45 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

False Religious Views of Grace

Roman Catholicism

  • Meriting Grace to attain eternal life:  Catechism of the Catholic Church 2010, "Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.”
  • Meriting Grace to attain eternal life:  CCC 2027, "No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.”

Mormonism

  • Saved by grace alone is evil:  "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” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.206. See also The Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1996, p. 36).
  • Justification by faith alone is evil: "The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith Alone has exercised an influence for evil. The idea upon which this pernicious doctrine was founded was at first associated with that of an absolute predestination, by which man was foredoomed to destruction, or to an undeserved salvation,” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984, p. 432).

Christian Science

  • Grace is spiritual understanding: "Philosophical links, which would unite dead matter with animate, Spirit with matter and material means, prayer with power and pride of position, hinder the divine influx and lose Science,— lose the Principle of divine metaphysics and the tender grace of spiritual understanding, that love-linked holiness which heals and saves,” (Miscellany, p. 206).
  • Grace is understanding God: "All this is accomplished by the grace of God, — the effect of God understood,” (Christian Science vs. Pantheism, p. 10).

Sunday, 9 March 2014

How should I understand the concept of the Father God?




“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1). This passage begins with a command: “See.” John wants us to observe the manifestations of the Father's love. He has introduced the subject of God’s love in the preceding chapter (1 John 2:5,15), briefly discusses it here, and fully explains it in the fourth chapter. John’s purpose is to describe the kind of love the Father gives His children, “what great love.” The Greek word translated “what great” is found only six times in the New Testament and always implies astonishment and admiration.

What is interesting to note here is that John does not say, “The Father loves us.” In doing so, he would be describing a condition. Instead, he tells us that the Father has “lavished” His love on us, and this, in turn, portrays an action and the extent of God’s love. It is also interesting to note that John has chosen the word “Father” purposely. That word implies the father-child relationship. However, God did not become Father when He adopted us as children. God's fatherhood is eternal. He is eternally the Father of Jesus Christ, and through Jesus He is our Father. Through Jesus we receive the Father's love and are called “children of God.”

What an honor it is that God calls us His children and gives us the assurance that as His children we are heirs and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). In his Gospel, John also tells us that God gives the right to become children of God to all who in faith have received Christ as Lord and Savior (John 1:12). God extends His love to His Son Jesus Christ and, through Him, to all His adopted children.

When John then tells us “that is what we are!” he declares the reality of our status. Right now, at this very moment, we are His children. In other words, this is not a promise which God will fulfill in the future. No, the truth is we are already God's children. We enjoy all the rights and privileges our adoption entails, because we have come to know God as our Father. As His children we experience His love. As His children we acknowledge Him as our Father, for we have an experiential knowledge of God. We put our trust and faith in Him who loves us, provides for us, and protects us as our earthly fathers should. Also as earthly fathers should, God disciplines His children when they disobey or ignore His commands. He does this for our benefit, so “that we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).

There are many ways the Scriptures describe those who love God and obey Him. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17); we are holy priests (1 Peter 2:5); we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17); and we are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). But more than any of the above—more significant than any title or position—is the simple fact that we are God's children and He is our heavenly Father.

Why is seeking God important?


In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul quotes an astonishing statement from the Psalms: “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). How can Paul, and David before him, make such a sweeping declaration? Of all who have ever lived, not even one person has really sought after God? There’s no question that billions of people have sought afteragod, but they have not always sought after the true God.

This fact ties directly to Adam and Eve’s sin through Satan’s deception. Throughout the history of mankind, the treachery promulgated by Satan has been so thorough that the natural man can perceive only bits and pieces of the real truth about God. As a result, our conceptions about God are blurred. It’s only when God chooses to reveal Himself to us that the pieces begin to fall together as our eyes are opened to truth. Then, truly seeking God becomes possible.

Jesus tells us inJohn 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Here Jesus is telling us that our continuing to seek God, desiring to know Him more, is the essence of true life, eternal life. The most important thoughts our minds can entertain are thoughts of God, because they will determine the quality and direction of life. Seeking God, then, is an ongoing responsibility and privilege for all Christians.

But we also know that this is not always an easy thing to do, not because God is elusive, but because our minds are saturated with misconceptions and deceits planted by Satan and reinforced by the culture. But the good news is that these mistaken beliefs are done away with through the experiences of seeking God and coming to know Him. For example,2 Chronicles 15:2-4was written over two thousand years ago to a people like us: “He [Azariah, the prophet] went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.’”

Their instructions were simple: when they sincerely sought God, things went well, but when their desire to seek Him waned and eventually ceased altogether, their world came apart. Sin increased, morality declined, contact with God ceased. The admonitions to the children of God of that time are clear to us today: “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” This is such a profound principle that it is repeated throughout the Scriptures. The idea is that when we draw near to God, He reveals Himself to us. God does not hide Himself from the seeking heart.

• “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)

• “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

• "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NIV)

What is God like?



Every culture in the history of the world has had some concept of what God is like. Some have assumed that God is in control of the weather and have made images of a storm god throwing lightning bolts around (Baal worship in Canaan). Some have assumed that God is very powerful, and so they worshiped the most powerful thing they could see, the sun (Ra worship in Egypt). Others have assumed that God is everywhere and therefore have worshiped everything (pantheism in Stoic philosophy). Some have assumed that God is unknowable and have turned to agnosticism or, just to cover their bases, have worshiped “An Unknown God” (Acts 17:23).

The problem with each of these assumptions is that they only get part of the picture of who God is. Yes, God is in control of the weather, but He is also in control of so much more. He is powerful, but much more powerful than the sun. He is everywhere, but He also transcends everything. And, thankfully, while there are some things we don’t understand about God, He is knowable. In fact, He has revealed everything we need to know about Him in the Bible. Godwantsto be known (Psalm 46:10).

Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, in their bookI Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, state the following:

- Truth is discovered, not invented. It exists independent of anyone's knowledge of it. (Gravity existed prior to Newton.)

- Truth is transcultural; if something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, at all times. (2+2=4 for everyone, everywhere, at every time.)

- Truth is unchanging even though ourbeliefsabout truth change. (When we began to believe the earth was round instead of flat, thetruthabout the earth didn't change, only ourbeliefabout the earth changed.)

Therefore, as we try to ascertain what God is like, we are simply trying to discover truths already there.

First, God exists. The Bible never argues for God’s existence; it simply states it. The fact that Godisshould be self-evident through the works He has created (Psalm 19:1-6).Genesis 1:1says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This is a simple yet powerful statement. The universe includes time, space, matter, and energy, so that all discernible elements in the universe came into being by God's decree. Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity states that all time, space, and matter had a definite, simultaneous beginning. What has a beginning has a cause. That is the law of causality, and the fact of God easily explains the ultimate cause. God is the creator of all that is, and so we know something else about Him: He is almighty (Joel 1:15), He is eternally self-existent (Psalm 90:2), and He exists above and beyond all of creation (Psalm 97:9).

The same God who made all things also controls those things. He is sovereign (Isaiah 46:10). He who creates an item owns it and has power to utilize it as he sees fit. The ultimate cause has ultimate authority. InIsaiah 44:24God presents Himself as the One “who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.” The next verse says that He “overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense.” This is obviously a God with power to do as He pleases.

God is spirit (John 4:24) and cannot be represented by any created thing; in fact, the attempt to create such a representation is blasphemous (Exodus 4:4-6). God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6). God is all-knowing (1 John 3:20) and all-present (Psalm 139:7-13). He is holy and glorious (Isaiah 6:3). He is just (Deuteronomy 32:4) and will justly judge all sin and unrighteousness (Jude 1:15).

The judgment of God highlights another truth about what He is like: He is a moral being. C. S. Lewis, inMere Christianity, makes the case that, just as there exist observable laws of nature (gravity, entropy, etc.), there are also observable laws of morality. He writes, “First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.” Despite varied ideas about what constitutes right and wrong, there is a universal belief that right and wrongexist, and this is a reflection of the God who made us (Genesis 1:26;Ecclesiastes 3:11).

When Jesus entered our world, He showed us the Father (John 14:7-9). Through Jesus, we understand that God seeks to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He is compassionate (Matthew 14:14), He is merciful (Luke 6:36), and He is forgiving (Matthew 9:1-8). At the same time, Jesus shows us that God will judge unrepentant sin (Luke 13:5) and that God is angry with those who live falsely and refuse to acknowledge the truth (Matthew 23).

Most of all, Jesus showed us that God is love (1 John 4:8). It was in love that God sent His Son into the world (John 3:16). It was in love that Jesus died on the cross for sinners (Romans 5:8). It is in love that He still calls sinners to repentance to experience the grace of God and to be called the children of God (1 John 3:1).


7 reasons for the death of Sunday evening worship


Historically, many evangelical churches have had a Sunday evening worship service. The idea, stretching back to the Protestant Reformation, has been that if the Bible is the authority, then it makes sense to have it taught as much as is practical.

Many of the early Protestant churches not only had Sunday morning and Sunday evening gatherings, but mid-week Bible studies as well. In Catholicism, the more you celebrated Mass, the better, and in the reformation that frequency simply jumped into services that revolved not around the sacraments, but around preaching. Eventually, as the reformation spread into Scotland and (sort of) into England, the practice settled into two Sunday worship services, both with different messages.
And in fact, this remains the pattern in much of the world. It is almost universal that Baptist churches have a Sunday morning service, a Sunday evening service, and a midweek prayer gathering of some kind. Some churches do this because they view (wrongly, I think) Sunday as the Christian Sabbath. Others do this because they have learned to appreciate (correctly, I think) the concept of Sunday as the Lord’s day, and the experience that comes with having the Lord’s Day bracketed with worship. But regardless of the motivation, in much of the world, churches that value the Bible (“Protestant” seems too wide of a term, and “evangelical” seems to miss as well—so I’m going with “churches that value the Bible”) have two Lord’s Day services.
But American churches began to drop the Sunday evening service in the mid-1990’s. There were many factors behind this rapture of evening worship:  
  1. Some churches developed a seeker-sensitive approach, where the commitment of two services was seen as a hindrance to outreach. Many churches were planted as part of this seeker-sensitive wave, and never had the Sunday night service to begin with.
  2.  Some developed a negative view of preaching, which led to the attitude of “why would we need another sermon? Shouldn’t we be in the community?
  3. One of the most common reasons I heard from churches for dropping their Sunday evening service was to launch community groups or home Bible studies. By stopping Sunday evening corporate gatherings, they could direct everyone to home Bible studies and increase the shepherding dynamic of the church.
  4. For many pastors, the pressure of a professionalized sermon became too great to deliver twice in a week. With the rise of the rock-star pastors of the early 2000’s, I know many pastors who felt like they needed to spend 20 hours in sermon prep if they wanted to really be faithful to preaching. Well, obviously that is something that can’t be done twice a week (at least not without abandoning every other responsibility you have!), and the Sunday evening sermon is what got voted off the island.
  5. Quite a few churches gave me a reason that I hadn’t thought of before: they began to focus on growing Sunday morning services, so they added services there, or they even added a Saturday night service. Many churches added a contemporary service Sunday morning, and when they went from one to two services there, they simply dropped their evening service. Some churches added satellite campuses, and with that it became too much to have a Sunday night service that was different from Sunday morning. Where would they do it? At all their campuses? What about the music? Plus, the amount of volunteer hours it took to have multiple Sunday morning services, plus a Saturday night service or satellite services, and it became too taxing to get everyone back on Sunday night for something different.
  6. When you combine the rock-star pastors with more services on Sunday mornings, people began driving further and further to go to a church that fit what they were looking for, and this had an adverse affection Sunday evenings . It was one thing to go 10 minutes back to church Sunday evening, but through the 90′s and early 2000′s, many churches saw their attenders living 30-45 minutes away, and it was just too much to have them (and their families) make that drive more than once a day.
  7. But the number one reason churches gave me (in my very unofficial survey) for dropping Sunday night services… they wanted to devote the evening for family time. In previous generations, Saturday was for family, and Sunday was for corporate worship. But sports began to eat up more and more of Saturday, so family time got bumped to Sunday, and it appears that it edged out that worship service. If you are running all around for sports on Saturday, Sunday after church really became the only time all week that your family got to spend together, and–after all–churches are in favor of stronger families, so the worship service had to go.

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