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You Can Never Lose Your Integrity

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My former pastor in Florida, Esmond Hilton, had a saying that he used with his kids all of the time. And from time to time he mentioned it in the pulpit. “You can never lose your integrity, you can only give it away.” From the first moment I heard it I thought it was profound because it was so simple, yet so real. You can never lose your integrity, you can only give it away.
In the Bible, the very first thing that was mentioned about Job was that he was a man of integrity. Look at how it describes him: “That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). If a book of the Bible were to be written about you, what would be the first thing God would say about you?
Job was a man of integrity. By describing Job in this fashion, and the practices of his life, the Bible is telling us that Job’s relationship with his Creator was not only his first priority, it was the center of all of his other experiences. For Job, God was the center of his life and that relationship influenced and informed every other part of his life.
As it goes on, the Bible tells us that Job had four things in his life that defined him. Job had:
 

Should You Own One Of These? A Biblical Case for Private Weapon Ownership

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I'm going to attempt to present a biblical defense for weapon ownership. This article will not be an exhaustive look at the Bible and weapons. There are too many passages to address here. I would like to present a 30,000 foot view of the issue and try to draw a few conclusions.

This article does not present a legal or constitutional view on the right to gun ownership. If you want to pursue the historical or legal issues there are other outlets to do that. My concern is solely with what scripture seems to say or imply about weapons ownership, use, purpose, and consequences. And it is only from the scripture that I wish to make my arguments.

My approach is to ask the scripture what principles it provides about weapons. In any controversial topic there is always the temptation to search out scripture for support of your argument, rather than seeking what the text says and changing our views accordingly. As an example, when I first researched this subject in 1993 I was of the opinion that the scripture licensed killing an attacker who invades your home. But then, I discovered Mosaic Law that would seem to deny that idea. As I studied the passage I had to change my opinion to bring it in line with scripture. I’ll deal with this specific issue later. The purpose here is to note that though the scripture is ancient, it still contains relevant truth for modern issues—including the political right of bearing arms.

I’ll address the subject of weapons ownership in five areas:

Living Like Animals

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I recently read an article on LiveScience.com which purports evidence that homosexuality is a normal practice in the animal kingdom. Whenever such research is released it is invariably used to make the connection that since homosexuality occurs in the animal kingdom, therefore it should be considered equally normal in the kingdom of men. The Live Science article notes: “Homosexuality has been observed in more than 1,500 species.” It continues, “The argument that a homosexual way of living cannot be accepted because it’s against the ‘laws of nature’ can now be rejected scientifically.”
Is that really the case? It may be “natural” in the animal kingdom, but is it supposed to be “natural” for man? From what are we supposed to define what is natural and unnatural for human kind?
Researchers in the article imply that homosexuality is moral, or at least amoral. Taking their cues from the animal kingdom, these researchers have essentially said that since the animal kingdom behaves this way, therefore, it’s okay for man to behave that way as well.
That many in the animal kingdom engage in same-sex relations is not in dispute. However, to equate homosexuality as a moral, or natural behavior for people is another thing entirely. The researchers are essentially taking their behavioral clues from the animal kingdom, i.e., looking at models of behavior in lower life forms and extrapolating those behaviors upwards to man—and that is a problem.

The Limits of Love

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Love is one of the concepts often misunderstood where the Bible and the Christian life are concerned. Expressing love, it is thought, cannot include anger, invoke bad feelings, or result in emotional pain. Love, in the modern or perhaps postmodern sense must include all feelings of wellness, goodness, and general pleasantness. Even the Bible, it is pointed out, describes love in terms of positive emotional states that bring out positive feelings in others. Certainly love can be and do all of these things, but love is also much more—and much less.
The Bible’s most well-known passage on love is I Corinthians 13:1-3. Both scholar and student have remarked that there is not a single more eloquent written passage in religious literature about love than the Apostle Paul’s homily in I Corinthians 13. That may well be true, but there are many more things the Bible has to say about love. Let’s take a look at Paul’s description of love from I Corinthians 13, and what other Biblical writers had to say about this single most important characteristic of the Christian life.

What Drips From Your Lips?

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We all know them, those people whose speech is often laced with sarcasm. In many situations we find sarcasm humorous. Who hasn’t laughed at the comedian who effectively uses sarcasm to point out the absurd? Sarcasm is even found in the Bible as a tool used by biblical prophets to point out the absurdity of idol worship (II Kings 18:27; II Chronicles 18:12-15). But most of the time sarcasm used in daily speech is the sign of something lurking underneath, deep inside the person who uses it: bitterness.
Here are six truths about sarcasm that can help us know what lies deep within our own hearts.

I Know Your Destiny

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Have you every wondered about your destiny? Perhaps you’ve asked yourself these questions:
  • What is the purpose of my life?
  • Why do I exist?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Will my life ever amount to anything worthwhile or important?
Though we have never met, though I don’t know the specific details of your life, though I don’t know your trials or problems or challenges, I do know one thing: I know your destiny. I’m not a TV preacher. I won’t hock you some holy water sprinkled on a rock from calvary and a sliver of the cross. I won’t ask you for a gift to my ministry in exchange for ordering my 3-DVD box set on achieving your dreams. I want to share your destiny with you, for free. I can do this because the Bible has revealed your destiny, and my destiny, in very specific, detailed, and encouraging terms. So, let me share your destiny with you. And I promise you, if you are serious about wanting God’s will for your life. If you are serious about wanting God’s best for you, no matter what that may be, then you won’t be disappointed about your destiny. 
First, let me give you the answer you are looking for, straight up. Then I will tell you what this looks like in a practical way in your life. Here’s the answer you are looking for. It’s in Romans 8:29. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” That’s it. It’s very simple. Your destiny is to become just like Jesus Christ. God has designed you so that in concert with him you can think what God thinks, feel what God feels, and do what God does. Allow me to explain.

Missing From The Bible. Nine Things Jesus Never Said

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Here are nine things Jesus never said:

(1) I am God
(2) I created the universe
(3) I am higher than the government
(4) Worship me
(5) Pray to me
(6) Go to church
(7) Read the Bible
(8) Tithe
(9) Hate the sin, but love the sinner

If you're confronted with one or more of these "facts," be prepared to offer the defense that Jesus may have never said them, but they are fully true anyway.
 
 

Binding Satan Without A Rope

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Have you ever heard someone pray, "Satan, I bind you?" Or perhaps you may have uttered such a thing yourself? I've heard many people use phrases like this in their prayers, and while I don't want to belittle a person's heartfelt cry to God against evil, I can't help but dig into this phrase a little and ask the question, "Is this a biblical way to pray?" Can we really bind Satan or demons or is this a flaw in our theology?

To put it plainly, there is no passage of scripture which tells us that we can bind Satan or a demon from doing harm. Demons can be cast out of a person, but is this the same as binding? What does it mean to bind Satan?

When the various words in the Bible that are translated into bind, bound, or chained (252 instances) are used there is only one instance when it is used about the devil. It is found in Revelation 20:2, which says that an angel, "Seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years." This is a specific reference to a period following the Great Tribulation as the millennial reign of Christ begins. Satan is bound for a thousand years so that he may do no harm during the millennial reign of Christ. But his binding is only temporary. In fact, this language suggests that since Satan is bound at the end of the age, that he has not been previously bound.

What is interesting, however, is how the Bible uses the language of binding about who does the binding. Take a brief look at these examples:

Death Was God's Idea: Understanding The Differences Between Functional Good And Evil

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Why does a good God permit evil in the world that he created? I'd like to suggest that what we sometimes think of as morally evil is, in fact, not morally evil, but falls under a different definition of functionally evil. In fact, some of what we think of as morally good, may also be mistaken and actually fall under a definition of functionally good. 

Let’s define what we mean by Moral Evil, Functional Evil, Functional Good, and Moral Good.

 

You Don't Have To Be Useless

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During a home Bible study I attended recently, someone asked the question, "How do I know what God has given me to use for his kingdom?"

There were a lot of answers around the room about spiritual gifts, financial resources, etc. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that God has given us three areas of life with which we can serve him and take part in the Great Commission. All of us posses these three categories of usefulness, so, if you've wondered what you have in your life to serve God with, here is your answer.

God has given every Christian:
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