Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Victory Christian Tabernacle Church



The views in Spiritual Growth are solely the views of the authors and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for spiritual growth, education and discussion only.


 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41)      View Older Entries» below for additional articles


view:  full / summary

Women, Stop Submitting to Men

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Women, Stop Submitting to Men

By Dr. Russell Moore

Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe that women should submit to men. This isn’t true.

Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.

First of all, it just isn’t so that women are called to submit while men are not. In Scripture, every creature is called to submit, often in different ways and at different times. Children are to submit to their parents, although this is certainly a different sort of submission than that envisioned for marriage. Church members are to submit to faithful pastors (Heb. 13:17). All of us are to submit to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). Of course, we are all to submit, as creatures, to our God (Jas. 4:7).

And, yes, wives are called to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). But that’s just the point. In the Bible, it is not that women, generally, are to submit to men, generally. Instead, “wives” are to submit “to your own husbands”(1 Pet. 3:1).

Too often in our culture, women and girls are pressured to submit to men, as a category. This is the reason so many women, even feminist women, are consumed with what men, in general, think of them. This is the reason a woman’s value in our society, too often, is defined in terms of sexual attractiveness and availability. Is it any wonder that so many of our girls and women are destroyed by a predatory patriarchy that demeans the dignity and glory of what it means to be a woman?

Submitting to men in general renders it impossible to submit to one’s “own husband.” Submission to one’s husband means faithfulness to him, and to him alone, which means saying “no” to other suitors.

Submission to a right authority always means a corresponding refusal to submit to a false authority. Eve’s submission to the Serpent word meant she refused to submit to God’s. On the other hand, Mary’s submission to God’s word about the child within her meant she refused to submit to Herod’s. God repeatedly charges his Bride, the people of Israel, with a refusal to submit to him because they have submitted to the advances of other lovers. The freedom of the gospel means, the apostle tells us, that we “do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).

Despite the promise of female empowerment in the present age, the sexual revolution has given us the reverse. Is it really an advance for women that the average high-school male has seen images of women sexually exploited and humiliated on the Internet? Is it really empowerment to have more and more women economically at the mercy of men who freely abandon them and their children, often with little legal recourse?

Is this really a “pro-woman” culture when restaurant chains enable men to pay to ogle women in tight T-shirts while they gobble down chicken wings? How likely is it that a woman with the attractiveness of Henry Kissinger will obtain power or celebrity status in American culture? What about the girl in your community pressured to perform oral sex on a boyfriend -- what is this but a patriarchy brutal enough for a Bronze Age warlord?

In the church it is little better. Too many of our girls and young women are tyrannized by the expectation to look a certain way, to weigh a certain amount, in order to gain the attention of“guys.”

Additionally, too many predatory men have crept in among us, all too willing to exploit young women by pretending to be“spiritual leaders” (2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Pet. 2). Do not be deceived: a man who will use spiritual categories for carnal purposes is a man who cannot be trusted with fidelity, with provision, with protection, with the fatherhood of children. The same is true for a man who will not guard the moral sanctity of a woman not, or not yet, his wife.

We have empowered this pagan patriarchy.Fathers assume their responsibility to daughters in this regard starts and stops in walking a bride down an aisle at the end of the process. Pastors refuse to identify and call out spiritually impostors before it’s too late. And through it all we expect our girls and women to be submissive to men in general, rather than to one man in particular.

Women, sexual and emotional purity means a refusal to submit to “men,” in order to submit to your own husband, even one whose name and face you do not yet know. Your closeness with your husband,present or future, means a distance from every man who isn’t, or who possibly might not be, him.

Your beauty is found not in external (and fleeting) youth and “attractiveness” but in the “hidden person of the heart” which “in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Pet. 3:3-4). And it will be beautiful in the sight of a man who is propelled by the Spirit of this God.

Sisters, you owe no submission to Hollywood or to Madison Avenue, or to those who listen to them. Your worth and dignity cannot be defined by them. Stop comparing yourselves to supermodels and porn stars. Stop loathing your body, or your age. Stop feeling inferior to vaporous glamor. You are beautiful.

Sisters, there is no biblical category for“boyfriend” or “lover,” and you owe such designation no submission. In fact, to be submissive to your future husband you must stand back and evaluate, with rigid scrutiny, “Is this the one who is to come, or is there another?” That requires an emotional and physical distance until there is a lifelong covenant made, until you stand before one who is your “own husband.”

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord. Yes and Amen. But, women, stop submitting to men.

Dr. Russell Moore serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location. 


Article from


Can a Christian lose salvation?"

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Can a Christian lose salvation?"

Answer: Before this question is answered, the term “Christian” must be defined. A “Christian” is not a person who has said a prayer, or walked down an aisle, or been raised in a Christian family. While each of these things can be a part of the Christian experience, they are not what “makes” a Christian. A Christian is a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior (John 3:16; Acts 16:31;Ephesians 2:8-9).

So, with this definition in mind, can a Christian lose salvation? Perhaps the best way to answer this crucially important question is to examine what the Bible says occurs at salvation, and to study what losing salvation would therefore entail. Here are a few examples:

A Christian is a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This verse speaks of a person becoming an entirely new creature as a result of being “in Christ.” For a Christian to lose salvation, the new creation would have to be canceled and reversed.

 A Christian is redeemed. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The word “redeemed” refers to a purchase being made, a price being paid. For a Christian to lose salvation, God Himself would have to revoke His purchase that He paid for with the precious blood of Christ.

 A Christian is justified. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.

 A Christian is promised eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Eternal life is a promise of eternity (forever) in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to lose salvation, eternal life would have to be taken away. If a Christian is promised to live forever, how then can God break this promise by taking away eternal life?

 A Christian is guaranteed glorification. “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). As we learned in Romans 5:1, justification is declared at the moment of faith. According to Romans 8:30, glorification is guaranteed for all those whom God justifies. Glorification refers to a Christian receiving a perfect resurrection body in heaven. If a Christian can lose salvation, then Romans 8:30 is in error, because God could not guarantee glorification for all those whom He predestines, calls, and justifies.

 Many more illustrations of what occurs at salvation could be shared. Even these few make it abundantly clear that a Christian cannot lose salvation. Most, if not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation cannot be reversed. A Christian cannot be un-newly created. Redemption cannot be undone. Eternal life cannot be lost and still be considered eternal. If a Christian can lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and change His mind—two things that Scripture tells us God never does.

 The most frequent objections to the belief that a Christian cannot lose salvation are 1) What about those who are Christians and continually live an immoral lifestyle? 2) What about those who are Christians but later reject the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these two objections is the phrase “who are Christians.” The Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a continually immoral lifestyle (1 John 3:6). The Bible declares that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he never truly was a Christian (1 John2:19). Therefore, neither objection is valid. Christians do not continually live immoral lifestyles, nor do they reject the faith and deny Christ. Such actions are proof that they were never redeemed.

 No, a Christian cannot lose salvation. Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28-29). God is both willing and able to guarantee and maintain the salvation He has given us. Jude 24-25, “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more! Amen.”

Source:  Recommended Resource: Eternal Security by Charles Stanley. 

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory ChristianTabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.

Pastor May’s Commentary: 

There are different theological views regarding “Can a Christian lose his Salvation.”  I am in total agreement with the above statement.  You cannot lose your salvation; however live as if you could.


"If I am saved and all of my sins are forgiven, why not continue to sin?"

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 1:55 PM

"If I am saved and all of my sins are forgiven, why not continue to sin?"

Answer: The apostle Paul answered a very similar question in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” The idea that a person could “trust in Jesus Christ” for salvation and then go on living just as he/she lived before, is absolutely foreign to the Bible. Believers in Christ are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Holy Spirit changes us from producing the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) to producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The Christian life is a changed life because the Christian is changed.

What differentiates Christianity from every other religion is that Christianity is based on what God has done for us through Jesus Christ—divine accomplishment. Every other world religion is based on what we must do to earn God's favor and forgiveness—human achievement. Every other religion teaches that we must do certain things and stop doing certain other things in order to earn God's love and mercy. Christianity, faith in Christ, teaches that we do certain things and stop doing certain things because of what Christ has done for us.

How could anyone, having been delivered from sin's penalty, eternity in hell, go back to living the same life that had him on the path to hell in the first place? How could anyone, having been cleansed from the defilement of sin, desire to go back to the same cesspool of depravity? How could anyone, knowing what Jesus Christ did on our behalf, go on living as if He were not important? How could anyone, realizing how much Christ suffered for our sins, continue sinning as if those sufferings were meaningless?

Romans 6:11-15 declares, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!”

For the truly converted, then, continuing to live sinfully is not an option. Because our conversion resulted in a completely new nature, our desire is to no longer live in sin. Yes, we still sin, but instead of wallowing in it as we once did, we now hate it and wish to be delivered from it. The idea of “taking advantage” of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf by continuing to live sinfully is unthinkable. If a person believes himself to be a Christian and still desires to live the old, sinful life, he has reason to doubt his salvation. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Got Questions Ministries | 6050 Stetson Hills Blvd., #254 | Colorado Springs, CO 80923

Pastor May’s Commentary: 

The most frequent objections to the belief that a Christian cannot lose salvation are 1) What about those who are Christians and continually live an immoral lifestyle? 2) What about those who are Christians but later reject the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these two objections is the phrase “who are Christians.” The Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a continually immoral lifestyle (1 John 3:6). The Bible declares that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he never truly was a Christian (1 John2:19). Therefore, neither objection is valid. Christians do not continually live immoral lifestyles, nor do they reject the faith and deny Christ. Such actions are proof that they were never redeemed.

No, a Christian cannot lose salvation. Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28-29). God is both willing and able to guarantee and maintain the salvation He has given us. Jude 24-25.  You cannot lose your salvation, however, you should live as if you could.  God bless!



Calming Quarrels in your Marriage

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Calming Quarrels in your Marriage

By Eric and April Motl

What’s the number one thing that stirs up a conflict in your home? Money? The Kids? Schedules? The remote control?

Disagreements are a natural part of marriage - no two people can see the world exactly the same 100% of the time. Disagreements can even be good when we go about them in a healthy way. But fighting? That is an entirely different matter.

Before my husband and I got married, he told me that married couples didn’t have to fight. I told him he was living in “lala land” and that all married people fight. I thought it worked like gravity - you get married, you fight. As if you are all the sudden transported from your wedding reception into some kind of metaphorical boxing ring. Thankfully, through some solid discipleship and growing in the Lord, I discovered that marriage could hold a deep sweetness that came without destructive fighting.

While fighting and marriage appear to go hand-in-hand, they weren’t designed to! The status of the conflicts in your home deeply matters to God. Let’s read what He has to say about it in the book of James.

1.   Own the cause of your quarrels!

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3 NIV

The word wrong motives in the original Greek means brokenness and sickness.  All of us have brokenness in us; the spiritual fallen nature we are all born with, and also the individual sicknesses we personally carry. In your marriage, check carefully how your brokenness and desires (desires to be “right” or to have your own way, or to feel in control) are affecting the conflicts your are experiencing. If you have a long standing habit or some damaging pattern (like anger or alcoholism) that was passed from generation to generation, get on your knees and beg for God’s grace and help! There is nothing in you that is “just that way” or can’t change if you allow God into it.

2.  Recognize the consequences of your fighting

It’s easy to consider fighting to be a “little” sin in a world where sexual immorality and violence run rampant. But perhaps God doesn’t see it that way.

You adulterous people,don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us. James 4:4-5 NIV

Seems like James changed the subject from fighting to being worldly, but did he really? Or isn’t fighting an attitude that comes from worldly thinking? Earlier in the same letter, James tells us that the wisdom from God is peaceable and that wisdom from the world causes disorder (James 3:14-18).

It is the world that tells us we deserve respect and it is Jesus that says turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). It is the world that tells us revenge is good, while Jesus tells us to bless and pray for those who persecute us and speak evil against us (Luke 6:28).

Fighting is aligning our hearts and minds with the ways of the world, and when do that, we have positioned ourselves as spiritual “cheaters” or adulteresses to our Christianity. That is a pretty hefty consequence. Not only do we position ourselves as enemies of Christ, but we also grieve the Holy Spirit. James isn’t the only passage that mentions how we grieve God through our words; Ephesians 4:29-30 says that words which do not bless those listening grieve God.

3.  Seek out Biblical cures for your quarrels. Here’s some that James lists for us:

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6 NIV

•    Humility. Maintain an attitude of personal humility when disagreements arise.

Submit yourself to God. James 4:7

•   Maintain a heart of submission to the Lord by leaning into the Holy Spirit for guidance (including correction) when disagreements arise.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

•   Be aware of the enemy’s schemes when you enter a disagreement.  Ever watched a disagreement spiral into something that you never imagined? Scripture warns that the enemy roams about like a lion, seeking those he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Predators always look for the weakling at the end of the pack. In our spiritual lives, the enemy looks for the doors and windows that are loose, broken or weak. Fighting, anger (Ephesians 4:26-27) and unforgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:10-11) are all relationship issues that fly red signal flags catching the enemy’s attention.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a

•   Draw near to God. If it is possible (as in, if both you and your spouse are believers), for the two of you to draw near to the Lord through prayer before or during a disagreement then do it! Inviting the Lord into any and every situation you face is always a good idea.

Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:8b-10 NIV

•   Clean up! When you come face to face with the reality of your brokenness, like we mentioned earlier, the only way to move forward in freedom is to confess it and then turn from it. Don’t be afraid to get on your knees individually or as a couple and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness and grace. And when you do find that an argument escalated to the point of hurting one another and sinning against the Lord, then mourn your mistake with true repentance so that the Lord might bring healing and joy to the very place of pain in your marriage. Too often we nurse grudges and anger after arguments, instead of allowing ourselves to just simply be broken before the Lord. He usually doesn’t come in and fix what we don’t admit is broken. But the healing He can work between two people who are willing to surrender their issues with honesty before Him is nothing short of miraculous!

Next time you come to an impasse in your marriage, run through these five steps and wait to see what the Lord will do. Waiting is a key element to humbling yourself before the Lord because the work is done in His timing and His way instead of you taking charge of things and doing them your way and in your time. There have been seasons when I struggled with something Eric was doing and could only submit my feelings to the Lord’s care; no amount of talking would change his mind. Eventually the Lord grew both of us through the process of praying and waiting. And can you imagine it, but he has even had to do the same for me! (Wink, wink!)

May God’s grace cover your marriage as you seek to honor the Lord in the way you handle conflicts in your home!

April Motl and her husband, Eric, minister at their church in Massachusetts, where he serves as senior pastor. April is the founder of In His Eyes Ministries; a teaching ministry devoted to helping women see their life from God’s perspective.


Can you lose a spiritual gift?

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 6:25 AM

By Pastor James May

This is a controversial subject that has different theological views. While there is plenty of Scripture to support the loss of effectiveness and fruitfulness, I believe the Bible does not indicate the actual loss of gifts. . Scripture is clear that gifts are given because of grace (Romans 12:6).. nothing earned or merited.

"As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes, but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Rom. 11:28-29)

"28 According to the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but according to God’s choice, they are loved for the sake of their ancestors. 29 God’s gifts and calling can’t be taken back."(Rom. 11:28-29) Common English Bible (CEB)

Some use the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 to conclude that you can lose your gifts if you don’t do anything with them because the master tells them to take the lazy servant’s talent away from him. However, this would be pure speculation of interpretation to say that the talents represent spiritual gifts.

Some say that Samson lost his spiritual gift when he succumbed to Delilah’s advances (Judges 16); however, Samson was of the Old Testament. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Old Testament times was selective and temporary. The Holy Spirit worked in the hearts of people to enlighten, convict, and lead people to believe the content of the message, as it existed in Old Testament times. The Holy Spirit obviously had to regenerate people and He led them, but it was not from the indwelling presence as it is today. I cannot think of a specific example in the Bible of a Prophet, Pastor or Teacher who lost his or her spiritual gifting.

We have nothing to do with meriting what God gives us. Nothing. If you don't use a gift God have given you, you won't lose it. That doesn't mean you are right in neglecting the gift. It just means God never takes back what He gives by His grace. A spiritual gift is not of us, or of this world. It is of the Holy Spirit.

1 Timothy 4:14-15 warns us not to neglect the spiritual gift in us. However, this doesn’t equate to losing them if you don’t use them. In fact, it tells to use them so that our progress will be visible to all.

Spiritual gifts are not a standard to measure a man's spiritual condition or holiness. They are given graciously and freely as gifts of God; they are gifts of grace, not rewards of merit. A gift is given freely, not because it is earned or deserved.

I have several ties that were given to me as a gift. Some are over ten years old. I never wore these ties. No one has ever seen theses ties matched together with a shirt. They are in my closet; never used, yet still gifts.  God bless!

Rev. James A. May is the Pastor of Victory Christian Tabernacle ministries, Detroit, Michigan.  This ministry comprises of supporting other Christian ministries by providing worship service preaching, training in evangelism, defending the Christian faith, providing Chaplin services for nursing homes and care centers, assist new churches in kingdom building, and provides other Christian services as needed.


Is It A Sin For Women To Wear Pants?

Posted on November 12, 2011 at 4:45 AM

Is It A Sin For Women To Wear Pants?

By Rev./ Dr. James A. May

First, before I answer this question, I would like to say that this issue has been generated in Christianity for centuries. For the most part, people who believe that woman should not wear pants use Deuteronomy 22:5 as the “lynch pin” for declaring it is a sin for woman to wear pants, and women should not wear pants in church.  In short, the answer is NO, it is NOT A SIN!  In biblical times, pants had not yet been invented, so it is not reasonable to expect the Bible writers to weigh in on this issue.

Let’s examine Deuteronomy 22:5.  It reads, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”  Some Christians have taken this verse to mean that Christian women shouldn’t wear pants, arguing that pants are that which “pertaineth unto a man.”  Says who?  Dress wear is formed and changed by culture.  The clothing worn in Biblical times was very different from what we wear today. Both men and women wore a loose,woolen, robe-like cloak or mantle as an outer garment. It was fastened at the waist with a belt or sash. A tunic or coat, along piece of cloth, leather or haircloth with holes for arms and head, was worn under the cloak. Sandals were worn on the feet.  There is record of 4th Century Persian women wearing pants but that trend did not really catch on or travel to the Western World at that time.  Also women working the ranches of the 19th century American West also wore trousers for riding,and in the early 20th century workers and other working women often wore trousers.

It is fair to say that our culture and dress styles changed over years.  An example of this is during the biblical years, men wore “skirts.”  There are numerous biblical passages that talks about men wearing skirts, i.e.  1 Sam 24:4; Dt 22:30, Dt27:20, Ru 3:9, 1 Sa 15:27, 1 Sa 24:4, 1 Sa 24:5, 1 Sa 24:11, 1 Sa 24:11, Eze16:8, Hag 2:12, Hag 2:12, and Zec 8:23.  You could argue that the skirts of the biblical days were different than the skirts of today, but then you are simply talking about a change of culture and fashion. 

So if we really wanted to enforce the “letter of the law,” it would be better to say that women should not wear skirts, because men wore skirts.  The word “pants” is not in the bible. 

Now as I said before, the word “pants” is not in the bible, however, the word “breeches" is found in the Bible as an article of clothing five times. Exodus 28:42-43, Exodus 39:27-28, Leviticus 6:10, Leviticus 16:4, Ezekiel 44:18.  Some try to say that “breeches” is referring to pants, and breeches were worn by men.  Let's examine this.  Breeches were only for priests.  The average person is never once mentioned in the Bible as wearing breeches. These were not normal men's clothes at all, they were priestly garments.  OK, so priests are men, but what are breeches? They were holy garments; to prevent, or collect, sweat.  They were worn "upon the flesh." In other words, they were the first garment put on and closest to the skin, they were to cover the nakedness.  So what were the lengths of these "breeches?" They were from the loins even unto the thighs. They ran from the waist down through the thighs.  They had to cover the thigh to cover the nakedness.  Has it dawned on you yet what these breeches really were?  They were underwear!  They were never an external garment to be seen by anyone. Breeches, by a strict Biblical definition, are underwear.

So you still argue that “pants” were made for men. Let’s look at some women clothing today and compare it to the biblical days.  According to the dictionary, the word “Bonnet” is described as “a hat”, usually tying under the chin and often framing the face, formerly much worn by women but now worn mostly by children.  2. Informal, any hat worn by women.  According to (and other dictionaries) Bonnets were worn by woman and now mostly children.  Now let’s look at the change of culture and fashion from the biblical days.

And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. [Exodus 28:40]

And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons. [Exodus 29:9].  

Men wore bonnets.  Notice the word girdles and bonnets in Exodus 28:40 – 29: 9.  Today, girdle is defined as “a lightweight undergarment, worn especially by women, often partly or entirely of elastic or boned, for supporting and giving a slimmer appearance to the abdomen, hips,and buttocks.”  So now let’s look at what else the bible says about whom wears girdles. 

“And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.” [1Samuel 18:4]. 

When did, bonnets, girdles and skirts become exclusively that which pertaineth to a woman today?  Did God change that?  Of course not!  The change came because of trends of culture and fashion. "But some would say; those articles were different in the biblical days.”   You are right; "breeches" are not the "pants" of today either!  If you try to apply Deuteronomy 22:5 as the "no pants doctrine" today without abiding by all of the other Scripture also, then you are a being hypocritical.

Let’s examine Deuteronomy 22 a little further:

20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.  Deuteronomy 22:20-21  "But-if ... evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones

If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.[Deuteronomy 22:22].  Is the church killing any adulators or adulteress these days?  What did Jesus say to the people when they wanted to stone the adulteress women? (John 8:1-11) 

[He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her…(They) went out one by one,beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman,where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?  11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.]

Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. [Deuteronomy 22:11].  Like maybe,denim?  Does this apply to us?

Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. [Deuteronomy 22:12].  Do we have those fringes on all our clothing today?  Of course not!

Sadly, some pastors and denominations restrict women from wearing pants inside the church, using Deuteronomy 22:5 as the scripture to enforce this.  Furthermore, they are not enforcing the other ordinances in Deuteronomy 22.  Either we apply all of the scriptures or none of them.  We don’t get a choice on which scripture to follow.  Sin is sin.  If it is a sin inside of the church, it’s a sin outside of the church.  This is a sad example of denominational ignorance and eisegesis (reading meaning into the text) instead of exegesis (reading the text's meaning).

Cultures change and men no longer wear skirts, they wear pants, but in the time the verse was recorded – both men and women wore skirts.  There is no denunciation for this. Now in our culture both men and women wear pants – and there is nothing wrong with that,there is no denunciation for it.

Cultures do change and it is not wrong to dress in what is acceptable for the culture you live in, as long as we do not transgress the biblical restriction of modesty. Otherwise we would all have to dress like they did in Bible days!  Most of us would not want to do this!

Some scholars believe the context of Deuteronomy 22:5 is the second giving of the law to the nation of Israel as they were poised to enter the Promised Land.  In other words, Deuteronomy22:5 is an admonition not to live as a transvestite. This has to do with more than just clothing. Transvestitism was a practice of the Canaanites, and Israel was to consider it an abomination. No one knows for sure whether this prohibition was intended as a general principle or was directed at some specific abuse among the ancient Hebrews. Cross-dressing was likely considered an affront to the natural distinction between the sexes (Genesis1:27). It may also have been related to some deviant sexual practice, or more likely, to pagan worship. It is known that some pagan rituals of that time involved women wearing armor and men dressing as women, and the Hebrews were forbidden to do anything that had even the appearance of pagan worship.

Scholars also say the word "man" appears in the book of Deuteronomy about 78 times. It is usually translated from "iysh" (meaning man, a male)and a few times from Adam (meaning man­kind). But in Deuteronomy 22:5 the word translated "man" is from an entirely different Hebrew word it is “geber” meaning a warrior, a soldier. Bearing this in mind, the passage reads as follows: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a soldier; neither shall a soldier put on a woman's garment."

If we compare other clothes that  “pertaineth”  to the opposite gender today, we have a problem distinguishing them.  Both men and women wear sox’s, underwear, tee shirts, gym shoes, wedding rings, watches, jackets, and hats.  However, which sex is wearing the opposite’s clothing?  So how do we determine if a person is wearing clothes that  “pertaineth”  to the opposite gender today? 

If we were living under legalism, this would be simple.  We would look at where the clothes were purchased, who the clothes were made for, how the clothes are being worn.  Just as sox’s underwear, tee shirts, gym shoes, wedding rings, watches, jackets, and hats are made for men and women, pants are also made for men and women. These aforementioned items are “cut” exclusively for men or exclusively for women.  A Jeweler has a section for Men’s rings, and Women’s rings.  A clothing store has a section for Men clothing, and Women’s clothing.  You will also find men pants and women pants.  Do they differ?  Yes they do. 

Unfortunately, those who practice legalism do not adhere to the above standards.  They have created their own non-biblical commandment, “Thou shall not wear pants if you are a woman.”

However, we are not justified by our observance to the law, but we are justified by faith in Christ (Romans 3:21-28. The believer in Christ Jesus is "dead" to the constraints of the law. "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code" 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans7:6).  Therefore, a believer does not live by legalism, nor by license, but rather by grace.  "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace"   (Romans 6:14).

There is no biblical law that says what a woman should wear or not wear. Rather, the issue is one of modesty. Paul addresses the modesty of women in his first letter to Timothy. "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God" (1 Timothy 2:9-10). The Greek word translated "modest" is the Greek word "kosmios," which is translated twice in the New Testament, once as "modest" in this passage and once as "of good behavior" in 1 Timothy 3:1. It came to mean "well-arranged,seemly, and modest."

So, the issue is that a woman should wear modest clothing. Whether or not that includes a pair of slacks should be a matter for the woman's own conscience before the LORD.  If a woman allows her outward appearance to be the measure of her inward relationship with Christ, she is living under the constraints of legalism. Born-again women are free in Christ to wear whatever modest apparel they choose, and the only judgment they should be under is that of their own conscience. "Everything that does not come from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). We are not to allow our consciences to be dictated to by legalism and the consciences of others, but by our own relationship with Christ. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). God will take care of the outward woman if we walk in obedience in the inward woman.

There is no way, based upon the evidence, that it be can be conceived that women wearing pants is sinning, unless a woman puts on pants out of a desire to be a man, then a sinful intent exists.  To attempt, to act, teach, or think that greater anointing, favor with GOD, salvation itself is more solid for a woman who does not wear pants, is false teaching.

When Jesus died on the cross, he said “Tetelestai! It is finished!”  All obedience to the law of God was finished in Christ crucified. Christ’s perfect obedience to God’s law was finished. Now it was not necessary that a man must perfectly obey every law of God to be saved.  No, he could not be saved by perfectly keeping God’s commandments, for the law was not meant to save man by perfect obedience. That was not the purpose of the law of God. The Bible says He fulfilled the Old Testament law.  "4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." (Romans10:4)  "24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:24-26);   “15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations.He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.”(Ephesians 2:15)NLT  God bless!

Rev,/ Dr. James A. May is the Pastor of Victory Christian Tabernacle Church, Detroit / Southfield Michigan.  This ministry comprises of supporting other Christians by providing worship service preaching, training in evangelism, defending the Christian faith, providing Chaplin services for nursing homes and care centers, assist new churches in kingdom building, and provides other Christian services as needed. http//


5 Reminders for Ridding Your Life of Fear

Posted on November 1, 2011 at 5:00 AM

5 Reminders for Ridding Your Life of Fear

By Pastor Ron Edmondson

Most of us live our lives with some kind of fear. That’s probably uncontrollable to a great extent. We live in a very fearful world. The title of this post may be a bit misleading; fear may always be with us, but I think it should be a challenge to have less fear of this world in our lives.

What would it be like to live your life apart from fear or with less fear?

Here are some points of understanding that can help us become less afraid of the unknown situations of life:

Life can be uncertain -

There are lots of unknowns in the world. That makes people afraid. Most people would prefer to know the outcome of a situation, and yet many times, probably most of the time, we do not get that privilege. Most of the horrifying experiences of my life seem to come upon me suddenly. We tend to want the expected to occur, but we should always be prepared, at least emotionally, for the unexpected.

Fear is an emotion and not necessarily a reality -

Someone actually defined fear as a felt reaction to a perceived danger. We innately have the ability to respond quickly to danger. Sometimes, we can feel that a situation is going to be scary before it actually is. Our reaction to that sense of fear often determines how well we handle the situation.

We must keep ourselves from allowing negative scenarios to build in our minds. People often take a fear and begin to build scenarios in their minds of what might, could, or is going to happen. Most often, these scenarios are irrational. When the emotion of fear begins, we must analyze its rationality, and if it is based on an unknown occurrence, we must dismiss it as strictly emotion and not reality.

Sometimes, we must face our fears in order to receive victory over them -

We can’t allow fear to alter God’s plans for our lives or steal our joy. We should not be too surprised if in our weakness and fear God encourages us to be strong. When Elijah was hiding out from Jezebel because he was terrified, God sent him back to face her again. (1 Kings 19) Elijah had to go back before he could go forward. God will often allow us to face our fears as well.

Ask yourself two questions:

· What fear do you need to face before you can get on with your life?

· Is fear holding you back from moving forward in some area of your life?

There are two consistent themes in the Bible. We are to walk by faith, and we are not to be afraid. I think those two themes are related to each other. It takes doing the first to accomplish the second.

God has a plan even when our fear tells us that He doesn’t -

Since fears are an emotional response and emotions are not always reliable, fears will often cause people to lose their trust and dependence on God. At the same time, God will often use fear to draw people to Him. Most people grow best when they are being stretched by life. God often uses faith-stretching events, times when people are most afraid, to grow and mature His people. One time, Jesus made His disciples get into the boat, even though He probably knew as the Creator that a storm was approaching. Faith tells us that God’s plan is secure, even when our fear says otherwise.

As we grow more in love with God, we fear less -

Perhaps the greatest secret to overcoming fear in the Bible is found in 1 John 4:18, which says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” Perfect love casts out fear. If ever a person could perfectly know the love of God, he would never have to be afraid again. Whenever we run from the challenges of life, God has to wonder why. He must wonder, “Am I not enough? Do you think this is too big for me?” As we grow in our love for and our trust in God, we will be better able to live our lives in a confident assurance that God is in full control.

To continue to mature as believers we must be working to rid our lives of the fear that keeps us from completely following and trusting in God.

What is your greatest fear you would like to overcome?

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been in full-time ministry for over 8 years.

Pastor May’s Commentary:

Fear and Temptation are brothers and sisters. Neither one can harm you unless you succumb to them.  F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appeared Real. "1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1NLT).   Even if the threat is real (someone pointing a gun at you and is about to shoot you) your fear will not change the mind of the person holding the gun. Your fear of death, will not allude you from death. The definition of fear and worry for a Christian is the same. “Facing the challenges of everyday life, and leaving God out of the equation."  God bless!

Recover from Religious Abuse

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jack Watts' recent book, Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom, (Howard Books, 2011).

A church elder yells rude, condemning words at you. A pastor tries to manipulate you and makes you feel guilty if you don’t comply. A church leader you trust sexually molests you when the two of you are alone.

When you suffer religious abuse, you must deal with the pain of figuring out how to separate the abusive behavior of those who claim to follow God from God Himself. Tragically, your pain may lead you away from God, which will only increase your misery. But if you move closer to God instead, you can discover the healing that He wants to bring into your life.

Here’s how you can recover from religious abuse:

Remember that Jesus was abused by religious leaders, so He understands your pain. Jesus suffered religious abuse during His time on earth, undergoing slander and beatings from religious leaders who then murdered Him. Jesus knows exactly what you’re going through, He cares, and He wants to heal you.

Acknowledge that your life is not where you want it to be. Admit the reality that the abuse you suffered harmed you both spiritually and emotionally. Don’t deny what’s happened to you, but don’t wallow in self-pity, either. Instead, pray for the courage you need to stop trying to rely on your own efforts to get better and submit to God’s will in every area of your life.

Commit to stop living your life in pursuit of self-defeating behavior. Ask God to help you stop dwelling on how badly you were hurt in the past and instead focus on what you need to learn from what you suffered. Pray for God’s forgiveness for the ways that your anger and bitterness have injured your relationship with Him and other people. Ask God to give you the peace and strength you need to move ahead with your life. Pray for the wisdom you need to determine what specific changes you should make with how you spend your time, energy, money, and talents so you’ll be able to fulfill God’s purposes for you.

Accept that the responsibility for getting back on track is yours and no one else’s. Only you can make the decision to get back on track with God; no one else can do it for you. So take stock of where you currently are in life, ask God to give you a vision of where He would like you to be, and develop a plan with specific goals to align every part of your life with God’s plans for you.

Choose to believe what God says about Himself. The Bible reveals that God is good and can be trusted. So recognize that God didn’t cause your abuse; rather, religious leaders who misused their authority are responsible for the abuse you’ve suffered. God cares deeply about what you’ve gone through, and you can count on Him to heal you, so make a determined effort to separate God from the abuse.

Commit to repairing your relationship with God and making amends with everyone you’ve wronged along the way. Confess the sins you’ve committed that have distanced you from God, ask God’s forgiveness for them, and accept the forgiveness He gives you. Then contact each of the people you’ve hurt or offended and apologize to them for what you said and did that was wrong. Try to make amends however you can, such as by repaying a debt or restoring something that was damaged in your relationships. Ask God to help you change your behavior going forward.

Refuse to become like those who have abused you, and abandon your desire to spread malice because of your pain and anger. Stop pursuing vindication and let go of all of your resentment. After purging your soul of toxic emotions, ask the Holy Spirit to fill your soul with love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness.

Write an account of your abusive experiences as well as your subsequent behavior. Take an inventory of what happened to you and how you acted out as a result. Be honest as you record this in writing, and enjoy the freedom you’ll feel when you expose your dark past to God’s light.

Share your experience and your own wrongdoing with a trusted friend. Meet with a friend to discuss your thoughts and feelings about the abuse you’ve suffered and the unhealthy ways you’ve reacted to it. Choose a friend who will accept you just as you are while gently guiding you, encouraging you to heal, and praying for you.

Humbly ask God to change you and help you forgive your abusers. Invite God to change every part of you so you can become the person He intends you to become. Rely on God’s help to forgive the religious leaders who abused you. Remember that God has forgiven you for many sins, and He will bless you with a closer relationship with Him when you obey His command to forgive others as He has forgiven you.

Choose to believe that God still has a good purpose for your life. Trust God’s promises that He has a good purpose and a hopeful future for you. From now on, choose: love over hate, right over wrong, forgiveness over retaliation, reconciliation over alienation, faith over fear, joy over depression, and peace over turmoil.

Nurture your relationship with God, asking Him to reveal His will to you and give you the power to carry it out. Make your relationship with God your top priority, and base all of your decisions on that. Ask God to show you how you can help other people who have gone through religious abuse and act on whatever specific ways God calls you to help others who need to heal.

Adapted from Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom, copyright 2011 by Jack Watts. Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Brentwood, Tn.,

As a young boy and a young man, Jack Watts experienced multiple expressions of religious abuse, which led to self-destructive behaviors that nearly ruined his life. But through programs such as AA and the support of loving Christians, he made much progress toward recovery. However, he found that the particular effects of religious abuse needed a program beyond what he had experienced. Thus began his journey to find the spiritual freedom his heart yearned for and the eventual creation of the 11-step program, Recovering from Religious Abuse. Jack has an A.B., from Georgia State University; an M.A., from Baylor University; and has completed everything except for his dissertation for a Ph.D. from Emory University. He has worked for nearly three decades in marketing, exclusively serving Christian ministries and publishers. You can visit his website at:

Whitney Hopler is a full-time freelance writer and editor. You can visit her website at:

When Satan Comes Knocking

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 6:20 AM

Dr. Robert Jeffress

When Satan comes against your mind with wrong thoughts, you don’t have to concede defeat. Use these practical actions to confront loose thoughts by securing them with the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14).

Action 1: Refuse to feel guilty for wrong thoughts

Imagine you are awakened at 3 a.m. by someone pounding on your front door. More than likely, before you open the door, you’ll look through the peephole to see who is causing the commotion. If it were a neighbor, a friend, or a family member, you would probably open the door and invite him in. However, if it were a stranger wearing a ski mask and carrying a pistol, you would hopefully refuse them entry.

If you were certain the person seeking entry into your home intended to harm you, would you feel guilty over his wanting to assault you? Would you lament to yourself, What is wrong with me that would cause this person to want to hurt me? No, you would call the police immediately to apprehend the would-be assailant.

We are not always responsible for the harmful thoughts that come knocking on the doors of our minds. Although allowing outside stimuli such as certain TV programs, reading material, or internet sites to fill our minds can incite thoughts of immorality or greed, we are not always to blame for the first assault of these ideas. If you were stranded on a deserted island, you would still battle against wrong thoughts.

How do I know that? Consider Jesus’ experience in the wilderness immediately following His baptism. For 40 days Christ was completely isolated. No other people, no newspapers, no e-mail. Yet during those 40 days, Jesus was tempted with thoughts of discontent, greed, and pride.

“Since God hasn’t provided you with what you need to survive, turn these stones into bread.”

“You don’t need to wait to reign over the kingdoms of the world; they can be yours now if you are willing to worship me.”

“You don’t need to follow God’s timetable. Demonstrate you are the Messiah now! Put on a spiritual circus to demonstrate you are the Son of God.”


Where did these thoughts originate? “The devil said to Him” (Luke 4:3) — nowhere in the biblical account of Jesus’ temptation does Luke record that the devil appeared to Jesus. Possibly, Satan spoke to the Lord the same way he often communicates with us: through the mind.

Yet did these ungodly thoughts make Jesus a sinner? Of course not! He remained the perfect Lamb of God whose blamelessness qualified Him to be our Savior. If you and I are going to win the mind games, we need to first stop feeling guilty when evil thoughts invade our lives and, instead, learn how to deal with those unwelcome intrusions.

Action 2: Refuse to allow wrong thoughts to linger

If we entertain and embellish wrong thoughts for any period of time, those ideas have a way of transforming into obsessions. These, in turn, result in overt actions or attitudes of disobedience. Pastor and author Charles Stanley vividly demonstrates:

“The initial thoughts the devil sends to us may be just a toehold the first time we entertain those thoughts and dwell on them or fantasize about them. The longer we entertain the thoughts, however, the more likely we are to start making mental plans about how we might act on them.

“It is then the toehold of an idea becomes a foothold. The more we develop plans for acting on a sinful idea or temptation, the more we find that the foothold has become a stronghold. We come to the place where we feel compelled to try out the idea in our behavior. We come to the place where we want to act on that idea more than we want to banish the idea.”

When we reach that point, we are in trouble. How can we prevent our thoughts from turning into strongholds for the devil?

Action 3: Recognize and replace wrong thoughts with God’s thoughts

My analogy concerning a burglar attempting entry into your home is flawed in one respect. While we may be successful in preventing an intruder from coming into our home, we cannot keep unwanted thoughts out of our minds. The fact that we are thinking about something means that the alien idea has already gained entry.

Nevertheless, we do not need to allow the intruder to sit down in our favorite chair, engage us in an extended conversation, and announce that since he has been so welcomed, he is taking up residence in our spare bedroom! Instead, we need to follow the Apostle Paul’s advice for dealing with an undesirable guest:

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Remembering the words recognize and replace will help you seize control over wrong thoughts. Use the questions we discussed previously to help recognize whether or not a thought could have satanic origin.


Is this thought true? Does this thought motivate me to fear more or to trust God more? Does this thought contradict God’s Word?

But know that simply labeling a thought as harmful and attempting to dismiss it from your mind is not enough. In fact, the more you try to reject an unwanted thought, the more you will find yourself obsessing over it.

To dismiss Satan’s thoughts we must replace them with God’s thoughts, just as Jesus did.

When Satan attempted to plant seeds of discontent, Jesus responded by quoting a verse from the Old Testament. “Man shall not live on bread alone” (Luke 4:4).

When Satan enticed the Lord with thoughts of power and riches, Jesus recited God’s greatest commandment: “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” (Luke 4:8).

When Satan tempted Jesus to act independently from God, the Lord quoted: “You shall not put the lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12).

Jesus understood that the best way to dismiss an unwelcome thought is to replace it with another, more-powerful thought. The best way to dispel darkness is to confront it with light!

When fearful thoughts try to seize control of your life, you can replace those thoughts with, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV).

When you are tempted with thoughts of discontent, you can replace those thoughts with, “We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:7-8).

When you are tempted by fantasies of sex with someone other than your mate, you can replace those thoughts with, “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it” (Proverbs 6:32).

I believe it is this process Paul has in mind when he encourages us to gird our loins with truth (Ephesians 6:14). Our success in spiritual battle depends on confronting any loose thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.

Adapted from The Divine Defense by Robert Jeffress, Waterbrook Press, 2006). Used with permission.

Pastor May’s Commentary:

When you commit a sin, it never "just happens." Sinful acts begin as attitudes or temptations in your mind and emotions.

For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly (Mark 7:21-22).

Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:14-15).

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1).

28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28 )

You can become spiritually crippled if you continuously think about committing a sin, even if you never commit that particular sinful act. If you allow yourself to daydream about divorcing your spouse, seeing a prostitute or committing any other sin, this thought pattern can become a habit that is hard to break. The thoughts become compulsive and can continue for years, robbing you of the joy that comes from a clean conscience. This can lead to sins of commissions and sins of omissions.

Everybody has impure thoughts of one type or another. That's because of our sinful nature. Having an impure thought come into your mind is not a sin by itself; choosing to entertain the thought is a sin.

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Romans 13:14).

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.

15 Signs Your Church Is in Trouble - 5 Core Values of a Church in Decline

Posted on October 16, 2011 at 5:30 AM

 By Pastor Perry Noble

1. When excuses are made about the way things are instead of embracing a willingness to roll up the sleeves and fix the problem.

2. When the church becomes content with merely receiving people that come rather than actually going out and finding them…in other words, they lose their passion for evangelism!

3. The focus of the church is to build a great church (complete with the pastors picture…and his wife’s…on everything) and not the Kingdom of God.

4. The leadership begins to settle for the natural rather than rely on the supernatural.

5. The church begins to view success/failure in regards to how they are viewed in the church world rather than whether or not they are actually fulfilling the Great Commission!

6. The leaders within the church cease to be coachable.

7. There is a loss of a sense of urgency! (Hell is no longer hot, sin is no longer wrong and the cross is no longer important!)

8. Scripture isn’t central in every decision that is made!

9. The church is reactive rather than proactive.

10. The people in the church lose sight of the next generation and refuse to fund ministry simply because they don’t understand “those young people.”

11. The goal of the church is to simply maintain the way things are…to NOT rock the boat and/or upset anyone…especially the big givers!

12. The church is no longer willing to take steps of faith because “there is just too much to lose.”

13. The church simply does not care about the obvious and immediate needs that exist in the community.

14. The people learn how to depend on one man to minister to everyone rather than everyone embracing their role in the body, thus allowing the body to care for itself.

15. When the leaders/staff refuse to go the extra mile in leading and serving because of how “inconvenient” doing so would be.

5 Core Values of a Church in Decline


#1 – Laziness - Most people/churches are not “stuck” or in decline because they do not know or understand what the Lord wants them to do…God speaks very clearly in His Word and through His Spirit. It’s just that God’s work always requires people to take a step of faith! Remember, God promised the Israelites the “Promised Land,” but they actually had to go in and fight the battles. A church that refuses to do whatever it takes and embraces laziness will eventually settle in the desert until that generation dies off.

#2 – Fear of Man – God has called His people to set the world on fire; unfortunately, too many church leaders today waste their time trying to put fires out and make people happy! Scripture pretty much sums it up in Proverbs 29:25! If your first question is always, “What does our biggest giver want” and not “What does God want,” your church is stepping into the casket!

#3 – Pride – When a church and/or its leaders are not willing to admit a mistake OR that a method that used to work just doesn’t work anymore…it’s over.

#4 – Staff Abuse – This is something I’ve written about a lot lately…but I will say it over and over again; when a leader cares more about what his staff does than who they are becoming, then he will begin to push them to put in 70-80 hour weeks on a consistent basis…and when they begin to show signs of being pushed too hard, he will accuse them of being “disloyal” or “not bought in enough to make things happen.” When a leader begins to do this (and other “leaders” sit by passively and watch it happen), then the quality of staff members the church is about to attract and keep will decrease significantly.

(One note on this…many times, a pastor/leader who leads like this is lazy! They often wait until the last minute to do things and then expect the entire staff to change and rearrange everything they are doing to accommodate their lack of planning. Changes DO happen in ministry; heck, we had to switch up our entire Easter services at the last minute. BUT…this should be the exception and NOT the norm. AND…when it really is the exception, the staff will always respond with passion and excitement because there is a consistent track record of loyalty TOWARDS them!)

#5 – Loss of Focus – When a pastor/leader (or group of leaders) become more obsessed with their “ministry platform” and begin to dive into other “ministry opportunities” and do so with such frequency that they cease to love the people that Jesus has called them to minister to, disaster is right around the corner because the church will become nothing more than a resource for the pastor to promote himself rather than a group of people whom God has brought together and given him responsibility over to love and lead.

Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, Greenville, Columbia, and Florence, South Carolina. At just nine years old, the church averages over 10,000 people during weekend services. Perry is convicted about speaking the truth as plainly as possible. A prolific blogger, he's often a featured speaker at church leadership conferences.

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.

8 Myths About Church Membership

Posted on October 16, 2011 at 4:30 AM

 By Pastor John S. Powers

How do myths affect the local church? Present expectations confine us, and myths will keep any church in a rut. We need to be aware of the myths churches face today:

Myth One: The church is a volunteer organization.

The average church member has been led to believe that activity within a local church is strictly voluntary, meaning members can come, give, share, and participate as they please. Church rolls have too long carried the weight of inactive and spiritually immature people who wrongly believe they may do as little as possible and still remain part of the local church. To counter this myth, consider the attitude of Paul, who often likened himself to a soldier, a servant, and a prisoner. He took his role in ministry seriously, and so should every believer.

Myth Two: We should use guilt to enlist people.

How many people have been recruited to serve by means of guilt-ridden phrases such as "If you love Jesus, you will serve in our preschool?" Any person who serves the Lord out of a sense of guilt loses the joy of ministry. We need to connect members to ministry through church by utilizing their spiritual gifts, personality, and passion.

Myth Three: Membership cannot have expectations placed on it.

Expectations of involvement are regularly placed on church members through civic organizations, sports, etc. The work of the local church carries much more weight than worldly pursuits such as these! The lack of impact in our world is evident because there are little or no expectations placed on church members. Like the believers in the New Testament, we must be committed to ministry through the local church.

Myth Four: Discipleship and evangelism are two separate things.

The work of evangelism—sharing one's transformation in Christ with others—is the joyful task of every believer, not just the "gifted." Transformation discipleship gives dual focus within believers. Simultaneously, believers mature in their Christian walk while sharing Christ with the world. A disciple of Christ can't grow without also being a vibrant and verbal witness for Him.

Myth Five: It is impossible to get people to serve today.

Often, this myth results from a lack of clear vision in leadership. The truth is that members will give their efforts to exciting ministries with effective leaders. They'll commit to work that makes a difference in others and in them.

Myth Six: Programs outweigh purpose.

The calendar of a typical church reflects attitude toward ministry. If a program rolls into next year's planning without proper evaluation, people become loyal to a program at the expense of the purpose of the church. As a result, churches sacrifice the best ministries to do good ministries. Churches need to ask questions about the programs with which they are building ministry. They need evaluation against the Great Commission purpose of the church.

Myth Seven: The "80-20 Rule"

A common saying in churches is, "Eighty percent of the money and effort are given by 20 percent of the people." The church has long accepted actions and attitudes that allow the minority to give sacrificially in doing the work of ministry to support the majority. But this kind of behavior was not part of the first church, as seen in Acts 2:41-45. The early church was filled with involved, generous, servant-hearted, unified people. We must be proactive in addressing this issue.

Myth Eight: Belonging to a local church is irrelevant.

Churches must remind their members of the relevance of membership in the local body of believers through addressing low expectations and reasons people are not actively involved. Every believer should participate in a local fellowship because Jesus died for the church. Should we not be willing to give ourselves to that for which Jesus sacrificed?

When we allow myths such as these to become reality in our congregations, we limit our impact for Christ. Myths rob our churches and members of being all that Christ intends them to be.

John S. Powers is a pastor at First Baptist Church, Norfolk, VA, and author of The Body Life Journey: Guiding Believers into Ministry.

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.

How to Find God When He Seems to be Missing

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM

By Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applicationsof Linda Evans Shepherd's new book, When You Can’t Find God: How to Ignite the Power of His Presence, (Revell Books, 2011).

Trouble hits everyone in this fallen world. Even Jesus suffered while He was here on Earth, and so will you – no matter how much you love God.

But the presence of trouble in your life doesn’t mean the absence of God. To the contrary: Trouble may actuallyhelp you experience the reality of God’s presence in deeper ways, if you respond to it by seeking God.

God is never missing from your life,even when He seems to be. Here’s how you can find God and enjoy His presence,despite the trouble in your life:

Find God in yourcircumstances. Look at your circumstances from God’s perspective: as an invitation to draw closer to Him. Choose to trust God’s promise that He has a plan to bring good purposes out of even the worst circumstances. Ask God to help you be aware of His presence with you, feel Hislove for you, show you whatever He wants you to learn from what you’re going through, and anoint you with hope.

Derive the strength to endure fromkey practices. God will give empower you while yougo through tough times if you: root out sin from your life so you’re not blocking God’s work, praise God to invite more joy into your life, seek acloser relationship with God Himself rather than seeking changed circumstances,and focusing on God rather than on your troubles.

Give your troubles to God. God has promised that He will give you rest if you trust Himto handle your burdens, so stop striving to handle them yourself. Instead, give all that’s troubling you over to God and follow His guidance every step of the way to deal with your concerns successfully and peacefully. Keep in mind that the troubles in your life will pale in comparison to the riches you’ll receiveas you draw closer to God.

Stand against evil. The evil that exists in our fallen world may cause yousuffering that God doesn’t intend for you to go through. So be sure to close any doors in your life through which evil may come. Devoting every part of yourlife to God every day is the best way to keep evil spiritual forces away fromyou. Repent and confess of your sins regularly; ask God to help you develop virtues that will mature you (such as humility, patience, and self-control);pray about any hopeless thoughts that enter your  mind, asking God to giveyou the hope you need; and rejoice in God’s unconditional love and reliablecare for you.

Pray against strife. If conflict with other people is causing you trouble, ask God to help you live at peace with everyone, as far as it depends on you. Rely on God’s help to forgive people who have hurt you. Avoid people who continue to cause strife, despite your best efforts to work for peace between you.  Surrender any attitudes that cause strife in your own soul (such as bitterness and selfish ambition) to God and embrace His peace in return.

Pray for breakthroughs. When you’re dealing with persistent problems, ask God tohelp you solve them. Pray about your problems consistently until God brings you breakthroughs – either by changing your circumstances, or by empowering you to handle your circumstances in better ways.

Pray for trust. Rather than trying to make circumstances turn out the way you want them to be, seek what’s best for you, trusting that God truly does know what’s best and will work in your life to bring that about if you invite Him to do so and don’t work against Him.

Pray for grace and favor. Sometimes God will decide to give you an undeserved gift,simply because He loves you and you asked Him to consider it.  Make sure that you’re not blocking the work God wants to do in your life by ridding your life of a refusal to repent, strife, fear, envy, selfish ambition, opening doors in your life up for evil to enter, doubt, confusion, presumption, exaggeration, worry, gossip, lies, and a habit of neglecting prayer.

Pray for hope and healing.  Seek the hope and healing you need from God by incorporating prayer and Bible reading into your life on a regular basis, and seeking God’svoice constantly. Don’t fail to pray because you’re afraid that you’ll be disappointed by how God chooses to answer.  While you can’t predict the specific ways in which God will answer your prayers, you can be sure that God will definitely give you hope and healing in whatever form He decides is best.

Pray for peace. Expect that you’ll often encounter storms in this fallen world, but also expect God to be right beside you in the midst of them. Ask Jesus to give you the peace that only He can give – peace that transcends anykind of circumstances, and that you can experience even without understanding it.

Find joy.  Decide to worship God no matter what you happen to go through at any particular moment, because God is worthy of your worship all the time, simply for who He is. The more you focus on worshipping God, the more you’ll become aware of His presence with you, and the more that will bring you joy that you can use to overcome even the most troubling circumstances.

Adapted from When You Can’t Find God: How to Ignitethe Power of His Presence, copyright 2011 by Linda Evans Shepherd. Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group,Grand Rapids, Mich., 

Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of more than 30 books, including When You Don’t Know What to Pray: How to Talk to God aboutAnything and When You Can’t Find God: How to Ignite the Power ofHis Presence, and the coauthor of the popular series The PotluckClub and The Potluck Catering Club. Linda is an internationalspeaker and media personality, and is the creator of andappears as a frequent host of “Denver Celebration.”

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both contributing writer and the editor of’s site on angelsand miracles ( Whitney at: [email protected] send in a truestory of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answeredprayer.

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.


The Seven Non-Negotiables for Life

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 6:10 AM

By Dennis Rainey

If you've ever purchased a car, you've seen the owner's manual. It's the book that tells you about the "non-negotiables" for maintaining the car. These are things like changing the oil, filling the tank with gasoline, topping off the transmission fluid, and having tires with adequate tread. We spend a lot of time making sure these non-negotiables are done so that when we get in the car, it runs properly.

The same principle is true for the life of a believer. We must spend time on the non-negotiables so that our lives may glorify God. But what are the non-negotiables? They must be defined in order to maintain and fulfill them. In seeking the Lord, I have discovered what I believe to be seven non-negotiables for life. Each principle is centered on the Lord, bringing the glory to Him alone, and the fulfillment of each is essential to the healthy Christian life.

#1: Seek God, not sin.

For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel, "Seek Me that you may live." —Amos 5:4

God is the life-giver. We will find life in no other. But as sinful creatures, our hearts are naturally prone to wander from our Creator. Our souls were made to pursue God, know God, and walk with God—nothing else. It's only as we pursue Him that we live. In the book of Amos, God tries over and over again to get the attention of His people. He allows them to experience famine, drought, and pestilence and yet, as God says in Amos 4:11, "you have not returned to me." But Amos 5:4 reminds us of where life is found. God says, "Seek me that you may live." These words should get our attention. We will only find life in seeking Him.

#2: Fear God, not men.

The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. —Proverbs 19:23.

Our God is holy and is the Lord God Almighty. When I think of the power He holds, I can't help but fear Him and hold Him in reverential awe. Do you care more about what men think of you than God? Then learn to fear God, and you will be preoccupied in walking in His presence, not wondering what other people think of you. You will begin to live your life in light of eternity, and the temporal views of men won't matter anymore.

The fear of the Lord also keeps us from evil and sin. A.W. Tozer writes, "It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate." When we lose the fear of God and don't respect Him and His commandments, we are going to live our lives without accountability to God and one another, which is the cause of a number of sins.

#3: Love God, not the world.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. — John 2:15-17

What is the object of your affections? Power? Recognition? Hobbies? Not too long ago, I visited an unbelievable house, and as I walked around it, for just a moment my thought was, "I could have had a house like this." But I was reminded that a house is not what life is all about. The world is seeking to seduce us into a love affair, but we must love God and be preoccupied with pleasing Him alone.

When I first fell in love with Barbara, no one doubted that I loved her; I was preoccupied with pleasing her. We must also love His people and be concerned about their eternal destiny. We must look at them with compassion, like Jesus, and be moved with action to do something for them. Those who love God will do what He wants and be concerned about His mission and His will, and they will fulfill His calling.

#4: Believe God, not the deceiver.

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. —John 8:44

In 1938 a man in Long Island ordered a very expensive weather barometer. He unwrapped it and realized that the arrow that was supposed to reflect the weather he was experiencing was stuck at the bottom, pointing at "Hurricane." So he slammed it down a few times, and when it didn't respond, he wrote a hot letter to the manufacturer and mailed it off on the way to work. When he came home, he found that a hurricane had hit, and everything was gone.

As believers, sometimes we don't want to believe the truth. When life and Scripture collide, which one do you believe and trust? The deceiver wants us to believe the lie. Will you believe God? The Scriptures tell us that without faith it is impossible to please God, but our nature is to move toward unbelief. Never forget that your adversary is the father of lies. He wants to destroy you, so he works to make us doubt the promises and to accuse the brethren.

#5: Obey God, not your appetites.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

—1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Our appetites are the passions that we have within our flesh, contrary to the spirit, craving and battling to be satisfied. If you give in even the slightest to these desires, the enemy can use that to launch an attack in your life. At the same time, the same trivial act in obedience to God may be used to launch a powerful life-changing ministry. Our passions must be subordinated to the cross.

Obedience to God demands two main things. It demands courage to say no to self, no to appetites, no to lusts of the flesh, no to what's easy, and yes to carrying the cross. It also demands faithfulness—the plodding endurance to God, to his call, and to that which He calls you to suffer. Only by yielding to the cross can you obey God, not your appetites.

#6: Serve God, not self.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" —Isaiah 6:8

The concept of becoming a "bond slave" in the Scriptures means that we are the slaves, and He is the master. That means that we must surrender completely, without reservation. Many would see this type of service as lowly, and it is humbling, but it should be seen as a privilege to serve such a loving Lord. In 1972, in the first year of our marriage, Barbara and I decided that before we would give anything to each other we would surrender our lives in writing to Jesus Christ, giving Him everything we ever dreamed of having. We gave it up and gave Him the contract and title to our lives. Looking back at that day, I see now we gave Him nothing, but I am amazed to see that He has given us everything in return.

#7: Worship God, not comfort.

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. —Habakkuk 3:17-18

I don't know anyone who enjoys suffering, but I do know many who have benefited from the growth that occurs as a result. Are you celebrating God and worshiping Him in the midst of your pain or do you seek comfort by escaping it? When suffering comes, you must move through the pain to the God who allowed it to come to fruition. When you escape, you miss the comfort God gives in the midst of that pain.

Barbara and I have given thanks for short paychecks, for the deep waters of misunderstandings and unmet expectations, for a teenage boy with muscular dystrophy, for the loss of friendships due to the call of God—the list goes on and on. Pain has pressed us against our Savior and reminded us that we are not in control. Pain results in growth and greater fruitfulness for Him. We worship God through music, prayer, God's Word, and baptism. But we should also worship God in the midst of suffering and pain.

These seven non-negotiables are the basics for the solid Christian life, and if any of them are neglected, we will be the ones to pay, not God. Now that you know what the non-negotiables are, why don't you sit down in a quiet place and meditate on the areas where you are taking good care of your spiritual life and then ask the Lord to show you the areas where you need help. And then choose a close friend or accountability partner and share with him or her the areas where you need help and prayer. Soon, you will begin to experience a healthier life—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.


Dennis Rainey is the president of FamilyLife Today. He and his wife, Barbara, co-authored the best-selling books Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem and Moments Together for Couples. Dennis hosts the nationally syndicated "FamilyLife Today" radio program and has spoken at conferences around the country. The Raineys have six children and numerous grandchildren.

Copyright ©FamilyLife. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.

Why Churches Wither and Die

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 5:50 AM

Why Churches Wither and Die

By Pastor Alan Danielson


I once served as the interim pastor for a small church. This church could seat 400, but only 40 came. They’d fired their last three pastors and had changed very little for 40 years. The church had been declining since its peak in 1965, and the average age of the congregation was over 70. They were bearing no fruit, and they were dying a slow death. Their “hope” was the money they had in the bank. They had over one million dollars but wouldn’t spend it. On Sundays when it would rain, they’d put buckets around the auditorium to catch the water that dripped through the ceiling. The money wasn’t really “hope” at all…it was life support. It was almost like they’d forgotten that Jesus didn’t say, “I came to give them life and to give them life-support.”

This doesn’t just happen to old churches though. It can happen to young, contemporary churches, too. When our churches find security in anything other than Christ, we have started the process of sticking our heads in the sand and dying a slow death.

Mark 11:12-19 tells the story of Jesus cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit then immediately driving the moneychangers and merchants out of the temple. Both of these images are powerful reminders of God’s views of the local church: 1) God hates it when the church does not bear evangelistic fruit, and 2) the church does not exist for our own benefit.

All too often, the church becomes inward, focusing on our own needs, desires, hopes, and preferences. When that happens, we have become like the moneychangers: we’ve made the church about us. The tragic result of this is a church that bears less and less fruit. I’ve seen these churches with my own eyes, and it makes me weep.

Why do we let our churches go down this road? I believe it’s because we miss the passage of Scripture that follows this story.

The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it was withered from the roots. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Teacher! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I assure you that you can say to this mountain, `May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart.

~Mark 11:20-23 (NLT)

Somewhere along the way, we stopped believing in a mountain-moving God because:

  • A pastor (or pastors) hurt you, so you don’t believe God can bring you a pastor who has integrity and anointing.
  • A small group experience didn’t meet your expectations, so you no longer believe God can lead you to the right group.
  • The people you invited to church came but did not become Christ-followers, so you no longer believe that the Holy Spirit can use you to reach the lost.
  • You tithed but you still suffered a tragedy in your life, so you stopped believing that God would bless your obedience.

After we stopped believing in a mountain-moving God:

  • We established more policies and committees that help the church steer clear of pain.
  • We got stuck in our favorite ways to “do” church so we can feel secure.
  • We criticized our leaders for taking chances.
  • We chose to be suspicious of our leaders rather than trusting.
  • We shied away from making difficult decisions.
  • We actually began to believe that church was about us.

Please remember that Jesus never promised mountain moving would be easy or painless. He did not say that it would require no risk. He did not tell us that mountain moving required action on God’s part but none on ours. He said, “Have faith.” Jesus’ brother, James, asks us pointedly, “What’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions?” (James 2:14 NLT)

In order for our churches to be blessed and bear fruit, we must stop focusing on ourselves, our feelings, our needs, and our wants. Let us instead focus on those who do not know Jesus while at the same time focusing our attention on the amazing power of the Living God. Let us believe that our churches can be amazing! Let us be confident that our churches can witness mountain moving firsthand. Let us choose to believe that God can and will do the impossible. Let us choose to believe it and ACT accordingly. May our actions never betray the faith in our hearts!

Alan Danielson is the Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Previously he served as Central Team Leader for LifeGroups at in Edmond, OK, where he led over a thousand small groups on LifeChurch’s thirteen campuses in six different states. He then founded to help leaders master three essential leadership skills: vision-casting, creating strategy and fostering relationships. Alan is a popular conference speaker and consults regularly with ministries and leaders on topics relating to small groups and leadership. Learn more from Alan at

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.

Set the Right Expectations for Marriage

Posted on October 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM

by Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Margaret Kim Peterson and Dwight N. Peterson's book, Are You Waiting for “The One”?: Cultivating Realistic, Positive Expectations for Christian Marriage, (IVP Books, 2011).

Too often, people approach marriage expecting that God has a perfect spouse in mind for them, and if they can only find that perfect person to marry, they’ll enjoy a marriage as perfect as a romantic fairy tale.

The problem is that such expectations simply aren’t realistic. Even worse, those who marry expecting perfect romantic love to result can get so disappointed that they give up on their marriages – missing out on the real love with which God wants to bless them.

Here’s how you can avoid chasing fairy tales and discover real love by setting the right expectations for marriage:

Ask God to help you view your marriage the way He does. Pray for the wisdom you need to see your marriage from God’s perspective: as a tool for learning how to love more deeply. Reject the mistaken notion that your marriage is about the love that you receive; embrace the truth that your marriage is about the love you give. Be alert constantly to the many ways in which God may use your marriage to teach you to rely on Him and choose loving attitudes and actions toward your spouse. In the process, you’ll grow in your ability to love God and other people – and that love will return to bless you.

Give up searching for the perfect spouse so you can find the best spouse. Accept the reality that no one is perfect in this fallen world, so you won’t be finding a perfect spouse or be able to be one yourself. However, if you decide to become the best person you can be – which includes relying on God’s grace to overcome your imperfections and loving others even though they’re not perfect – you can find the best spouse for you: a real person who’s willing to partner with you to deal with life’s limitations and challenges together.

Cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. While a fairy tale tells you that you need your marriage to be exciting to be successful, God tells you that your marriage can be fulfilling all the time (even when it’s not particularly exciting) if both you and your spouse are develop a close relationship with the Holy Spirit, who will help you grow in important qualities: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So make it a high priority to cultivate these fruit of the Spirit.

Place your confidence in the transforming power of God’s grace rather than in the goodness of your family. Don’t worry about trying to achieve the perfect family life with your spouse that a fairy tale approach to marriage pressures you to achieve. Realize that a good family isn’t an end in itself; it’s a means to growing closer to God. Simply aim to build a family with your spouse that: welcomes others in hospitality, acts compassionately to help hurting people, works for more justice in the world, tells the truth, and works out problems to reconcile broken relationships. As you do, God’s grace will work in your family to help you and your spouse grow into the people He wants you to become.

Make peace. It’s not realistic to expect a conflict-free marriage in this fallen world. But when you and your spouse do encounter conflict, try your best to resolve it peacefully. Let what you learn about living peacefully within marriage help you become a peacemaker in your relationships with other people. Expose violence and stand up to it. Help abused people you know get the help they need to live healthier lives. Encourage the people around you to resolve their conflicts peacefully, and teach them how to do so.

Build a strong friendship with your spouse. Even though a fairy tale view of marriage emphasizes the romantic part of marriage, realistically, the romantic attraction between you and your spouse will come and go as your circumstances change. However, the friendship between you two will remain constant, no matter what circumstances you go through together. So focus on building a strong bond of friendship between you. If you’re too busy to spend time to spend together regularly (which is essential for building a strong friendship), then intentionally slow down and make time with your spouse a high priority.

Make informed decisions about sex. An overly romantic notion of sex ignores important facts that you need to be aware of to enjoy a healthy marriage. Instead of pressuring your spouse to fulfill your romantic fantasies and trying to live up to your spouse’s fantasies, get real about all the issues that sex can bring into your marriage. Openly and honestly discuss issues such as contraception choices, fighting threats to your relationship like pornography and affairs, and how to deal with sexual changes brought on by aging and illness.

Be realistic about children. While fairy tales may picture husbands and wives with just the right number of healthy children right when they want to have them, realize that you can’t count on experiencing that in your actual marriage. Be prepared to deal with surprises that this fallen world may bring you, such as infertility, unexpected pregnancies, miscarriages, or children who are born with illnesses or disabilities. Commit with your spouse to rely on God together as you deal with issues involving children.

Build a household together wisely. A fairy tale perspective on marriage ignores the reality that spouses must figure out how best to divide the workload that running a household requires, from chores to errands. Be sure to work the details out with your spouse according to each other’s skills and time and energy levels. Also, learn how to manage your shared finances wisely, including living below your means, staying out of debt, giving generously, saving, and investing. When making career decisions, aim to choose more time together over more money, since time together is ultimately more valuable.

Look forward to growing old together. When you approach marriage like a fairy tale, you usually focus on today’s pleasures rather than thinking ahead. But God may give you and your spouse the opportunity to grow old together. Plan for that time, in case you get to experience it. Build traditions together around holidays and other special times. Encourage and support each other as you each work toward creating a positive legacy to leave behind after you die. Thank God regularly for the time you have together – even when it’s marked by loss or sorrow – and make the most of it.

Adapted from Are You Waiting for “The One”?: Cultivating Realistic, Positive Expectations for Christian Marriage, copyright 2011 by Margaret Kim Peterson and Dwight N. Peterson. Published by IVP Books, a division of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill.,

Margaret Kim Peterson (Ph.D. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina and M.Div. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts) serves as associate professor of theology at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Sing Me to Heaven(Brazos, 2003) and Keeping House(Jossey Bass, 2007) as well as several articles and contributing chapters to books. She wrote a chapter for Women, Ministry and the Gospel(InterVarsity Press, 2007) as well as a section titled "Marriage" in The IVP Women's Bible Commentary(InterVarsity Press, 2002). Peterson has given numerous lectures and offered courses at conferences, churches and universities on a wide range of topics including healing, hospitality, AIDS awareness and support, Trinitarian doctrine and marriage.

Dwight N. Peterson (Ph.D. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina and M.Div. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts) currently serves as professor of New Testament at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Origins of Mark (2000, Brill). Peterson has also written articles for several scholarly and popular publications including Bulletin for Biblical Research, Ex Auditu, Christianity and Theatre and Prism. He and his wife, Margaret Kim Peterson, have delivered talks together on marriage at Eastern University and North Park University in Chicago.

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only

What does the Bible say about suicide?

Posted on October 6, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Question: "What is the Christian view of suicide? What does the Bible say about suicide?"

Answer: The Bible mentions six specific people who committed suicide: Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul's armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4-6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). Five of them were wicked, sinful men (not enough is said regarding Saul's armor-bearer to make a judgment as to his character). Some consider Samson an instance of suicide (Judges 16:26-31), but Samson's goal was to kill the Philistines, not himself. The Bible views suicide as equal to murder, which is what it is—self-murder. God is the only one who is to decide when and how a person should die.

According to the Bible, suicide is not what determines whether a person gains entrance into heaven. If an unsaved person commits suicide, he has done nothing but “expedite” his journey to hell. However, that person who committed suicide will ultimately be in hell for rejecting salvation through Christ, not because he committed suicide. What does the Bible say about a Christian who commits suicide? The Bible teaches that from the moment we truly believe in Christ, we are guaranteed eternal life (John 3:16). According to the Bible, Christians can know beyond any doubt that they possess eternal life (1 John 5:13). Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). If no “created thing” can separate a Christian from God’s love, and even a Christian who commits suicide is a “created thing,” then not even suicide can separate a Christian from God’s love. Jesus died for all of our sins, and if a true Christian, in a time of spiritual attack and weakness, commits suicide, that would still be a sin covered by the blood of Christ.

Suicide is still a serious sin against God. According to the Bible, suicide is murder; it is always wrong. Serious doubts should be raised about the genuineness of faith of anyone who claimed to be a Christian yet committed suicide. There is no circumstance that can justify someone, especially a Christian, taking his/her own life. Christians are called to live their lives for God, and the decision on when to die is God’s and God’s alone. Although it is not describing suicide, 1 Corinthians 3:15 is probably a good description of what happens to a Christian who commits suicide: “He himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

Re-Post from "http://www,"

Pastor May’s Commentary:

Matthew 12:31-32 KJV

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

In verse 31, Jesus said All sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (vs32) All includes forgiveness for suicide.

"What is a sin of omission?"

Posted on October 5, 2011 at 6:35 AM

What is a sin of omission?

Answer: James 4:17 declares, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." A sin of omission is a sin that is the result of not doing something God’s Word teaches that we should do. It is generally used in contrast with the corresponding phrase “the sin of commission,” or sins that a person actively commits. Paul juxtaposes the two concepts in Romans 7:14-20. He decries his tendency toward both types of sin. He does what he doesn’t want to do and knows is wrong—the sin of commission—and he doesn’t do what he knows he should do and really wants to do—the sin of omission. Here is a picture of the new nature in conflict with the flesh in which it dwells.

In the New Testament, the classic example given by Jesus is the account of the Good Samaritan. After a man had been beaten and left in need of help, the first two men to pass by—a priest and a Levite, both of whom knew better—failed to act. The third man, a Samaritan, stopped to show compassion to the man in need (Luke 10:30-37). Jesus used this example to teach that we are to likewise help those in need. By doing so, he clearly communicated that it is sinful to avoid doing good, just as it is sinful to pursue what is evil.

Jesus further describes the sins of omission in the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. The goats, those who are sent away by Christ, are those who saw others hungry and thirsty, but did not provide food and water. They are those who saw others in need of clothing, who were sick or in jail but did nothing to clothe or comfort them. These are all examples of sins of omission. There was no sin committed against these needy people—they were not intentionally starved or deprived of their clothing. But the sin of omission was committed when those who could have provided for them chose not to.

Finally, the apostle Paul provides a summary statement that explains why we should do what is right and refrain from sins of omission: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). When we do the will of our heavenly Father (Matthew 12:50), we avoid sins of omission and live productive, fruitful living pleasing to God (Romans 12:1-2).

Re-Post from "http://www,"

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.

Is it Wrong for a Christian to Drink Alcohol?

Posted on October 5, 2011 at 6:10 AM

By Pastor Joel Engle

Is it a sin for a Christian to have a drink of alcohol?

It is an important question for our time. Millions and millions of Americans have been brutalized and devastated by the abuse of alcohol. I have had to deal as a minister with the shattered lives that occurred through the addiction and abuse of alcohol. This is not just an American issue but I live here so I will talk about what I know.

I am going to make some preliminary remarks and then do my best to back them up with the Scriptures and reason.

1. Jesus did make wine.

His first miracle was turning water into wine. I have heard many pastors that I respect go to great lengths to demonstrate that the wine that Jesus made was basically non-alcoholic. They talk about how the distilling of alcohol didn’t really happen until centuries later.

Problem: People got drunk in the Bible. There was such a thing as “strong drink” beginning in ancient times. Therefore, the argument that the wine that Jesus made was almost non-alcoholic seems farfetched to me and to most Bible scholars.

I don’t think Jesus made wine to have a party or to even enjoy it. I think He did it to demonstrate his divinity. Nonetheless, I am sure the people enjoyed it.

2. There has been a HUGE paradigm shift in American Evangelicalism concerning drinking alcohol.

It is hard to believe that most pastors now advocate drinking in moderation compared to how I grew up. Abstinence was just about THE litmus test for sanctification! The party line was almost “We are godly because we don’t drink!” That idea, although extreme, was a reality.

I think the reasoning behind it is simple: if you don’t drink you won’t ever have to worry about abusing alcohol. That is a decent argument. However, there has been a grace revolution in our thinking over the last 20 years. I think this paradigm is for the better but it opens up the can of debate that can lead to disunity. Sometimes debate is worth the possibility of disunity. Sometimes.

1 Cor 10:23 “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."

I love what John Piper said in a video I watched a while back. He intimated that although there is grace and “tee-totaling” is a choice not a law, as pastors we must not be cavalier in the advocacy of drinking alcohol.

I think there are way too many Christians that just blurt out a quick “yes” or “no” without really thinking through the complexities of this question. I used to be one of them.

I do NOT want to present the advocacy of drinking alcohol in a cavalier way. We live in a culture of addiction and abuse. Drunk driving, teenage alcoholism, child abuse stemming from drunk parents are HUGE issues. Moderate drinking CAN lead to alcoholism. It is a possibility so we must be extremely careful.

3. It is a sin to cause another person to stumble into addiction.

Romans 14:20 “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

If a mature Christian’s freedom causes a person to fall headlong into sin then it is wrong. This is not a warning for people who walk in grace to be stifled because they are worried about legalistic Christians criticizing them. This is a warning to make sure that we never destroy the work of Christ in a believer’s life by abusing our freedom.

The $10,000,000,000 question: Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

1. No, it is not a sin to drink alcohol.

I cannot find anywhere in the Scripture a defining verse or passage that says that alcohol is intrinsically evil. I have read tons of books, articles and sermons on this subject and I have never been satisfied that alcohol is intrinsically evil. If so, then taking Nyquil is a sin. So let’s ask a better question than this one.

2. Is it wise to drink alcohol?

Not necessarily. For many, many people it is unwise to drink at all. A person’s background, disposition and environment must be factored into this discussion.

Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”

What this passage means is that wine and beer are powerful and one must not be led astray. The fact that one could be led astray by these liquid entities should give every Christian a heart check.

I have heard often people comparing overeating to overdrinking. Here is the difference: if you go to Cracker Barrel and eat 6000 calories of saturated fact you are not likely to get pulled over by the police because of your fat saturation level. You are not likely to drive into a mini-van and kill a whole family because of it.

There is the possibility that you may have gastrointestinal issues that cause the people in your vehicle to vomit but you won’t be going to jail for manslaughter. You are just guilty of air-quality slaughter.

3. Is it unwise to drink alcohol?

Not necessarily. A Christian can enjoy a glass of wine or a glass of beer and it not cause havoc in the world. Here are a few verses that my super-fundamentalist pastors never preached on when I was growing up.

Psalm 104:14–15 “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”

Ecclesiastes 9:7 “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”

Isaiah 62:8–9 “The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: “I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored; but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the Lord, and those who gather it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.”

4. Is it a sin for a Christian to drink in public?

I think the correct answer to this question is going to be found in the context of each unique situation.

Remember that we are not talking about getting drunk. We are talking about having a glass (or 2) of wine or beer.

If, by drinking a glass of wine, a Christian selfishly causes a weaker Christian (a former addict or one who may have an over proclivity to become one) then the answer is yes. Don’t guess and don’t go there would be my strong recommendation.

If a Christian is sitting down to a nice dinner with their spouse or friends and has no fear or guilt about drinking a glass of wine but has faith that God has given them freedom to do so then the answer is yes.

Romans 14:22-23 “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”


I have not addressed every single issue on this subject but I have tried to give us a “helicopter ride” over this subject. The possibility of fallout is okay with me because I really believe that a pastor must dive into the complex issues of our time with honest questions and thoughtful answers.

Joel Engle is a church-planter who pastors The Exchange Church in the D/FW Metroplex. He is the author of The Exchange, The Father I Never Had, and has written several top 10 songs in Christian music. He married to Valerie and has 4 perfectly amazing children. Joel's latest CD is titled The Great Exchange and is available at, iTunes, and Amazon.

The views in this article are solely the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Victory Christian Tabernacle. This article is posted for education and discussion only.