Vlog: Hand Motions for 1 John 1:1-5

Join Katie and her family as we memorize the Word of God together! 🙂

 

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VLOG: Christian Apologetics in light of Islam (part 3 of 5)

The Holy Spirit has laid it upon my heart to share of conversations over the past near decade with dear friends from the Islamic faith regarding Christian doctrine. In this five part series, we will explore why Jesus had to die, if there is really only one God, which apostles should we follow, what the Christian church believes regarding other creeds and how does one decide what is right and what is ultimately wrong. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified and draw hearts to Himself for He alone is worthy.

 

Persecuted For Being A Christian in America: A First Hand Account

While in college, I was personally singled out by my professor regarding the illogical stance of Christianity in a reason and religion class for the entire duration of the semester. It was such a pointed attack and weekly debate, that when I was late to class one day, the class was actually delayed until I could arrive–seeing as I was the one to speak on behalf of Christianity. The professor, a once Christian turned atheist, took sincere pride in trying to derail the claims of the Holy Bible and Jesus Christ as a whole.

Yet, despite his efforts to silence Christians and turn believers in Jesus Christ into atheists at best or agnostics at worst, the opposite affect was birthed. Through weekly phone calls to my pastor at Evangelical Free Church at the time, Pastor Worthington, began an equipping in Christian apologetics against such hate speech on a university campus. And as a result, a love for the defense of the faith of Christianity grew deep within me…and that professor, took note that I enjoyed and genuinely welcomed the debate in a lecture hall of close to 200 students. And in the end, the professor’s attack was silenced by the truth of God’s Word.

With college now ten years behind me, why would I bring this up??? Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are not aware, the culture of America has grown increasingly HOSTILE toward the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this was made most evident in our own family a few months ago with our own SIX YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WHILE AT HER PUBLIC KINDERGARTEN.

While in social centers, our daughter (who accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior while we lived in the Middle East) turned to her friend–during a time where talking was permitted and stated “Jesus loves you.” The response of the hired adult leading the table was quick and audible to the entire class. “RUTH, YOU CANNOT SPEAK OF THE NAME OF JESUS HERE AT SCHOOL. YOU CANNOT SPEAK OF JESUS HERE.”

When my daughter shared this with me, I called our local church for prayer before going into the school immediately to address the matter directly. As many of you recall, I also sent out a mass text asking for prayer and the Lord’s guidance. I was able to speak to the individual as well as the principal. The individual apologized and I made a point that my daughter would also receive an apology…in my presence. This was done outside the classroom while my daughter sat on my knee. After the individual apologized, I asked my daughter, “What do we say?” Our 6 year old daughter took a deep breath and looked this individual straight in the eyes as her small and gentle voice rang forth, “I forgive you.”

In addition, the principal went on to say that the “separation of church and state” as stated by the individual was COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE AND MISUNDERSTOOD. I continued to point back to the 1st amendment of the United States Constitution and the fact that MY HUSBAND AS A U.S. SOLDIER has fought to defend the right of our children to be able to speak freely upon school grounds in America–be them public or private. The principal agreed that I was fully in the right and stated that SHE WAS GOING TO CALL A MEETING OF HER ENTIRE STAFF TO MAKE SURE THAT SUCH CONFLICTS DO NOT ARISE IN THE FUTURE.

IN FACT, the principal went on to state that a teacher UNDER LAW indeed has the legal right to answer the question of a student regarding religion. I stated that if teachers were allowed to dress as witches on campus during Halloween, and the Grinch was promoted at Christmas, then YOU BET my daughter is able to say “Jesus loves you” to a friend at a social center.

My husband and I could not be more sincerely proud of our little girl. She took a stand for Jesus Christ her Savior, and was able to have an impact on an entire school! PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!!!

–Why do I share this tonight? Why now?–
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time that we OPEN OUR EYES to the realities of our day in America. The very fabric that our nation was founded on is fraying…and what are we, as believers in Jesus Christ doing about it? I implore you, DO NOT BE SILENT…take a stand for Jesus Christ…and it will inspire others to do the same. The time is here to WAKE UP CHURCH…It’s time to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and remember “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the dark powers and rulers of the air”…yet, take heart…because Jesus Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). WE CANNOT BE SILENT…SPEAK OUT FOR THE TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST IN LOVE…AND DON’T FORGET THE TRUTH.

Christmas Tea: Middle Eastern Style

Ladies, there is SO much to celebrate at Christmas!!! We have had the divine privilege from Jesus Christ to meet many Muslims who are SEEKING to know God…and very curious to learn more about a GOD OF LOVE…who speaks!!!

 

Praise the Lord! We had the privilege recently of going to the home of new Muslim friends who wanted to know who we said Jesus was and were able to speak of the trinity. We spoke of how a woman can be a daughter, a wife and a mother all at the same time…but still only be one person. The young woman seemed amazed by the explanation…and she was very open to hear more!

 

These precious people thought that protestant Christians worshipped and prayed to multiple things, but were very intrigued to hear that we serve and worship only one God. May the LORD BE PRAISED!!!

 

The Lord has stirred my heart to host a Christmas tea this year and invite these new friends to enjoy the Christmas season with us. I offered last night and was amazed by their quick response of “we would love to!”

 

Ladies, in this Christmas season may we remember that SO MANY ARE HUNGRY to learn more of the true reason for the Christmas season. Most of the time, such people just need someone to start the conversation! Praise the Lord Jesus for the excitement of Christmas…LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE WORLDWIDE WAS GIVEN A NAME…JESUS THE CHRIST.

 

Below are five questions that commonly come up between Christians and Muslims. May you also, if the Lord prompts your hearts, host a Christmas Tea for those of other faiths to sip and consider a Savior whom they have never met. What a joyous and exciting time of year! May the Lord Jesus be praised! And if you do not know someone of another faith to share a warm cup of tea with, spend some time praying for the unreached people and lost of this world…over your own cup of Christmas tea!

 

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4 (NASB)

 

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  1. Do I (as a Christian) believe that Jesus had to die to satisfy God?

 

My response, absolutely yes. Jesus was not simply a prophet, but the Holy Bible records that He was born of a Virgin (as does the Qur’an) and that He lived a sinless life (I believe as the Qur’an does as well). And that Jesus died upon the cross (as the Qur’an states three different times Qur’an 3:55, Qur’an 4:157 and Qur’an 19:33).

 

From the conviction of my soul, Jesus is not simply a prophet of God…but the top prophet, great high priest and God incarnate.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that God is holy and totally set apart from all wrong. And as a result, God cannot be near the weakness of rebellion against Him. The Holy Bible speaks of the rebellion of Luciphor, one of the top angels in heaven, who wanted to be like God and led a rebellion against God in heaven. As a result, this angel and 1/3 of the angels in heaven were kicked out of heaven for treason. This fallen angel became known as Satan.

 

We then see this same line of thought in the Garden of Eden…when Satan, in the form of a snake, convinced Eve that she should not trust God and that better awaited her by disobeying God and eating from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As a result, both Eve and her husband Adam disobeyed God by believing the lie of Satan that God was holding out goodness from them. And as a result of this, they too were kicked out of the perfect place called Eden…where they enjoyed perfect fellowship with God…and daily walked in the garden with God.

 

But, that is the beauty of Christmas! The great love of God was manifested that while humanity was still in the midst o rebellion, God launched the greatest and far reaching rescue plan to save His creation through sending Himself in the form of a human. This is a season of great joy as recorded in the Holy Bible book of Luke chapter 2. An angel of God announced the birth of “Christ the Lord” in the “city of David” to a group of shepherds. They went to see the birth of the One prophesied about…that is Jesus.

 

We have all made mistakes in our lives and are seen as imperfect before God. We cannot pray enough, do enough good for others or even travel to sacred places to make up for our wrong doings. Just as Eid calls for a blood sacrifice, God calls for a blood sacrifice to atone for each of our wrong doings…that is why Jesus came. As God in the flesh, Jesus was then able to satisfy His own standard and rule of perfection and holiness by paying the penalty for each one of us (each person in all of human history) who have committed rebellion against God–whether by saying something, thinking something or doing something that brought shame to God. What a truly loving God to take my punishment…when I deserve it!

 

See, if God didn’t keep His standards of perfection…then God would not be holy or righteous. If God did not make a way for us to draw near to God, then God would not be loving. But, praise be to God that He stepped down from His eternal throne to put His love for all humanity on display…through sending Jesus to pay the penalty that not one of us could Stand up under. And now, as I have seen the goodness and holiness of God (as Isaiah experienced in his vision of God), I came to realize my great and pressing need to be washed clean of my wrong doings…and only God Himself could wash me. And so, through faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God, I have been forgiven of all my wrongdoings and my heart has been washed in His blood through faith…to declare before heaven, earth and under the earth that there is One name in all of existence that humanity can be saved…and thy name is Jesus Christ, who took my guilt, my shame and my wrong doings and took my punishment…and in return Jesus gave me His grace, His mercy and His righteousness. Jesus had the authority to lay down His life…no one took it from Him…and with that same authority, on the third day of being in the tomb…HE RAISED FROM THE DEAD…conquering death and assuring right standing before God for all who trust in Him alone.

 

  1. Do I really believe (as a Christian) that my God is not one, but three?

 

My response…there is only one God. God has three functions, which play three very distinct roles. Much like the sun plays three distinct roles: Heat, light and radiation. You do not need to wear sunglasses because of heat…we wear sunglasses because of the sun’s light. Much in the same way, we do not wear sun block due to the light of the sun, but the radiation. Yet all three things come from one sun.

 

In the same way, God has three distinct functions: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father resides in heaven. God the Son, Jesus, came to earth to drawn humanity back to God through taking the punishment for our sins. And eternal life is freely offered to all who call upon the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is who comes to reside inside our souls once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

 

God is perfect and the Qur’an speaks clearly on the authenticity of the Holy Bible. Qur’an 3:3-4 and Qur’an 10:94

 

As a Christian, I worship the One true God…who loves all people from all countries and desires that not one should have to suffer with Satan for rebellion against God.

 

Another example of this would be the one sharing tea with you. They are a child of their parents, a friend to you and an employee at their work place…but the individual is still only one person.

 

 

  1. Which apostle should we follow as Christians?

 

My response…none of them. I follow the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.

The apostle of Jesus by the name of John records in his book John (within the Holy Bible)…John 1:1…in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

 

 

This matters because even the apostles and closest followers of Jesus did not claim to be God, but always rightfully elevated Jesus as God.

 

Jesus Himself said that if you have seen Me then you have seen the Father in heaven (John 14:9). I do believe that the Holy Bible is the last and completed work of God…made complete by the actual coming of Himself in the flesh. And when Jesus hung upon the cross at Calvary, also known as Golgotha (both mean the “place of the skull”), He cried out “it is finished” (John 19:30). The anger of God for the rebellion of all humanity had been satisfied through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ. And now, all who choose to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior can also experience that same peace with joy…that’s same joy that bubbles from deep within the soul…and everlasting hope that the best is ALWAYs still to come as we will one day be together with Jesus in heaven. And the assurance of our forgiveness of sin because we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead (1 John 1:9-10).

 

 

  1. What does the Christian church believe about other churches that practice other creeds?

 

My personal conviction is that all of the prophesies of the Torah (also called the Pentateuch) as well as the Psalms and other prophesies within the Bible all pointed to the coming of One from the House and Line of King David who would redeem NOT ONLY the Jewish people, but ALL people.

 

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.”

 

Qur’an 3:3-4 says that God sent the Torah (Old Testament), the Injeel (the New Testament) and the Light (Jesus is called the “Light of God” in the Qur’an)…”and those who do not believe in them have gone astray.”

 

Qur’an 10:94 says that God told Muhammad, if you are in doubt, speak to the “People of the Book”…this was reference to only the Jews (in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible) and the Christians (referenced in the Nee Testament of the Holy Bible). Muslims were not called “people of the book until Mohammad’s death…when the Qur’an was compiled.

 

Therefore, since the Qur’an tells those who follow Islam to believe the Holy Bible (“The People of the Book”), it is assumed then that Muslims should listen to the law spoken of in the Holy Bible. The law was completed through Jesus Christ. So, the idea that Jesus did not “die” according to one phrase in the Qur’an does not make logical sense.

 

 

  1. How does one decide on which principles are right and worthy of following?

 

What a beautifully honest question! The Bible teaches that God desires that no one should suffer, but that while we were still rebelling against God, Jesus Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

 

The reality is, we could not do enough…of anything…to become right with God.

 

In Islam, you believe in sin…and agree that we have been stained by impure things. As a result, things must be said, thought and done to balance the scales and make the good weigh more. But, as a Christian, I realize…ONLY BE GOD’s GRACE do I realize this…that I cannot do enough, think enough or even say enough to gain right standing before the One and Only Righteous and Holy God–the Creator of All things. It is by admitting that I cannot make it on my own and accepting God’s FREE GIFT of rescue through Jesus Christ that I am CLEAN. Praise the Lord.

 

I believe that the desire for peace, joy, and eternity is placed within the hearts of all humanity as the Bible declares (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And because of this, we seek to find if there is something or someone greater than humanity. And if we are honest with ourselves…as we watch the sunset each night, hear the birds call to one another, feel the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze from our roof tops…something in us stirs…there must be someone who created this all…this simply cannot be by chance. There is too much order in the natural world for this to have all just “happened”.

 

And that is exactly what the Bible teaches. That even if we do not worship God through declaring that Jesus is the Messiah, the very rocks will.

 

“As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” Luke 19:37-40

 

Because God loves us, He made a way for us to find Him. He uses the created world to point out His goodness and creativity. He uses love to show us how much we are cherished by Him. He uses dreams and visions, to speak to the heart to assure those seeking that He desires to be found. And He confirms the longing in our hearts to be right and declared as clean before God by making a way for all this to be possible through the birth, death and raising from the dead of Jesus Christ the Savior for all who believe.

 

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May we see Christmas through the eyes of evangelism for the GOOD NEWS OF HOPE AND NEW BEGINNINGS THROUGH FAITH AND TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST THE LORD!

 

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

 

 

Halloween: Sweet Reflections

“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 (NLT)

 

Well, after a night that nearly left me praising the Lord to the point of tears, I must encourage each one reading what the Lord did on Halloween night!!!

As a background, in previous years, we have ignored the pagan holiday all together and wanted to have no part of it. Yet, this year the Lord moved on our hearts in a different way. Rather than seeing it as a night to dread or even leave home to avoid, the Lord Jesus allowed our spiritual eyes to be opened. As a result, for the first time we saw Halloween through the eyes of missions! We were going to be able to witness about the truths of Jesus Christ right from our own front door!!! The people of our city were literally coming to us!!! What would the Lord have us do with this incredibly unique opportunity? A very simple, yet profound exercise of sharing the love of God with those in our community.

The Lord had spurred my heart to ask our church for Gospel tracts (a tiny booklet which guides people to think about eternity and honestly assess where they are with God). At the end of the four points presented within this tiny booklet, there is a prayer each can pray to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (1 John 1:9, 1 John 4:9). The church was more than happy to supply the tracts. The Lord then brought to mind that this pagan tradition is surrounded by candies. Well, seeing as Jesus is the sweetest treat for the soul, it was only fitting to attach a tract to each piece of candy to be passed out Halloween night!

Our children helped us to tape a candy onto each tract and we prayed for the Lord to use these simple papers to further the reality that Jesus Christ came to rescue and redeem all people–regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation, social bias or sports team preference (Psalm 8:2, Matthew 11:25, John 3:16). And as Halloween night arrived, I was so excited!!!

 

” 21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26 (NASB)

 

Our front porch light was on and the candy bowls with tracts securely taped onto each piece were all in place. And then, the first sound of the door bell rang! My daughter ran to the door and opened it gladly. With candy in her hand, she listened as the face painted child shouted “trick or treat!” With a smile, our daughter placed a piece of candy with a the Gospel tract into the child’s bag. And as the child left, we declared with a smile, “Jesus Loves You”. It seemed to caught the girl off guard and she thanked us as she walked to the next house. What had just happened?! My heart was racing and tears began to well in my eyes. And all at once I heart these words in my heart, “you are taking back the night in My name.”

And with each group of children that would come to our door, some dressed as the living dead, others princesses, taxi drivers and ghosts, we would declare the same message as we dropped candy into each individual bag: JESUS LOVES YOU. It seemed to take the children off guard. One mother left our house saying, “God bless.” It was absolutely astonishing to me to see the visible posture of the children change–both preschoolers and those of junior high–once they heard it said that Jesus loves them–individually.

Sound simple? Well, it is…and that is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not how complex and sophisticated our approach or presentation is. No. Rather, it is about presenting the reality that the God who made all things, cared enough to step into this fallen world and see through each of our own masks and costumes to wash us clean through rescuing us from the punishment we each deserve–due to our disobedience to Him–and rather receive right standing with God Almighty through accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

 

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:17-18 (NASB)

 

The time is now Church…opportunities to speak of the LOVE of Jesus Christ are all around…let’s get to it.