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A Special Tweet
by Keith Vierbicky
07/23/10
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A Special Tweet

A few years after Billy Graham preached his last crusade, he arrived in a small, California town to share the Gospel at a local church. The next morning, he wrote a quick note to a friend and decided to mail the letter himself. Out on the street, he asked a young man where he might find the post office. The man said, "I don't live here, but I can get that information for you on my iPhone." He unclipped the phone from his belt, touched a few icons on the screen, and said in a loud voice, "Post Office." A few seconds later, a map popped up on the screen, and the man directed Mr. Graham over to Church Street.
Dr. Graham started to thank him when the iPhone chirped. The man looked down at the screen and said, "I have to take this call." Then he turned to walk away.
"Wait!" Billy commanded. "Thanks for your help, and if you'll come to the First Baptist Church this evening at seven, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to Heaven."
That stopped the young man dead in his tracks, and a big smile appeared on his face. Then he asked with an inquisitive tone, "You can tell me how to get to heaven?"
"Yes, I can!" said the evangelist, with a smile that beamed from ear to ear.
"Hmmm," the young man grunted. "Thirty seconds ago, you couldn't find the post office." And with that response, the young man took his call and walked off.

We live in a world of great technological wonders. People are enthralled, captivated, spellbound with technology. They can't get enough of it. It's happening around the world. Apple sold 3 million iPads in 80 days. Jules Verne would love to see this day.

* A few of you here today may remember the dawn of the atomic age.
* Some may remember being glued to a television screen, waiting to watch a man walk on the moon.
* Everyone here knows the importance of computers.
* Some of us can even send an email.
* A few may remember having to type in specific words to get a computer to execute a command and the day when nobody wanted a mouse in the house. These days, Connie and I keep a horde of mice in our den, and one eats batteries like candy.

Mankind has progressed to the point where we rely heavily on technology to help us in just about everything we do. We can access more information today in a millisecond on Google, the world's most visited website, than Thomas Jefferson could in a year. That information comes fast and furious. Some of it is true; some is not. Some of the information makes us happy; some makes us sad. If you follow politics, the news will make you mad.

We're all in search of information - especially our younger folks. Many can't function without a cell phone glued to their ear, and it seems they prefer talking to each other using iPhones, Blackberries, or the Internet instead of directly - face to face.

MySpace is "a social networking platform that allows members to create unique personal profiles online in order to find and communicate with old and new friends." On August 9, 2006, the number of MySpace accounts went over the 100 million mark. At one point, they were adding 500,000 new members per week.

Back in 2006, MySpace was the #2 most visited website behind Yahoo. To have a MySpace account, a person must agree to certain terms and conditions as outlined in the MySpace Terms and Conditions agreement. Near the end of that document are these words:

I HAVE READ THIS AGREEMENT AND AGREE TO ALL OF THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED ABOVE.

If you won't agree to their terms, you can't get a MySpace account. I believe that few people have ever read the agreement. People aren't interested in legal issues or rules that try to control their behavior. They just click the I Agree button so they can contact their friends and basically say, "Here I am. Look at me!"

My wife considers me a computer expert, but there is so much to know beyond a basic knowledge that I consider myself just a cut (control-x on the PC; open apple X on the Mac) above an average geek. I was the first on my block to use a cable modem and had my own website before Y2K. But my website, although it surely has a strong injection of my personality, is designed for His glory - not mine. Though I'm fairly well-versed online, there are a few things about my e-life that might surprise you.

I don't have a MySpace account, but I do spend time each day in His space - the Bible. Before dawn, I go into my den, read His word, and I talk with Jesus. I spend this time each morning not just to gain information or be well-versed in Scripture but to develop a relationship with the Living God and to enjoy His presence in my life.
The goal is not simply to get knowledge but to know God. You want to understand God's truth so your heart can respond to it and so your life may reflect the beauty of Christ.

So this morning, I'd like to talk about technology and truth, the importance of the truth, and where you can find the truth. This is an important topic. It is highly relevant for our time, for I believe the prophet Daniel (12:4) foretold the information explosion we are witnessing today - a prophecy that speaks about the time of Christ's return.

I've read a portion of Scripture just about every morning of my life for over 28 years. God has taught me much, but as Pastor Clyde said last week, we need to renew our minds often. I still have much to learn, so I stay in the Word.

By reading the Bible, I've found that God has certain terms and conditions that apply to life here and hereafter. And as I've talked with people about Jesus Christ over the years, I've learned that many people have spent little or no time reading this love letter from God.

Thus, they have:
* no knowledge of the truth,
* a very limited knowledge of the truth, or
* a mixture of truth polluted by error.

And that's rather odd, for I found this tidbit of information on the website ipL2 (The Internet Public Library). And I quote:

"No one really knows how many copies of the Bible have been printed, sold, or distributed. The Bible Society's attempt to calculate the number printed between 1816 and 1975 produced the figure of 2,458,000,000. A more recent survey, for the years up to 1992, puts it closer to 6,000,000,000 in more than 2,000 languages and dialects. Whatever the precise figure, the Bible is by far the bestselling book of all time."

Look anywhere online, and the answer is the same. The Holy Scriptures, God's word, the Bible is the best selling book year after year.

Now my opinion about people spending little time reading the Bible is subjective. It's based on personal experience, but here are some facts based on polls taken by Gallup or the Barna Research Group:

* 92% of households in America own at least one copy of the Bible. The average number of Bibles is three.

* In a poll taken by the Gallup Organization in October, 2000, 59% of Americans reported that they read the Bible at least occasionally - down from 73% in the 80s. The percentage of Americans who read the Bible at least once a week is 37% - down slightly from 40% in 1990.

* According to the Barna Research Group, those who read the Bible regularly spend about 52 minutes a week in the Scriptures (that's about 7 minutes per day), ___with women (42%) more faithful at reading the Bible than men (32%) in the past week.

* When it comes to going beyond merely reading the Bible to actual study of the Bible, the numbers decline sharply. Only one in seven Americans report an involvement that goes beyond just reading the Bible. Fourteen percent of Americans currently belong to a Bible study group. This is down a full one-third from 1990 when 21% said they were involved in a Bible study group.

Here, at Christ Community Church, we usually meet for dinner and a Bible Study at Dennis and MaryAnn's home every Tuesday evening at 7PM, but we're taking some time off this summer. However, we'd love to have you join us when we start back up.

How about knowledge of the Bible? According to Gallup, "It is apparent that ignorance about its contents is widespread." He gives evidence for the conclusion:

* Only half of adults interviewed nationwide could name any of the four Gospels.

* Just 37% of those interviewed could name all four Gospels.

* Only 42% of adults were able to name as many as five of the Ten Commandments correctly. [I found no polls asking about grace.]

* Only 42% could identify Jesus as the person who delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

Researcher George Barna has documented the lack of Bible knowledge in the United States, as well:

* 38% of Americans believe the entire Bible was written several decades after Jesus' death and resurrection (While this is true of the New Testament, the entire Old Testament was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ).

* 12% of adults believe that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.

* 49% believe that the Bible teaches that money is the root of all evil. (The love of money is said to be the root of all types of evil. 1 Timothy 6:10).

* 75% believe that the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves.

* In Germany, 42 percent said, "The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts." ___Poland was the country with the highest percentage (34%) of people who believed the Bible was the actual word of God.

In August, 2009, LifeWay Research did a study of 1200 Millennials - those born between 1980 (now 30) and 1991 (21) in the United States. One of the questions they asked was this:

Do you read the Bible, Torah, Koran, or other sacred writings?"

* 67 percent of Millennials say they rarely or never do.
* Only 8 percent read the Bible or other sacred texts on a daily basis

They also found that:

* 2 out of 3 Millennials rarely or never visit a church, synagogue, mosque or temple.
* 50% believe that Jesus Christ sinned while on earth.
* Only 31% believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.
* 16% said they would be in heaven because they tried to live a good life.
* 6 out of 10 say religious belief is important to them in their daily lives.


George Lindbeck, a liberal Yale theologian, commented on the decreasing knowledge of Scripture from a professor's perspective: "When I first arrived at Yale, even those who came from nonreligious backgrounds knew the Bible better than most of those now who come from churchgoing families." {Yale Divinity School 1952-93 retired}

As countries move toward globalization, it will be important for Christians to study their Bibles and know what it teaches (doctrine).
* Only by doing so can we intelligently provide answers to those who know so little of God's Word.
* Only by doing so can we intelligently provide answers about Jesus, who is the only One able to save their souls from the coming destruction.

In a study done by the Vatican, they found that most people in Europe and North America have a Bible and some of them actually read it, but more than half of them say it is difficult to understand. Maybe that's the reason so few read it!

I remember when Dennis Miller became the color commentator for Monday Night Football. My son and I loved him, but people complained because they couldn't understand the words he used. My son said, "Hey dad, can you imagine Bubba turning to the guy on the bar stool next to him and saying, 'What'd he say?'"

You ask that question long enough and get no answers, I guarantee you'll turn off the sound and crank up Hank Williams on the jukebox. It's the same with people trying to understand the Bible. If they read it but never understand what they read, they just put it on the shelf. And if they find it hard to read, they turn to other sources for biblical information.

Sometimes, people find reading books about the Bible are easier to understand than the Bible itself. Or they read magazines or online articles. But there's a problem there, too. Some of the people who write those books or articles know little or nothing about the God of the Bible, and that's where error gets added to truth.

So, why is the Bible so difficult to understand?

I can list a few reasons from human perspective, like a challenging vocabulary, a high reading level, and people reading the King James Version, which has a lot of antiquated, out-dated words.

I'm sure there are more explanations, but the main reason I believe people say the Bible is hard to understand can be found in the Bible itself.

Please turn to 1 Corinthians, chapter 2. We'll look at verses 12 through 14. I believe this will shed some light on why the Bible is difficult to understand. I'll be quoting this from the New King James version.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God._ 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 NKJV/KJV

Now, to understand what these few verses are saying, let's hold our place there and turn back to the Gospel of John, Chapter 3. If you remember, Nicodemus skipped Monday Night Football with his buddies down at Pharisee's Place and went to see Jesus. Let's start at verse one, and I'll be reading from the New International Version, the NIV:

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

And "by the miraculous" Nicodemus was probably referring to Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" in 1972 vs. the Raiders. Or would it be the miracles that Jesus was performing?

3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

4 Bubba Nic said, "What'd he say?" Oooops, sorry...verse 4 says that Nicodemus asked:

4 "How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" 5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'

Why do you think Jesus told Nicodemus that he shouldn't be surprised at what He said?

I'm glad you asked! Jesus said that because Nicodemus should have read that in the Scriptures available to him at the time, what we'd call the Old Testament. God said:

o I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring... Isaiah 44:3 NASB
o I will put My Spirit within you...Ezekiel 36:27 NASB
o I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life...Ezekiel 37:14 NASB
o I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel...Ezekiel 39:29 NIV
o I will pour out my Spirit on all people...Joel 2:28 NIV
o Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit...Joel 2:29 NIV

Maybe Nicodemus hadn't opened the scrolls...

8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." 9 "How can this be?" Nicodemus asked. 10 "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things?

Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he doesn't understand because he is not born again, born of the Spirit. Nicodemus is still trying to figure it out on his own, with no help from the Holy Spirit, who will become Nicodemus' resident teacher. {Acts 2}

Flip back to 1 Corinthians and we'll look at those verses again.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God._ 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 NKJV/KJV

Remember that Paul is writing these words to Christians, because only Christians - that's the we in verse 12 - have received the Spirit who is from God...that we might, what?... know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

Last week, Pastor Clyde talked about the importance of reading all of an epistle to get the full understanding of what is being said. So, in the next chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul writes this in 3:16:

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? NKJV

Paul keeps reminding us: The Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit - lives in us.

And the Spirit is alive! The Bible, because it is written, is limited. It is paper, ink, glue, thread, and leather. God's written word has power only because the Living Word dwells within our hearts. As we read the written word of God, the Spirit of God speaks to us, and we begin to know God. You want to spend time in God's word to hear the Voice of God.

And it is the Voice of God who teaches us the things of God!

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

What things? The things we know! The things that have been freely given to us by God.

And we don't try to explain the things we know using words from man, but words, which the Holy Spirit -whom John calls the Spirit of Truth - teaches us.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 NIV

We learn truth from God's word.
We're taught truth by the Holy Spirit.

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Greek word for natural (Psuchikos) means "belonging to breath." It is one who comes out of his mother's birth canal and breathes the air of this life.

* Spiritually, it refers to one who has inherited that sinful, sensuous nature from Adam. [Romans 5]

* We are all born natural men and women - sinners. [Psalm 51 / Ephesians 2]

* Because of that, we view the things of God as foolish.

* Natural men can't receive the truth, because the truth is spiritual. [John 4]

* Therefore, it is impossible for natural men and women - sinners - to accept God's truth because they do not possess the Holy Spirit, who makes truth understandable, or discernable, to us.

So, if someone tells you they don't read the Bible because they can't understand it, you have a good reason to ask them if they've been born again. Based on these verses, it's a very fair question. If they say they have not:

* Tell them only God can help them understand the truth found in the Bible.
* Tell them that God will help them understand if they accept the truth about Jesus.
* Tell them that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, then three days later was raised from the dead. That's the Gospel, and it's found in 1 Corinthians 15.
* Tell them that God wants them to put their faith in Jesus and, when they do, God will send His Holy Spirit to live within them and teach them. [John 14:26] They will be born again by the Spirit of God.
* Tell them that God has always been willing to help, but they need to ask.

God said this through the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah:

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things,
which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3 KJV
He also said this:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Before you can offer Biblical truth and hope to others, you must understand what it is. To do that, as a Christian, you need to read and study God's word. Then you will be able to:

Share the Gospel Offer truth Offer hope

Turn to 1 Peter, Chapter 3, and we'll see why God wants you to know His Word.
This is from the KJV... verse 15...

But sanctify (acknowledge, set apart, dedicate) the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear;

You see, when we share the Good News, we share the hope we have. And that hope is Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life with Him in Heaven.

* Christ in us is our hope of glory - here and hereafter. [Colossians 1:27]
* And we live looking for that Blessed Hope, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to come again. [Titus 2:13]
* The natural man is without hope and without God in this world. [Ephesians 2:12]
* The natural man has no future hope. [Proverbs 24:20]

Paul wrote this to Timothy:

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV/LV

People in our country are hurting. Our economic system is near collapse. Many, even brothers and sisters we know, need employment. Pray for them. Offer encouragement, and a meal now and then. To help fellow Christians and those who don't know Christ:

Read the Book Learn of Christ Offer Hope from the Word

Maybe over a meal... And remember:

You can't be read-y, unless you're Spirit-bred and well read.

You read the Scriptures and the Spirit of God reads you. He looks at the motives of your heart, and He will change you from within to conform you to the image of Christ, although He may choose to use external circumstances and/or people as refining fire or healing balm.

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Are you reading it and being read daily?

One of the most disturbing things about the Internet, to me, is that many people post information that is not true. It is so common, that websites have sprung up for the sole purpose of trying to prove or disprove the validity (the truth) of what is being sent around by email. Snopes.com is one of those sites, and the couple that runs the site does the research and tries to provide the facts about Urban Legends that circulate on the Internet. Posted on their FAQ page is this Frequently Asked Question and their answer:


Q: How do I know the information you've presented is accurate?

A: We don't expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic. Unlike the plethora of anonymous individuals who create and send the unsigned, unsourced e-mail messages that are forwarded all over the Internet, we show our work. The research materials we've used in the preparation of any particular page are listed in the bibliography displayed at the bottom of that page so that readers who wish to verify the validity of our information may check those sources for themselves.

Their answers are based on the documents they examine during their research and how they interpret the data they read. So, because they are human beings, even they might make an error based on personal bias when reviewing information.
Many of the Urban Legends they research contain a mixture of truth, error, and exaggeration. For that reason, they can't always give a simple "True" or "False" rating.

So, before you forward that next email to 10 friends because it says Bill Gates will send you $50 if you do, make sure you have the facts. Check it out at Snopes.com or many of the other sites that provide this service, like About Urban Legends or Break The Chain.

And it's important to check the facts in our Christians life, as well. Whether you hear Pastor Clyde, Dennis, or myself expounding on God's word, you need to check the Scriptures yourself to see if we are indeed passing on God's truth rather than our opinions. The same holds true for what you see or hear on the Internet. You need to study the Scriptures and pray for guidance.

And that's Biblical advice. Please turn to Acts, chapter 17. I'll be reading verse 1 through verse 12 from the New International Version of the Scriptures.

If you're familiar with Acts 17, you'll remember that this passage describes an incident that happened in Thessalonica, forcing Paul and Silas to leave at night for Berea. The modern Greek city of Veria sits on the ancient city of Berea in Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus. If you remember, Alexander the Great was a Macedonian... Acts 17, verse 1.


1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. 5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus." 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go. 10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

Let's take a moment to look at verse eleven:

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
They examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

And they were Eager Beavers! Eager Berean Beavers!
(Say that fast five times)

The Bereans were unlike the people in this minister's congregation: At the end of his sermon, the pastor said, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17."
The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Every hand went up. The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying."

You don't want to pretend! You don't want to fake it till you make it.
If you pretend to know His word, then you may be pretending to know Him.
Make it a habit to read His word daily!
Set aside time to read daily and study weekly. Know the truth! Know Jesus!

Facebook

According to Alexa.com, which ranks websites according to the number of visitors, MySpace came in at #26 last week. Seems people have gotten a little bored over the past few years and are looking for a new space to post their face. And the next, best craze, or fad, is now Facebook.

Facebook is another social networking site that started on February 4, 2004, as a network only for Harvard students. It was expanded to other colleges, then high schools, and then opened to everyone. This year, they passed 400 million accounts. Last week, they ranked #2 behind Google as the most visited website.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, is the youngest man on the billionaire list in Forbes Magazine. He is 25 years old. I bet his mom doesn't yell at him for spending too much time on Facebook.

On Facebook, people you communicate with are called friends. And with 400 million accounts, you can have a lot of friends. I found three relevant posts about Facebook:

* About 50% of parents "friend" their children on Facebook. The other 50% find less technological ways to embarrass them.
* Facebook gives new meaning to the WORD friend and less to the meaning of FRIEND.
* Some people are staying away from Facebook because they feel that they're getting addicted, according to The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery. "I'm a bit worried," said one young man, "as my time on Facebook is starting to affect the 11 hours a day I usually spend playing the online game Halo 3."

I said earlier that there are some things about my e-life that might surprise you. Here is a second one:

I do not have a Facebook account, but my name is written in the faith book - the Lamb's Book of Life [Revelation 13:8 / 21:27]. And it is written there, not because of what I've done, but because of what Jesus did for me.

If you remember, I said that most people aren't interested in legal issues - rules - that control their behavior on the Internet. However, you must agree with Facebook Principles (there's more than 10 Thou Shalt Nots that govern your relationship with others) before you can have a Facebook account. And just as people join without reading the rules in MySpace, they join the community in Facebook with little or no attention paid to the Principles. It's the way of the Net!

However, when it comes to issues regarding God, people seem most interested in the law. Often, people that are asked why God should let them into heaven, answer by saying that they've lived a pretty good life - meaning they've obeyed the law, or some portion of it.

Remember: 16% of the Millennial Kids think so.

People believe that God is a merciful God - and He is! But, the apostle James wrote:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point
is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10 NIV

Other people believe their own goodness will get them into heaven. They don't believe God's standards are absolute. Since they have not murdered anyone, robbed a bank, or committed adultery, they rate themselves good enough to pass the Pearly Gates. That is there opinion. Unfortunately, some who claim to speak for God spread that misconception frequently. But, once again, the truth can only be found in the Scriptures.

Paul wrote this to Titus, in chapter three of that epistle... and I'll be reading from the New Century Version (NCV)... verses 4 thru 7:

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was shown, 5 he saved us because of his mercy. It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit. 6 God poured out richly upon us that Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Being made right with God by his grace, we could have the hope of receiving the life that never ends.

* God is merciful.
* We are Spirit-bred people made right with God by His grace.
* We have hope here (Christ in us) and hope hereafter (eternal life).

Facebook may give new meaning to the WORD friend and less to the meaning of FRIENDS. However, the truth about friends is found in the Bible. From John 15, the NIV:

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus!

Twitter

Fast on the heels of Facebook is a microblogging service called Twitter. It's the latest thing, and it's available for free on Twitter.com. It's a way of sending very short messages to other people over the Internet. Twitter refers to those short messages - 140 characters or less at a time - as tweets.
I spent some time reading a few and found one that said Spain and the Netherlands were tied 2-2 near the end of regulation. I grabbed my remote and turned on the World Cup. I found the score was tied at zero with 10 minutes left. More misinformation!
As I flittered around Twitter, I found you could customize your account by signing up to follow whoever tweets. Many follow the tweets of famous people from sports, the business world, or Hollywood. I bet Tweety Pie would love that. Last week, Twitter was the #11 most visited website, and I found this on the Twitter Terms page:

What you say on Twitter may be viewed all around the world instantly.
You are what you Tweet!

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, I found the verb twit means to punish, to blame, to impute as a fault. One who blames, punishes or imputes blame would be called a twitter.

In the Bible, I found that King David wrote about God being the original twitter in Psalm 32. The apostle Paul quoted David in Romans 4:8. He wrote this, which is a truthful tweet from God.

Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not twit sin. Romans 4:8 LV

Ok, that's Romans 4:8 from the Living Vierbicky, but God did say:

Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin. Romans 4:8 NKJV

The word impute means: to count, to make an account of, or to put into an account.

As Christians, we are blessed men and women because God has not kept our sins in an account that we are responsible for. Because we believe that Jesus died to pay for our sins, God has imputed are sin to Christ! He put our sins in Christ's account, and Jesus paid for them in full on the cross at Calvary.

By faith, we believe, and our faith is credited to us as goodness - righteousness.

To help us to understand this truth, Paul penned 2 Corinthians 5:21...and I'll be reading from the New American Standard Bible (NASB):

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

And being right with God - righteous - has always been by faith. Listen to the words of Paul in Romans 4:1-3, then 20 thru 25, from the New Living Translation (NLT):

1 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God's way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, "Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith."

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Oh that we would never waver when it came to believing God!

This may shock you, but I don't have a Twitter account. I don't follow the lives of people online and get short messages from them on how to live, but I do follow Jesus and take all of His messages seriously. As well as all the words of the prophets and the apostles.

One of Paul's tweets - and all His tweets are true and found in the Bible - was written to Titus, and recorded in chapter two, verse 1, of that Epistle.

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. NIV

You see, when you study the Bible, you learn what to believe - that's doctrine. When you know what to believe, then you can learn how to walk in it, or live it, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When you know you're right with God Spirit-bred it's easier to do what's right through God, for God is in you and you are Spirit-led.
Spend time in the Scriptures Get Truth Fed Be Spirit Led

To have an account with MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter, you have to agree with the terms and conditions they put forth on their websites. If you violate their rules, you can lose your account.
God has His terms and conditions, and they are found in the Bible. He knows I can't keep his rules, but He says that if I agree with Him - believe what He says - He'll do something a little different. He won't take my account away, just my sins, and He'll put those in Christ's account. Then, in exchange, He will fill my account with the goodness of Christ. And that makes me - like Abraham - a friend of God [James 2:23].
What a deal!

And because I've accepted God's terms - His deal - Christ is in heaven building my space, a place for me to live forever (John 14:2-3). And when I get there, because my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, I will see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12).

God's terms are the same for all men. You can be a twit - a fool - and reject His offer of forgiveness, or you can accept His offer to have Christ's blood pay for your sins. That deal includes Christ's goodness twitted to your account and the hope of eternal life. But it's His deal or no deal. If you've already accepted His terms, praise God. I'll see you in Heaven.

If you have not yet accepted His terms, let me close with a few useful tweets from God:

The twit says in his heart, "There is no God." Psalm 14:1 LV

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Psalm 14:1 NIV

Here's a tweet from Jesus. He said:

32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV

Here's one from the Apostle Paul, who wrote:

9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10 NLT

You are either a twit who rejects Christ or, as Paul said, "a fool for Christ."

You can remain His enemy or become His friend by accepting what Jesus did for you.


May God grant you the faith to say:

* I am a born again Christian because I believe Jesus died to pay for my sins,
* was buried,
* then was raised from the dead to secure eternal life for me.


I pray you can Tweet...

"I am a friend of God!"


And remember:

You are what you Tweet!

Let's pray:

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being,

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV



If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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