Arguing About Faith on Social Media

I was having an interesting exchange with a gentleman on social media the other day. His wife had responded under an article regarding debating with people in social media about values. Her position was that she felt that defending her values and point of view was basically was she was called to do.

I decided to reply. I had recently read Proverbs 23:9 “Do not speak to fools, internet 3for they will scorn your prudent words”. No, I didn’t just post this scripture and moved on. I said that after reading this I had changed my point of view.I explained that sometimes I felt like defending my values in social media, but I took a step back and started observing before speaking. I realize that there are people who like to say outlandish things just to get a raise out of others and actually enjoy debating with people just for the fun of it. While your blood pressure rises, they are laughing on the other side until they burn you out and they move to the next victim. The exchange is futile and fruitless.

I shared my experience and observations. I said that I had opted for demonstrating my values and beliefs in my daily life. I post things I wish to share and if anyone approaches me I’m always willing to share my testimony. That arguing in social media, in my opinion was not an effective tool of evangelism. That’s when the fun began.

Her husband came to the thread and asked me why was I against people speaking about God publicly? He said that my scripture was out of context and that I was trying to impede the furthering of the Gospel. For a little over an hour, that I will never get back, I attempted to explain to him that I was doing nothing of the sort. Until a light finally went off and realized that I should have followed my own advice to begin with and I walked away.

One of his challenges was that we as Christians needed to defend God. I honestly laughed. Me, little human dirt is going to defend the Alpha and Omega, Almighty God. Yes, to me it was funny. God doesn’t need defending in my mind. As far as I’ve read in the bible, he’s asked us to remain in his Word and love others while speaking the truth in love. He’s asked us to defend, protect and provide for the orphan, the widows and the needy. I haven’t found a single request to defend him. If someone has the scripture I’m always open to learn something new.

As I was meditating about this post I remembered that he doesn’t even ask us to defend ourselves.

  • In Matthew 5:39 Jesus tells us, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek”
  • Then in Luke 12: 11-12 “When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
  • Matthew 10:19 “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say”

Yes, 2 Timothy 4:1-22 tells us “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, grandmawho is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. ..”

So yes, we are called to reprove and rebuke…but keep reading; it says with complete patience. It calls us to be sober minded, and endure suffering. How much teaching can we provide when we’re spending our energy defending our points of view? How do we model Christ in our interactions; face to face or online   ? How attractive (and by that I don’t mean putting a dog and pony show) are we making the Gospel to the lost? Does my life shows something that they would want for theirs?internet

I have to ask that myself that every day to stay focus into what God has called me to do.

Be blessed

Book Blast: The 21 Day Challenge!

Take the 21 Day Challenge!

Get 5 FREE eBooks – 2 Days Only

10/17/13 and 10/18/13

PLUS enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Why 21 Days?

It’s a commonly known fact that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. You may spend 21 days trying to form a good exercise routine or kick a bad habit, but what about taking 21 days to form a new spiritual habit? .

That’s the reason for the 21 days series – to provide you with 21 days worth of biblical devotions to help you form new habits that draw you closer to Christ. And for two days only (October 17th-18th, 2013) we’re giving all 5 books away for free. After that, they will be available for only 99 cents each.

So what do you say? Will you join us in strengthening your walk with God? If so, download one or all of the books below at no cost to you during our free promotion – and scroll down to enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card as our gift to you!

Be Inspired…Join the 21 Day Challenge!

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Book #1:
21 Days of Generosity

generosity challenge

Living a Life of Generosity: 21 Days of Generosity Challenge

  • Do you want to live a life of generosity?
  • Do you want your life to be a blessing to others?
  • Do you want to have a giving spirit that overflows from a heart that is fully trusting in God as provider?

If so, consider embarking on this 21 Days of Generosity through this short but powerful eBook.

Download on Kindle Here

Book #2:
21 Days of Faith

faith challenge

Living a Life of Faith: 21 Days of Faith Challenge

  • Do you want to live a life of faith?
  • Do you want your faith to be more than simply saying “I believe in God”?
  • Do you want to have a genuine faith that overflows from a heart that is fully trusting in God in every area of your life?

If so, consider embarking on this 21 Days of Faith Challenge through this short but powerful eBook.

Download on Kindle Here

Book #3:
21 Days of Gratitude

gratitude challenge

During a season of transition in my life, I found myself overwhelmed with negative emotions like self-pity and a complaining spirit. It was as if a dark cloud had descended over me. I prayed and asked God for wisdom on how to overcome these negative emotions. And I sensed Him leading me to do this 21 days of gratitude challenge.

Over the course of the 21 days, God began to change me as I spent intentional time being grateful for all I have been given. I did this through writing in my journal each day and also sending a hand-written thank you note to someone different each day.

And now I want to share what I learned with you in the short, but powerful book.

Download on Kindle Here

Book #4:
21 Teen Devotionals… for Girls!

teen devotionals for girls

Our lives are ruled by habits. We are defined by them. How our days play out, how we act and react, and even how we eat, sleep and talk are all affected by our habits – for better or for worse. It’s said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit or break an old one, so why not spend the next 21 days forming a habit of spending time with God? If you’ve got 21 days, we’ve got 21 devotions specifically written for today’s teen girls.

Are you up for forming a habit of spending time with your Creator? If so, download this book and get started on these devotionals!

Book #5:
21 Teen Devotionals… for Guys!

teen devotionals for guys

Teen Devotionals… for Guys!, brought to you by FindYourTrueStrength.com, are written for teen guys who want to find their true strength in Christ, these devotions designed to be read, pondered on and applied to daily life.

We want you to know that the Bible isn’t just a book that’s over 2000 years old. It’s completely applicable to our lives today – even as teenagers. We know that girls and guys don’t face the same issues in high school – not even close. So these devotions were written with today’s teen guys in mind.

Go ahead. Dig in. Find your true strength in Christ.

Download on Kindle Here

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First Encounter with Faith

I grew up in church. I heard about God all my life, but the God that was portrayed to me was not a loving God. To me he was this big eye in the sky waiting for me to make a mistake and pulverize me at any minute. I was quite involved in church growing up, but it was out of the sense that I needed to keep that God happy to avoid the pits of hell.

I had gone to a retreat and I was pulled to the side and asked if I would take Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In my mind I remember saying: Lady what kind of question is that, are you trying to get me killed?  So obviously I said yes, but nothing changed in my life. A few years later I felt the calling from God and I did give my life to Christ, but I was attending a church that didn’t explain about the journey of a born again Christian or the love of God; it was all about his wrath.

So as a human I sinned and I thought that I was already condemned for life, so instead of running to the arms of Christ, I ran to the arms of the world. I found more sorrow and pain than before. Eight years later (you can’t deny that God is patient) I came back home. I came just like the Prodigal Son, telling my father that I didn’t deserve to be back and that I knew I needed to sit in the back, that I was not worthy of serving him, but if he would only have mercy I would appreciate it.

He sent a young lady in my life to tell me that all those thoughts were claims from the enemy. She told me that God and the angels were rejoicing to have me home. From that point on I felt like I had met God for the first time. I was finally truly born again. God has never left me and has loved me more than I could ever imagine.

“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ” Matt 17:20

Share with us, What was your first encounter with faith? I’m glad to hear it.

If you are looking for a good read, The Road Home is for you. Find out what was Desiree’s first encounter with faith and see if you can identify with her.

Until next time, be blessed.

The Road Home 

TheRoadHomeFinal-2.jpg

 This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

 “With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

 

My Story of Hope

By Gina Cook

My name is Gina and what an honor to share my story with you. My prayer is that somewhere along the line of my story, you will feel hope and strength. They same time flies when you are having fun. I would like to say time has flown because my life has been a blast, full of laughter and health, yet looking back it is hard to believe that 7 years ago my life drastically changed and will forever be changed because of that moment where time stood still and life seemed hopeless.
Breast Cancer is no respector of persons, it doesn’t care who you are, where you came from, what color, what age or that you really don’t have time for this horrible disease. But here I was at the age of 31 years old and a mother of two young girls and a few days before my youngest daughter Dakota’s first Birthday, I was daignosed with Stage Three Breast Cancer with the tumor being over 3 Centimeters in size. I remember feeling as if I could not breathe and the sting of death was at my door. The Words “You have Cancer, and it isn’t good” was spoken by the Doctor.
My life that seemed so young and fresh with so much ahead, suddenly seemed dark and hopeless. And here in that moment, a new me emerged. I was a fighter and was not ready to leave this world. I was not ready to leave my daughters and my family behind. My purpose on Earth was not fulfilled and I was ready to put my boxing gloves on and fight this horrible Cancer. My brother in law bought me some red boxing gloves and had all my family sign them for me, and I was ready to fight.

Because of my size tumor and it being in three out of fifteen lymph nodes they removed from my arm, I began chemotherapy first to shrink the tumor. Immediately I began three heavy and hard months of Chemotherapy. Throwing up , so weak that I had to hold on to to anything in sight to make it to my destination. As if the throwing up and exhaustion isn’t enough then you lose your hair. What was once long and brown thick hair went to a short cut and then a week later fell out on my pillow as if to say “I’m leaving you too”..For at those moments when you are lying in your bed trying to sleep, you feel alone , alone with the thoughts of “How will I survive this?” Though family and friends surrounded me through this fight, I was still alone with my thoughts . No one could really know what I was thinking or feeling.
There are so many days it would take all my energy to get out of the bed. I would pray for God to give me the strength so my oldest daughter Macayla , who was six at the time, could see me look normal when she came home from school. The masked smile and “Mommy is fine, just tired” hurt as much as the multiple surgeries that I had including a Masectomy. I didn’t want my girls to lose their mom. I want to see them get ready for prom, celebrate Birthdays and holidays and see them get married one day. Yet through all these feelings, my heart still had a song.
I will forever remember that moment when my oldest daughter Macayla was running in the front yard. it was a beautiful day and she was chasing Butterflies that were all out in our front yard. I sat on the couch that was in front of the glass window and watched her. The words began to come to me and I walked slowly to the stairs. I grasped the stair rail and held on tight with both hands . One step at a time, I kept repeating the words in my head so I could remember it “My butterfly, you fly so high. You fly for me. Everything I am not know, you seem to be. My Butterfly take on the wind, fly so high, but come back again. Thank you for letting me see, myself through you. Your everything to me.”. I made it up the stairs and went into my closet. Knelt down on the floor and with my paper and pen birthed the song out of it’s cocoon “My Butterfly”.
For that moment she was flying for me but I began to see myself emerge from the cocoon and able to fly. Not physically but spiritually. I felt “HOPE”. I began to check my calendar off every day and what would be closer to my chemo and radiation treatments to come to end. My chemo treatments went on for over a year followed by radiation, more surgeries and after cancer treatments. On the weeks I did not have chemo, I would go for short walks with the girls, go to the mall for an hour if just to show my girls I could do it. I enjoyed every minute and second before the dreaded chemo stepped up to the box on my calendar.
I loved being around family and singing with my mom, sister and my brother Kevin who played the drums. It was very rare I would miss a church service. I didn’t want to quit singing because it got me through the pain. I began to write more songs and the healing process began. Soon the day came when I would see that all the fighting, pushing, and determination to beat this would come and I would hear the words “You are Cancer Free”. “Free” How appropriate those words were to me. I made it!!
Then there was my wonderful mom whom I don’t think I could have recovered as quickly, she would stay up at night with me, and rock my youngest daughter Dakota to sleep when I was too sick. My mom was my rock!! Through this I have met amazing people, made bonds that can never be broken and have continued fighting this battle for others. I have confidence like I never have before, I am empowered to bring Joy and life to others. I am involved as a volunteer with Long Leaf Hospice and am an avid Fan of running, and now a Zumba fitness instructor. My story is for everyone to see that though the disease is ugly , there is hope on the horizon, a sunset over the mountain that you climb and along the way I pray you feel the hands of God. For remember when you only saw the footprints, He was carrying you.
I want to dedicate this to my daughters Macayla and Dakota who are my Butterflies and will carry on the legacy of giving back and inspire others. They dance for me and continue to amaze me every day!
Hope lives !!

Gina Cook
For booking Gina Cook as your guest speaker/singer at your event contact her on facebook or at gcookn@att.net. myspace/ginacookmusic
Gina’s picture courtesy of “Dawn and Company Portrait”

Thanks Gina for your bravery and sharing with us

What is Faith?

Hebrews 11:1 Tells us that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (NLT)

Basically, faith is belief that is not based on proof. In other words, we don’t need to see something in order for us to believe that it is there. But faith isn’t based on the absence of proof. It is based on previous experiences or testimonials from those we trust. It is a knowledge based not on evidence but on witness within our Spirits.

Faith requires trust. If you hear a testimony from someone you trust about something, you believe what they are saying even though you haven’t experienced it for yourself.

In Hebrews chapter 11, we are given several examples of biblical personalities who exercise faith. My favorite is Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his son in response to God’s test. He had faith that God who promised him this son (and many other things through him) could raise the boy up again or in some other way fulfill him promise to him. (Hebrews 11:17) Talk about blind faith.

Believing in God requires a tremendous amount of faith. Believing that the earth was created by this same God; yet another vast amount faith is required. But God doesn’t leave us on our own with this one. He knows that our human nature will require a bit of help, so he gives us that by proving His existence with his presence in our lives, His solutions to our circumstances and His Spirit bearing witness with ours.

Faith is believing in the seemingly impossible but upon closer examination, you’ll see that your faith in God makes perfect sense really. It makes less sense not to believe.

Joana Head ShotJoana James – Author of From Redemption to Maturity,   Nightmare at Emerald High & Alana and Alyssa’s Secret

Joana Melisia James is a young Christian author from the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Her work includes the two-part series “Alana & Alyssa’s Secret: Rise from the Ashes”, a Christian Thriller “Nightmare at Emerald High” and her latest devotional series Soul Food, with book one, “From Redemption to Maturity” currently available.
Joana is multi-talented. She has been a dancer for over ten years and a singer for most of her life. She is an Information Technology Professional but her hardcoverstackpassion is writing. She spends most of her free time relaxing with her kindle or in front of the computer screen.

Joana has plans to release several other titles in the coming months, including her newest project, a three part series called “Her Cross to Bear”.

You can grab a copy of the Joana’s Devotional “From Redemption to Maturity” for kindle today for free.

Faith and Mental Health

 Mental Health is one controversial subject in religious circles. Emotional disturbances are not necessarily visible and therefore sometimes not viewed as real health problems and the treatment of there or lack of thereof is not always addressed appropriately.

Emotional conditions are usually viewed in religious settings as a lack of faith, a lack of prayer or lack of surrendering to God. I don’t discount that there are times were a believer’s struggle are due to those things, but as with physical healing, I wouldn’t recommend a cancer patient to stop or not engage in treatment; I wouldn’t discourage someone struggling emotionally to do the same. Matthew 4:23 (MSG) states, “People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them one and all”; which tells me that in God’s eyes they were all the same.

I think that sometimes believers fail to educate themselves in the nature of mental health conditions.  A high percentage of mental health conditions are biological in nature. Just like diabetes, they are due to a chemical imbalance in the body, in this case; the brain, which is as much as an organ as the pancreas is. Just like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, most mental health conditions have a pre-disposition genetic component. It is true that a pre-disposition doesn’t mean that it will happen, just that the chances are higher. This has been proven with alcoholism and depression.

Can God heal people from these conditions? Absolutely, however that doesn’t mean that these struggles are not as real as physical ailments and they should be treated as such.

Some churches have a more open minded approach to these issues and have counseling programs available to their parishioners. There are many Christian programs (like Celebrate Recovery) and counselors out there that can not only understand the condition but also provide the spiritual support to the person dealing with these struggles.

In my opinion there are three major mental health conditions that are majorly misunderstood within the faith community. Those are: depression, anxiety and addictions. Absolutely keeping God first in anything in our lives is a most. At the same time if you or a loved one is struggling with emotional conditions do not be ashamed to seek professional help, or to encourage and support a loved one to seek it.

James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another

and pray for one another,

that you may be healed.

The prayer of a righteous person

has great power as it is working.

Are you taking your faith for granted?

We get up every morning. We can read our bibles. We drive to our jobs and choose to listen to our Christian radio stations and sing out loud along with the music. There’s no problem on telling your co-worker that you will be going to a church service that night or over the weekend. You invite some friends to your house to hold a bible study and praise God. It’s your house and you have a right to do what you want. We can only wish it was like that everywhere in the world.

I’m going to share a story with you that changed my perspective of what it is to really be a Christian. This is the story of a very young woman who recently went into a mission trip and the things she shared opened up my eyes. I asked her to share some of them with you.  Do you remember those stories of really dying for Jesus back in the roman days and suffering persecution? Well there are Christians still doing that today in 2012.

“I’m a young, 22 years of age lady that went on her first mission trip to Hong Kong, China this past November. Never in my life did I think it would happen. Never in my life did I get the huge blessings that I received to even go. And never in my life have I left a place and gained such a huge lesson in my spiritual walk.

The purpose of this trip was to carry bibles into mainland China from Hong Kong. I went into the country thinking that my simple yet risky act of bringing bibles into a communist country was going to help make an impact in the lives of the Chinese people, that I could teach them something and walk away knowing that a part of my spiritual check list was marked off. But I was so very wrong. In my two week stay, the people that I came across, the stories that were shared and the country that I got to see, impacted me more that I thought it ever would. I met and listened on the perspective of five different people who shared what it is like to live in China: how it was hard being a Christian in a country that frowned on it and punished those who made it their duty to spread the name of Jesus. We were warned beforehand that we had to be careful in what we say and do. For example, if we wanted to pray in our hotel rooms, it was advised that we should turn the television to the most bearable noise level and pray; this was to keep our prayers muffled from possibility that our hotel could be bugged. We had to be careful of who we talked to, where we read our bibles if needed. And when it time to say grace over our food in public, my Puerto Rican leaders did the praying in Spanish.

After two days in Shenyang and a day and a half in Dandong (which is south of Shenyang and is separated by a river with North Korea) I became spiritually frustrated. I never thought being secretive could be draining to the spirit, but for me it was. My frustration became disappoint, and not on God or the Chinese but on myself. While in my hotel room alone, I took the time to analyze my spiritual life: was I as serious about it as I claimed I was or was I just another hypocrite? What is the level of my faith or relationship with God? Was I or am I willing to take it seriously at all? You see, here in America we have it easy. We can decide what religion we want to believe, what god we want to serve and for some of us, we do our best to freely express our beliefs because we have that right to. Will people like it? Of course not, but the government doesn’t punish us for it. We never stop to think what it would be like in a place like China or North Korea where we have to live in secret for the name of our faith. I saw people in my room back in Hong Kong praying in tongues, filled with the Holy Spirit and reading their bibles like their lives depended on it. What did I do? Text messaged my family and friends back home, listened to my music and fell asleep through a few church services while “praying”. By the time I got back home, I felt ashamed. I felt that the purpose of my being there wasn’t done properly and that I could have done better. The people I shared a room with, were from the mainland. In my eyes they pretty much ousted me in the “who’s more passionate for Jesus?” category if there ever was one.

I’m sharing this to ask, for those of you reading this, to do this one thing: take a look at your faith and your relationship with God. Are you grateful or is it just something you don’t take as seriously as you should? You of all people in this country are blessed with the freedom to believe in Jesus and to be able to share him with others. You are not held captive by fear that someone will kill you because of your faith; you don’t have to hide bibles or become watchful of who you speak with. You are free. With this New Year quickly approaching, make a serious resolution to be appreciative that you are freely a Christian. We need to take our faith just as seriously as our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas. Don’t let the moment of you going into a country that’s in spiritual bondage make you grateful for your freedom. Be grateful now”

As we start this new year, I hope this testimony brings the fire into your life of what it is to live for Christ.

God Bless you!

Note: These pictures were taken from the internet and have no attachment to the story or the people spoken about. If I need to credit someone for the pictures, just message me.