Friday 13th: What It Means for Christians

by Carole Brownfriday-the-13th-free

What do we know about Friday 13th?

  • Friday the 13th occurs from one to three times per year when the 13th day of any month falls on a Friday.
  • The fear of Friday the 13th is called “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” a word derived from the Greek wordsParaskeví (Friday) and dekatreís (thirteen), attached to phobia (fear).
  • Some people are bound by paraskevidkatriaphobia that they avoid activities even their normal, everyday ones. They refuse to travel and seek to remain as “unnoticed” as possible. 

Theories about Friday 13th’s beginnings:

  • The Last Supper with the twelve disciples and Jesus making the “thirteenth” person: he was crucified and killed that day.
  • Frigga, a goddess, who was banished when Christianity entered the country.
  • French King Phillip IV ordered the death of all the monastery military order Knights Templar when they amassed too much wealth and power.

What should Christians choose to do?fear-free

Friday 13th is a superstition, built in and around FEAR. There are two types of fear. Fear of the Lord, which in the perfect sense means to stand in awe of. The second type of fear is a “spirit of fear” which is a detriment and should be overcome. 

As such, Christians need to look to the Bible for guidance:

 

bible-free

 

Encouraging Scriptures for the Christians:

  • Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Isaiah 41:10.
  • Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than the sparrows.” Matthew 41:10
  • In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11

There are many more scriptures in the Bible that encourage us to trust, to realize we’re not alone, that God understands our fear of destitution and weaknesses. There is power and strength in the scriptures. Keep our eyes fixed on them and on God.  

Do You Really Want Revival?

Flaming Cross Christian ArtWe hear it all the time. “A revival is coming to America.” “We are praying for revival.” “Only revival will save America.” Everywhere you look, there are prophecies about the coming revival. But sometimes I wonder if most American Christians really want revival, or if they just want a religious experience that makes the feel good.

American Christians are comfortable. Even the poorest American is richer and safer than most people in the world. True revival would make them uncomfortable. True revival will mess you up.It will challenge you. It will change your perspective and your life. It will humble you when God moves on you in unexpected ways. It will explode your theology and understanding. It will put you at odds with the culture – even the modern Christian pop culture. So the question is do we really want revival? Here are some of the ways revival manifested itself in the book of Acts and throughout history.

Praying African Americn boyIntense unified prayer proceeds a move of God. In Acts 2:1, the disciples were all praying in one place and one accord. Before the First Great Awakening, the Moravians started a prayer meeting in 1727 that lasted one hundred years. The Great Awakening was said to be in its greatest intensity between 1727 and 1757. If we truly want revival, we will pray for a spirit of revival prayer to sweep through the church.

Man in waterSigns and Wonders Accompany Revival. This is hard for some to accept. When revival comes, it is messy. God moves in strange and unusual ways. I’ve heard some say the Holy Spirit is not weird. That doesn’t ring true when we look at historical results of revival.

Acts 2:2-3 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The early Christian revival in Acts wasn’t the only one that had strange signs and wonders accompany it. Trypho said in the second century, “For the prophetical gifts remain with us even to the present time.”  Sarah Edwards, wife of Great Awakening preacher Jonathan Edwards described an experience that incapacitated her for days which she described as “being swallowed up in God.” In the Cane Ridge revival in 1801, it was described this way. “20,000 people swirled about the grounds—watching, praying, preaching, weeping, groaning, falling. Though some stood at the edges and mocked, most left marveling at the wondrous hand of God.”

Laughing, crying, being slain in the Spirit, groaning, and other manifestations make make the modern church uncomfortable. Many have scorned Christians and churches where unusual signs and wonders occur, but if we truly want revival, we’ll have to accept the unusual and jump into the river of God.

Generosity and Self-Sacrifice accompany revival. Acts 2:45 says, “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” In the Moravian revival, two men were willing to sell themselves in slavery to share the Gospel.

Cute african girlA spirit of holiness and repentance is always present in revival. In the book of Acts, Peter preached, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.” Ananias and Sapphira were killed by God for lying to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19, new Christians brought their occult materials and burned them.

Throughout history repentance and holiness have also been a major part. During the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards preached Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and people held on to the church posts in fear of the judgement of God. During the Jesus revival in the 1970s, young men and women brought their drug to the altar and left them there. During the Welsh Revival, Reverend Hertford said this.

“I found the poor children whom Mr. A kept at school were increased to about thirty boys and girls. I went in immediately to the girls. As soon as I began to speak, some of them burst into tears, and their emotion rose higher and higher. But it was kept within bounds until I began to pray. A cry then arose, which spread from one to another, till almost all cried aloud for mercy, and would not be comforted.”

True revival will cause us to speak out about the sins of our culture and grieve over our own sins.

Earth SunriseMissions and evangelism accompany revival. 3,000 were saved on the day of Pentecost. People accused the disciples of “turning the world upside down”. The Moravian movement sent out 300 missionaries and started the modern missionary movement. Charles Finney, during the Second Great Awakening, was president of Oberlin College when it sent missionaries all over the world.

If we really want God to move, we will yield to whatever God wants to do. Revival will mess up our church structure and services. It will change our lives and cause us to be willing to obey God no matter how it makes us look to others in the Christian world. God is too big to fit in your comfortable revival box. Let God move the way He chooses and let the River of God overflow.

Some Biblical Humor to Bring a Smile to Your Face–Today!

by Carole Brown

laughter

And if some of them are kind of corny, well, enjoy the few you like. Have a happy day:

 

 

Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
A. Ruthless.

Noah free

Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
A. Noah  He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation

 

 
Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
A. Pharaoh’s daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.

Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury.
David’s Triumph was heard throughout the land.
Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord.

Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A. Samson. He brought the house down

Adam and Eve free

Q. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden ?                                                                    A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.

 

 

Q. Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?
A. Moses. He broke all 10 commandments at once.

Q. Which area of Palestine was especially wealthy?
A. The area around Jordan . The banks were always overflowing

david n Goliath free

 

Q. Who is the greatest babysitter mentioned in the Bible?
A. David… He rocked Goliath to a very deep sleep.

 

 

Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
A. Joshua, son of Nun

Q. Why didn’t they play cards on the Ark ?
A. Because Noah was standing on the deck.

PS.. Did you know it’s a sin for a woman to make coffee?
Yup, it’s in the Bible. It says . . ‘He-brews

Keep laughing!

 

10 Things That Would Happen if a Great Awakening Swept America

Man is Praying to Holy SpiritI, like many of you, am praying for another great awakening to sweep over the United States. Based on revivals and great awakenings in history, here are ten things we could expect if our prayers are answered.

1. Sports games, movie theaters, and other entertainment venues would begin to shut down on Sundays. It wouldn’t be profitable for them to stay open since most people would be in church.

2. Wild manifestations would appear, some of God and some because of emotional excitement. Some preachers and church member would lament that the services are out of order.

3. People would spontaneously meet in homes during the week for prayer meetings and Bible studies.

Young Boy with hands up on the Blue Sky and Cloud Background

4. Youth and children would be a major part and would have Bible studies and prayer meeting in school whether they were allowed or not. They would also tell their friends about Jesus and lead many of them to Christ.

5. People would do radical things like give all their money to the poor, decide to become missionaries, or start street preaching outside of bars.

6. People would be kicked out of their churches for getting too excited. Because of this, new churches and denominations would rise up.

7. A wave of persecution would hit because those who are resisting God would become angry. Some of this persecution would come from the church.

Glowing Bible with Cross on Brown Backround8. False doctrines would rise up to try to deceive. The real church would immerse themselves in the Word to rightly divide the Word of God.

9. Every area of our culture would be effected: news media, education, sports, entertainment, etc.

10. God would require a greater surrender and yielding to Him in ways we might not like.

What Does the Church Need to Do to Attract Millennials?

There is a movement in the church world today to make the church more seeker friendly for the young adult generation. Millennials, those born between 1981 – 2003, have turned their backs on the church, so the idea of drawing them back is a noble pursuit.

As much as churches want to draw millennials, some of the seeker friendly methods many churches are embracing might be driving young adults away from the church.

Here’s some things the church  needs to consider as they craft a plan to attract Millennials.

Millennials want relationships.

In the past, relationships in the church were fostered through Sunday School, mid-week groups, and fellowships that included both age group and multigenerational activities. Many churches have ditched these activities. The thought behind this is that everyone is too busy. Large Sunday church services don’t foster these kind of relationships.

Some churches have divided the congregation up into age groups to the extreme where a child can go from birth to eighteen without ever getting to know the older saints in the church. So teens who do go to church all their lives, when they become adults and enter the adult sanctuary, feel left out and isolated and often leave.

Millennials need relationships. Churches that end Sunday School, midweek sessions and fellowships without offering some kind of small group replacement and opt for only large services on Sundays will drive away the very group they seek to draw.

Millennials want to participate.

In the past, church was mostly an event where everyone participated. They would sing in the choir, teach a class, help clean the church, or even if they didn’t do any of those things, they would sing along with the congregation and participate in other ways. Many seeker friendly churches today have ended some of these things to attract young adults.

Even the seeker friendly worship music and casual hip praise leaders can turn millennials off. These churches have ended praise choirs so that only the best singers and musicians can participate on stage. Then these churches will dim the lights, and blast the music to make it feel like a concert. Even then, if a millennial wants to participate by singing along, he’s discouraged by a soloist singing most of the lyrics with the praise team only joining in on the chorus. This makes him feel like he is interrupting the concert if he raises his voice.

Also testimonies and exuberant and participatory praise are no longer allowed in some churches because it might offend the very people who are looking for a way to be a part of the worship.

Many other positions where the millennial would have been able to participate are given to professionals like cleaning crews or are only given to older adults. Eighteen to thirty year olds are not allowed to teach or lead ministry where professionals are hired to do so. when it becomes more of a concert instead of a worship experience they can participate in.

Churches also avoid reaching outside of the church walls where millennials who are the volunteer generation would thrive. Their outreach tends to be mass mailing, TV, and newspaper ads instead of outreach millennials could join in.

Millennials are team oriented.

Most churches have a hierarchy of leadership that goes from the pastor, to the staff, then down to the congregation. The pastor, his staff, and his board make most of the decisions with no input from the congregation. Millennials are more team oriented. They want to share ideas and brainstorm about how to live out the Christian life in an effective way. The traditional hierarchy turns them off. Millennials like a more Acts Early Church type leadership.

Millennials aren’t impressed by the way we’ve always done things.

We can’t compromise on the Bible or what the Bible says sin is. If we do, we’ve made the church ineffective. But at the same time, some of our cultural rules aren’t in the Bible. Don’t look down on millennials for dressing casually or wanting to hang out and drink coffee before church. These are man-made traditions not Biblical statutes.

Millennials want something worth giving their lives for.

Many of the seeker friendly churches make discipleship too easy to attract millennials. These churches emphasize a loving God without holiness and a cheap grace without repentance. Basically all a member has to do is attend church once a week and raise his hand during an invitation to be saved.

There’s no talk about denying ourselves, discipleship, or taking the narrow road. Millennials crave discipleship. Millennials won’t attend church because they should. They won’t live right because they should. They want something that is worth living or dying for. They can find that through Jesus Christ, but they have to be shown He’s more than an historic figure that causes a social gathering once a week.

Biblical discipleship needs to be in the church if we want to attract a generation that would be willing to give their lives for the Gospel. Millennials don’t want to be lukewarm. They need the church to show them the way.

Persecution In America

Persecution of Christians has come to the United States of America. It’s subtle and behind the scenes, but it’s there. This country that has had over two hundred year of religious freedom written into its Constitution is slowly eroding those freedoms, and because of the cultural climate, government, the court system, and the educational system are not just allowing it; in many cases, they’re the ones encouraging it.

I’m not one to go on about conspiracy theories or to spread alarmist rumors that don’t bear fact checking. So let me give you a few examples.

Home Bible Studies: Our right to assemble and worship is being attacked through zoning laws. Here’s a few news stories that show this.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Violation of Conscience: New laws such as the ones requiring Christian owned hospitals to violate their consciences by provide contraception and abortion in their health care packages are surfacing more often now. Here’s an example.

Bullying Christians: In education, it’s unacceptable to bully anyone except those who believe in the Bible. Here’s a link to a video that’s supposedly anti-bullying that was shown to a group of high schoolers. I won’t post the video on my site because it’s too offensive.

http://youtu.be/alXxsKLVofM

These are only a few examples. What concerns me is not that we will be persecuted. The Bible promised that believers would be persecuted. I’m concerned about Christians who follow Jesus because they believe life here on Earth will be better if they follow Jesus. But that’s not always true.

Here are some things to remember when persecution comes:

Never waver about what the Word of God says. Never. Ever.

Don’t be offensive. Jesus was a friend of sinners. If people are offended because of the message of Christ, that’s one thing. But if we act obnoxious and unloving, it’s not persecution that we’re suffering. We’re reaping what we sow.

Don’t blame persecution for your own faults or for circumstances. You’re not being persecuted because you didn’t work hard enough, talked about Jesus when you should have been working, and have a holier than thou attitude toward co-workers. You deserve to be fired. Also when people can’t accommodate you, it’s not always because you’re a Christian.

Don’t do anything to bring shame to the name of Christ.

If you do make a stand for Christ by breaking the law, expect to pay the consequences, and let God be glorified through you.

Remember the heroes of faith. You’re not the first to experience trials, and you won’t be the last. Do as the saints of old did, and praise God that you’ve been counted worthy to suffer for Christ.

Here’s a few Scriptures to remember when persecution comes whether through the government, education, work, friends, or even through the organized church:

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

John 15:18-20  If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

Romans 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

1 Peter 4:12-14  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

1 Peter 4:16  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

Are We On God’s Side?

Joshua 5:13-14(ICB) Joshua was near Jericho. He looked up and saw a man standing in front of him. The man had a sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and asked, “Are you a friend or an enemy?”  The man answered, “I am neither one. I have come as the commander of the Lord’s army.” Then Joshua bowed facedown on the ground. He asked, “Does my master have a command for me, his servant?”

In Joshua 1-5, God commanded Joshua to take the promised land. He set about doing just that by sending spies into Jericho, crossing the Jordan River, and preparing for battle. Israel was God’s nation, and they were doing what God wanted, yet the night before the battle, an angel appeared and said he wasn’t on Joshua’s side. He was on God’s side. That meant if Joshua followed God and was on God’s side, he would all right. But if he didn’t follow God, it wouldn’t matter if God had been for Israel in the past.

We’re celebrating the birthday of our nation next week. The United States of America started as a nation under God. Most of the founding fathers served God. The concept of American exceptionalism was born. American exceptionalism basically means that as long as we follow God – are on God’s side – God will bless and use the United States for His glory. That doesn’t mean we’ve always done right. We’ve made horrible mistakes. But we have always considered God as the center of our nation’s history.

If you want to read more about this, check out the blog posts at this link.

Even though our nation has been founded on God, that doesn’t mean God is for the United States. God will bless the United States as our country does right and follows after Him. No nation can claim that God is on our side. As a nation, we should be on God’s side.

Lately I’m not sure we are on God’s side anymore. I’m not just talking about some of the immoral decisions made by politians. There have always been politicians who didn’t act wisely or justly. But we’ve always had US presidents who claimed to be Christians and wanted what was best for America.

Just as Israel had forgotten it’s spiritual heritage in the past, we’ve made the mistake of believing God is on our side as a nation. God is not on our side – never has been. Either we are on His side or we’re not. I fear, at this point in time, we’re not.

But that’s true of people as well. Just because you are a Christian and go to church doesn’t mean God is on your side. But if you are on God’s side, He will fight for you and bless you. Here’s how to be on God’s side as a nation, as a church, and as a Christian.

Joshua 1:7-9(ICB)  Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do.  Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings. Study it day and night. Then you will be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything.  Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. So don’t be afraid. The Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

Be strong and brave. Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. Politicians, celebrities, and the media tell us that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. It’s to the place where Christians are bullied by the politically correct for doing what’s right. But if you want to be on God’s side, be brave and do the right thing anyway.

Obey God. It’s sometimes easier to do what we want than to do what God wants. But if we want to be on God’s side, we will obey Him.

Learn what God’s Word says. What other people say, even what Christian preachers say, isn’t as important as what God says. His Word, the Bible, is truth. To be on God’s side, learn what it says, and make a stand for it even if it’s politically incorrect.

Remember God is with you. When you’re on God’s side, you don’t have to be afraid because God is always with you. He will never leave you.

I want to be on God’s side. How about you?