Good works pleasing to God

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Today I want to offer you an excerpt from a long treatise on REALLY good works by Martin Luther (not King). Sometimes we might have preconceptions and wrong ideas about how BIG good works must be or rather ‘look like’. However, our good works can be pretty small. They might even take place without anyone noticing them… but God. Now here is the part I chose of Martin Luther’s treatise (emphasis in bold letters has been added by me). If you want to read more, follow the link beneath the excerpt.

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How God Opens Man’s Ears to Hear HIS Voice

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Instead of writing a long blog post of my own, I offer you two biblical excerpts from Elihu’s speeches to Job after Job’s ignorant friends had tried to share their human wisdom with him who would suffer a lot. Sometimes we cannot understand why God lets us suffer without telling us WHY and HOW LONG it might take. But there must be a reason why suffering is necessary in our lives, even if we cannot see the reason right now. Here is wisdom that Elihu, inspired by the Holy Spirit, suggested to Job on (1) ‘How does God make us hear Him?’ and on (2) ‘Why does He not answer us as we expect Him to do?’

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Cults in Cyberspace: Just a Mouse Click Away

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Dear reader, I am still occupied with this issue about cultic dangers. After publishing a more encouraging blog post last week, here comes another warning about the subtlest, and maybe easiest way of how Satan could try to capture our minds. This particular topic has weighed like a burden on my heart for a few days now, but I would find no time to write it all down. Let’s start with a testimony by a woman who experienced ‘something’ on the internet which seemed to be so innocent in the beginning.

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Drawn toward the Light

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After many gray days lately, last week the sun came out for a short time again. Swimming under an almost clear blue sky in my favorite outdoor pool, I suddenly got aware of the fact that all human beings, even most animals and plants are drawn toward the visible light. These few sunrays made the water sparkle and glitter both on the surface and underneath. Due to the warm temperature inside (30 °C, i.e., 86 °F) the pool soon turned into a vapor bath. As the cold Eastern winds blew stronger, playing a funny game with these continually shaping clouds of steam, my heart was rejoicing over the ingenuity of our Creator. It was really an amazing spectacle!  🙂

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Seventeen Point Checklist for Unknown Groups

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John Hurt in “Nineteen Eighty Four”, George Orwell (Michael Radford, 1984)

I decided to publish another checklist that might be helpful to find out whether you or anyone else you know has touched on any kind of group (Christian, religious, political, esoteric etc.) that eventually turns out to be dangerous for spirit, body, and soul. Michael Clark and I translated this Seventeen Point Checklist from a checklist I would find years ago on a German website. Michael recently published a great blog article in which he described his own painful experiences in cults. The picture he attached to that post was very inspiring for me, so I also chose a photo from George Orwell’s “1984”. I recall how much I hated to read this book in high school about 36 years ago, such a dark scenery! :-/ Back to the check list: If you follow the link below, you can also see the pictures (cartoons) that go along with the German text which I changed slightly due to a, which I believe, inappropriate wording in one case. I wanted to follow the Spirit’s leading here as you might have already expected when you are familiar with my writings.

http://www.ebi-sachsen.de/sekten/checkliste.html

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“What Is A Cult? Recognizing And Avoiding Unhealthy Groups” by Jayanti Tamm

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Today I want to offer you a short excerpt, or more specifically, a list written by Jayanti Tamm who was born into a cult from which she could escape only 25 years later. Although her former guru, Sri Chinmoy, was not a Christian cult leader, I believe the chief features of cults she would work out in this list below are generally applicable to all sorts of unhealthy and anti-Christian groups, too. 

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A Pact with the Devil

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This time you might wonder at the topic I chose to write about. Like the charismatic issue that has bothered me for some time and eventually led to my last article, today I felt I should start to illustrate the possible dangers that might approach us in our every day life through people who are not necessarily Christians although they sometimes claim to believe in God. I am referring to ‘noble’, well-deemed people (mostly men) who might work as university professors, physicians, judges, notaries or bank directors. This list is anything but exhaustive. It might only serve to point you to the credibility their profession normally lends to them. What they all have in common is that they are (very) successful. Most of the times they are rich at that. Sometimes they become famous, too, sooner or later. However, they had to do something in order to get there. As German author and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in his work “Faust” described, The erudite Faust is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.” (1)

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… but you are dead

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Just lately I have been preoccupied with a specific religious orientation of Christianity. Not that I had chosen to focus once again on what I had known myself a quarter of a century ago. However, a few people I have known for years were more and more drawn into this kind of charismatic church. It is a modern branch of Christendom that more often than not appeals to younger people who do not like to sit in a pew without moving their body for a long time. If you enter such a church, you will surely meet a group of kind people who extend a warm welcome to you (the welcome team). There is also a variety of modern music presented by what is called the worship team. The bigger the church, the more qualified musicians you will find there. They and the majority of the church members who serve in any kind of ministry don’t work for money, no. Whether it is the welcome team, the kitchen team, the worship team, the child care team, whatever. All these people work for charity’s sake. But this does not apply to the pastor and the whole leadership; they usually live from what the congregation offers up. You know, from tithes and donations…

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Called to Live A Holy Life

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Happy New Year to every reader of my blog!  🙂 This post should have been published in December already, but as I was very busy and have been sick for one week, I thought I could offer it to you belatedly although these festive pictures might strike you as odd now.  😉 I just added the quote in the beginning and here we go. T. Austin Sparks put it so properly as he said,

The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control.

I sometimes wonder whether we as Christians know that we are called to live a holy life, a life that is evidently different from what this world calls ‘life’. Not that I am thinking here of ‘holy’ Christians who preach the law while they tend to live licentiousness privately sooner or later. Such preachers are often characterized by a very offensive style of preaching. They only ‘feel good’ if they were able to misuse their self-assumed authority by beating the hell out of their audience (speaking spiritually here). If those who were preached to bow their heads eventually as they find themselves completely discouraged, only then such preachers feel better than others. This is a carnal way to preach the gospel, indeed, as it only serves to boost the sermonizer’s self.

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Panic is Satanic

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The other day as I was half awake in the morning, still dwelling on some thoughts that could have turned into real worries sooner or later, I suddenly heard a voice that emphatically told me, “Panic is satanic!” Although I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me, I wondered why His voice was not as still and subtle as it often is when God nudges me tenderly to open my ears toward Him. It dawned on me that God wanted to teach me something. Therefore, I would not be that surprised later that day as a black truck passed me by when I was on a prayer walk in the afternoon. On this truck you could read a big-lettered yellow label that said, “Don’t panic!” Aha!  🙂

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