Be Filled with the Spirit

Recently I heard someone describe some religious services he had attended. He told me of the bizarre and chaotic assemblies in those churches in which the churchgoers seemed almost out of control. Those caught up in this behavior would attribute their actions to being filled with the Holy Spirit. But are these outbursts the result of the Spirit’s influence, or are they an overexcited, emotional release on the part of these people?

Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus and said, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The contrast is made between being filled with the Spirit and being intoxicated. Both being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit will affect ones behavior. So how does being filled with the Spirit affect us? Does it result in spontaneous, uncontrollable action? Let us notice the context.
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The Reason for the Season

Nativity Scene

“Jesus is the reason for the season.” We often here this phrase around this time of year. The reason people use this phrase is to remind others of the religious significance of the season. The season implied here is the “Christmas” season. Many in the denominational world believe that Jesus Christ was born on December 25th. Some will admit we do not know for certain what day Jesus was born, but use that day to celebrate or commemorate his birth anyway. In either case, the plea is made for people to not get caught up in all the material things that surround the holiday, but instead to remember to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But what is the real reason for the season? We will notice a couple of reasons for the religious significance placed upon this time of year, specifically December 25th.
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Simply Priceless

[Article written by Matt Nevins. Originally published in his email newsletter “The Lamp.”]

Recently I attended a National Society of Collegiate Scholars meeting, and we were designing club T-shirts. We broke into groups to come up with a good design that everyone would like. One of the guys in my group came up with the idea to use a Mastercard theme T-shirt. The shirt would list different items that have a cost associated with that item and conclude with something that was priceless. This item is something that is “of inestimable value,” as Webster defines priceless. The theme is to show that we can purchase and attain different items with a medium of exchange, but there are items that we cannot put a price tag on. This idea got me thinking about different things that are priceless.
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What is the Bible?

[This article was written by Tim Haile.]

Though this fact is ignored by some and denied by others, the Bible is the word of God. Being such, it is Truth (John 17:17). Those who are honest cannot deny the indisputable evidence in favor of the Bible’s claim of divine authorship. The Bible is the only book known to mankind that was written by forty different men while having only one author: The Bible claims to be authored by God. Proof of this single authorship is seen in the fact that the Bible really contains only one purpose and plan, and is the development of one scheme of redemption. We are redeemed by the blood of Christ (Revelation 5:9), but the Lamb of God is also identified as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and the “Root of David” (Revelation 5:5). Thus, traces of the scheme of redemption can be found throughout the Bible. In fact, Revelation 13:8 identifies Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
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“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

Crucifixion

My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus uttered these words as He hung on the cross. But what do these words mean? Some believe Jesus asked this question because the Father had actually forsaken Him. They say the Father “turned His back” on Christ. This idea is so common, you might expect to see those actual words used in the text. They are not. The Bible does not say the Father turned His back on His Son. But was Jesus in fact “forsaken” by the Father? Or do these words have another meaning?
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What’s the Point?

[This article was written by Matt Nevins.]

Each day millions of people wake up in the morning, go through various activities through the day, and go back to sleep that night. Some have developed a schedule that is followed daily. Life becomes repetitive and people tend to get stuck in the rut of everyday life. The monotony that may occur will cause individuals to raise the question, “What is the point to life?” Mankind has a fundamental need of purpose and a sense of value in order to have a satisfying or meaningful life. Answering the question, “What is the point?” will provide the drive needed to establish a meaningful life.

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Every Good and Perfect Gift

Sunrise over the mountainsAs human beings, we have a tendency to compare ourselves with others. We want to be better or better off than those around us. If we do not believe that we are, we can become frustrated and unhappy. This is often true when it comes to our physical possessions. We want to have what the other guy has. We often compare ourselves to those who have as much or more than we do. But if we stop comparing ourselves with others and consider the blessings we have, we can easily see how blessed we are.

To keep things in their proper perspective, we need to remember the source of our blessings. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). God knows better than we do what is good for us. He has promised to provide us with our necessities if we follow His will (Matthew 6:25-34). But He has blessed us even above our necessities. He does so according to His will (James 4:15). We should not feel cheated if God blesses someone else more than He does us. Instead, we should be “giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God” (Ephesians 5:20).
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