Category: Testimonials

How to Resist Satan’s Temptations (Part 1)

How to Resist Satan’s Temptations (Part 1)

One of the many challenges Christians face today is resisting temptations. Some say it’s easier said than done. Thus, many are still struggling to overcome the temptations that come their way.

In this post, I would like to share some guidelines on how to resist Satan’s temptations from a young adult’s perspective.

Salute to the Graduates!

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the graduating Class of 2022. You have persevered and made the most of yet another challenging school year in the pandemic-stricken world we live in.

Let us then get ready to transition to the dreaded process of choosing a college that fits our future goals.

It is worth noting that parents and educators teach their young adult children to acquire consumer and business-related skills. Why? So it will serve them in the realm of job searching and money-making.

But parents should also want their children to volunteer in Christian youth ministries. This includes service projects in community organizations that help the poor, underserved, and disadvantaged.

Yet, as beautiful as these objectives are, far too many Christian parents fail. This is because they fail to equip their children with the essential spiritual and practical principles against Satan’s attacks.

Many children do not stand a chance against Satan if they are not aware of the weapon he uses to lure them – temptation.

No temptation will overcome you

Reflecting On My Junior High

Over the past three years, many juniors and seniors (now high school graduates) told me that the hardest point in their high school career was surviving 11th grade. Sometimes, I would find myself asking, “Why not 12th grade? This is where you start writing college-level papers that exceed five pages.”

Surely, there was the SAT, thinking about college, and working on my daily living skills as a blind student. This is on top of being off sick and scrambling through a four-paper research paper I had to make up.

However, I would argue that one of the main challenges every teen had to overcome in their third year of high school was the temptation to ignore temptation.

School Campus Evangelism

As I passionately carried out my duties as Vice President of one of few student-led clubs for people of faith, I had to grapple with the daunting task of preaching against sin and Satan. Not to mention that I do this in a climate where bad behavior was excused as a “mental health” issue. While in reality, most of the time was a sin issue or covid fatigue.

On large and diverse campuses, teenagers do not only possess different faiths. But they are also enticed to do daring online challenges with an immoral foundation. We have ditched the traditional methods of discipline and replaced them with empty threats and grade-school-style consequences.

Half of my class is stuck in detention while many seniors resort to foolish pranks. They do this out of desperation for immediate gratification and attention. Amidst all these, the last thing they want is someone telling them about sin and a dark realm that cannot be ignored.

Purpose and End-Goal

Since I graduated from middle school, I have continually remained committed to my calling. And that is to encourage fellow brothers and sisters to shine the light of Jesus Christ in their daily lives. Also, to educate others and give insight into the battle that is raging in the physical and spiritual realm.

Before entering a college campus, every young Christian must acquire a solid, biblical understanding of who Satan is. Young believers who understand the inevitability of temptation are less likely to abandon their faith.

In this presentation, I will establish some key biblical principles for young adults. My objective is to help them recognize, resist, and conquer sinful urges. These guidelines will equip them to actively engage in the fight against Satan with courage and confidence.

Youth Campus for Christ

What Is Temptation?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines temptation as one that is characterized by “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.”

From a Biblical perspective, a temptation is simply any event, object, or pattern that is designed to lure one to sin (or disobey God). It is used by Satan to distract one from spiritual growth – “Taking the easy route.”

The most common example we see is Jesus and His three temptations.

Where Temptation Comes From

Temptation does not originate from God. God, being perfectly holy by nature, cannot tempt man to sin. Yet, many accuse Him of doing so when going through painful experiences that came as a consequence of their idiocy.

Also, temptation has a horizontal and vertical source.

Physical sources include people, places, events, and trends. Even environmental conditions can be an accomplice to certain temptations.

For example, a man who struggles with drunkenness may be tempted to get drunk on Friday nights. Why? This is a result of him attending nightclubs with his girlfriend, who encourages him to consume alcohol excessively.

On the spiritual side, the main source of temptation is Satan, also referred to as “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3).

Firefighters Building on Fire
Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Firefighting

Fighting A Fire: An Analogy

You may remember back in school when you had to regularly do practice fire drills throughout the year.

Whenever the fire alarm goes off, it should be taken very seriously. No one is allowed to take anything with them and must evacuate using the school’s emergency escape plan. The purpose of a fire drill is to practice the necessary procedures in the event your house is caught on fire.

This is the same way with temptation. The trick with spiritual warfare is that you need to run and resist. You need to get out of a burning building and extinguish the fire without getting burned or fanning the flames.

Although some fires can be put out with foam or a fire extinguisher, larger fires must be left to the fire department. They have the equipment needed to douse the flames while protecting themselves from debris.

You see, fighting Satan is like fighting a five-alarm fire. Fighting in your own human strength is like using foam to douse the flames. Let God assist you as you resist temptation. We cannot defeat Satan on our own. Satan is a very powerful and clever spirit. He studies our weaknesses and sets various traps. You will easily fall into these traps if you are not anchored on Christ.

And remember, never return to a burning building. In other words, don’t willfully put yourself in a situation where you know that you will reach the danger zone. Satan will have you turning 2°, taking baby steps, toying with sin. He does this until eventually, you are sidetracked and make a full 180-degree turn back to sin.

This is why many will backslide. You must resist, and don’t turn back! 

Learning from Adam and Eve

In Genesis 3:1-19, we see three C’s that characterize Satan.

Cunning

Satan will appear to us as an angel of light. In other words, he disguises himself as a saint. See also 2 Corinthians 11:14.

Crafty

Temptation is never original or “obvious” as humanity perceives. It would be easy for us to detect a lie if we were convinced that the sky is green.

The key for Satan to successfully entice us to sin is deception. He makes sin look and sound so good and beautiful to the point that we become blind. Thus, we fail to see the ugly consequences and reality of sin.

A common example we saw this school year is the temptation to seek approval by doing what we know as morally wrong. And then we post it on TikTok for everyone else to see. Temptation entices us to please men, ultimately searing our conscience with the spirit of cowardice and moral laziness.

Cruel

Masqueraded in cunningness and craftiness is the attitude of cruelty. Satan will never play nice, especially when we accept Christ and go through the lifelong process of transformation. If he can’t bring us back to our former sin-stricken lifestyle, he will bring back memories of our dark past.

That, in itself, is another form of temptation. But we do not recognize it until we find ourselves falling back to the old sinful habit.

Temptations Come From Satan, the Devil

Some Short Things to Note

God specifically told our first parents not to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They could eat from every other tree. However, there was this one specific tree they were banned from eating and touching.

What did Satan do? He questioned God and the first parents by convincing them that they can’t eat from any tree. Satan twisted God’s instructions written in Genesis 2:16-17.

The serpent (devil) lied to them. He convinced them that they would receive a special revelation and know good from evil. Furthermore, he said that they would become like God. Needless to say, this is what Satan originally wanted in his rebellion (Isaiah 14:14).

The first parents disobeyed God, followed Satan, and ate of that tree. As a result, they both perished, and the world was cursed with the punishment of their sin.

 

To be continued in the next post …

 


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Recommended Resource: Defeating the Enemy by Phil Hopper

Defeating the Enemy by Phil HopperGet the Upper Hand on the Enemy of Your Soul

Everything God wants to give you, Satan seeks to steal. Why live in captivity when Jesus came to give you an abundant life?

As a former SWAT cop, Pastor Phil Hopper offers a unique perspective on how to overcome the enemy of your soul. By knowing your enemy’s strategy, you will be equipped to live victoriously and not fall into Satan’s captivity.

This book provides a fresh, unique, and highly relatable look at the adversary’s tactics so you can always be one step ahead of the devil.

Learn how to live a life of freedom as we uncover the tactics, deceptions, and strategies of the enemy

Becoming a Child of the Light

Becoming a Child of the Light

Hello everyone! Today, I am pleased to share some things about myself, as well as my journey to becoming a child of the light.

Writing, singing, current affairs, and creativity have been integral parts of my development as a Christian, even before I contributed to this blog. 

My Early Life

My name is Maia Armstrong, and I am an 11th grader who is attending a public high school in Illinois.

I was born in February 2005 (February 11 to be exact!). Yeah, I just turned 22. Most of my family is from either England or the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. But I am mainly from America, although my mother taught me how to speak with a British accent as I grew older.

Let me tell you, the culture is sublime. From the music to the spicy food, the Caribbean is a lifelong party!

The Caribbeans

At 18 months old, I was diagnosed with a heart disease known as Tetralogy of Fallot and had to go through an eight-hour surgery. I do not remember many details except for the sounds of some of the machines, and all of the painful injections I have been through.

As I began to enter my preschool years, I began to have trouble with my vision. The pain was so agonizing, that I felt like I was going crazy.

The World of Blindness

I was diagnosed with glaucoma in kindergarten. After numerous failed surgeries and tests to alleviate the pressure in my eyes, I officially had both eyes removed, and became completely blind. I have had a prosthetic eye for nearly eleven years, since 2011.

Trials, Tests, and … Tantrums?

Sometimes, I sit back and reflect on my journey as a blind girl. If there was one word to describe this experience: it was chaos. One thing I remember so vividly is the agony of tantrums.

They were not the average tantrums that kids throw to get their attention. It’s the type of tantrums that spoke of the pain and trauma in my soul that has been present until my freshman year.

I just wanted a remedy for this confusion. Even if it meant throwing meltdowns over missing Wheel of Fortune. Even in church, when many were screaming and clapping their hands. I couldn’t survive a single service without a meltdown. I could barely go a year without having meltdowns in bed or spending time in my room on punishment.

Coming to the Light: Church

Here I was: An eight-year-old third-grader in special education to adjust to blind life. It was my first time going to a local church with my parents. I heard of the name Jesus but did not know why it was such a popular name.

Was it just an expression, or a character from a franchise? Was eternity another folktale like Santa Claus? What is sin, and Satan, and that precious Cross?

I attended Sunday school with little kids for four years and was given books that contained excerpts from the Bible that were easy to understand, all translated into braille.

Coming to the Light: 9/11

If there is one event that rocked my faith, it had to be the events of 9/11.

It was a Friday morning. September 9, 2016. I was in 6th grade. This was my very first time in a history class. That day, we spent two periods of the day remembering the 9/11 victims. I have never heard of that fateful tragedy before.

But, when I got out of class that morning after hearing that dreadful lecture, I could barely move from my desk. I was in complete shock. It was a huge struggle to comprehend the horrors of September 11.

World Trade Center and Pentagon September 9, 2011 Terrorist Attack
Photo Credits: LA Times

9/11 Aftermath

For three years, I would resort to going to bed at exactly eleven minutes after 9 PM (9:11) as a nighty challenge. It was a remedy. I would spend hours watching countless documentaries and films just to comprehend that terrible day.

It was slowly taking a huge toll on me: emotionally, physically, and mentally. Sometimes, when I would have a conversation, almost every other word related to that day. All I could hear in my head was “9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11!”

It got SO bad that I would emotionally shut down in the middle of nowhere. It was a deep sense of sadness and confusion. The temptation to listen to the footage was so unbearable, that I just couldn’t shy away from it.

It was my last year of middle school, my last week of Winter Break. I would later hear these words: “You can only remember 9/11 on the date of the anniversary, and your ‘nightly test’ is banned!”

My parents banned my nightly challenge because it has taken such a detrimental toll on me. When I heard of the ban, I was in utter disbelief.

Then, as I struggle to battle my obsession, I would hear a screeching voice in the middle of the night, in my dream. “This is the end of your faith! I know that you have a deep passion for 9/11 and this world, but it is now gone forever! It’s over!”

I would hear that for four weeks straight! After weeks spent crying in the middle of the night, mom knew that I had a stronghold that I have been battling over, so she would pray for me, and encourage me to keep fighting.

Coming to The Light:
The Revelation and the Beginning of My Patriotism

It was the summer of 2019, in Lower Manhattan. My prayers have finally been answered. I stood at the reflective pools of the 9/11 Memorial: in hope, and prayer: for me, for my nation, and for this world.

It was the rebirth of my patriotism: through the fires of obsession, tribulations, and confusion. It is the revelation of sin’s darkest secrets. It was the revelation of me, a child of God, standing in the realm of Satan. We were never in the United States. And that is how God began to use my passion for America and Christ to develop my faith.

God vs Satan and Leadership

I was a freshman in high school when the coronavirus pandemic started.

On March 13, 2020, my school went into quarantine until further notice. For me, Covid has been an opportunity to set aside my perfectionism in terms of grades and grow in my faith.

It was during the George Floyd riots that God inspired me to lead a virtual movement to spread His love and light during these dark chapters. Formerly known as the virtual God vs Satan movement, this was a season where I teamed up with members of my Christian club to spread God’s word. We also shared words of exhortation to those in and outside of District 219. Although the virtual “movement” recently ended, it has not actually “ended.”

For me, God vs Satan has proven to be a gateway to discovering my talents, and the ways I utilize them to serve God’s kingdom. Throughout quarantine, I discovered my hidden talent in writing, music, and imaginative ways of expression. I also discovered a way to compile art projects virtually using Google Docs.

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Passion for Music

I was greatly interested in music since I was two years old when I taught myself how to play the piano and sing in tune. In middle school, I used to be a pianist every week at church and would sing with the youth every month.

I also got involved in a professional children’s choir in Northbrook, which made a debut at Carnegie Hall in 2019. I have been a soloist since 2018, and sing as the first soprano in the ensemble.

Below is a video of me singing O Holy Night with the Lincoln Chamber Orchestra. This was my last performance before the pandemic came.

During our movement, songs would either be created, rearranged, or have different lyrics. Most of the lyrics were either written down or memorized in my head. Then, I would make three separate videos putting all of the voice parts together to create a masterpiece that we would send to members.

Here is a link to a song we put together in 2020. It’s called “The Limb of Satan,” which is a song inspired by events that unfolded this year (to be featured in a future blog post).

Writing and Literature

Writing has been a very integral part of my Christian faith. But, it has been the subject of a majority of my creative compositions as I lead God vs Satan. From the creation of psalms and poetry to the formation of essays and letters, to the communication of spiritual realities through dramatic play and informal discussions.

I loved how God transformed the flavor of my word choice to create a reality that the human flesh cannot fully understand using pictures and Bible reading alone.

Called from Darkness into the Light

Agape Christian Club

As a result of my contribution to the club over the past three years, I was elected as Vice President of Agape. This is my school’s Christian club that runs every Thursday after school. It’s very similar to a Bible study group, except it is student-led. As Vice president, I am in charge of helping the President put together our weekly sermons and activities.

For the first half of the school year, our main focus was the Trinity and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This semester, we will focus on sin, evil, the nature of Satan, and spiritual warfare, as well as forming Godly habits and relationships.

Blogging & Content Creation

I first visited Biblical Christianity in 2017 and began contributing as an author in December 2021. Most of the content I plan to present centers around current events, the spirit realm, morality, faith, the workings of Satan, and the promises of God.

Also, be on the lookout for reviews of written works I have composed, as well as reflections and commentaries.

Conclusion

May I conclude with an excerpt from one of my pieces called “The Great Red Dragon.” I believe this is a very powerful statement that the Holy Spirit has led me to share with you.

“O, Satan! Satan! I am a teen, searching high and low, to decipher your filthiest secrets. So that I may bear the fruits of the Father who is in Heaven; that I may be a witness to the Gospel in your shadow of deceit. Satan, you have cleverly crafted the code of calamity. But my Savior, who is Christ alone, is my guide to peace, which is the route to the promised land.”

My Encouragement to You

I did not come to this site just to inform you of the Scriptures. But rather, to use my passion for current events, my faith, and music to bring others to the light. If it hadn’t been for the love and determination of my mother, I don’t think I would ever have received this revelation, or be in the place I wanted to be.

She knew that God was trying to uncover a revelation of what I had been called to do as a believer: to SHINE! To be the light in the shadow of darkness! An agent of love, hope, and encouragement in the face of tribulation. A helping hand in the face of tragedy. And to be a positive contributor to the good work that God was doing for others through nourishment and determination.

And Satan did not want me to discover this truth!! And now, it is time that he is finally exposed, out in the open, so that many will be free because of the blood of Jesus!

I pray that this testimony inspired many of you. I pray that you would grow in your faith as we stand strong against the kingdom of Satan! 🙂

A Testimony of the Grace of God

A Testimony of the Grace of God

God has blessed us so much in many ways and we ought to bless others as well. One way of doing this is through our testimony and sharing our journey to faith in Christ.

It is an honor for us here at Biblical Christianity to publish the testimony of a brother in the Lord, Carlo Caputo.


Dear Fellow Christians,

I was a Christian for over a year before I realized I was a true child of God. At the age of 34, God graciously gave me eternal life according to His promises in the Holy Bible. I had always thought I was a Christian and that I would go to heaven when I died because of my Roman Catholic heritage.

I now realize that despite all my church attendance, sacraments, and commandment keeping, I would have gone straight to hell. It’s because I was trusting in my own merits to earn salvation, rather than depending on Jesus to save me.

It seems that everyone strives for two goals in life – security and significance. If a person would honestly analyze their motives, I believe that they would see that all their activities in life fall into these two categories. 

The need to feel accepted by others (security) and the need to feel important (significance) are our two main driving factors.

How I Became A Roman Catholic

Although my parents were not practicing Catholics, they sent me to Catholic schools. And I received the sacraments as I grew in age: Infant Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, etc.

I turned to God early in life because I could not find love anywhere in the home, nor in the Brooklyn, New York neighborhood where I was raised. Violence and rejection were everywhere. So my attention was focused on trying to please the Lord to receive the positive reinforcement that I desperately needed.

My efforts were directed through the only way I knew – the Catholic Institution. “Mother Church” became my source of security, and, my devout adherence to its teachings became my source of significance.

I attended daily Mass and Communion for almost 25 years. If I missed mass during the week, I would try to make up for it by going to extra Masses on the weekend. Many a time, as a teenager, I would sit through four or five Masses on Saturday morning. Then say an entire Rosary at each Station of the Cross.

I would give up eating meat for the entire season of Lent. I say this not to boast of my piousness, but to show the utter futility of it all (see Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5).

However, with all this religious activity, there was still an emptiness inside me that I could not explain. I thought I wasn’t doing enough for God, so I would make additional and countless sacrifices to make the Lord accept me.

But still, there was a void within me that I could not seem to fill. I did not try to find happiness by the sinful pleasures of the world and I continually strived to please God,  but deep down inside I always felt I was missing the mark.

Roman Catholicism

Considering Priesthood

While in college, I took Army ROTC and therefore incurred a military obligation after graduate school. After serving as a company commander at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, I volunteered for Vietnam and departed overseas.

At the age of 27, while still living a celibate lifestyle, I seriously considered the priesthood. I wrote to every diocese in the United States and every Catholic Religious Order. I already had eight years of college before entering the military. But to become a Catholic priest involved five additional years of postgraduate study in Philosophy and Theology, which did not seem appealing.

So, when I returned to the States from Vietnam, I became involved with numerous Catholic activities and was elected Parish Council President. I felt that I could serve the Lord without becoming a priest and avoid the time of additional education.

My Charismatic Experience

In the meantime, some sincere Catholic friends were telling me of a new life in the Spirit through the “charismatic experience.” After two years of being “witnessed to,” I received the “gift of tongues” during a Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference.

The fact that this occurred on All Saints Day was a tremendous boost for my “spiritual ego.” Through this experience, I became a better Catholic. The Mass became more meaningful, the words of the priest became more profound and his sermons were a blessing.

I purchased a Catholic Bible and started attending Catholic Charismatic Bible studies and prayer meetings. There had always been a “missing link” in my search for the Lord and now I thought I had found it.

With the ecumenical flavor of the charismatic influence, it did not seem too great a sin to associate with Protestants, so, I started dating a Baptist. After we were engaged, she decided to become Catholic. She took instructions in the Catholic faith and we were married by a priest in a Catholic Church with full nuptial blessings.


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New Life in Christ: What Really Happens When You're Born Again and Why It Matters

Joining the Baptist Church

After a while, I joined the Baptist Church to get a better understanding of her background. About a year later we left the Baptist church and joined a Pentecostal fellowship where we remained for three years.

Although I was a very active member of these various churches, the gospel of salvation was never really explained to me, 

and therefore I remained lost. All of this time, I still wanted to return to the Catholic Church. All of my formal education, except for fifteen years of post-graduate studies, was in Catholic schools, so my devotion to Catholicism was still very strong.

I was very uncomfortable with non-Catholics and grew very resentful towards Protestants in general. I was bitterly opposed to Fundamentalists, especially when they would oppose Catholicism, which I defended vehemently.

Frankly speaking, what I saw in Protestants made me want to return to the Catholic Church all the more. I didn’t realize at the time, that many Protestants are without Christ and also need to be “born again,” just like Catholics need biblical salvation.

Sinner Saved by Grace

Sometime later, my life started to change and I couldn’t understand why. Rock music became increasingly irritating, and I enjoyed driving the speed limit.

My greatest change was noticed in my desire to read the Bible. I had always found it difficult to study the Bible, but now I could not put it down. I suddenly had a deep hunger for TRUTH and I felt the Lord leading me to understand the basic doctrines of Biblical Christianity.

As I grew spiritually, I finally realized why my life was changing. A year and a half before this, I was reading a book on Basic Christianity. Here, I learned that I had a sinful nature. This rebellious nature of all mankind is the original sin of Adam & Eve. We are all born with it and will die with it and this is what causes us to sin (see Galatians 5:17).

While I was reading this book, I realized why I was a condemned sinner. And that I could never save myself by good works, but that Jesus Christ had to save me. At this point, I threw myself at the Lord’s mercy and cried out that I wanted to be born again.

I did not become aware that this act of faith is what makes one a Christian until later when I fully understood the meaning of salvation.

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Catholicism vs. Biblical Christianity

Further Bible study revealed some shocking differences from what I had been taught as a Catholic.

I could not find anything about monks, nuns, novenas, sacraments, indulgences, etc. Some would insist that these are part of “Catholic Tradition” which, is “sacred.” They would even refer to 2 Thessalonians 3:6 to justify that there is nothing wrong with this tradition.

I would agree, except when “Sacred Tradition” contradicts Sacred Scripture, then it becomes a serious issue, as warned by Jesus Himself in Matthew 15:6.

I discovered that the Catholic doctrine of:

  • salvation contradicts Romans 4:5, Ephesians 2:8-9; and Titus 3:5;
  • Purgatory contradicts 1 John 1:7;
  • confession contradicts 1 John 2:1
  • holy days of obligation contradict Colossians 2:16;
  • the office of the Pope contradicts 1 Peter 5:13;
  • mandatory celibacy for priests contradicts 1 Timothy 4:3;
  • the title for priest contradicts Matthew 23:9;
  • praying to saints contradicts 1 Timothy 2:5;
  • the Mass contradicts Hebrews10:10-18; etc.

It disturbed me that many Roman Catholic priests were speaking in tongues, yet hearing confessions. They were performing miracles, yet they were still teaching about Purgatory.

What was their source of power for the miraculous, I wondered? It could not be the Holy Spirit if they were still preaching a false way to heaven!

Protestantism vs. Biblical Christianity

I also noticed a familiar preaching style among Pentecostals. During my time in the Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I was trained in Psychological Warfare.

I noticed that the same mind control techniques that I was taught to incite riots and rebellion were the same preaching techniques that Pentecostals were using in their sermons to manipulate their congregations. See 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

In addition, as I grew to understand the basic doctrines of sin and salvation, I found other charismatics in direct disagreement with the basic essential doctrines of Biblical Christianity.

They believed that it was possible to lose one’s salvation, which contradicts John 10: 28-29. They also believed that one can rise above sin, which contradicts 1 John 1:8.

Finally, I realized that if charismatics, who claim to be so “filled with the Holy Spirit,” could be in such Scriptural error, then what they had must be another spirit. And that the “full gospel” was “another gospel” (see 2 Corinthians 11:4).

It then became obvious to me that the Charismatic Movement is a clever Satanic move. This is the enemy’s weapon to get people to bypass Calvary and get them to the Upper Room where they can perform the “signs of an apostle” without being truly converted. See Matthew 7:21-23 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.

It is noteworthy that the method, by which the Devil used to bring sin into the world, was to entice Eve to become more spiritual; and he still uses the same tactics today.

The Truth Has Set Me Free

I thank God every day for my deliverance from Romanism and Pentecostalism. I now fellowship and worship in an independent, fundamental, Christ-honoring assembly where the Word of God is our sole authority.

It is only through the true power of the Holy Spirit that I could have been freed from the bondage of all the heresies and unsound teachings to which I had been exposed.

The Lord Jesus promised, “You shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall make you free” (John 8:32). I had sought the Lord since I was a child and God honored my search.

Jeremiah 29:13

Many Roman Catholics may probably think that I have “abandoned my faith” but that’s not the case. In reality, I have forsaken any hope of achieving heaven by my own good works. Instead, have put my trust in the complete and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I came to believe that Jesus Christ did all the penance for my sins. And the only thing left to do to go to heaven is to have faith in the crucifixion of Christ as a complete atonement for my sins.

In my life without Christ, I had no real peace or joy in my heart. I was a loner and felt very uncomfortable around unfamiliar people. I was extremely insecure and had many fears inside of me that I tried to overcome by being boisterous and aggressive.

Due to the hostile environment of my youth, I was a very angry person and became easily upset with trivial matters.

Living a New Life in Christ

Now, by the abundant grace of God, I find myself being able to build relationships with all types of people. I have become secure in Christ, not in any religion or church. Having the assurance of eternal life and knowing Christ personally as a friend, has given me significance.

It is my prayer, that all who read this may find their security and significance in the Christ of the Bible. Receive God’s gift of eternal life by placing your complete trust in Jesus Christ and look forward to being with Him throughout all eternity.

AMEN.

Your brother in Christ,
Carlo Caputo

The Transformation of Grinches: Behind the Scenes Review and Analysis

The Transformation of Grinches: Behind the Scenes Review and Analysis

It’s that time of year again!

The season of Christmas: the day on which many Christians attend services to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. It’s the season where families are gathered together to drink hot chocolate while binge-watching old-time Christmas films.

It’s been two years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Understandably, the Christmas spirit, for most of us, has been reduced to an illusion from the past. Will Christmas ever be the same? Who knows!

This uncertainty made me sit down and reflect on the central messages of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” One figure that stood out to me was the wicked Grinch. There are so many “grinches” in our society, and even in the Bible.

In this presentation, I will give a summary of each part of my series. I will also give you some key central ideas that we can apply in our personal and spiritual lives.

Mr. Grinch and Christmas

Overview: How It All Started

During the lockdowns in 2020, I was allowed to host a virtual movement in which we expressed our Christian faith and acts of protest against our nation’s evils. It’s called “God vs Satan.” You can find an overview of what we did HERE.

Over the holiday season last year, I collaborated with participants to put together a slideshow presentation. This included a collection of Christmas stories that I have written. Each tale was inspired by historical events that took place during that time, as well as famous narratives from the Bible.

Inspired by 1966’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, “The Transformation of Grinches” is a fictional series that was crafted during the 2020 winter holiday season. The series consists of five lyrical and liturgical works of literature. Each scene is told from four different biblical perspectives (or profiles). These are Achan, Cain, Jonah, and Satan.

Profile 1: Satan (Grinch is Evil)

Mr. Grinch is evil; a pesky, filthy man, and the father of lies! He does nothing but cause chaos and steals the joy of Jesus Christ. This evil guy just wants to rip the Spirit’s gifts from the tree of life. Like Satan, Grinch is mean, nasty, and a vicious bear, who wants nothing for God’s children than for them to live in sin.

Grinch is the punisher of the seven reindeer in the East, and the ten elves of the West. Thus, I say to them, “Beware!”

Also, Mr. Grinch is a vile, violent, sleazy fool! He likes to spew murderous desires, and teach people the language of hate. It seems this bad guy does not know that my Savior was born in Bethlehem.

Get this, not only is Mr. Grinch an idiot for trying to tear down our safe havens. He also desires that God’s children are damned to the depths of Hades. So, who is this Grinch that sails from the East, and screams around this great Earth? His name is SATAN!

Now, it is Christmas! It’s the season of love and bliss; the gathering of the churches and the singing of Heaven’s choirs, Mr. Grinch’s reign of terror is slowly but surely coming to an end.

Commentary

“You’re a Devil, Mr. Grinch” is a song that was inspired by the famous song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

In the song, Satan is described as “a man who rips the Spirit’s gifts from the tree of life.” In the film, the Grinch is famously known for stealing Christmas gifts from children and wrecking Christmas celebrations. He disguises himself as Santa Claus to deceive the children into thinking that they were receiving Christmas gifts that night. In reality, he had a malicious plan up his sleeve.

In the same way, Satan, in this piece, is known for manipulating what God intended for good by stealing the very blessings that God gave to His children. This is a very subtle tactic we often do not pay attention to when serving and giving.

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Nothing Good Comes Out of Satan

The entire song was based on a biblical passage. This is when Jesus gives an analogy relating the hypocrisy and the selfishness of the Pharisees to the nature of thieves and robbers. While Jesus depicted the Pharisees as thieves robbing the sheep from listening to the shepherd, this characteristic can also drawback to the identity of Satan.

Satan is known as a thief who comes only to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). This is why I ranked him as the main Grinch in my narrative.

Nothing good will come out of Satan; there is no Godly attribute in him.

Profile 2: Cain (A Bloody Christmas)

It was the house of Cain where America witnessed such great pain. The Christmas lights were replaced with a sea of red blood. Sleighbells turned into funeral bells, playing songs of sorrow.

Righteous America is the descendant of Abel, robbed of its chance of life. Evil America is the descendant of Cain, leading its neighbors to their demise. No smoke is billowing from that ancient chimney. No flame kindles from afar.

There is nothing but gunfire and the sounds of sirens. The noise of a holiday riot. But, soon, the bloodshed ceased. It was a silent night. It was a grey and cloudy night of tears. But, soon, America cried “Father, help us! We are doomed, and consumed with the ashes of sin!”

Suddenly, God gave them mercy and grace and turned the red blood into white puddles of snow. Then, the world sang a beautiful hymn of praise. It was the birth of the Christmas cheer.

Joy to the world! The Lord has come! O, hail!

Commentary

“A Bloody Christmas” is a fictional parable based on the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter 4. The scene is told from the perspective of two Americas: a rebellious, divided America and a righteous, peaceful America.

It is Christmas Eve, and a bloody riot erupts in the streets. The season of festivity turns into a somber occasion of mourning and grieving. Soon, the people within the land repent of their sin. Then God demonstrates His mercy by turning the crime scene into a scene of praise and worship!

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Joy is Restored Upon Repentance

The central idea is that God restores the joy of a repentant heart.

Like the story above, Genesis 4 gives us the story of two brothers who endured the pain of death and covetousness. Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy and envy. God approved of Abel’s offering and did not approve of Cain’s. He later repented, and God granted him protection and mercy.

The Grinch, reflecting on his sin against his neighborhood, felt such deep sorrow for those he had wronged on Christmas Eve. As soon as he changed his attitude about his wrongdoing, his joy and the joy of others were restored.

The human race is consumed with moral flaws, and their hearts are filled with the naughtiest of imaginations and fantasies. However, there is always a blessing in the process of repentance.

True repentance is not just an apology or a New Year’s resolution. It’s an inward transformation that is only possible through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Profile 3: Jonah (The Blizzard of Greece)

It was December 22, in a warm, cozy cottage. It was the week of the great Christmas mass at the Cathedral of Nineveh. The man would be instructed to preach against that great nation, for their wickedness was so great. Yet, he grabbed his things and rode his chariot to the great land of Greece.

The snow was as thick as the three towers that surrounded the city. The winds were so brutal and strong, that the man was thrown into the deepest part of the Mediterranean Sea.

How can a swarm of angry fish swallow this man whole, yet save his life? How can he survive frigid temperatures without a life vest? The waves were cold, so strong, and violent. His heart was frozen like ice. Surrounded by the thorn of disobedience, the sun would soon shine.

It was December 25, at the great land of Nineveh. The great day of redemption from the pit of sin! The organists came out and played the ten hymns of celebration. O holy night, the stars were brightly shining. It was the night of our Savior’s birth.

Victory for Nineveh, o night divine!

Jonah, the Reluctant Prophet
Photo Credit: Medium

Commentary

Inspired by the biblical narrative of Jonah, this story is a work of literature. It vividly depicts the redemptive power of the Messiah who came to deliver mankind from the curse of sin.

In the tale, a man is on a mission to lead the city of Nineveh to repentance. After encountering a violent snowstorm that nearly cost him his life, his determination to bring the Gospel message to a broken nation gave way to a time of great day of victory!

Salvation: God’s Greatest Gift

Material goods are nothing; they are meaningless compared to the gift of salvation.

Although Jonah could not be described as a “Grinch” in Scripture, the story does point out his sin. Moreover, it showed how God used his imperfections to share the Gospel message to a wretched nation impending the coming judgment.

The greatest Christmas gift you could ever give to a human being is not the money from your bank account, or the latest Catalac on sale. It is the wonderful gift of salvation that Jesus offered us by shedding his blood on the cross. It is not only the message that transforms the soul into the everlasting light. It’s also a committed and driven lifestyle that reflects that message. Let’s not just say that we oppose darkness; let’s back that up with how we live.

The kingdom of God is watching. The kingdom of Satan is watching. Two magnificent worlds: both the natural and the spiritual, are watching.

Profile 4: Achan (A Short Play)

(Scene)

James (thief #1): Give me the money, now!

7-year Old Child: No, thanks! Besides, I can’t talk to strangers! I don’t have any money.

James: Hey! If you can’t get me your stupid money, just give me these Toy Story DVDs!

Child: Why?

Achan: Mwa-ha-ha-ha! I just stole that $600 dress and that chimney from Santa Claus. Now, I’m hyped up! I hope I won’t get caught.

Satan (to Achan): Oh, would you look at the time! Some new company! Mwahahahahahahaha!

Achan: I SAID, SANTA, NOT SATAN, FOR GOODNESS’ sake! Now to dash before I get caught!

(5 seconds later…)

Samuel: Busted! I found you Achan! What have you done?

Achan: Uh, nothing!

Samuel: Don’t you play dumb with me, you naughty boy! I just caught you stealing that fancy dress after your Master told you not to! You tried to steal the joy of Christmas. You just committed such a grave sin against the Father of the Heavens, and His begotten Son!

Achan: Yeah!

Samuel: You can face your consequences, on the double! Naughty List for you, and the wrath of the Almighty!

Commentary

This profile is a theatrical and artistic representation of Joshua 7. It is a short story of a figure named Achan, who steals an object at the store, which aligns with the plot of Joshua chapter 7.

Immediately after the triumph at Jericho, the Israelites fight against the city of Ai but are unable to take it. God tells Joshua that Israel lost because of God’s anger. One of the Israelites has kept some of the “devoted things” from Jericho for himself instead of destroying them.

Therefore, Israel herself has become a “devoted thing,” which will be destroyed unless the sinner gets punished and the stolen objects destroyed. Following instructions from the Lord, Joshua assembles the Israelites. He does this tribe by tribe, then clan by clan, then household by household.

God reveals Achan, of the tribe of Judah, as the culprit behind the fiasco. He and his household, along with the devoted things he kept, are taken and destroyed.

Sins Demand Sacrifice

This story, along with the short play, is an illustration of the importance of obeying God’s commands. God commanded the Israelites to destroy all “the devoted things” – both people and possessions of Canaan. God commands such action in Deuteronomy 7:2 and 20:17. The ban seems to be in part a precautionary and a punitive measure. Why does it call for the destruction of the Canaanites? The answer is in the next verse (Deuteronomy 20:18).

The call to destroy devoted things also has overtones of sacrificial language. Like a burnt offering, the devoted things are to be destroyed by fire (Joshua 6:24; 7:15). And like a sacrifice, they are to be devoted to the LORD for destruction (Joshua 6:17). The ban also means, of course, that Israel cannot profit from war. It is a means of sacrifice.

The Christmas season is not only a reminder of the price that comes from our naughtiness. It also reminds us of the sacrifice that love and hope demand. Like the burnt offerings, hope requires that we “destroy” all things that will lead us to resentment. If not, they will ruin the atmosphere that Christmas speaks of.

Conclusion

“The Transformation of Grinches” is not only a challenge for many believers across America to examine their behavior. It is also intended to make them seek reconciliation for the wrongs they may have committed.

Just as a mother disciplines her children, the coronavirus pandemic has figuratively sent all of us to our rooms. While in confinement, may we think about what we have done and prioritize what is important in our lives.

Therefore, this series is a collection of motifs that we can all take with us as we enter a new year.

The Spirit Realm and The Mystery of the Mind

The Spirit Realm and The Mystery of the Mind

Contrary to what others might think, the spirit realm is very real. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there is a battle going on in the unseen world. As believers in Christ, we are in a fight. But we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies. We are up against mighty powers in this dark world, and evil spirits in the heavenly places.

But do you know that Satan attacks Christians by first attacking their minds? You may have heard pastors say that the mind is a battleground between God and Satan. This is why we are to guard our minds.

Bible Verse: Philippians 4:6-8

6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Meditate on noble things

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Some Christians may not know this but the first person of the Trinity that a repentant sinner meets is the Holy Spirit.

At conversion, the Holy Spirit begins His residence in the life of the believers in Christ. He then transforms them from the carnal world of the flesh to the realm of the kingdom of God. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit guides them to righteousness and obedience to God. In theology, this is called sanctification.

Sanctification is the process of living a Godly life, under the Holy Spirit. Hence, the nature of the new creature who was saved by the finished work of Christ. As we begin to mature in our faith, we realize that we are humans. Thus, we are bound to commit sins because of our flesh.

My Thoughts and Reflection

I believe that one of the most vital keys to spiritual maturity is to realize that as humans living on this Earth, we have an enemy (Satan), whose goal is to try everything to get us off course in our journey with Christ. Sometimes, our thoughts are not our own.

In this presentation, I will share with you some ways in which Satan uses our thoughts to plant evil seeds through the mind. I’m going to use a real-life example where I will provide insight into these biblical encounters.

Brethren, I am currently working on a series in which I share what I have learned as a follower of Christ living through the pandemic. My goal is to ensure that other fellow brothers and sisters in Christ understand the significance of Christ’s wonderful sacrifice at the cross in our fight against the kingdom of Satan.

What is the Mind?

Think of a construction worker who wants to build a house. Without the correct foundation, the house will collapse. Similarly, for the desire to commit evil to take place, there needs to be an activity within the brain, the inner section of the head.

God gave us the wonderful gift of knowledge. He uses our minds and our hearts to give us spiritual insight on matters on the mysteries of godly living. Now, how does the desire to do evil start? It is a seed sown by Satan, which starts in the mind. This is the foundation of what comes out of the lips and our hands, which grows from our hearts.

Many Scriptures make it clear that the primary battleground in spiritual warfare is our hearts and minds. Satan attacks with thoughts—evil suggestions, sinful ideas, false philosophies (doctrines), temptations, various lies, and so on.

Our means of defense are knowing, believing, and acting upon the Word of God.

Guard you mind, guard your thoughts

The Mind and External Sources

It is vitally important that you understand that every thought you think does not necessarily originate from within yourself.

Satan has many spokespersons who help him plant his thoughts in people’s minds. He works to influence us through newspapers, books, television, magazines, radio, through friends and neighbors, and even through preachers (false prophets.)

Even the apostle Peter was once unwittingly used as a spokesman for Satan. In Matthew 16:21-23, Peter suggested to Jesus that it was not God’s will for Him to die. Satan and his legions also work directly on human minds, without any human intermediary.

All Christians will at times find themselves under direct assault. That is when the warfare starts.

Dealing with Satan’s Attacks

A Christian encountered a woman who would frequently experience blasphemous thoughts in nature while engaging in prayer with God. She was a very sweet, dedicated woman who was actively involved in church. One day, she stopped praying every day because she was afraid that she would have these evil thoughts again. Eventually, the woman started to counteract those evil thoughts with the truth presented through the Word.

What can we learn from this testimony?

It was revealed to the woman that those blasphemous thoughts against God were not her own, but rather, they came from Satan. By being afraid that we might think wrong thoughts, we are inviting them, as fear is the opposite of faith.

Learning from experience, I have learned that fear is one of Satan’s biggest weapons against believers in Christ. Instead of trusting God and His promises, we trust in the lies that Satan feeds in our minds. By trying not to think about something, we have to think about it to try not to think about it.

In other words, we must substitute what is false and evil with something good, honorable, and pleasing to God. For example, if a thought suggested that Jesus was an idiot, we would replace that thought with the truth. We declare that Jesus is the divine Son of God and died for our sins because of His great love.

we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

A Closing Prayer

Dear Lord, I recognize that these tormenting, violent thoughts are not of you. I now choose to submit my mind completely to you and refuse to allow these thoughts to torment me any longer.

Satan, I now recognize that you have put these violent, tormenting thoughts in my mind. I refuse to allow them to enter my mind any longer. Your powers were broken at the cross 2,000 years ago. You have no power over me. My mind is now completely free of your plans or attacks. I now submit my mind completely to the Lord Jesus.

Lord, fill my mind with clean and holy thoughts. Help me not allow any demonic thoughts to enter by guarding all that I see on TV, movies, books, news, or magazines. Convict me when I am tempted to look at something impure.

Finally, I ask that this presentation has touched others as they are going through dark seasons in their lives. I pray that I would be a role model who strives to emulate your love, compassion, gentleness, and your holiness. Help me to continue shining Your light to edify Your glorious kingdom.

In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.


Recommended Resource:

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times by Ron Rhodes

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times by Ron RhodesUnderstand the Battle Before You Enter It

When you think about the end times, you’ve probably already considered the rapture, the tribulation, and the Antichrist. But are you prepared for the spiritual warfare that is already escalating around us as we draw closer to the final days?

Now more than ever, it is essential to equip yourself with God’s truth so you can stand against the encroaching darkness.

In Spiritual Warfare in the End Times, bestselling prophecy author Ron Rhodes powerfully exposes Satan’s most destructive and effective tools of spiritual injury—and the means of rendering them ineffective. Ron will help you understand…

  • the identity, tactics, and dominion of Satan—and the spiritual armor God has given you for protection
  • the pivotal roles the Holy Spirit and the Word of God play in your spiritual victory
  • the sheep (Christians) who keep close to the Shepherd (Jesus) are safest from the predatory wolf (Satan)

Though Satan will always want to diminish your capacity to serve in God’s kingdom, God promises you’ll never fight him alone.

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times will provide you with all you need for victory both now and in the future.

The Power of Waiting On the Lord

The Power of Waiting On the Lord

Ever find yourself standing in front of the microwave oven saying, “Hurry up?” Or push the elevator call button every five seconds while waiting for the elevator to arrive? Waiting is said to be one of the most difficult things to do. I know, it’s a tough assignment.

We get impatient waiting; we hate to have to wait for our ride to arrive or our food to be served, and even for our prayers to be answered. But let us not forget that the Bible promises power to those who patiently wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). More importantly, we do not survive spiritually if we do not learn to wait.

We Renew Our Strength by Waiting on the Lord

It’s important to note that the strength we have right now that needs to be renewed from time to time is not our own strength. It is the strength that we received when we first came to the Lord in weakness.

Unless we first acknowledge that we are weak, we will never admit that we need the Lord’s strength. For “God’s strength is reserved only for those who know they are weak and know they have no might” (David Guzik).

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

So how do we receive this “new” strength from the Lord? We receive it by waiting. We need to understand that waiting on the Lord does not mean sitting around until the Lord does something.

Indeed, God gives us strength but we should not expect it to come as if He were just pouring it into us while we sit passively. We receive God’s strength as we continually seek Him and rely on Him, instead of our own strength.

How to Wait on the Lord

A. Wait with Patience

We should wait on the Lord with patience.

When we do not know what to do about something, we should wait. Often times we get caught up in just doing something that we neglect to hold still, listen and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

So many of us are waiting for something and as we wait, we can become discouraged and start asking when the waiting will ever end. Will God ever answer my prayer?

When the pieces of our lives are not fitting together the way we want, we get busy and start trying to force things to work, as Abraham and Sarah did.

B. Wait in Prayer

We should wait on the Lord with prayer.

The first step in getting answers to our prayers is to pray. When we face trials, prayer should be the first we head. Psalm 130:1-2 is a prayer for God to listen to. The psalmist is so consumed with despair, asking God to listen to his requests.

Do you know that failure to pray is a sin? 1 Samuel 12:23-24 says, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

Twice the psalmist says in Psalm 130:5-6 that his soul waits for God’s response. Consider also the repeated phrase, “more than those who watch for the morning. The psalmist is so eager for the Lord’s presence that he says it twice for emphasis.

Are you praying while waiting on the Lord?

C. Wait on Purpose

We should wait on the Lord on purpose and make God the focus of our lives.

Divorce, addiction, emotional disorders, and criminal records are evidence of lives torn apart because someone decided on pursuing to follow some voice other than God’s, some counsel other than God’s, and some plan other than God’s.

In Psalm 62:5-6 David wrote, “My soul, wait silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.”

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

We also read in Psalm 1:1-3 that there is a blessing for those who do not seek the counsel of the wicked. Clearly, the righteous man and the ungodly (wicked) man are different in the way they think and behave.

The Christian knows that God’s word is always the best counselor, and godly counselors will always bring the truth of God’s word to help someone who needs counseling.

My Personal Testimony

Seven months ago, I submitted my resignation letter because I truly believed that I am not properly compensated for the work that I do and have been doing for 8 long years. I have been praying and asking God for a raise for more than 2 years but it seemed like God was silent.

So I took that as a go signal from God for me to resign and apply to another company that is willing to pay me more than what I was currently making. Upon handing in my resignation letter, HR called me to his office and asked if I would consider staying. In return, they will give me a pay raise.

What he offered was much lower than what I was expecting. But because I have not heard from the companies I applied to and my resident visa is expiring in a few days, I took the deal.

Today, I still feel like my salary isn’t worth the workload that I do. Was I impatient for doing things my way instead of waiting on the Lord? Maybe! Today, I take delight in the great and mighty things that God is doing n my life and church ministry. God is still good and He is good all the time.

And through all that, I have learned that if we take the time to pursue God’s direction and wait for His response, we will get much better results.

Are we weak? It is because we are not waiting on the Lord.

Closing Words

God loves us and He wants us to live with joy, hope, and victory. But at the same time, God desires for us to wait with patience, in prayer, and on purpose and He will answer.

There is power in waiting on the Lord. It gives us the benefit of getting our strength renewed. The basic meaning of the word renew is to change; it means to keep putting on fresh strength.

But we also have to remember that the Lord gives us strength not to show off but to move forward and progress for Him and in our walk with Him.


Reference:

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition {Diamonds for Living} by John Hagee, ed.

The prophecies of the Bible assure us that God will prevail. The NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition has hundreds of pages of special features that offer a broad understanding of prophetic themes, salvation, covenants, and other important doctrines of the Christian faith.

Why Not Just Friends?

Why Not Just Friends?

Over the last few years, I have come to realize the phrase “just friends” is a lie. In the modern vernacular it actually means “just acquaintances.” Most of the time for me, after getting put in the “friend” zone, I never hear from or talk to them again. That is not a friend. That borders on an enemy.

Bible Verse: Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Reflection and Challenge

While it’s usually true that “a multitude of counselors” assures a wise decision, at the same time, we must avoid running from friend to friend asking for advice. This may indicate that we’re trying to find somebody who will tell us what we want to hear!

We need more than friends; we must have a friend who will stand by us and “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We can tell a “real friend” by how close he or she is in adversity.

My Story

I am a Christian millennial, but I do not understand why we are putting off marriage or even just friendship. If my assessment is accurate, Christian singles classes always have two cliques: the boy clique and the girl clique. If I didn’t know any better, the Red Sea has been parted.

In my previous post, I shared about my failed relationship with Jo Ann and how I ended up brokenhearted. So now that I have reentered the single category again, my dad gave me some wisdom. “Start as friends.” He heard that from Christian counselors.

They are not talking about the “just friend” category though. You wonder why the homosexual and lesbian population is exploding, all of our friends are of the same sex and we have forgotten how to have relationships with the opposite sex.

One aspect of this problem is we have forgotten how to be friendly towards the opposite sex. Isn’t it interesting how friendly and friends have the same root word?

That is where Proverbs 18:24 comes in. Jesus is the perfect example. If you are a born again Christian, Jesus is supposed to be your best, best friend even if you are a woman. Jesus knows everything about you. Do you have any opposite-sex friends that know everything about you? Doubt it.

Why Not Just Friends

This is why I try to be an open book to everyone. The problem I come across is so few people want to read me. That would mean they would have to be friendly to get to know me. I am not talking about chit chat or small talk either. Nobody gets to know anyone with those.

Another example would be the numerous times that my sister and I have been mistaken for being husband and wife because we spend a lot of time together. Whatever happened to a male and female spending quality time together without assuming a serious relationship?

Honestly, I believe women are way better at conversations than men. That is why I have way more female friends than male friends. You cannot have a good friendship without in-depth conversations.

As I said before without in-depth conversations, we end up judging a book by its cover, because we have no idea what their pages say.

We all have a story to tell. If you listen to theirs, they might listen to yours.


*Create a Free Website with SiteRubix and share your story to the world!

Jesus, You are the Calm at the Center of My Storm

Jesus, You are the Calm at the Center of My Storm

Living in a country that is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, I can understand the fear that the disciples felt when a furious storm suddenly came up while they were inside a boat in the middle of the sea (Matthew 8:23-27 & Mark 4:35-41).

It’s pretty scary because you never know if you’re going to make it after the storm is gone. But if Jesus calmed the storm by rebuking the wind and the waves, He can also calm whatever storm we are facing.

The Bible tells us that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). So it’s no wonder that most of the time the world is in chaos. Living in a world that is ruled by the prince of darkness, we cannot expect things to get better, it could even get worse.

Every day we learn of terrible things that happen everywhere around the world and Christians wonder when this will ever end. But in the midst of all the troubles, we can always turn to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) who will calm us even in the middle of a terrible storm.

Calm at the Center of my Storm Lyrics & Chords

It’s been a year since I published a post about how God sustained me physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was definitely one of the toughest times of my life in as far as my day job is concerned. It even came to a point where I thought I couldn’t take it anymore and all I could think about was quitting.

Praise the Lord Almighty for giving me the strength to keep on. I may be weak but God is strong and He will give me the grace to overcome every hurdle that I may have to face. I’m blessed to share with you that what I’ve been through has made me a lot stronger and taught me to trust God all the more.

*Here’s the article: Yes, I can Do All Things Through Christ Who Gives Me Strength

Another Year, Another Challenge

So I thought everything was going very well. Ministry is flourishing, my website is getting better with traffic (meaning visitors), I’m learning a lot more about and growing in His grace and knowledge and the extra working hours in my day job have been reduced.

There’s just one problem, a couple actually: I am in conflict with the head of my department (I call him Doc T) and my employers are having financial difficulties. In regard to the former issue, I’m not sure when and how things started to go south between me and Doc T.

We actually started out on a positive note; we were communicating very well, we were comfortable with each other. We even became friends while at the same time maintaining a professional relationship – that of a superior and subordinate. I very much appreciated how principled he was and wanted nothing more than equality among everyone in the team, regardless of race, nationality, and religion.

Romans 8:37

Then came that unfortunate day when my roommate/colleague and I got into some kind of conflict with a junior local staff, a big NONO, I must say! This is one thing a foreigner should never do in a country where discrimination is very common and rampant. Admittedly, it was a huge mistake for me to get involved and I had to learn my lesson the hard way.

In all fairness, Doc T tried his best to make it look like the problem is nothing more than a plain misunderstanding when we were called in for a department meeting with the HRO (Human Resource Officer). But after that, it became even more obvious that the management has sided with the junior staff, because she’s a local.

Well, Doc T got the message loud and clear from the HR: locals are privileged in this medical facility and you have to abide by that rule if you want things to go smoothly for you. And that’s when Doc T started treating me and other foreigners in our department differently.

How to Respond to People Who Do Not Treat You Well

Since then, Doc T would do anything just to please the locals, even at the expense of the foreigners (myself included). This was not only physically and mentally draining, but it was emotionally painful too. I tried to remain polite and respectful towards him, and so as my colleagues. But as they say, every person has his limit.

As a follower of Christ, I should know better than to get in conflict with anyone, especially with my superiors. And so I tried to keep my distance from Doc T, which he took as a sign of disrespect and animosity towards him. He even went as far as to accuse me of influencing our junior staffs to give him the “cold treatment.”

I was like, “What? Are you kidding me?” I was appalled, disappointed and troubled. I admit, I tend to overreact at times, especially when the attack is personal. Imagine being called “evil” (behind your back) by your superior just because you only talk to him when necessary, meaning, as it relates to work. I wonder if this is what they call “character assassination.”

Romans 12:18

Anyway, I thought it’s best to just let things subside, for now. I recognize that this is another bump on the road, which happened a week after I delivered God’s message in our local church on “The Christian’s Response to Trials.”

If you are being used by God behind the pulpit, you know for certain that whatever sermon you preach, God will allow you to experience it firsthand. The word of God also exhorts us to live at peace with everyone, if it is possible (Romans 12:18 & Hebrews 12:14).

Choosing to Move Forward

Just because we’re followers of Christ doesn’t mean that we won’t have storms in our lives. But following Jesus faithfully will give us peace, even in the midst of those storms.

As for me, I could choose to wallow in despair or rejoice in tribulations. Bottom line is whatever storm I am facing right now, I am confident that God will help me through it, because you, Jesus my Lord, are the calm at the center of my storm.

Have you had experiences like this within your family circle, friends or colleagues? How did you handle the situation? Your testimony is very much welcome in the comments below.


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Just Turned 1 Year Today

Just Turned 1 Year Today

One year ago today, I put up this website with the goal of sharing and spreading the love of God to the world, and also to encourage fellow believers in the Lord Jesus to continue running the race of faith to the end, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 9:24; 15:58). It was a great 1st year indeed, praise God!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT)

Having a platform to share everything I learned (and still learning) from the Bible through personal Bible study and meditation, and listening to respected Bible scholars and theologians, was truly one of the desires of my heart since God started using me in the teaching and preaching ministry.

The Challenges

A few months before this website came into existence; I didn’t know anything about website building, themes, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the proper use of keywords. To be completely honest, I had zero knowledge. So I prayed and asked God to guide me through the proper channels and sure enough, He did.

But before I will tell you all about this platform that has taught me everything I needed to know about building and maintaining a website, I would like to encourage everyone who also has the desire to put up a Christian website to pray about it and ask God for guidance.

I know that God will honor your heart’s desire. The world needs more Christian bloggers to spread the Word of God with the use of technology. If the devil is working double time to deceive people using technology such as the internet, then by all means, Christians should also be using technology to work double or even triple time, to usher in more souls into the kingdom of God.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

We are living in the last days and no matter what our present situation is, we must never forget God’s mandate for us – to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). We will not all be able to stand before people to preach, or join mission teams. But we can always share the Gospel using any means such as the internet.

My Number One Recommendation

As I said, I had no idea how to build a website, let alone maintain it. So I asked Mr. Google to show me how. As expected, many articles came up as I typed in: “How to build a website.” I clicked on several articles and also checked out a few YouTube videos. Sure, they were all very informative and useful. There’s just one problem, they won’t tell you everything you need to know without inputting your credit card number.

A week later, I still could not decide what program to avail until I read a review about a platform that allows you to build 2 websites for free. Not only that, they will also host your websites (for free) and will give you 10 free certification lessons that will teach you how to build a profitable business online.Wealthy Affiliate: The Home of Affiliate Marketing I am talking about Wealthy Affiliate, where you will not only learn to build your own website, it will also teach you everything you need to know to start an online business and scale it. To date, this platform has allowed many people to start their online business, quit their full time job and be financially free.

By the way, you may wanna check out my review on Wealthy Affiliate when I was just two months into the program.

Although I did not intend to make money through this website, some of my articles contain affiliate links of my recommended products that you can check out for further research and study on the topics I talked about in the said articles. When you purchase any of the recommended Christian products, you are not only buying them with no extra cost to you; you are also helping maintain this website.

You can read my affiliate disclosure here: Website Affiliate Disclosure

Website Update

As of today, biblical-christianity.com has a total of 58 blog posts, with four of them written by guest author Bro. Jess Cortez. The number of daily visitors has increased since May this year and is now ranging between 80 to 120. I know, this figure is low compared to other Christian sites. But I consider this a huge blessing and a confirmation from God that this website is on the right track.

So on behalf of the authors and contributors of this website, I want to thank everyone who is taking time to read and leave comments. It’s a blessing to read your comments, and if you are gaining additional biblical knowledge from the articles in this website, we too are learning and growing in knowledge on the Word of God as we write these articles.

*Join Wealthy Affiliate today for free, click here!

We are very grateful for your continued love and support and please know that we are always open to sharing and discussing with you about any topic that has something to do with God and the Bible.

Admittedly, there are Christians who hold a view that’s different from us on certain biblical topics and doctrines of the Christian faith. One particular disagreement is in regard to Sabbath keeping and the Lord’s Day. This is also the post that has received the most comments.

While many believe that the Law of Sabbath keeping isn’t binding to Christians today, there are Christian denominations who believe otherwise.

Here’s the article: What is the difference between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day

Bottom line is, we can agree to disagree. What matters is that we will all continue to work together, united in the Body of Christ, to spread the love of God that has caused Him to sacrifice His only begotten Son for the salvation of everyone who believes (John 3:16).

Looking Forward to the Future

There are at least 15 articles or topics that are due to be written and published, and God-willing, I will publish at least 1 article every week and try to maintain this publishing frequency.

I would also like to take this opportunity to ask you, our dear readers for a favor. If you have a gift in writing (actually, you don’t have to be a writer) and you wish to share your reflections on Bible verses, your personal study and exegesis of Bible passages, you are very much welcome; biblical-christianity.com will publish your articles under your preferred author/user name.

Thank you!

As biblical-christianity.com turns 1 year old, I would like to thank the Lord for His faithfulness; for it is only by His grace and wisdom that we are able to do what we are doing. We hope to continue serving you by writing inspirational messages and articles that will help you in your search for truth about God and to help you grow in your faith in Jesus.

Should you have any topics in mind that you want us to tackle, please let us know through the comment section. You can also reach out to us through email using the contact form available in the “About Me” page. You are also welcome to share your thought and insights on any article that interests you by leaving a comment.

Shalom, may the good Lord bless us all!


*Create your own Christian website for free like I did and share the love of God to the world, His goodness and faithfulness in your life. My recommended training platform will show you how to do that step by step.

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Do Pets Go to Heaven when They Die?

Do Pets Go to Heaven when They Die?

One question that Christians have often asked over the years is whether or not there will be animals in heaven. Do pets or any animals go to heaven when they die? And if you have researched this topic, I’m sure you have seen and heard many different answers and opinions.

Most people have pets and they love them dearly like family. Couples who are childless even consider their pets as their own children. Our family has pets, cats and dogs, and we love them like family. Unfortunately, we have lost quite a number already. And I am left wondering if I will ever see my dearly departed pets again.

We know from the Bible that there are only two destinations for man when he dies, heaven or hell. Hebrews 9:27 says, And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Clearly, man faces judgment immediately upon death. In other words, we will know right away where exactly we are headed the moment our physical life on earth ends.

A Very Sad Day

The day that I had to fly back to the Middle East where I am currently based, our one-month old puppy Darna succumbed to her death due to dysentery. It was already too late when we realized what was going on with her. Had we known earlier that she was terribly ill; we would have done something to save her.

Everybody was sad, especially my mom, because she was the one who adopted Darna. Our neighbor’s dog gave birth to four lovely puppies and decided to give one to us. Mom named her Darna and we all thought it was perfect for her. We all loved and adored her even though she was a bit stubborn at times.

But after just a month or so, we had to say goodbye to her. It was a very sad day indeed, because not only did we lose the newest member of the family, but it was also the day that I had to go away again because my vacation days are over.

Maybe some of you are thinking, “C’mon, it’s just a dog.” You know what; the pain of losing anyone of our pets is real. If you are a pet-owner, I’m sure you can totally relate. We are deeply affected by the loss of our pets because we love and treat them as family, especially when they have been with us for years.

Dealing with the loss of a pet

What Does the Bible Say?

While many Christians believe that God will allow our pets to cross over in heaven after they die, there are also a significant number of Christians who believe otherwise. But what does the Bible say?

It is very difficult to give a precise answer to this question because Scriptures do not conclusively tell us whether our pets will make it to heaven. God does not specifically say one way or the other whether or not any of our personal pets, or any animal for that matter, will be crossing over to be with us in heaven.

Many of the noted Bible scholars and theologians also agree with this opinion as they could not find any passages or verses in the Bible that gives us a definitive answer to this question. Nevertheless, I believe that the Bible does provide us with some significant clues on the subject matter.

But before going any further, it is very important to state that if pets do go to heaven, their owners will also have to go to heaven to see them and be with them. The Bible makes it pretty clear that the vast majority of people won’t make it to heaven (See Matthew 7:13-14 and Luke 13:23-25).

The narrow gate

The road to heaven is extremely small and most people, even those who call themselves Christians, will not find it. In fact, even people who think they will go to heaven just because they call Jesus “Lord,” and have done many wonders in the name of Jesus may not make it (Matthew 7:21). That’s why it is critical that we get right with God, otherwise, our chances of seeing our dearly departed pets are zero.

What Does the Bible Say about Animals?

First of all, the Bible does not explicitly say that animals have souls. However, it states that both man and animals have the “breath of life;” (Genesis 2:7; Genesis 1:30; Genesis 7:15, 22) that is, both man and animals are living beings. While I agree that animals are not saved, applying general biblical principles, I believe we can conclude that animals do have souls. They have the capacity to think and feel.

The primary difference is that man is made in the image and likeness of God, while animals are not. And being made in the image and likeness of God, man, like God, is capable of spirituality, with mind, emotion and will and they have a part of their being that continues after death. Man has the capacity to choose or reject God’s gift of salvation while animals do not.

A. In the Garden of Eden

Before God even created man, there were already animals and various types of living creatures in the Garden of Eden. God had literally created the animals before creating Adam. Perhaps God did this so Adam would have everything he would need to be happy and fulfilled.

Although God saw that Adam needed a helper comparable to him (Genesis 2: 18) besides the animals, the fact that God had created animals and these living creatures in the first environment He had set up for us speaks volume of their importance in living with us on this earth. If God did not think animals were important in the big picture, He would have never created them in the first place.

Adam and the animals in the Garden of Eden
Photo Credits: The Atlantic

B. In Heaven

God did not only put all these animals on earth but there may also be animals living up in heaven right now.

Revelation 19:11-14 describes Jesus Christ riding on a white horse as He comes back to earth in His Second Coming. And not only He will be riding on a white horse, but so will all of His saints who will be coming back down with Him.

If Jesus and all of His saints are going to be coming down from heaven on these white horses, then there literally has to be white horses up in heaven right now. And there could easily be other types of animals and creatures living up there as well.

C. In the Coming Millennium

Scripture tells us that not only has God put animals upon this earth when He created it and has kept them here after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, He will still allow animals to exist in the coming millennium kingdom where the King, our Lord Jesus will be ruling the entire earth from the city of Jerusalem.

Isaiah 11:6-9 says that there are going to be wolves, lambs, leopards, goats, calves, lions, cows, bears and cobra snakes in the coming millennium kingdom. And there are probably going to be a lot of the animals that God has created in the past as well.

And take note that these wild animals that exist during the millennium will not be wild and won’t be attacking anyone like many of them do today.

Will There be Animals in the New Heaven and the New Earth? 

Will our pets be with us?

Revelation 21:1-2 describes a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away. God will also be bringing with Him the holy city of the New Jerusalem where both He and Jesus will rule forever and ever.

But is God still going to have animals, like our pets, existing and living among us in this New Heaven and New Earth?

The Bible does not give us a clear and definite answer to this question and tradition has often leaned more towards a “No.” However, I do think there are good grounds to hope that God will raise our deceased friends.

The Bible says we only “know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10) while we are living down here on this earth. So yeah, the question on whether pets go to heaven is probably one that we will have to wait until we get to heaven in order to see who have guessed it right.

In Romans 5:5, the apostle Paul says, “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” I believe we can rest on the certain truths that whatever heaven is like and whatever God has decided on this or any issue for that matter, it will be good, perfect and without error.

Three Reasons to Hope that We will See our Pets in Heaven

1. God Loves Animals too and has Ensured their Survival.

Going back to the creation narrative in Genesis, God releases His blessings for the first time to the animals He created (Genesis 1:21-22). God not only saw His work as “good,” but He blessed the creatures He has made.

Did you know that this the first time the word “bless” is used in the Bible? God’s blessings enabled the animals and other creatures to reproduce abundantly and to enjoy all that He had made for them.

God’s blessing of progeny is later given to man in Genesis 1:28 with the added gift of “dominion” over all creation.

Later in Genesis 6:18-19 when God decides to destroy the earth with a flood because of its increasing wickedness, God makes a covenant with Noah reaffirming the blessing to be “fruitful and multiply,” at the same time ensuring the survival of every kind of animal.

Animals in Noah's Ark
Photo Credits: ArchitectureIMG.com

2. Animals are an Integral Part of the Bible’s Story.

Can you honestly tell the story of the Bible or story of the cross without animals? Animals are interwoven into Scripture narratives either as actual actors or important metaphors.

Here’s to name just a few:

a) Many of the plagues of Egypt include animals as servants of God’s will (frogs, lice or gnats, flies, livestock, locusts).

b) Jonah is swallowed up by a large sea creature (Jonah 1:17).

c) Balaam’s donkey displays the power of God by speaking (Numbers 22:27-30).

d) Jesus rides as King on a donkey in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:4-7).

e) The Devil takes the form of a serpent (an animal) in order to deceive Adam and Eve.

f) Jesus is described by John as the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5).

With all these references to animals, many of which are integral to the story of Scriptures, it seems strange for God not to make a way for them to be with us in the afterlife. God obviously loves animals and He knows that we do too.

3. God is Good and He Loves Us.

God loves us and He wants us to be happy. God demonstrated His love for us while we were yet sinners, by giving His only begotten Son to die on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sins, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life (Romans 5:8; John 3:16).

To want to see our dearly departed pets and ask that they’ll be with us in the future is not to say that God is not enough to make us happy and content. Of course, in the presence of God there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:110) but God also promised that He will make everything new.

Will our pets be present in God’s new kingdom? We do not know for sure. But if animals populated the Garden of Eden, there is a precedent for believing that they will populate “restored” Eden as well.

Conclusion

In closing, I would just like to say that while we cannot say for certain if the pets we enjoy today and those we have lost will make it to heaven, some of the keenest thinkers like C.S. Lewis and Peter Kreeft are convinced that not only animals in general, but pets in particular, will be restored in the resurrection.

Listen to what Dr. Michael Brown, a Jew who believes in Yeshua as the Messiah, has to say as regards to the question of pets going to heaven.

If God will be giving us all a glorified body at the resurrection, who is to say that God cannot resurrect our pets so they will be able to live with us in heaven and then eventually in the New Heaven and New Earth for all eternity?

God resurrecting our pets would be in total keeping with His overwhelming grace, love and goodness. Do I hope to see my pets in heaven? Absolutely! I could be wrong, but I personally trust God that at the end of the day, He knows what makes me happy and always has my best interest at heart. So no matter what, I know it will be what’s best.

Do you also hope to see your pets in heaven? Please do share with me your thoughts by leaving your comments below.