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  • 9/11 - What to Remember - 20 Years Later

    Remember. Never forget. These are words and phrases we hear every September ever since the year 2001. Since I am an inquisitive guy, I often find myself asking the questions, “What am I to remember? Never forget what?” With today being the 20th anniversary of those horrific terrorist attacks that took place on American soil on September 11th, many of us remember back to that fateful day. Rightly so, I might add. So, what should we remember? Should we remember the multitude of lives lost, and the families that were forever affected by the wicked acts that took place that day? Yes. Should we remember the grief that we endured as a nation? Yes. Should we remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in an attempt to save others? Yes. Should we remember there are evil people in this world, who are intent on inflicting terror upon others? Yes. Should we remember how galvanized America was in patriotic unity during the days and weeks that followed? Yes. Should we remember to maintain a vigilant posture as we still live in a world that has the potential for future evil acts? Yes. Certainly, these are all good things for us to remember and not forget. However, often tied to these phrases of “remember” and “never forget”, is the word “hope”. Again, I must ask, “Hope in what? Where is this hope found?” Is our hope found in that a sinful humanity might turn over a new leaf and start living in peace with one another? Is our hope found in the strength of Americans, that we might have the steadfast resolve to endure because we live in this great nation? Is our hope found in that if we are vigilant enough, we can thwart future attacks? Where is our hope found? Some of these various “hopes” have the potential to bring a measure of comfort and encouragement as we continue to live in an extremely volatile world. But is there a more sure hope? How about an ultimate hope? To answer that question, please allow me to quote Josh Wester. Mr. Wester serves as the Chair of Research in Christian Ethics at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He speaks about this “hope”, and he articulates it much better than I could, so here’s what he wrote: On the evening of September 11, 2001, after evacuating earlier in the day, members of Congress came together on the East Front steps of the Capitol to sing “God Bless America”. There is a reason so many found comfort in a song about God’s favor and protection. And that reason is hope—the kind of hope that is found only in God. In his famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” the monk-turned-reformer, Martin Luther, spoke of the hope that stands against the forces of darkness in this world: “And though this world with devils filled, shall threaten to undo us. We will not fear for God hath willed, his truth to triumph through us.” September 11th was an awful day in the history of the United States. With unparalleled devastation, it revealed the ugliness of sin and the very worst of its effects. And despite whatever good may come from it, Americans today are still haunted by its memory. Yet, among those memories of fear and loss and pain, is also a reminder of hope. And Christians bear the burden of reminding the world that hope has a name: Jesus. For more about Jesus and how He is THE hope in the midst of certain suffering in a very uncertain world, please visit these previous blog posts at BringingTRUTH.com: 7 Truths to Remember When You're Suffering and Suffering and Sovereignty Thank you for spending some time at BringingTRUTH.com. I hope this website helps you "as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13

  • The Pride Test

    A lot of time separated from the rest of the world (at least seemingly), has produced in me an emphasis on personal introspection. Which can be a good thing, but taken to an extreme can also lead to negative consequences. The Bible does however instruct us to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5). Therefore, let’s take a moment to do that in a particular area that is a struggle for many, myself included. PRIDE Although, pride is a word used a lot in our culture today (often with a positive connotation), this post is speaking of what John Maxwell referred to as “bad pride”. He makes the differentiation thusly, “'Good pride' represents our dignity and self-respect. 'Bad pride' is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.” Here is a sampling of just some of what the Proverbs have to say about pride: · When pride comes, then comes dishonor; But with the humble there is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 · Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. Proverbs 16:18 · A person’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor. Proverbs 29:23 THE PRIDE TEST Are you ready for a beat down? I’ve compiled from various resources a list of areas of our lives where pride might be found. If you’re willing, take a moment for a personal, honest assessment of just how insidious pride is within the human heart. So if you’re ready, hold on, because here we go! (Each question can be answered with a simple TRUE or FALSE) Advice I don’t need anyone’s advice. I’m smart enough to have this all figured out without the need for counsel from anyone. Anger I am easily angered and offended. I don't like being crossed or disagreed with. I often feel wronged by others. Appearance I have to look just right. I am overly concerned with my appearance and how I am perceived in public. Approval I live for the approval of others. I want people to be impressed with me. Arguing I am always arguing with people. I challenge other people’s viewpoint all the time, because I think I’m right and I need to set them straight. Assistance I won’t ask for help. I insist on struggling through my issue or problem without the need of anyone else. And I will do this even to my own detriment. Attention/Affirmation I need people to pay attention to me and provide lots of affirmation. Not only do I not want to be ignored, I have to be the center of attention. I like people to see what I do and notice me. I feel hurt or offended when they don't. Authority I have a hard time submitting to authority. I find it hard to submit to my boss, my pastor, elders, law enforcement – really any sort of authority in my life. I’m my own authority when it comes to all things because I know what’s best for me. Boasting I like to make my accomplishments known. Competition I am overly competitive. I have to win or come out on top by any means necessary, and it really upsets me when I don't. Complaining I wish everyone would just do things the way I do them. If so, this world would be a much better place to live, because my way is almost always better. Conversation I talk about myself…a lot. I dominate conversations. I just wait for the other person to stop moving their lips, so I can jump in. What I have to say is more important and interesting than what they have to say. Therefore, I interrupt people all the time. Criticism (1) I tend to be critical of others. I find myself thinking or speaking negatively of people. I subtly feel better about myself when I point out how bad someone else is. Criticism (2) I can’t take constructive criticism. I won’t allow another to speak into my life. How could they possibly have anything to offer me? After all, I’m me! If they do say something, they better be extremely delicate, because otherwise I will take that as a sign of disrespect. Deception I am deceptive about who I am. I don’t ‘let people in’. I hide and keep the ‘true me’ from being known. I don't want people to know who I really am. Fear I fear man. I am consumed with what others think of me and whether or not they like me. I make decisions based upon this fear. I am always concerned with how people will react to what I say and do. Sometimes, it paralyzes me. Gratefulness I tend to grumble and complain about what I have, or don’t have. I think I should have more than what I do. Jealousy I can’t be happy for someone else’s success. I should have what they have. Knowledge I find it hard to say the words, ‘I don’t know.’ When someone asks me something I don't know, I will make something up rather than admit that I don't have the answer. Sufficiency I am self-sufficient. I don’t need anyone or anything else. I can do it all by myself. Self-consciousness I am overly self-conscious. I tend to replay in my mind how I did, what I said, how I am coming across to others, because I am very concerned about what other people think of me. Tasks I think certain tasks are beneath me. I shouldn’t have to do that. That’s someone else’s job. Value/Worth I feel deserving. If I get a good thing, that is how it should be because I deserve it. If something isn’t going my way, I am quick to utter the phrase, “I don’t deserve this!” Willingness to be Introspective I thank you for putting this together, because I need to send this to all my friends and family. They really need to read this! As for me, pride really isn’t an issue, because I have always been a very humble person. How’d you do? Feel free to comment below. I will comment graphically. This is me after running through The Pride Test: FINAL THOUGHTS Notice how each statement began with one very small word: “I”. That was intentional. It is love for self which is at the heart of the pride issue. Earlier, I provided some quotations solely from the Proverbs. Here are some other quotes to chew on: “Pride is the idolatry of the self. It is the nature of pride as competition with God – the displacing of God by the self at the center – that has led many Christian thinkers through the ages to regard pride as the mother sin and the essential element in all sin.” –Robert Rayburn “Self is the most treacherous enemy, and the most insinuating deceiver in the world. Of all other vices, it is both the hardest to find out, and the hardest to cure.” –Richard Baxter “Pride is a person having too high an opinion of himself. Pride is the first sin that ever entered into the universe, and the last sin that is rooted out. Pride is the worst sin. It is the most secret of all sins. There is no other matter in which the heart is more deceitful and unsearchable. Pride is God’s most stubborn enemy! There is no sin so much like the devil as pride. It is a secret and subtle sin, and appears in a great many shapes which are undetected and unsuspected.” –Jonathan Edwards JESUS DIED FOR PRIDE After all this, I personally find it utterly unbelievable that in the midst of all my pride and sinfulness, God said in eternity past, “I’m going to love Mike. He doesn’t deserve it, but I will shower upon Him my love, and adopt him into My family. Despite all his pride and arrogance, sin and selfishness, I will send My one and only Son to die for those things that are abundant within him.” God looks deep within me and yes, He finds things that are detestable to Him. Yet in His love, He bore the penalty that those sins deserve. I am now free to fight the good fight of faith and war against those things that are inconsistent with the humble heart of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • OBJECTION: "Unanswered Prayer Proves God Doesn't Exist"

    Right away there is a logical flaw to this objection. The flaw is known as a non-sequitur. That’s a fancy way to say that it doesn’t follow logically. Let’s grant the skeptic his claim that God doesn’t answer prayers. Even if that is true, we should ask the question, “How is it then that you conclude that He doesn’t exist?” It could be that God just ignores prayer requests. Or He could be an obstinate God who just wants to reject every request. How does it then follow that He doesn’t exist? In fact, He would have to exist in order to ignore or reject those prayer requests. So, the non-sequitur is that the conclusion “doesn’t follow” from the premise. During my days in Children’s Ministry, I would like to ask kids, “Does God answer every prayer?” Inevitably, the answer would always come back as no. To which I would respond, “Well, God answers every single one of my prayers.” To the looks of bewilderment before me, I would extend my hand and say, “Let me show you…Lord, my prayer is that You would put a $20 bill in my hand right now.” After my hand remained empty, I would say, “Well, once again, the Lord has answered my prayer. The answer this time was no.” As a class, we concluded that God could’ve answered my prayer – of course He could – He’s all-powerful. He could’ve made a $20 bill appear in my hand instantly. He chose not to. So, an acceptable answer to our prayer requests is simply an answer of no. In fact, He answers every prayer with a yes, no, or wait. Parenting 101 If you are a parent, do you give your child everything that they ask for? I hope not. That is a sure-fire way to create a spoiled child who will grow into a self-entitled adult. So, you tell your kids no to certain requests. Why? Because you know better than they do. And when you say no, there are times that they don’t like it, or they struggle to understand why. But hopefully, they are willing to trust you in the midst of their disappointment and confusion. Similarly, God has His reasons for sometimes saying no. We may not like it, and we may not always comprehend why, but we should be willing to acknowledge that He knows more than we do, and we can trust His infinite wisdom over our own finite and often flawed understanding. God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 What if God answered yes to every prayer request? For one, I don’t even think that’s possible. Inevitably, He would receive contradictory requests that couldn’t all be answered in the affirmative, logically speaking. Moreover, answering yes to every request would result in complete chaos – something that the movie Bruce Almighty highlights. See the clip here. However, the believer still may struggle with his/her prayers not being answered in the way he/she would like. This is actually something that the Bible does address. What can hinder our prayers? Unconfessed sin. Once again, let’s visit the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 59:1,2, the Lord said, Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your wrongdoings have caused a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Therefore, the call here is for us to repent so that our prayers won’t be hindered. Then, we can say with the Psalmist, If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear; but God has heard; He has given attention to the sound of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His favor from me. Psalm 66:18-20 Sometimes we simply don’t know why God answers our prayers in the way He does. The Apostle Paul certainly had to deal with this during his earthly life. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul said that he had been afflicted by what he called “a thorn in the flesh” and had prayed three times for God to deliver him from it. Many a theologian has speculated as to what the “thorn in the flesh” was, but in the final analysis, it’s irrelevant. (Personally, I think the Scriptures leave it ambiguous intentionally.) What’s important to remember about that text is what God says in regard to his denial of the request for deliverance, [The Lord] has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a. We see another case of unanswered prayer in Romans 1. In verse 13, the Apostle Paul said, “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.” Paul prayed that God would allow him to go to Rome, but up to that point God had said no. In Acts 28, we have a record of God answering Paul’s request. The Apostle Paul finally does arrive in Rome, but he gets there in chains as a prisoner. That leads me to my last point. Sometimes God answers our prayers with a yes, but that answered prayer doesn’t always come in the way we originally anticipated. A Personal Testimony Allow me to provide for you a real life personal example. Three weeks ago, my son Nathan, had a very serious brain surgery called a hemispherotomy. After the surgery he was unable to talk. As the days passed by, I prayed to the Lord for my son to begin speaking again. Day after day, the Lord answered my prayer and that answer was no. I have been praying and so have many other faithful friends and family. One such person was the grandmother of Nathan’s best friend, Tobin. She shared this with me: “The Lord kept pressing upon my heart that if Tobin would just be allowed to visit Nate, that would help him.” A few days ago, Nate had a new speech therapist. Her name was Margaret Tobin. I pointed that out to Nate and said, “Look! Her last name is Tobin.” When I said that, it looked like he wanted to say the name. The next thing I know, as clear as a bell, I heard him say, "Tobin!" That was the first word I heard from him in more than two weeks! Then the flood gates opened! He said: dad, mom, Anthony, macaroni and cheese, and on and on! It was a beautiful moment! It reminded me that there are times when the Lord does answer our prayers, but He does so in His timing, and sometimes in a very unexpected way.

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  • About BringingTRUTH | About me | BringingTRUTH.com

    ABOUT Bringing TRUTH. com Dedicated to the Declaration and Defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ Welcome! My name is Mike, thank you for visiting! ​ BringingTRUTH offers : ​ My Blog (Apologetics, Evangelism, Objections, Current Issues) Conversations (Evangelism Encounters) Lyric Videos Sermons Sermon Jams BringingTRUTH examines the big questions of life and seeks to provide truthful answers. Questions such as : How did we get here? What's the purpose of life? And what will happen to us when this life comes to an end? We all have thoughts on those questions, and I would love to hear yours! Contact me! For now, take a look around, and I hope what is offered here is helpful to you. Thanks again for stopping by! ​ Sincerely, ​ Mike TRUTH Fears No Question, Challenge, or Objection

  • Evangelism Encounters | Witnessing | BringingTRUTH.com

    CONVERSATIONS These aren't intended to be tutorials. I don't consider myself to be any sort of great evangelist. These evangelism encounters are posted simply as an attempt to provide an example and perhaps encouragement to those who are seeking to reach others with the gospel. WHAT ARE CONVERSATIONS?

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