With the continued spread of Covid-19, people spend more time online than ever before. It effects us all and grinds down on our faith as we can't meet face to face and can't hold each other for comfort.  So a little to help in these regular articles here.  We pray they help!

 

In 1937 an Italian, Carlo Collodi wrote the Adventures of Pinocchio, the story of a puppet carved by the old wood-carver named Geppetto. The puppet is brought to life by the blue fairy, who promised Pinocchio he could become a real boy if he proves himself “brave, truthful and unselfish.” As he meets various characters he lies and his nose grows longer. Through the year the name Pinocchio was become synonymous with lying.

     In recent years the media has created an award called the Pinocchio Award. It is awarded through checking the statements made my politicians, scientists, and other disciplines to document the facts as true or false. Based on the perceived seriousness of the words or issues in question, facts are checked for accuracy and truthfulness; then an award ranging from one to four, with four being the most severe is awarded.

     In order to continue placing a high and godly value on truth and truth telling –“Buy the truth and do not sell it (Proverbs 23:23)—take a few minutes and honestly respond to the following observations about yourself:

 

YOU MIGHT BE A CANDIDATE FOR A PINCCHIO AWARED IF . . .

 

  1. …you stretch the truth
  2. …you bend the truth
  3. …you twist and torture the truth
  4. …you pervert the truth
  5. …you deliberately change the truth
  6. …you refuse to acknowledge the truth (cf. John 8:32)
  7. …you refuse to stand for the truth (don’t want to be involved, “leave well-enough alone”)
  8. …you refuse to support the truth (keep silent, argue against it, etc.)
  9. …you deliberately deceive people (pattern of lifestyle, hypocrite, etc.)
  10. …you intentionally reject the truth (afraid of the consequences)
  11. …you hurt others by lying (out of anger, dislike, protect self, etc.)
  12. …you make dishonest gain or acquire a position by lying
  13. …you have secret and clandestine behaviors
  14. …you lie under oath, on contracts, about taxes, etc.
  15. …you trick people with misinformation (“half-truths”, concealment, lies, etc.)
  16. …you cannot stop lying—pathological personality issue (need professional help, etc.)
  17. …you continually make a joke out of the truth (try to dilute the effect of truth)
  18. …you avoid exposure to truth (don’t want to hear it)
  19. …you justify telling a falsehood or a lie (“Don’t want to hurt feeling,” “best for them”, etc.)
  20. …you cannot discern error from truth (cognitive disability)
  21. …you never, ever admit you are wrong nor made a mistake (a form of narcissism, pride, etc.)
  22. …you have a secret agenda you are hiding or pushing
  23. …you are contradicting God’s word—THE TRUTH (John 8:32, 36).
  24. …you don’t like to be around persons who stand for the truth or tell the truth
  25. …you keep silent when you should speak up for the truth (may be interpreted as supporting)
  26. …you pervert God’s word to prove or sustain your position or beliefs
  27. …you mix truth with error—just enough to get by or pass inspection (know how to play system)
  28. …you attack a person’s character when he or she tells the truth (“can’t trust them”, “liar”, etc.)
  29. …you had rather be “liked” than known as a “truth teller and supporter of truth”
  30. 3…you want to impress others and stay in good with them (“keep friends at all cost”)

 

 

 

DEFINITION:

     Webster: “a religion that is considered or held to be false or unorthodox, or it members.”

     Theological: “In the context of traditional doctrines and practices of biblical Christianity, a cult is a group that believes and practices beliefs that are contrary to the (1) Divinity, (2) eternal existence (3)incarnation, (4) virgin birth, (4) exclusive saviorhood, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Plus many other teachings and practices that contradict the Bible (e.g. 66 books).

21 CHARACTERISTICS OF A CULT:

     A cult associated with “Christianity” may be identified, according to basic definitions, by one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. Usually identified by a human founder: (1) Joseph Smith, (2) Charles T. Russell, (3) Mary Baker Eddy, (4) Ellen G. White, (5) Sun Myung, (6) Jim Jones, (7) Ron Hubbard, (8) Hare Krishnas, etc.
  2. Members are taken though a psychological indoctrination (“brain washing”).
  3. Their belief system is characterized by closemindedness and a superiority complex.
  4. Members tend to be antagonistic and rejecting of others who don’t share their beliefs.
  5. A high level of intolerance toward any position, doctrine, or practice not like theirs.
  6. Most cults were founded by persons—men and women—who claimed to receive divine authority, revelation, and appointment by God or angels. Some claimed to be God or a god.
  7. Most cults are apocalyptic believing in the future there will be some cataclysmic, Armageddon, or other major event that only faithful members will survive, etc.
  8. A cult member will usually stop studying with you if you don’t readily accept their teachings or ask questions they cannot or don’t know how to answer. They are always right, you are always wrong.
  9. Most members accept organizations teaching without questioning. Usually afraid to question.
  10. There is usually a national headquarters that controls members and practices.
  11. There is usually a magazine, book, Bible translation, radio and TV programs to propagate teachings.
  12. Beliefs are propagated by outreach and “evangelism” efforts (door-to-door, street corners, etc.).
  13. Members are required to participate in various programs—disciplined if don’t.
  14. Members support with time, money and participation.
  15. Some cults emphasize a strong ethic and morality; some just the opposite. Some are inconsistent.
  16. Some practice “anti-government” and “anti-medical” behavior (Reject all holidays, blood transfusion).
  17. Have a form of discipline, shunning, and shaming of “unfaithful” members.
  18. They have members, like all groups, who aren’t faithful to teachings and practices.
  19. Members are isolated and prohibited from marrying or dating a “heathen”, “unbelievers”, etc.
  20. Bring reproach on the simplicity of the Gospel, worship, and Divinity of God, etc.
  21. Perpetuate behavior that brings “persecution” proving they are right and approved by God.

READ: Galatians 1:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Romans 1:14-16.

When most people hear the word capital they think of investing in gold, silver, shares of stock, investments in company's startups, and so forth. These are some of the various ways of gaining assets that yield rewards and income over a period of time; usually over a long period of time. There are, however, other forms of capital that a person may invest in and gain continual assets. Education is one of these capitals. Time, effort and money spent in educational pursuits are investments in human capital. Investment in educational capital will never result in a loss. You cannot be separated from the knowledge, values and skills in the way you can be separated from your physical and financial assets. Lifelong education produces lifelong results. Education in ministry is one of the most important capital investments you will ever make as a servant of God.
 
Worth is a key word that is related to capital. Continual investment in education increases your worth as a minister and member of society. Because of your continual investment in education capital you are able to stay ahead of the ever changing curve in culture, ministry methodologies, and personal challenges. Doctrine doesn't change; methodologies do.
 
"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "you will never grow." This is in harmony with Paul's statement in 2 Timothy 2:15, as translated in the King James, "Study to show thyself approved unto God." This is not a onetime pursuit; got my diploma or degree, and now I'm set for life. It is our continuing quest to "grow up into the fullness of the measure of Christ" (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16). Nothing is sadder than a man who thinks he knows it all, while life and opportunities are passing him by.
 
Almost daily we hear the research stats relative to the monetary gains from a high school diploma, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. This makes sense because the more you know, the higher your skills, and the variety of experiences you have gained raises your chances of advancement in life; even in ministry.
 
Many professions require continuing education units every year in order to stay qualified. This is an investment in education capital. Unfortunately the church doesn't require such continuing education of her ministers. This may be why many ministers seem to be content with remaining status quo. They are wondering why their yesterday training in methods isn't producing fruit today.
 
I am not a prophet but based on what I have seen, and am presently seeing, the church is fast moving toward requiring higher levels of educational capital of the ministers they hire. As the level of educational capital increases in the pew, it will be required in the pulpit and classroom. Right or wrong-this is reality. Even if this wasn't true; the minister should want to be a lifelong learner.
 
There are four basic areas that make up the whole (synergism) of education capital relating to ministry. These are the fields that must be addressed in a relational manner in order to insure a balanced result:
  1. Continual growth in knowledge (cf. John 8:32; 2 Timothy 2:1- 3; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 1 Timothy 2:15).
  2. Continual development of skills needed for a balanced ministry; this includes methodologies to address a changing world.
  3. Continual development of character (i.e. Integrity, ethics, morals, etc.): "into the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-16).
  4. Continual passion for the ministry and growth in Christ-"fire in the bones" must continue to glow (Jeremiah 20:9). Passion is the driving force behind acquiring education capital.
There are numerous ways to invest in education capital: reading, attending seminars and workshops; study groups; watching media presentations, and so forth. The possible limitation of these is they don't require work. This is why a sound academic program, such as the MBS provides an excellent opportunity to invest in education capital.
Before you would invest in any physical investment opportunity for capital gain, you would investigate it thoroughly. Right? You need to do this also relative to our online MBS offering at the World Bible Institute. Does the education offer meet some of these requirements?:
  1. Does it have a solid, well-managed portfolio (curriculum, faculty)?
  2. Is the plan diverse (requires research, study, participation, etc.)?
  3. How regularly do you have to invest (study habits, deadlines)?
  4. Is it affordable (how much does it cost, how may I finance it)?
  5. Will it pay continuing dividends (in my ongoing ministry)?
  6. How flexible is the plan (may I enroll at any time)?
  7. What are the rules (qualifications for enrollment, etc.)?
  8. May I complete the program in my present ministry?
  9. Is the program delivered online?
  10. Are required books and course materials easy to acquire?
These are but a few of the observations that will help you decide on how, when and where you will continue your lifelong investment in education capital. DO IT NOW! Investment in education capital will pay dividends the rest of your life.
J.J. Turner, Ph.D.
Chancellor, World Bible Institute
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If you are wearing a wedding ring or own a wedding ring, you have a continual reminder of the wedding promises you made to your spouse. Think about this fact!
 
The wedding vows you swore when you married, if they were the traditional ones, had these sobering words: For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health… until death parts us. These vows made it clear that there may be some challenges ahead in your marriage. But for some reason you may seem surprised to discover the vows are prophetic. Wedding vows do come true!
 You hold in your hand a small book that is powerful enough to turn an unhappy marriage into a joyful and re newed adventure. As the title says there are 101 dynamic marriage promises in this book. This is more than just a list of nice promises one may take or leave. These are promises that every married couple or couple thinking about mar riage, need to take seriously.
 
I have been married to the same woman for more than 50 years. Like most marriages we have had our ups and downs. I wish, however, I had known and applied these 101 promises early in our marriage. The good news is it’s not too late.
 Whether you have been married one day or decades, you need to look seriously at these promises. If you are engaged or contemplating marriage in the future you would be wise to begin making some of these promises now; as well as knowing what some of the promises are you need to make once you are married. Knowledge is power only if used properly.
 
This list of 101 marriage promises has grown out of my own marriage, 48-years of ministry, counseling married couples, pre-marital counseling, earning a master’s and doctorate in counseling, teaching workshops and seminars, and writing several books on marriage, family, and parent ing. I am pleased to share these promises with you I believe if these promises are made and kept every couple can experience Brownings’ promise, Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be.
 
101 Marriage Promises Cover ArticleIf you are serious about having a successful and happy marriage, this book is for you. If you are not, please pass it on to someone who is serious.
 
Why yes, you can read it if you are only curious.

Growing up I constantly heard that there were two things you didn’t engage persons in conversations about, religion and politics. Why? Most conversations in these two areas, especially politics, gender strife, disagreement, and categorizing.

     For the past year, starting in 2015, our nation has been engaged in one of the most heated and contentious discussion and debate about Presidential candidates, in modern times. During this time 20-25 persons, from major parties, were seeking the highest office of the land. That number has dwindled down, as of March 31, 2016 to five. During this time numerous media forums misnamed “debates” have been conducted on TV and in town halls, which were nothing more than question and answer arguments. During these periods of wrangling a new cloud—called ANGER—was formed that hangs heavier and heavier over the heads of politician and the American people.

© Dr. JJ Turner and ©Jeremiah Institute - All Rights Reserved (usage)

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