Saturday, December 31, 2011

Question of the Week: Does science show us what happened in the past?

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December 31, 2011

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top leftIn this issue . . .

Q: Does science show us what happened in the past?

A: In our three-article series on radiometric dating, we discuss in depth the assumptions that scientists must make. For example, it has to be assumed that all the daughter isotopes found in rocks today have been derived by radioactive decay of the parent isotopes. It also has to be assumed that the rate of decay of the parent isotopes in the past has occurred constantly at the same rates measured today. There is absolutely no way any scientist can know whether these two assumptions are correct, because the evidence only exists today in the present, and we can't go back to test the past millions of years and check that the rates of radioactive decay were the same then as they are now.
Thus science is not the "window to the past"! This notion is based on a complete misunderstanding of the nature of evidence. What we observe and measure today exists in the present. We can repeat our observations tomorrow, but we can't go back to last week to repeat them. The only way we know our observations were the same last week as they are today is if we have an eyewitness testimony from someone who made the same observations last week.
In the Bible, we have the eyewitness testimony of someone who has been present throughout all of history and who has told us what happened. And what we read in the Bible is confirmed by the observations we make in the world around us.

Continue reading as Dr. Andrew Snelling addresses questions about radiometric dating, biblical creationism, and the true nature of science.

News to Note: Year in Review

Here at the end of 2011, we review highlights from the News to Note year. We have marveled at the wonders of God's Creation and shaken our heads when God's wondrous works have been attributed to time and chance and death—the agents of evolution. We hope you enjoy this illustrated perspective on the news.

Last Chance to Give in 2011

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Quotes of the Week

Without the assistance of the Holy Spirit trying to solve problems is like rubbing Ben-Gay on a broken leg. - Tony Evans

How unspeakable are our obligations to the grace of God. - John Newton

When Satan talks to us about God, he lies. When he talks to God about us, he tells the truth. - Warren W. Wiersbe

Christianity is a battle to the gates of glory. - Alexander White

The greater the man, the dearer price he pays for a short season of sinful pleasure. - F.B. Meyer

When the possessor of Heaven and earth brought you into being and placed you in this world, He placed you here not as owner but as a steward. - John Wesley

There is no pit so deep but He is not deeper still. - Corrie Ten Boom

I have learned to hold everything loosely. That way it doesn't hurt when God takes them from me. - Corrie Ten Boom

The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it. - D.L. Moody

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Getting Older

Days of Praise
The Time of Old Age
December 29, 2011
"Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come." (Psalm 71:18)
One tends to grow resentful against the limitations and increasing infirmities associated with aging, even complaining to God and others about growing old--at least until one considers the alternative! We need to remember that, as long as the Lord preserves our lives, He has some ministry for us to perform for "this generation" and "to every one that is to come."
The Scriptures abound with promises of blessing in old age, so growing old should be an occasion for rejoicing and deepened commitment to whatever the Lord enables one to do. "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: . . . Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age" (Psalm 92:12-14). But if there develops a tendency to grow spiritually cold with age, the admonition of Paul is appropriate. "Aged men |should| be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, . . . teachers of good things" (Titus 2:2-3).
Thus the heartfelt prayer of the psalmist in our text is still appropriate today, for all who will, sooner than they think, enter the time of old age. Note also the following prayer: "Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth" (Psalm 71:9). That God will answer such a prayer, offered in faith and sincerity, was affirmed by David when he said: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25). The time of old age can be a time of happy harvest, if we have sowed the seeds of good fruit. HMM
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011


ACTS 1:8, 5:17-18

Pastor Rick Jackson


1. Must Have a Consistent Message [v. 17-20, Rm. 1:16]

2. Must Have a Consistent Method [v. 18-21, 25] “Speak”
Lifestyle evangelism is only valid as the life backs up the lips

3. Must Have a Consistent Ministry [Mt. 28:18-20 no quitters in this group, no retirement from the will of God]


1. Has a Courage made of Conviction [v. 19-20, 29] God Had Spoken!

2. Has a Courage Rooted in Consecration [v. 29]

3. Has a Courage Based on Cooperation [v. 32]


1. Has a Message of Death [v. 30, 28]

2. Has a Message of Life [v. 31, Rm. 4:25]

3. Has a Message of Opportunity [v. 31-33]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lovingkindness and Tender Mercy

Days of Praise
Lovingkindness and Tender Mercy
"Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old." (Psalm 25:6)
These beautiful words, "tender mercies" and "lovingkindness," may sound somewhat old-fashioned in today's sophisticated jargon, but the divine attributes they represent have been "ever of old" and will continue to characterize our tender and merciful, kind and loving God of all grace forever. Dropping them from our conversation (even in most newer translations of the Bible) is a sad loss that, to some degree, has impoverished our speech and, perhaps, our souls.
Note some of the rich scriptural testimonies associated with them: "|The Lord| redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies" (Psalm 103:4). "Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me" (Psalm 40:11). "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions" (Psalm 51:1). "Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good; turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies" (Psalm 69:16).
Other than Proverbs 12:10 ("the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel"), all the occurrences of these two terms, either alone or together, are applied by the translators only to the Lord, never to men (the Hebrew words are rendered by other words in the King James when applied to people). This is beautifully appropriate, for our gracious God is uniquely the God of love and mercy. In spite of the fact that none of us deserve His lovingkindness or tender mercy, "the LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works" (Psalm 145:8-9). HMM
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Monday, December 26, 2011


JOHN 3:11-18

Pastor Rick Jackson


1. God’s Love [Jn. 3:16]

2. God’s Interest [1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you]

Ps. 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

3. God’s Purpose [I Tm. 2:3-4]

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.


1. Where Saints Live Forever [Jn. 10:28]

2. Where Saints Understand [I Cor. 13:12]

3. Where Saints Dwell Joyfully [Rev. 21:4]


1. He Knew the Condition of Man [Lk. 19:10]

2. He Knew the Cost of Redemption [Galatians 3:13]

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

3. He Knew the Call of Salvation [Rom. 10:9-13]

Sunday, December 25, 2011



Pastor Rick Jackson


1. Foretold by the Prophets [Gen. 3:15, Is. 7:14, Jer. 31:22, Micah 5:2]

2. Announced by Angels [Mt. 1:20ff, Lk. 1:11ff, 1:26ff, 2:8ff]

3. Orchestrated by God Almighty [Lk. 1:32-37]

“It was wonderful that at such a time and in such a country such a people could produce Jesus.” – Billy Sunday


1. Wonderful in His Sinlessness – think of the only charges His enemies could come up with:

-claimed God as His Father
-received sinners
-did good on the Sabbath

2. Wonderful in His Unselfishness – He did miracles to help others, never for Himself [Mt. 20:28]

3. Wonderful in His Example [1 Peter 2:21]

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Churches, hospitals, missions, organizations (Salvation Army), etc
It is wonderful that the greatest figure in history came from such obscurity and became the most famous.


1. Come Now [Isaiah 1:18]

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

2. Come All [Matthew 11:28]

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

3. Come to Jesus [John 7:37]

In the last day, that, great day of the feast, Jesus, stood and cried, saying, If, any man thirst, let, him come unto me, and, drink. .

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Question of the Week- Was Jesus Born in December?

It is amazing the amount of people, even Christians, who doubt Jesus was born in December. The problem is they are merely repeating a mantra they have heard from others- and the others didn't do their homework! Check out some facts in this blog from years gone by.

ROMANS 14:1-12

Rick Jackson

There was an interesting letter on the editorial page of the Bradford County Telegraph last year (12-1-05). A lady, whom to my knowledge I do not know, wrote,

The following is "Just My Opinion" but I would like to know - "What do you think, are you willing to change?"

My answer is “no”. I am not willing to change because of someone’s opinion. I am willing to conform to the Word of God. Romans 3:4

What is wrong with Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus on his "real" birthday? Why don't Christians just let the world have their "Happy Holidays" their "Santa Clauses," their lighted trees and all the other traditions" that go with Dec. 25? Guys, believe it or not, this is not the day Jesus was born and I can tell you exactly when it was.

It will take a major portion of this sermon to discount this statement But let’s see how her opinion continued.

It was Tishri 15 (that is a Jewish feast day, their New Year or Rosh Hashanah). Jesus fulfilled every one of the Jewish Feast Days. On the exact days those feast happened, in the time of Jesus, those feast were fulfilled. The only feast left to fulfill is the Feast of Trumpets, and that is the Rapture.

There is not one hint in the Scriptures that Jesus was born on Rosh Hashanah. There would have been a lot of Jewish rituals going on during that time and none is indicated by either Luke or Matthew. Matthew’s silence is deafening since his purpose was to present Christ as the King of the Jews and this would certainly have bolstered that claim.

Now, do you understand why the Shepherds were out watching their sheep by night? It was not cold weather in September.

Dr. Mark Cambron, respected Bible scholar had heard this unsubstantiated claim that it is too cold for the sheep in December. We must remember Israel is not North Dakota or even Ohio. Dr. Cambron was at the shepherds’ field in Bethlehem one Christmas eve and noticed there were shepherds present. He asked them, “Why are sheep here and not in folds. Isn’t it too cold?” They replied, “This is when the grass grows best, so we graze here!” Then he noticed the grass was indeed thick and over knee high. Hearsay destroyed by eyewitnesses!

If Christians go to the "real" birth of Jesus and celebrate it, then all those people who are fighting over not having "their" symbols displayed, or the ACLU fighting to eliminate every thing religious, would perhaps stop. No other religion will be allowed to put up their symbol on our special day.It doesn't belong to them, it belongs to the Christians.

That’s a rather na├»ve view isn’t it? II Th. 1:4, II Tm. 3:11-12

See, right now, they are telling us that Dec. 25 does not belong to Christians, it belongs to those who worship Santa Clause. And you know what? They are right. Separating the two times of the year, would also help teach your child the truth about Jesus, especially if you are a Christian.

I never had a problem teaching my kids the truth about Jesus or Santa. Dt. 6:4-7, Eph. 6:4

See, here is the Christians problem (as I see it). We have put our Lord and Saviors birth right up there with "pagan" beliefs.

Actually Satan constantly tries to get people to believe his lie rather than God’s truth. Jn. 8:44

Does God approve of this? Does God back us in our efforts to keep Jesus as our symbol for this paganism day of worship?

Does she really believe we shouldn’t worship Jesus on any day someone else has set aside for paganism? I worship Jesus on Dec. 25th, July 4th, October 31st and every other day of the year!
Jn. 4:24, Rm. 14:5

Now, if you want to support Santa Clause and all that goes with it, I see no problem with that, but just remember - this is not the birth of Jesus. Don't let the attributes of Santa Clause become the same as Jesus' attributes.

Which is it? Does she have a problem with it or does she not? I personally have a problem with it. Is. 42:8, I Cor. 2:8, Ps. 24

Separating of the two times, will put a stop to this.

No. It won’t. Why would it?

The Jewish celebration on or near Dec. 25, called Hanukkah (celebration of lights) has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Now, I know this is not pagan; this is a true event for them, the Jews. But it is still not Christmas.

Celebrating God’s light is closer to Christmas than Rosh Hashanah. Jn. 1:1-5, 9-12, 8:12, 9:5

Here is my second problem I see with the Christian community. They are not willing to make any changes, even if it is making a change for the "truth."

Her truth or God’s truth? She hasn’t proved anything. “My problem” “Christian community” Who’s that?

They would rather sit right where they are and let the ACLU and all the other religions of the world dictate to us, about the birth of our Savior; and send money to organizations to fight to keep Dec. 25 for Jesus.

I haven’t sent anyone any money. But if I did it would be to preserve our right to celebrate Christmas in a Christ honoring fashion.

If this world's system eventually gets to the point where there is no "Merry Christmas" and it all becomes "Happy Holidays," guys, don't panic, just remember: It isn't the birth of Jesus any way. Just my opinion.

The last three words are the truest thing she has said in her whole letter. The rest reminds me of the Texas longhorn… a point here and a point there and a lot of bull in-between So can we pinpoint Christmas to December at least. Let’s see.

Bible fact # 1 In I Chr. 24:1-19 David organized the priests for the Temple. There were 24 orders for the 12 months, two orders per month (v. 18-19). Note in the fourth month, the latter part of the month is the order of Abijah (v. 10).

Bible fact # 2 In Ex. 12:2, 13:4 God says the month Nisan is the first month of the Jewish calendar. Nisan falls in our Mar. /Apr. which puts the order of Abijah in our July.

Bible Fact # 3 Zechariah was serving in July. (Lk. 1:5-7) Not yet 50 but advanced in years (people age differently, in US pioneer days the average lifespan was 35). Luke 1:8-23. He went home in August and John the Baptist was conceived in August or September (1:24). Her first month would be Sept. or Oct. Her 6th month would be Feb.-March. (1:26-36 Mary conceived in Elisabeth’s 6th month so her first month would be March-April. Count it out. April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., December.

Late December is when the shepherds are out in their fields to watch their sheep by night. The night the angels came. Luke 2:8-15. The night, Christ was born. I for one am not going to let the Devil steal my Christmas.

1. Worship in Spirit and truth Jn. 4:24

2. Be fully persuaded in your own mind. Rm. 14:5-6

3. Whatever ye do, do it unto the Lord Col. 3:17-25

ROM. 14:5

Rick Jackson

Last week we saw in the Bible that Jesus WAS born in late December, maybe even Dec. 25th! This week we look at a few other criticisms of Christmas. Had they put as much work into studying the matter out as they do criticizing they would know the answers themselves. It seems the only exercise they get is jumping to conclusions. Let’s examine some of their complaints and answer them with more Christmas facts!


1. Jeremiah is not talking about Christmas trees [Jer. 10:5-15] He is referring to wooden idols, carved by men, overlaid with gold, etc.

2. Christmas trees are actually Christian.

John R. Rice recounts the origin of the Christmas tree.

In the 8th century a missionary named Boniface went to Germany to preach Christ. The Germanic tribes worshipped the oak tree as a symbol of deity. Boniface told them it was a poor symbol for God since it sheds its leaves and appears dead in winter. He told them the tree that should remind them of God was the evergreen. Always green and thriving.

Christmas trees became popular in England primarily through the influence of the German-born, Prince Albert, husband of England’s Queen Victoria. In America the trees were introduced by German immigrants in Pennsylvania.

3. The tree reminds me of Calvary [Gal. 6:14, I Pt. 2:24]

4. The light on top reminds me of Jesus. [Jn. 8:12, 9:5, I Jn. 1:5]

5. The other lights remind me of Jesus’ word [Mt. 5:14]

II. Critics say giving gifts has become too commercialized.

It can be but need not be. [II Cor. 9:15, Jn. 3:16, Rm. 6:23, 12:6, Acts 3:6 ]

What are we doing to aid the critics? What are we doing to silence them?

The Babe in Bethlehem

Days of Praise
The Babe in Bethlehem
December 24, 2011
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
This is a very remarkable prophecy, explicitly predicting that the future King of Israel would be born in the little village of Bethlehem some 700 years before He finally came. Then, to assure its fulfillment, the great Emperor Augustus had to decree a comprehensive census, compelling Joseph to take Mary with him to Bethlehem for her child to be born.
That the prophecy involves an actual birth is clear, not only from the phrase "come forth," but also from the succeeding verse which warns that God will "give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth" (v. 3). The preceding verse had also predicted that "they shall smite |this coming ruler| the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek" (v. 1), speaking of His initial rejection and execution.
But that is not all. The prophecy not only foresees His birth in Bethlehem, His repudiation by His own people, and His eventual installation as King over all Israel (not merely Judah), but also that this same remarkable person was none other than God Himself! His "goings forth" had been "from everlasting." That is, He is eternally proceeding forth from His Father. He did not become God's Son when He was born in Bethlehem; He has been coming forth eternally.
There is still another truth implied in the remarkable Hebrew word for "goings forth." It is also used for such things as the flowing of water from a fountain or the radiations from the sun. Thus, the never-ending flowing forth of power from God through the Son is nothing less than the sustaining energy for the whole creation, as He is "upholding all things by the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3). And this was the Babe in Bethlehem! HMM
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Answers Weekly: What's so scary about a Portuguese man-of-war?

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December 24, 2011

a weekly look at

top leftIn this issue . . .

Q: What's so scary about a Portuguese man-of-war?

A: For most U.S. citizens, the word colony invokes images of early America. The Mayflower, our first Thanksgiving, the Revolutionary War. Bonnets and muskets, and living off of the land. But there's another image the word conjures up, at least to biologists—an image of a creature that is mysterious, dangerous, and astounding: the Portuguese man-of-war.
Whatever you do, don't call them jellyfish. That name is a misnomer. They are not "true" jellyfish. And though they can be found off the coast of Portugal, they are most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. They also can be found in the northern Atlantic Gulf Stream. Wherever the ocean is warm, chances are you'll find them.
The name man-of-war is also misleading. They certainly aren't men, and they don't go to war. In fact, they aren't even individual animals! A Portuguese man-of-war is actually a floating colony.

Continue reading to learn more about these incredible creatures in a special sneak-preview article from Answers magazine.

News to Note Quick Look

"Jurassic lark": Flying Monsters 3D, featuring British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, just became the first 3D movie to win a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award. The film will air on Christmas day on the UK's Sky1 television as well as in IMAX theaters around the country. Sir David sets out to solve "one of the greatest mysteries in paleontology: how and why did pterosaurs fly? How did creatures the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through prehistoric skies?" Read more.

Starbursts: The Silver Dollar Galaxy in the constellation Sculptor provided a very photogenic target for testing the European Space Agency's VLT Survey Telescope (VST). VST is the largest telescope in the world to rely on visible light for its observations. The detailed images of bright blue clumps in the spiral galaxy are purportedly "stellar nurseries where hot young stars have just ignited." Read more.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

Evicting the Sacred by Ravi Zacharias

  Default Theme - R


Dear Friend,

To repress worship is to repress the irrepressible.

Everyone is a worshipper. Every person has his or her God: The only difference is that some can defend what they believe with sound reasons while others do so in a vacuum. Not only individuals but nations have their gods.

I am an Indian, born and raised in India. Before I moved to the West I readily accepted the fact that during Hindu festivals the nation would be celebrating the occasion. This was understood, even though technically India is a secular democracy. But there is an underlying worldview behind the culture. Whether it was Ganesh puja or Diwali, India celebrates its festivals based in a Hindu worldview.

I am not a Hindu but I respect the Hindu's right to express the foundational ideas of the nation. The same applies to a Buddhist nation or to an Islamic nation. I am neither a Buddhist nor a Muslim. But I respect the right of those in these countries to express their faith during their festivals and am not offended by them.

I am a Christian. When I came to America decades ago, I was thrilled to see Christmas celebrated and the reason for the season so obvious: the birth of Jesus Christ. Did I assume that every American was thus a Christian? Certainly not. But I expected the charitable heart of even the dissenter to allow that which has been practiced in this country historically and traditionally to continue. But alas, it is not so. In Thailand and Indonesia Christmas carols are sung in shopping centers and Christmas trees adorn airports. But in America the anti-Christian bias of silly advertisements like Bloomingdales' "Merry, Happy, Love, Peace" reflect ideas firmly planted in midair and proclaim no reason for the season.

Who is offended by a public celebration of Christmas? The anti-Christian secularist who lives under the illusion that values are cradled in a vacuum. Peace and love for what? What do these terms really mean? Are they self-evident? Not by any means.

America may not be a Christian nation per se, but only the Judeo-Christian worldview could have framed such a nation's ideas and values: "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." No other religion or secular assumption can affirm such a statement except the Judeo-Christian worldview. But today that very worldview on which our systems of government and law are based is expelled from the marketplace.

Democracies that are unhinged from all sacred moorings ultimately sink under the brute weight of conflicting egos. Freedom is destroyed not just by its retraction, but more often by its abuse.

Is it not odd that whenever it has power, liberalism is anything but liberal, both in the area of religion and politics? We now have something called "spirituality" because people don't like the word "religion." What does spirituality mean? It means you may believe anything you wish to believe but regarding ultimate things, "No absolutes, please." The relativism and spirituality with which our society lives have one thing in common: they are both sophisticated ways of self-worship.

It is not accidental that even as Christian values have been jettisoned, the world is economically and morally on the verge of bankruptcy. Oh, but Jesus' name still surfaces in the West. Maybe more often than any other name. Why? Because profanity still reigns. Oh yes, and God still figures in our philosophy: even when "Mother Earth" quakes and thousands die, we still blame "Father God." The banishment of Christmas may be the anti-theists' great longing. But they still want the gifts of Christmas—love, joy, peace and reason. Malcolm Muggeridge once opined that we have educated ourselves into imbecility.

What are we celebrating at Christmas? What is the message of Christmas? It is the birth of the One who promised peace, joy and love. Try as we will, we cannot realize such values without acknowledging the point of reference for these absolutes: the very person of God and his gift to us of a changed heart and will. That message needs to be heard around our world that is reeling with problems and rife with hate. For we have proven we are not fit to be God.

G.K. Chesterton was right: "The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried and found wanting, but that it has been found difficult and left untried."

Some years ago, I walked into the Forbidden City in Beijing. It was a cold and grey January. I paused as I saw deep inside its walls a shop with the banner still fluttering, "Merry Christmas." That which was happily displayed in the Forbidden City is now all but forbidden in our cities. A Chinese professor once remarked to me, "You Christians need to thank God for Communism, because we left the souls of our people empty, making room for the gospel."

Maybe someday we will thank the rabid secularists as well, when Merry Christmas will no longer be forbidden in our cities. Exhausted and disappointed in self-worship, we may turn to God again and hear his story afresh.

Ravi explores these issues in greater depth in his forthcoming book, Why Jesus? available January 25, 2012.

God bless you dear friends.


 If you have questions or comments, email

Sorrow According to God

Days of Praise
Sorrow According to God
December 23, 2011
"And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:31-32)
In one of the most important passages in the New Testament regarding repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-11), Paul uses essentially the same phrase three times to express what he means by repentance: He rejoices that the Corinthian believers were made "sorry after a godly manner" (v. 9), calls it a "godly sorrow" (v. 10), claiming that they "sorrowed after a godly sort" (v. 11). This phrase could literally be translated "sorrow according to God," which leads to repentance. Such sorrow is contrasted to the "sorrow of the world |that| worketh death" (v. 10), which is a mere regret of consequences or remorse of conscience, which does not yield repentance, but only despair and possibly suicide. "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation" (v. 10).
Just as godly sorrow leads to repentance, so should the blessings of God. "Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Romans 2:4). God desires repentance on the part of the sinning one and is free to use whatever vehicle He chooses to bring it about.
True repentance involves a recognition of sin as a crime against God and a violation of His holy nature. Our recognition of this fact brings godly sorrow which leads inevitably to a change of mindset toward the sin and a confession of it as sin (1 John 1:9), and this brings forgiveness from God.
Christ taught that this "sorrow according to God" brings great joy elsewhere in the universe: "Likewise, I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:10). JDM
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