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Like Mike said,"please filter my comments through the lens of the bible"...I maybe diving into deep water here but here goes...I just couldn't help comparing Cyrus to the church.There are many messianic commnunites now but most of the ones I know here started off in a local christian church.Today more and more christians are praying for Israel to recognise Jesus as their saviour...alot of jews are responding.There was a time a doctrine was spreading that Israel has been rejected by God and all the promises made to Israel are now the church's.God still has a plan with Israel.
I believe it is crucial for every christian to be a "self feeder"I began to question the doctrine I was getting when I came to Christ.I really wanted to get to know the truth but somehow reading through the bible on my own didn't help me much.I have to say being involved in a bible study has really helped me filter out a lot of heresies.
God bless you all.
PS,I would really appreciate any corrections in case I go overboard with my comments

as i reviewed some of the comments re tv i was surprised that we can go to such extremes, whether it be watching too much tv or just the opposite not watching any, and making it potentially sound like those who do CHOOSE WISELY to watch, are somewhat missing their faculties. i will be the first to admit that I love to watch inspiring movies. In the last few weeks I have seen United 93, Gridiron Gang, Invincible and To End all wars.
And WATCHING these movies has MOVED me to action whether it's been to be more focused when working with people, or just more civil with people, or persevering through setbacks.
I attended a Church and culture conference last year in charlotte and was impressed by a lecture called Hollywood Worldviews. What a helpful lecture and book that doesn't condemn the media but helps one be discerning.

Of course there is a lot of garbage on TV and in the movies but it's not all bad, and I personally believe it's worth sifting through the garbage to find some of the good material that people are producing that does edify and inspire and educate.

Take a look at Ecclesiastes 7:18 and following--it says that some people are overrighteous and others underrighteous, but the best position is this "The person who fears God avoids all extremes. It's good to grasp one thing and not let go of the other.

by the way, watching movies has not limited my love for reading. I read A LOT. It's possible to read too much bible (don't condemn me here) especially if one fails to apply what they read. To know and not to do is not to know at all. There such a thing called Toxic Faith. I have met way too many 'christians' who gag on the bible and make people NOT want to read the Bible. It's not just tv viewing that makes people addicted but so does a lot of pop culture evangelical religion. This also has a numbing effect on people. Just WATCH the Truman Show sometime. I think this movie so well reflects the way many 'christians' live out their faith. Forgive me, now I'm ranting.

i appreciate mike's passion to avoid media all together. That's a good position for mike to take and for others, but it's not necessarily the place we all need to be. No need to hammer this one into the ground. Christians are given to ranting, but let's make sure that's not all we're known for.

Isaiah 45 (NKJV)
11
Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “ Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; and concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.

NOTE:
This verse may appear totally contradictory to the God’s nature—He is the Most High, He is the Supreme, and He is the Almighty God!

Why, then, would “the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker” tell a man: “you command Me”?

CONTEXT IS KEY. The answer must always start there. Note the earlier verses from Isaiah 45:

1
“Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut:
2
‘ I will go before you and make the crooked places straight [OR. . . I will trample down the walls; OR. . . I will humble the great ones of the earth]; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron.

4
For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
5
I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
6
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other
~~~

God Himself had put His own desires into the heart of Cyrus.

Even though Cyrus—a pagan king—did not know the Lord, God had put it in the heart of Cyrus to perceive what God was telling him, to receive it, and then to completely yield to God’s will.

Thus, it now makes sense that God would say to Cyrus: “you command Me”.

God had so clearly put His will into the heart of Cyrus that whatever Cyrus wanted to do would be God’s will. So Cyrus had the right to “declare” what he was going to do, and God would do it.

Cyrus was raised for this purpose, as in the verse below:

13
I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build My city and let My exiles go free,
not for price nor reward,” says the LORD of hosts.

So Cyrus can speak and act according to God’s will, and there is no doubt it will be done.

In a much larger sense, applying to all of us, this makes me think of these verses:

Psalm 37 (Amplified Bible)
4
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.
5
Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

Proverbs 16 (Amplified Bible)
3
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

John 15 (Amplified Bible)
4
Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

7
If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
~~~

Isaiah 47 (NKJV)
10
And you have said in your heart, ‘ I am, and there is no one else besides me.’

Pride is a wicked and deceitful attitude to have: “I am the best. There is no one besides me. It is all about me.”

Of course, that attitude rejects the truth that God alone is the highest and best, and that life is about God!
~~~

Isaiah 48 (NKJV)
10
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.

NOTE:
Thank God that God keeps working with us until our character is molded and shaped, and our lives become pure.

Thank God that, in Christ, all true believers in the Lord Jesus—when they repent, pray, believe, and receive Christ as Savior and Lord—they are immediately made clean in the sight of God.

Romans 5 (NKJV)
1
Therefore, having been justified [i.e., declared righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

2 Corinthians 5 (NKJV)
17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
~~~

Yet our character and our very beings have been so corrupted by sin that God has to bring us to death to our way of thinking.

May I receive the “refining” and the “testing” that God works and allows. It is in the fire that our faith is made pure as we seek Him when it is not convenient or easy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Jesus, Matthew 5)

We are called to live for God. It is all about Him!

Ephesians 4 (NKJV)
15
but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
16
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

NOTE:
May we love the Truth so that we seek Truth above our way and above our comfort.

May we speak Truth to one another in love and respect for others—knowing they are valuable and precious because all people bear God’s image.

May we receive a brother or sister who is speaking Truth in love.

In addition, all Christians are “not their own” but we have been “bought with a price”. The Lord Jesus in each believer is a very holy and precious reality. We respect the work of God in each other.

May we work together in love and unity. ONLY THEN will we individually and as a body develop the character of the Lord Jesus!
~~~

Yesterday, Sunday, September 24, 2006, was the beginning of Ramadan.

Let us pray for Muslims as they fast and pray during this time.

Many Muslims sincerely seek the Lord, longing for a pure desire to separate from the world and to know God.

Many Muslims have come to know the Lord Jesus as they seek the Lord during Ramadan because Christians pray.
~~~

Pray for Muslims in the Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan Rich in history and culture, the Ferghana Valley prides itself in being the cradle of everything Uzbek; the Uzbeks in the Valley consider themselves the most pure.

This pride has been a hindrance to the Gospel, because the notion to be Uzbek is to be Muslim, is very much accepted in the valley.

The city of Kokand, a major religious center (pop. 200,000), boasts of having 300 mosques (including one which can hold 10,000 worshippers). In reality, knowing the true God would only make them more Uzbek, as they understand who they can become through Christ!

Prayer guide for the Ferghana Valley:

1. Pray for the national believers in the Ferghana Valley to be bold in their witness and loving in their relationships with non-believers. The vast majority of Muslims in the Valley have not been evangelized.

2. May the Holy Spirit show people in the Valley that being a follower of Jesus will in no way make them less Uzbek, Tadjik or Kyrgyz. It will only help them to discover their real identity. Muslims in the Valley need to experience the Kingdom of God. Only God’s new society is able to meet their most profound aspirations for peace and justice.

3. Pray for God's righteous ways to rule in the business realm.

Testimony from the Ferghana Valley:

I am 38 years old, was born in Kokand, a small city in the Ferghana Valley, and I am married and have small children. I am an ex-criminal, and was in prison for many years. Previously my life was awful and I had no one to rely on except for myself. Before coming to Jesus I was very aggressive, rough and dishonest. People were afraid of me because of my reputation.

God is doing many miracles in the Ferghana Valley - healing people, setting them free, and changing lives. Now the kingdom of God is spreading to many villages and small cities in the Ferghana Valley.

Vance

Luciano—Yep—Reading the Bible is just like a bar of soap, it does you no good unless you apply it.

I have also been comparing us who read the bible and don’t apply it or put it’s words into activation to those of us who have a lot of fat cells surrounding us. Fat cells are stored energy. Instead of placing them in our “battery compartments,” we hang them on the outside making ourselves too heavy to move or so heavy, that we can barely move.

Ramona

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