How to pick the right religion

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Faith in the classroom

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God’s free gift of grace, to me, is. . .

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Religion or relationship

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I could get a PhD in “STUPID”

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Plop Plop Fizz Fizz

Many of you probably remember what comes after the “pop pop fizz fizz”. It’s Continue reading

I was a Feelings-Facts-Faith kind of guy

Before I learned my true identify in Christ, I lived decades in a “feelings-facts-faith” mindset.  I depended on my feelings (my emotions) to influence my choices and my thoughts. I rarely progressed to the “facts” (my choices were already made) of the matter. Faith was just something I talked about in Sunday School or heard in church. It was rarely a factor in helping me make life choices.

On my winding road to sanctification the Holy Spirit is teaching me that my feelings trigger one of two responses.  Hurtful things said to me or done to me triggered a reaction. My reactions were usually immediate and based on how the hurt made me feel. Then the conversation usually escalated to anger. And nothing got resolved.

Now, I can take something hurtful said or done to me and weigh it against Scripture and God’s truth (what the facts are). Then I can respond by putting my faith in God. Nailing  to the cross. Releasing it. And forgiving the offender.

I am learning bit-by-bit to check my feelings, seek the facts (the truth) then respond in faith. Am I able to get to faith in God every time? No. This is relatively new to me. A new course in my sanctification. The Holy Spirit is teaching me day by day, experience by experience.

I can say that when I’m able to respond and not react, I allow my trials and hurts to progress from feelings to facts to faith. When that happens I experience unprecedented and soul-gratifying joy and growth in Christ I’ve never felt before.

faith fact feelings

The Difference Between Me and Job

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

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Running Scared Or Walking Confidently

By Dr. John Ed Mathisonjohn ed
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

“Running scared” might be the best description of how many people are living today. Fear is rapidly becoming one of the most dominant emotions that we have. Present day circumstances really heighten the emotion of fear.

Various pollsters listed some of the things of which American people are afraid. 71% suspect that there will soon be major terrorist attacks in the U.S. 43% fear that they or someone in their family will contract Ebola. 57% worry about being killed in a mass shooting. 69% fear cyber criminals will steal their credit card information. 62% fear that hackers will break into their phone or computer and steal sensitive and private information. A huge majority of older citizens fear that they won’t have enough money for retirement years.

Andrew Parker, the Britain Security Chief has recently warned that Al Qaeda is planning “mass casualty attacks against the West.” He goes on to say, “My sharpest concern as Director General of M15 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capacities to address it.” Newspapers, television, social media – every day is filled with new threats that would heighten our fear.

Kenneth Benedict, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, meeting in Washington D.C. Thursday, January 24, 2015, reported that they are moving the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. Benedict said, “It is now three minutes to midnight. The probability of global catastrophe is very high. This is about the end of civilization as we know it.”

Do we have more to fear today than in the past? I don’t know the answer to that. One person stated recently that we have so much to fear today that back in the Roosevelt days we didn’t realize how lucky we were – having nothing to fear but fear itself!

The subtle danger of fear is that it appears to be something that it is not. It is deceptive. It is false. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous quote that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” was followed by a description of fear as “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

One acronym for FEAR is False Evidence Against Reality. Fear is not always real, it can be exaggerated. It doesn’t always fit with reality. A Russian proverb says, “Fear has big eyes.” Fear will magnify what it sees – and sometimes will see what is not even there. Mark Twain said, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m scared of them.”

The answer to fear is faith. There are 365 references in the Bible to fear. I am not real good at math but that is about one for every day of the year. Each of those references assures us of God’s love and care for us and the importance of placing our faith in Him. As my friend Jim Sanders signs his letters:

Inhale Faith – Exhale Fear.

Psalm 34:4 – “I prayed to the Lord and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” I John 4:4 – “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Isaiah 41:10 – “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you and hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Life is a choice – fear or faith – running scared or walking confidently.

John Ed’s blog posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

Do We Understand Forgiveness?

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Your Drawbridge

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

We are constantly warned that we have to be careful what we eat. If we consume spoiledjohn ed or poisonous food, it will have very adverse effects on us. When going into a foreign country you have to be careful about drinking the water. What we put into our bodies will determine how our bodies function.

The same is true of our minds. What goes in determines our actions. You can’t put in bad things and expect good things to come out. Our minds are like a computer – garbage in, garbage out.

We are the only ones who determine what goes into our minds. This makes guarding our minds very important. Recently Jim Denison referred to the following quote by Henri Nouwen: “Think of a medieval castle surrounded by a moat. The drawbridge is the only access to the interior of the castle.

The lord of the castle must have the power to decide when to draw the bridge and when to let it down. Without such power, he can become the victim of enemies, strangers, and wanderers. He will never feel at peace in his own castle.”

Apply this image of the drawbridge to your mind. You are the keeper of the drawbridge. You need to keep the drawbridge up when bitterness comes calling. All of us have adversities in life. We get mistreated. If you invite bitterness into your mind, you will become a bitter person who other people don’t enjoy – and you won’t enjoy yourself.

Negativity inevitably comes calling. Keep the drawbridge up. A negative outlook will always produce negative results. Whenever people say that something is impossible, practice selective deafness. Don’t listen to them.

Pride is constantly requesting entrance. The middle letter of pride is “I.” It creates an attitude where we think life focuses around ourselves. Sin also has “I” as the middle letter. Pride is an expression of sin. It is when we think we can replace God. When sin and pride call, keep the drawbridge up.

Fear will come calling. Fear will paralyze you. Fear will conjure up demons that don’t exist. Fear will make you feel totally inadequate to face a situation. The Bible speaks 365 times against fear – that is once for every day of the year that will help you keep the drawbridge up on fear.

There are some good visitors that will come calling. Put the drawbridge down for them. One is faith. Faith is the antithesis to fear. Faith means that we are going to follow what God desires for us. One of the best definitions of faith is “forsaking all, I take Him.” He is in charge of the future.

Hope will come calling. Put down the drawbridge. I love the lines in South Pacific where the young lady sings, “I’m stuck like a dope with a thing called hope, and I can’t get it out of my mind.” The most basic hope that we have is not in our individual achievement or our personal abilities, but in the fact that God created us and has a plan and purpose for our lives.

Love will come calling. Welcome love. Jesus taught that it is the way that we are to live – to love God and to love our fellowman. It is the universal language that everyone understands.

You are in charge of the drawbridge to your mind. Nobody else can operate it for you. What you allow to cross the drawbridge will greatly affect your quality of life and your effectiveness as a human being.

Guard carefully your drawbridge.

John Ed’s posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

Shoes That Didn’t Wear Out

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What’s A Follower To Do?

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You are God and I’m not.

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You Plus God Equals Zero U+GOD=0

Lots of people who don’t know their true identity in Christ believe and live out of a contrived philosophy of works and performance. They think God plus ID in Christtheir good works is what brings God glory. If the truth be told, in my opinion and from my experience, usually the motivation for their good works is probably more about getting approval from God.

I had a friend who used to tell me, and everyone else, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” I had to bite my tongue every time I heard that platitude. First, it’s not the least bit scriptural or true. And second, it creates the impression that one has to do stuff to get help, approval or acceptance from God.

I was teaching about grace and the freedom we have in Christ one Sunday in my adult Bible study class. One of our members grew up in another faith, a legalistic, works oriented religion. She made this statement, “Okay, I hear what you’re saying, but surely there must be something we need to do to receive God’s grace.”

Obviously she did NOT hear what I was saying. Her resistance to surrendering her life to Christ and abiding in Christ (John 15:1-5) caused her to struggle with God’s grace and receive it.  John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing!”

Abiding is the toughest “nothing” we will ever do. But as the verses in John say, unless we do nothing in and of ourselves and just abide, we won’t produce anything worthwhile for the Kingdom of God.

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Illustration For Planting A Seed With Non-Believers

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The Healer

By Helen Murray
Guest Blogger

“…a ruler came and knelt before him (Jesus) and said, ‘My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.‘ Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
Just then, a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.” Matthew 9:18-22 and Luke 8:40-48 Continue reading

Believers: 1 Atheists: 0

Author’s Note: The following dialogue occurred between an antagonistic, atheist college professor and a student who was a believer in Jesus Christ.  I saw this on the friend of a friend of a friend’s blog. I have no idea whether it is authentic or not. My takeaway from this dialogue was a renewing of my mind about the authenticity of the Gospel and the importance of standing up for the Truth. Continue reading

Lose The Law, Grab The Grace

Editor’s Note: Revelations In Writing is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs to read.  Shannon E. Moreno is fast becoming one of my favorite blog writers. First and foremost, Shannon and I are on the same page spiritually in our identities in Christ. Secondly, she is a gifted and devoted writer. It is obvious Shannon loves the Lord and allows the Holy Spirit to guide her heart and her writing.

“For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in His grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.” – Galatians 3:18

If our salvation depends on our following of religious laws, rituals and customs, then it does not come from Jesus, Continue reading

Do You Have “Get-There-Itis”?

By Ron Hutchcraft
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.

Well, somehow I ended up speaking for the FAA Pilot Safety program. Now, you really wouldn’t want to fly in a plane that I taught anyone to fly; I don’t know nothing about it. But I think they invited me because of a book Continue reading

Are You “A Christian” Or Are You “Christian”?

My friend Henry asked this question Saturday at our Bible Study. “Are you a Christian or are you Christian?”  It’s a question we can all ponder. Continue reading

Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz

Many folks probably remember what comes after the “fizz fizz”. It’s “Oh, what a relief it is” from the iconic Alka Seltzer commercials.Ol’ Speedy has been hawking his antacid since 1951, Continue reading

How’s Your Vision?

Can You See It?
It’s out there. It’s waiting for you to recognize it, then commit your Continue reading

Preparing For Your Calling “Emptying and Filling”

Third In A Series
Love God More Than The World
By Amanda Beth

Editor’s Note: Today we resume Amanda Beth’s series we started publishing before Christmas. Enjoy.  

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

This is the third message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link if you missed the last two messages in this series. Last week I talked about how Simon, Peter, James and John dropped everything to follow Jesus. Once they made that choice, Jesus began to teach them and perform miracles in their sight. Continue reading

Faith In Captivity: Part One

I’m fortunate to have guest blogger, Bryan Ridenour.  Bryan wrote a three part series on Faith In Captivity Continue reading

Hitting A Wall

When was the last time you hit a wall? I’m not referring to a flimsy sheet rock wall in your house you can put your fist through. I’m talkin’ Grand Canyon limestone and shale ascending overhead so far into the clouds you can’t see the top. Continue reading

Is Anything Blocking Your Vision?

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

One of Sarah Young’s thoughts in Jesus Calling today seemed appropriate to one of my most aggravating dilemmas.  “The curse of this world,” she said, “is over-stimulation of the senses, which blocks our awareness of the unseen world.”

I detest following a semi or an SUV on the road. Both of them block my sight so I can’t see what’s ahead of me. I’m not trying to be the first car. I just want to see the road signs ahead of me. And every time I park at Wal-Mart, I park by little cars. I avoid parking by big trucks or SUV’s. Invariably, when I leave, some big truck or 24-passenger SUV has parked right beside me. I have to crane my neck and back out cautiously and blindly to avoid smashing into someone. Continue reading