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Book Review – Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies

All thanks to be the Lord God for blessing this world with people who stand up for the truth of God’s Holy Word even in the midst of universal deceit. Amen.

One such person who stands for the sanctity of the Holy Scriptures is the Christian author Michael C. Snow. I can say this because he has defended the authority of the entire Bible against those who misinterpret it by taking it out of context by favouring only certain scriptures while ignoring the rest.  And this shows all throughout his simple to grasp and simple to understand book called ‘Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies‘.

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

At times people incorrectly assume that they are going well in their walk with Christ so as long they put only a select scripture verses into practice. For example, a man might say he loves God so he is going to have a pleasant afterlife, while referring to verses about love. However, he is not willing to stop worshipping false idols and refuses to acknowledge verses warning about idolatry. Obviously, he is lost and not heaven bound. A simple lack of faith in certain commands of God is as good as complete disobedience to God. No wonder Mr. Michael has correctly stated in his above mentioned book that “God’s word holds these things dear and holds them closely together: love and obedience; prayer and exhortation; forgiveness and repentance.  Our failure to hold these essentials together is a failure to hold to God’s word and to honor it by our diligent study and attention.”

Love, Prayer and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies is an apt reminder to Christians no matter where they are and no matter how basic or advanced their comprehension of the Word of God, that adding worldly wisdom to the Holy Scriptures is as great a sin as removing the connection between the verses of the Bible. Michael has specifically stated this connection between the verses of the Bible as ‘the holy conjunction’ which is the word ‘and’ in the Scriptures. There are many verses that have the word ‘and’ which completes the meaning of the verses.

Yet, some people only consider the words before or after the holy conjunction. Micheal also states there are others make an unholy conjunction for themselves which basically means they add bible verses to things unbiblical and end up creating heresies. Many examples are in his book explain these concepts with the utmost clearness and simplicity.  In just about 140 pages spanning just five chapters namely; Love and Obedience, Prayer and Exhortation, Forgiveness and Repentance, Sin and Silence, & Revival and Holiness he’s shown the connection among them and also how things should actually work out so that the people of God truly walk giving glory to Christ in the fullness of truth. Here are few things from his book which stood out and got me thinking:

  • In the Rabbinic writings, reference is made to an interloper, “evil desire,” which stands between men and their study of the Scriptures. We need to ask what interloper keeps us from a true study of God’s word. And even more, we need to ask, “What desires keep us from obeying God’s word?”
  • We must not allow prayer to become our only response to anything and everything, whether that be the sin in the church or the Mormon missionaries.
  • God’s word encompasses both positive and negative commands. And in love, we obey our Father’s word. As Augustine prayed, “For what am I to myself without Thee, but a guide to mine own downfall?” Seducing spirits will drive false notions into our minds if (through excuses like, “that’s so negative”) we leave a void for them. As Pascal observed, “It is natural for the mind to believe, and for the will to love, so that, for want [lack] of true objects, they must attach themselves to false.”

Going over such words of his book with great relish, I’ve concluded that this one’s definitely an excellently good one. In a time of the spirit of apostasy and widespread sin which tries to trap those who follow Christ, such a book is essential to gain a better and clear understanding of the Word of God. This book has been a blessing to me and I’m sure it’ll be a blessing to you.

One’s thing certain, this book will challenge you to get to consider the whole counsel of God manifest in the Holy Scriptures and most importantly follow God’s will in the right context!

(End of review)

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Front cover – print version

 

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e-book version front cover

Note: If you want to visit Michael’s blog just click here.  The electronic or PC version of the book comes for about $3. Now if you want to buy the e-book version of the book Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies you can visit any of links below as per your needs.

For those who prefer a print version of this book, one can visit their local Christian bookstore or simply buy this via any of the below links, depending on their location:

P.S : I personally thank Mr Michael C. Snow for giving me a great opportunity to do this review. And by the way dear readers, thanks for taking the time out to read my first ever official review. Christ be with you!

Gospel values or the Lord of the Gospel?

What are we supposed to hold most closest to heart when we hear or think of the gospel? Is it gospel values or the Lord of the gospel?

I strongly say it should be the Lord of the gospel who is Jesus himself. Because looking only on gospel values but not on Jesus opens doors to deception. The Pharisees during Jesus’ time on earth were so law centered that they refused to acknowledge Jesus as their messiah and Lord. The same shouldn’t happen with us being value centered instead of being Jesus centered.

Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

Just because you are inspired by faith and do great miracles doesn’t mean it was all you. The devil tempts people who do miracles in Jesus’ name by telling them how special they are compared to others who are lesser beings than yourself. This a temptation of pride in onself rather than trust in God. The way to banish this thought is to realize that both miracles and faith come due to Jesus and not your own merits. So look to the real source which is Christ and not you. No wonder the Bible gives love more importantance than faith.

Love is the greatest value as per the scriptures. But love by itself as a value is just another door to deception. You needs to love in the right direction and the right person. You can either love God or love money but never both. You want to work overtime so that you can provide for your family whom you love. That’s great go for it but don’t miss your prayers to Christ. Because Jesus gives you the ability to become wealthy doesn’t mean you value the gift more than the giver.

Hoping and praying for a wonderful voice to sing is nice. But make sure you sing positive stuff at concerts and events. Hoping for a trip to the Canary islands is good but remember being in the presence of the Lord is far more greater. It’s just that we use our physical eyes more frequently that we need to take sight things that are eternal and unseen.

Peacefulness is highly prized value. Too much focus on peace is bad. You can’t be all ears to a person telling you vulgar jokes. You can’t play the peaceful listener to all. Listen peacefully to wisdom but walk away from foolish sinful talk even if it offends the speaker of vile words. Peace with God is more important than peace with men and women.

Some people cherry pick gospel values that suit their political or intellectual agenda. The most preferred pick is freedom. So a few verses are picked to gain the Christian people’s support for so and so persons right to freedom. I’m for freedom but please do include freedom to worship and freedom from sin as well.

I’m totally against racism, sexism and slavery but I see people try to promote democracy as a guarantee to lasting freedom on basis of bible verses about freedom. Don’t get carried away my friend, democracy is beneficial to some extent but limited by human weakness. People end up voting for the wrong leaders. Good leaders grow old and retire. Jesus is Lord forever and his kingdom shall never end in this life or in the next. How do we realize this? By reading the Bible trying to imitate Christ. This way we keep focused on the big picture instead of small strokes on it.

So do believe in every principle of the Bible but most importantly believe in Jesus always.

Focus on the Lord!

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How to avoid all faithlessness and sinful thinking? Well, you can focus on living a holy life. God has given you a deep ability. This ability is among the greatest and is found in the greatest achievers both in the religious and in the secular world. Its called focus.

Learn to focus on the Lord everyday and every moment of your life. Keep your vision in sight and let it be for the glory of God.

Philippians 3:12-14 says, Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

You can’t get clamped down by your past if you need to make good progress in the Kingdom of God. You need to look ahead to the call that Christ Jesus has given you. Leaving all wasteful things behind.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Never think you are the only person who have ever been called to succeed in the Lord’s way. A great many people have made it to the Lord’s side and now glorify God in heaven surrounded by his holy angels. Take courage dear faithful of the God when you think you’re alone and remind yourself that you are surrounded by a great number of witnesses.

Lets remember the 10th chapter of the gospel of Luke; As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The scripture I’ve just mentioned are not an excuse to avoid housework. Housework is always a good thing to do. However, we need to have our priorities right as well. Jesus gave us a great tip about priorities when he said that Mary chose the good portion. Martha was much worried about the housework while Mary her sister directly came to listen to the Lord. Honoring God is even higher than even your earthly duties. Never let your earthly duties be considered higher than your duties towards God.

To focus better on the Lord Jesus Christ, lets consider the following and use them:

Read the scriptures to learn and stay strong. Romans 15:4 says, For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Proverbs 3:1-35 says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Be alert always and pray. Luke 21:36 says, “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”

Expect the return of Christ any moment. Matthew 24:44 says, therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Note: I can say awaiting the return of our glorious Lord Jesus is an important sign of faith and it keeps you focused. Not expecting him to return is just living a lie. 2 Peter 3:3-4 says, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Renew your mind so that you discern the will of God. Romans 12:2 says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ask God for his strength. When you are strong spiritually you’d find yourself much better focused! Always say, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

All this will help you keep focused when you put them to thought and action. So to summarize the above for you:

Focus on the Lord so that you’re holy and glorify him. Keep your thoughts and priorities in check.  Many others before you have been victorious in the Lord, so get inspired by their example.  To be well focused, read the scriptures to learn and stay strong.  Be alert always and pray. Expect the return of Christ any moment. Renew your mind so that you discern the will of God and finally ask God for his strength.

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