Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Thankful Thursday!

Take a gander over at Truth for the Journey to participate. As usual, there are so many things to be thankful for. There are so many blogs I love to read. So here's number 1...

I am so thankful for all the blogger friends here, and the wonderful blogs I get to read. Although there are many that I frequent, I want to mention two in particular. Sue over at In Between Time, and a recent one I just found, Sharon's Quiet Reflections. I love these blogs and read them regularly. Check them out -- I promise, you'll be refreshed and inspired.

Secondly, I am thankful for my microwave. When I start reading all those blogs, I usually end up with a cold cup of coffee. Sometimes more than once...and I don't like cold coffee.

Thirdly, I am so thankful that my hubby was able to go fishing this week. A transformation takes place when he fishes. It's almost spiritual. I love watching him fish because I think he's happiest when he's doing that, and he so much deserves to be happy. He's a good man.

Fourth, I'm so glad that my son is okay after losing a wheel off his car on the Halston Connector. It could have been so much worse. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to us!

Lastly, I'm thankful for an opportunity to be alone. I think best without interruption, and my life takes on a more spiritual tone. Less distraction I guess.

Well, that's it for today. I don't always participate, but it's fun when I do. It's important to be thankful on a daily basis. It's too easy to take things for granted otherwise. Have an attitude of gratitude!

Until next time,
Carmen

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where Did I Leave My Love?


                                                                                                                           Source: Principlesforlifeministries.com

Ephesus, the Loveless Church

Revelation 2:1-7


To begin, here's some history. Historic Ephesus was a thriving metropolis of eastern Asia which exported goods by ship and land. The city was located near the mouth of the Cayster River, approximately three miles from the coast. It was a business and cultural crossroads given the title of “Supreme Metropolis of Asia.” Its population was approximately 500,000 people.

Ephesus was also the center of idolatry. The temple of Diana (Artemis) was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. She was worshipped as the goddess of the moon, nature, life and fertility, and is depicted as having many breasts. The worship of Diana was religious immorality of the worst kind.

Paul established the church at Ephesus on his third missionary journey (Acts 19, 20). There were many miracles done there and many people converted to Christ. To indicate their new life, the Christians burned their pagan books. The silversmiths of the temple of Diana were stirred into an uproar because the city wide repentance affected their previously lucrative business. This prompted an eventual persecution of Christians.

In this passage of Scripture, Christ is revealed as the One Who holds the seven stars in His right hand. The right hand indicates that He has authority and control, and blesses the messengers of the local churches (stars). He provides for, protects and enables them for their ministry. However, it also suggests that they should be dependent on Him for all that is needed. In fact, He walks in their midst, thus He is in fellowship with them. This passage seems to say that Christ is in the midst of all churches, historically and today. Even those who have no commendation. I found that interesting and encouraging. He still waits for them to turn and repent.

God commends them for their hatred of the Nicolaitans. So, who were the Nicolaitans? Are they still here today? To find out, we need to break down the meaning of the name.

Niko=to conquer; Laitans = laity. That’s right-- to conquer the laity!!

There arose in the early church a group who tried to separate laymen and a clergy of “holy” men for the purpose of power and control. These clergy claimed to be Christians but lived immoral lives. They also believed that the body and spirit were separate and what you did to the body had no effect on the spirit. This doctrine destroys the biblical concept of the body of Christ with each person using his giftings to minister to others. So, are the Nicolaitans still here today? Well, I’ll leave that to you. My opinion is that power and control are certainly attractive to those who are in a position to practise it. Hopefully they’re wise enough to remain humble knowing that “the greatest of all is servant of all.” The church at Ephesus was a hard working church which discerned whether the leaders were true to God’s will or false teachers. They refused to allow apostasy and immorality amongst their people.

Even so, Jesus tells them, “Thou has left thy first love.” They had allowed God to slip as top priority. We can be so busy doing things for Christ that we have no time to fellowship with Him and love Him. Labour is not a substitute for love! They had not just lost fellowship with Christ, they had left it. God’s remedy is to repent, witness, love others and do the first works (think back and remember the way it used to be). Remember when you were first saved? Remember the wonder, the overwhelming sense of gratitude, the desire to know Him more? That’s what He’s talking about here.

God’s promise to them is that those who overcome will eat of the tree of life that was denied man at the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. Christ is also referred to in Scripture as the life. So this could refer to the actual tree of life, or it could be symbolic of dwelling with Him eternally. Either way, it’s good. To become an overcomer we must be faithful in our love for Him, and obey His commandments (John 14:15; Matth. 22:37-40).

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
But have not love,
I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy,
And understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
But have not love,
I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
And though I give my body to be burned,
But have not love,
It profits me nothing.

As an aside, historically many believe that this church represents the apostolic age in its moral and doctrinal purity (A.D. 30-100). This is the period of time when the apostles planted churches. These churches consisted of new believers just getting established on right doctrine and struggling against persecution from the Jews.


The Seven Churches of Revelation:
Introduction

Sweet Smelling Smyrna
Falling Away Into Laodicea
Pergamus: Compromised and Indulged

Sardis: The Living Dead
The Church of Thyatira
Philadelphia, the Faithful Church

Until next time, 

Carmen

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Introduction to the Seven Churches of Revelation


I recently wrote a post featuring one of the churches in Revelation which I entitled “Falling Away into Laodicea.” I thought it would be fun to do an excerpt on each of the churches mentioned in Revelation, but would like to do a brief overview first.

First, all these churches were actual historic churches based in Asia, or Turkey. This has been confirmed through archaeological discoveries.

Next, why are these particular churches mentioned when there were many other churches in existence at the time? The popular consensus is that these letters describe all church history between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks (Daniel 9). These seven churches, in the order they are listed, prophetically unfold all subsequent church history with incredible precision. They cover 1900 years of church history since the Book of Acts.

Not only do these churches seem to address a specific period of time in history, they also seem to address specific types or traits of any individual Christian. They are all addressed to “he who has an ear.” I suppose that includes most of us.

When studying the churches, it is interesting to note:

1) The meaning of the name of each church.
2) A description of Jesus Christ (which is relevant to the message of each church).
3) A commendation or approval to the church.
4) A criticism or ailment of the church.
5) A challenge and exhortation to the church.
6) An assurance to the “overcomer.”
7) The repeated phrase, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.”

Of further interest we find that: references to the Lord’s second coming are apparent in only the last four letters; Smyrna and Philadelphia have no criticism; and Sardis and Laodicea have no commendation.

With all that in mind, let’s get ready to look into the church of Ephesus, the loveless church.

The Seven Churches of Revelation:

Ephesus: Where Did I Leave My Love?
Sweet Smelling Smyrna 
Falling Away Into Laodicea
Pergamus: Compromised and Indulged
Sardis: The Living Dead
The Church of Thyatira
Philadelphia, the Faithful Church

Until next time,
Carmen

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Paradise Now!


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We humans love short cuts! We want what we cannot have and we want it now! We’re never content, we always want more, and we’re extremely self-centered. So it was only a matter of time before someone would come up with a shortcut for life. In this world of computers, is it any surprise that we can now have the life of our dreams? Our own paradise if you will?

The devil hasn’t really changed his strategy much in the many years we’ve been on this earth. He doesn’t have to. His strategy works really well..anything but God’s way. Through the media he tells us we must look this way, talk like this and do things a certain way in order to be accepted. It causes us to focus on ourselves. He keeps us focused on ourselves by feeding into our egos. Give the people what they want, and they will forget about God, they will forget about life in general, they will forget about each other.

It is, after all, the century of self.
and
The battlefield is... the mind.

The epitome of this is Second Life, a new virtual game. There are 2.5 million registered users to date. According to the site, Second life is a free online virtual world imagined and created by its residents, where you’ll discover a fast-growing digital world filled with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. It is a chance at a second life. Fifth Estate covered two women who became addicted to this game because it offered so much more than their real lives. I mean, who wants to do laundry, cook, clean and look after others day after day (tongue in cheek)? The one woman, married with four children, left her family to meet her virtual partner in England. The second woman of two is divorced. She believes her virtual lover is her soul mate, and is looking for him in real life.

The game offers new life in a virtual setting. In this virtual world you can look like you’ve always wanted to look; be anyone you want to be; have anything and do anything you want. You create an avatar of yourself and create your own paradise. There are no rules, no limits. It is a world that stimulates your mind. Though their basic plan is free, their premium plan can be accessed for as little as $6 a week. Then there’s land purchase and land maintenance, if you so desire (plus tax of course). The fantasy turns into a reality in your mind, holding you captive to it. Though you feel like you’re living in paradise, your very “real” bills are piling up from neglect, along with your housework, your marriage, and your life.

Oh, you mean there’s a cost?

There is actually a website dedicated to people who have a loved one who is addicted to gaming. It boasts 4000 members, and goes by the name Gamerwidow.com. When you check out this site, you realize that Second Life is just one game that is of concern. There are many others.

So why am I telling you this? God created humanity for fellowship. By nature, we seek it out on many levels; social organizations, sports, hobbies, politics, and even virtual games. But the greatest form of fellowship, and the one we all need, is a relationship with God which also holds the promise of eternal life. There is no shortcut to this kind of paradise.

I’ve always seen our lives on this earth as a type of schooling. This is the place we learn and grow to be all that God has created us to be. We become fools when we allow the devil to transport us into his virtual form of life, which is really merely darkness masquerading as paradise.


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John 1:4,5
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Until next time,