• BE SURE TO VISIT MY BLOG AND LEAVE A COMMENT, QUESTION, OR SUGGESTION. THANKS!
  • IF PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD GOD AS HE REALLY IS THEY'D FLOCK TO HIM IN DROVES...
  • JESUS CAME SO WE COULD KNOW WHAT GOD IS LIKE. IF YOU LIKE JESUS YOU'D LIKE GOD
  • THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ALL FALSE RELIGION IS THAT MAN CAN SAVE HIMSELF BY HIS OWN WORKS
  • AND GOD WILL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES ... THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH, NOR SORROW, NOR CRYING ...
  • NEITHER SHALL THERE BE ANY MORE PAIN,
  • FOR THE FORMER THINGS HAVE PASSED. REV 21:4
  • GOD SEES WHO AND WHAT YOU CAN BECOME IN 10,000 YEARS!
  • YOU ONLY LOVE GOD AS MUCH AS THE PERSON YOU LIKE THE LEAST
Browsing Author:

Virgil

Virgil Stanphill has been a Christian since giving his heart to the Lord in August of 1979. Since then he's had the privilege of preaching God's Word in 28 different churches (as a lay pastor) and teaching Bible classes in his local church. He believes the most important decision a person will ever make in life is what they decide about Jesus Christ. It's his desire to share Biblical truths worldwide with as many people as possible via the internet.

Cross

A Huge Drop in Status

Iraqi Army In the mid 1990′s I drove a taxicab in Lincoln, NE and had a very interesting passenger one day.  He was a former General in the Iraqi Army and he’d basically been in exile since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.  You could also say he was a very unhappy man.

Here was his dilemma …

He told me that while he was in Iraq he had the respect of everyone he came in contact with. Being an Army General carries a certain amount of status, perhaps even more than in the U.S.

His problem was no one knew about his importance, and even after learning he’d been a General, it got no more of a response here in the U.S. than if he’d said he owned a donut shop down the street. This was because his accomplishments from his former life meant nothing here.  Americans aren’t in awe of the Iraqi Army like the average Iraqi citizen is.

Your Wish, My Command

I mean think about the changes.

As a General you’d be accustomed to:

  • People standing at attention whenever you walked into a room
  • People obeying your every word
  • Fear and trembling from anyone you wanted to confront
  • Being automatically given priority seating everywhere you went
  • Other gifts and perks

Here in America?

No more respect than if you were a nobody – because in a sense – now you would be. No more importance than that of a stranger.

This man was depressed. He was having difficulty accepting his new found lack of status. He didn’t like being ordinary.

The Mind of Christ

Jesus and ChildrenContrast that with the servant attitude of Jesus.

Of all the depictions of Christ in Scripture you’d be hard pressed to find a more eloquent portrayal of Christ’s humility than a passage in the book of Phillipians, the second chapter (although Isa. 53 just came to mind). Here’s how it reads:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil 2:5-8

What a wonderful glimpse these verses give us into the heart and character of God!

The Condescension of Christ

Isn’t it an amazing contrast, when you put the attitude of the General and the attitude of Christ side by side?

Jesus, our Creator (see Eph 3:9) had an exact opposite take on His ‘exile’.

In heaven, Jesus enjoyed the adoration and willing obedience of angels. And He was the ultimate ‘Head of State’, towering over any General . In Revelation we’re told Jesus will soon return as “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” (Rev. 19:16). It doesn’t get more exalted than that.

Yet this same Jesus was made “a little lower than the angels” for you and me, that He might “taste death for everyone”. (Heb 2:9)

And how did Jesus view His lowered status while here on earth?

  • He never sought the highest place
  • He never used force or compulsion
  • He had compassion for all
  • He was a servant to all
  • He died for all

Cross And the above doesn’t even scratch the surface. Words cannot express the amazing love of a God who “came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him”. John 1:11 He was “despised and rejected of men”, yet He “opened not His mouth”. Isa 53:3,7

And when we nailed the Son of God, (and the Son of man) to a cross, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Luke 23:34

I only have one question …

Can You Love a God Like That?

 

As always, your thoughts and ideas are welcome in the comments section.facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Sowing_seed

How To Witness – 3 Things NOT To Do

 

#1. When witnessing don’t lie!

PinocchioLie?  That’s self-evident … why suggest not lying?

Because lying takes so many forms, some so subtle you can engage in them and never even know you’re doing it.

  • We lie when we care more about what our friends will think because we’ve given a Bible study, or brought someone new into the church, than we care about the person we’re ‘witnessing’ to.
  • We lie when we answer a question we don’t really know the answer to, either because we’re afraid our new friend will think less of us, or we don’t want to admit we don’t know.
  • We lie when we pretend to be perfect, or try to project an image of who we think we should be rather than who we really are. Who are we? We’re sinners saved by grace. That’s it. The good news is about Jesus – not us.

Can you think of other ways a Christian can lie when witnessing? If so, share your comment below!

 

#2. When witnessing don’t try to do too much.

  • When witnessing don’t try to do the Holy Spirits job. Our job is to lift up Christ.  That’s it.
  •  Jesus promised, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” ~ John 12:32 Realize all we can do is exalt Christ – and what an awesome privilege that is!
  • It’s easy to avoid witnessing when we’re afraid we’re not going to have the ‘perfect’ answer for everything. Being perfect’s not our job. Sharing our faith is.

 

#3. When witnessing don’t think negatively.

How? By:

  • Believing there’s no point in witnessing because no one will be interested or respond anyway. How people respond isn’t our job either. The Bible says,
  • Sowing_seed“In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike shall be good.” Eccl. 11:6  This is saying -
  • We won’t necessarily know how well our efforts have worked. The Scriptures say sow anyway.  Witness in the morning, and regardless of how it was received or how things appear, don’t hold back from witnessing in the evening.

There. Those are a few of my thoughts on the topic. Any you care to add?

Help your fellow believer and share any other ideas that have worked for you in the Comment Section below.

 

God bless you and keep coming back!

Pinocchio image courtesy of Polyvorefacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Girl Thinking

Romans 7:14-25 Shows Clearly Why It’s So Hard to Change

 

 Ever Asked God For Help – And STILL Kept Falling?

 

The introduction below will help you understand the problem when you keep asking God for help – but still aren’t able to change!

 

Intro:

 

BattlefieldofWillFNL

 

Rom 7:14 – “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold as a slave to sin.”

With these words Paul introduces his thoughts about a portion of scripture which has created a stimulating, ongoing debate, namely …

What is “the law of sin” Paul says is “in our members”?

Is the man described as struggling with a “law of sin” a Christian?

If so, does it describe someone who is converted or unconverted ?

What’s he talking about?

These questions and more are answered in my book, The Battlefield of the Will – Why We Keep Doing What We Don’t Want To Do .

It’s a verse by verse breakdown of this intriguing passage of scripture which, correctly understood, offers tremendous hope to the Christian who feels the weight of their never-ending battle with sin. It also helps them to understand why they keep doing things they don’t want to do!

See why Christians aren’t a whole lot different than non-believers, and, why they’re destined to react with the same passions (as non-believers) when they’re not being spirit led.

Jesus said, “… the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

Start your journey now.

 

Get The Battlefield of the Will!

 

The following post is a brief preview of the book, beginning with the Table of Contents:

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction: Christians, Ping Pong Balls, Character, and the Will ………

Prelude to Chapter 1: Who Was Paul? …………………………………….

Chapter 1: The Law of Sin and Death ………………………………………

Chapter 2: In Adam or in Christ? …………………………………………..

Chapter 3: Was Paul Making Excuses? ……………………………………

Chapter 4: Leopard Spots and Ethiopian Skin ………………………….

Chapter 5: The Flesh and Indwelling Sin …………………………………

Chapter 6: Carnal Christians? ……………………………………………….

Chapter 7: The Science of Salvation ………………………………………..

Chapter 8: Spiritual Laws and What They Do …………………………..

Chapter 9: The Battle of a Lifetime …………………………………………

Chapter 10: Christianity 101 ………………………………………………….

Chapter 11: How God Treats Sinners ………………………………………

Additional Resources …………………………………………………………..

 

The following excerpt is from the introduction

 

Christians, Ping Pong Balls, Character & The Will

Battlefield of the WillTo introduce our topic I’d like for you to imagine you’re out in your back yard on a warm summer day, relaxing in your swimming pool … just floating along daydreaming … when all of a sudden you notice that all around you are these little white things, bobbing up and down in the water.

Hmmm …

Not sure what to think you take a closer look to see what they are … and that’s when you make an unexpected discovery – the little white things bobbing up and down in the water are PING PONG BALLS!

Taking a closer look you notice that one of them has a big, black label on it. Curious, you reach over to pick it up, so you can read the label and see what it says. There in large print, in big black letters, you see the word “ENVY”.

Startled, you quickly put it back in the water and reach over to pick up another one. This one has a label too – it reads “SELFISHNESS”.

What could this mean?  You look left, then right, and begin to feel a little uneasy.  Although you can’t quite put your finger on it, you instinctively feel this has something to do with you. You quietly put the ball labeled “selfishness” back into the water,  hoping no one is around to see what you’re doing.

You’ve had enough drama, so you decide to gather up all the ping pong balls so you can get rid of them – and that’s when you notice – every single ping pong ball has a label on it.

Here’s one that says “JEALOUSY”, here’s another one which reads “ANGER”.   This one says “APPETITE”, the one over here “LUSTFUL THOUGHTS”, then “LAZINESS”, “PRESUMPTION”, “PRIDE” …. and on it goes, until -

 

Character Defects

That’s when you suddenly realize – the label on each ping pong ball represents one of your character defects! Anger, envy, appetite, selfishness and pride are just a few of the areas the Holy Spirit has recently been showing you are still in your life.

But … you’re a Christian … and you want to live for the LORD … so you don’t want all of these character defects. You don’t want a life of envy, or pride, or selfishness, or being controlled by appetite … so you decide you’re going to work on your character defects one at a time until you can get rid of them.

You start with the ping pong ball labeled ENVY and you push it under the water so no one can see it. Next, you decide to work on SELFISHNESS and you hold it under water. Next it’s APPETITE, then JEALOUSY, then LUST, until, just when it’s starting to look as though you’re getting everything under controlone pops up over here, and another one pops up over there.

And every time you reach over to get a hold of one so you can hold it under water – ANOTHER one pops up. Before long you discover that no matter how hard you try, and no matter how sincere you are … NOTHING YOU CAN DO … is going to keep all those ping pong balls under water. No matter what you try it’s an IMPOSSIBILITY.

Because they’re too quick, they’re too slippery … and they’re RELENTLESS.

They NEVER STOP trying to rise up out of the water. You may hold them under the surface for a little while, but sooner or later, as soon as you quit paying attention, or as soon as you get tired, or relax your grip … there they are again, bobbing up and down  in plain sight, where they can be seen again by one and all.   Order Here

 

Can you relate?

 

Girl Thinking “For the good that I will to do – I do not do. But the evil, I will NOT to do, that I practice.”  Rom 7:19 Have you ever felt that way?

Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you tried, no matter how hard you worked, and no matter how sincere you were, that,  just like those ping pong balls – your character defects keep popping back up all over again?

As soon as you grew tired, quit paying attention, or ‘relaxed your grip’?

Have you ever felt your character defects were RELENTLESS?

Have you ever made a promise to God, only to find you were too weak to carry it out?

And that your promises to God were no stronger than “ropes of sand”?

What is it that keeps you, and keeps me, from getting rid of our character defects – once and for all? What prevents us from becoming “super Christians”?

[NOTE: The term “super Christian” is one I got from a friend at church who was dying of cancer.  He’d been fighting his cancer for about a year and a half and he knew he was losing the battle and only had a short time to live.

One day he was reflecting on his failed attempts to conquer specific areas in his life which he felt were his character defects, and he was very discouraged. He said to me, “Virgil with what I’m facing (he knew his death was near) I don’t understand why I still have the problems I’ve got. It seems like I’d be a “super Christian” by now – but I’m not. I’m still the same person, with the same problems I’ve always had. I don’t get it”.

If only my friend  had understood what you’re about to discover in this book!]

 

The Bible has answers!

We’re going to answer that question – ‘what prevents us from being “super Christians” – by looking at a law which Paul talks about in Romans, the 7th chapter.

It’s what he refers to as “the law of sin”, which he says is “in our members”.  He also refers to it in chapter 8:2 as the “law of sin and death”.  (By the way, he also talks about the remedy, the “law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus”.  But that’s the topic of my next book , part 2 in the series).

But back to the subject at hand – do you ever get discouraged and feel like giving up? Do you ever wonder why it’s so difficult to be true to your beliefs? The Bible has answers! Are you ready to hear a Biblical explanation of why it’s such a struggle to live the Christian life?

Do you need relief from guilt?

Are you ready for some good news?

I believe you are! And if you’ve read this far I don’t think you’re here by accident. I believe you’re here by divine appointment.

So let’s get started, shall we?

We’ll begin in chapter 1 by looking at “the Law of Sin and Death” Paul identifies in Romans 7  … but first I’d like to begin with a discussion about Paul himself.

 

Prelude to Chapter 1: Who Was Paul?

 

I decided before getting into Paul’s excellent portrayal of the battle the Christian faces each day, that it would be a good idea to start with a discussion about Paul himself.

Why?

Pharisee

Because invariably when the subject of the man in Romans 7:14-24 comes up (which Paul writes in the first person) someone will always say,

“Yes, but that was Paul before he was converted”.

Why?

Because it’s hard for them to imagine a giant of the faith like Paul experiencing the same battle(s) mere mortals such as you and I face every day.

And while I can certainly understand the sentiment – because Paul was a giant – I contend that he was …

 

===================================================

Download ebook on Kindle

 

Read the rest in my book!

Comments?

What are your thoughts about the man in Romans 7:14-25 and your own Christian walk? Share them with us below …

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Open Bible

Bible Test:

3 great questions about your life are …

1. Where did you come from?
2. Why are you here?, and,
3. Where are you going?

Can you give a Bible text for each? (mine are in the comments below)

Is there a purpose in life? What’s yours?

The Bible has the answers.  Have you found the answers in scripture for your life’s purpose? If so:

In the Comment Section below put 1 or more texts to answer the questions above … or … Share any Bible text(s) you feel define your purpose (similar to question #2 above)facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Road to Emmaus

The Sad Walk Home

One of my favorite stories about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the story of what happened on the road to Emmaus after Jesus was resurrected.  The Bible tells us of two followers of Jesus, one by the name of Cleopas, the other unnamed, who were on their way home from Jerusalem. Their home was in Emmaus, a village about 7 miles from Jerusalem.

While on the way they were discussing the events of the Passover, a feast day that pointed to the Lord’s sacrifice until it would be fulfilled. Not understanding the significance of the Passover, their hopes had been dashed when Jesus was crucified, and they were sad over His death.  So it was with heavy steps that they walked home.

A Stranger Appears

Suddenly they are joined by a man (Jesus Himself) who they don’t immediately recognize (the Bible says “their eyes were restrained so that they did not know Him” Luke 24:16). Their surprise guest asks them what their conversation is about, and why they are so sad.

The Road to Emmaus

“Are you the only one who hasn’t heard?”

Incredulous, they ask Him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” (verse 18).  The stranger asked them in return, “What things?”, and they answered, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this today is the third day since these things happened”. (vs. 18-21)

A Bible Study I Would Have Loved to Have Heard!

Upon hearing these things the “stranger” said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”

What a strange thing to say … or is it?  Why would Jesus answer them the way He did? After all, when you look close at His answer it seems almost like He’s rebuking them, or at the very least implying the meaning for the things that took place should be common knowledge.

Why did Jesus respond this way?

Moses And All The Prophets …

The next thing Jesus said to them gives us some clues …

“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (verse 27)

What’s the lesson here?

King of Kings - Jesus!

He could have easily dazzled them!

Just think of what Jesus is doing! He could have dazzled them with an outward display of His glory, and they would have fallen to the ground and believed. He could have worked a miracle to prove to them He’d risen from the dead. There are a number of ways Jesus could have revealed Himself with outward show – but He didn’t!

Instead, Jesus wanted their evidence of who He was to be based on the accuracy and authority of the Word of God. What Jesus was telling them – what He is telling us, is to base our evidence for what we believe on the Word of God – even more than our 5 senses. Listen to how Peter says the exact same thing in 2Pet 1:16-20:

“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For we received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”  (vs. 16, 17)

BibleAnd we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (vs. 18)

And so we have the prophetic Word confirmed [I like the way the King James version puts it - we have a "more sure Word" of prophecy] , which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of men, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (vs. 19-21)

Peter Agrees

Note some key thoughts from the passage above:

  • we were eyewitnesses of His majesty
  • we heard this voice which came from heaven
  • we have a more sure Word of prophecy
  • you do well to take heed (to the prophecy)

Why?

  • prophecy never came by the will of man
  • holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit

Wow! Did you catch all that?

Open Bible

Holy men of God spoke

What Peter is saying is to trust the Word of God over your sight and your hearing. That is, judge the authenticity of what you’re seeing by whether or not it agrees with Scripture! The passage begins with Peter saying they’re not following cunningly devised fables – they were eyewitnesses of Christ and the life He lived. They saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. They heard the voice ‘which came from heaven’ proclaim “this is My beloved Son”.

BUT, he says, we have a more sure word of prophecy.

There! Do you see it?

The point is anyone can dazzle. The Scripture says, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light”.  2 Cor 11:14  Remember when he tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness after He’d fasted 40 days as He began His public ministry? He transformed himself to appear as ‘an angel of light’ hoping to deceive Christ.

How did Christ defeat him?

Each time by saying “it is written” and quoting a Scripture text!

Our Only Safety

That’s the bottom line. The only safety we have is to have a knowledge of the Scriptures!

Today I truly believe we’re living in the last days of earth’s history. Jesus is coming soon as He promised He would. In the 24th chapter of Matthew when the disciples asked Jesus to tell them what signs to watch for while they waited His very first words were:

“Take heed that no one deceives you.” Mt 24:4

Jesus then went on to say that many will come in His name and deceive many. (vs.5)

Girl PrayingCONCLUSION: My hope and prayer for everyone who reads this post is that they will spend time in God’s Word each day, and become knowledgeable of prophecy. The men on the road to Emmasus – plus the disciples and all Jerusalem – were not prepared for the Scriptures to be fulfilled, because they didn’t understand the prophecies.

But – once Jesus opened their eyes to the meaning of the old testament prophecies and how they applied to Him, including the events of the crucifixion … the Bible says they marveled – “Did not out hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

The same Holy Spirit who burned within their hearts will burn in ours too, when we seek to know and understand the prophecies in order to do His will.

 Be sure to leave a comment below. I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the way Jesus chose to reveal Himself and the example it gives us.

 

 

 

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