Secure Your Internet

We understand the difficulty of policing the internet when you have children in your home.  That is why Gateway recommends OpenDNS.  OpenDNS is not a software package.  It is a DNS that you point your router to which lets you easily block individual or entire categories of Web sites in just minutes. It's free and requires nothing to download or install.

Use OpenDNS

Seeking God

What we seek in life defines who we are. There are those who spend their whole lives seeking money and the things money can buy. Others may seek position, fame, and power, to be known and respected by people. Some focus on human relationships of various types and feel this will satisfy them. Others pursue pleasure and are willing to engage in whatever gives them the most enjoyment. Or we can live simply to be entertained, whatever form that takes. And within that context , we can spend all our time seeking this job, this TV show, this sexual liaison, with the idea it will help us obtain what we ultimately seek. But are any of these what life is really all about?

 

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Facing Betrayal

Almost all of us have been betrayed or felt betrayed by someone. Maybe it was clear-cut and there is no question. Maybe that has been misunderstanding and there are two sides to the issue. It is my opinion that human beings have an almost infinite ability to misunderstand each other. We also have any ability to get upset over insignificant issues. But there are real and inarguable betrayals that happen in the world. How do we deal with it?

 

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God's Forgiveness

God forgives sin. This if nothing else is the heart of the Christian message. But it can be distorted. There can creep in the idea that God forgives sins if we deserve it. This puts the emphasis back in the wrong place. What we do rather than what God does. This is often is done to avoid the idea that if God forgives sin, we will sin with impunity. But it is important to uphold God’s forgiveness while avoiding both extremes. We need to avoid self-righteousness and complacency from thinking we can stand before God based on our works. We need to avoid the discouragement that comes from thinking we should be able to stand before God based on our works, but recognizing we fall short. And we need to avoid the superficial faith that makes a profession and then lives as it lists. How do we stay clear of all the pitfalls.

 

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Up from the Pit

What do we do when we are in over our head. It is easy fight and struggle and grit our teeth and think we can somehow handle it ourselves. But we need to trust God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 37:3-6; 127:1,2). But it is easy to wait till you have exhausted all other options. Or worse have the answer come and realize you should have trusted God rather then fretting. Why is it we find it so hard to trust God (as I ask this I see four fingers pointing back at me). And why is it, that it is sometimes easier to trust God for the big things then the little everyday things. I have a wife who is in the hospital recovering from surgery for cancer. But I find it easier to trust God for that then some of the nitpicking problems like having too much to do at work. King Asa of Judah could trust God to defeat a vast army much too big for him to face (2 Chronicles 14:8-15). But against the King of Israel, a more equal adversary, he resorted to chicanery (2 Chronicles 16:1-10). How can we avoid this attitude?

 

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The Presence of a Holy God

The Old Testament tabernacle and the temple after it were vivid pictures of the holiness of God. There was a complicated process to make it into the presence of God. There was sacrifice and cleansing required to enter the tabernacle itself and only the priests were allowed to do so. There was a veil through which only these priests could pass. But inside where there where items that represented prayer, provision and enlightenment, there was another veil. Within this veil was the ark of the covenant, that represented the very presence of God. And only the high priest could enter this inner room once a year, with blood to pay for the sins of people. Now this ark was not a magic talisman. When the Israelites took it into battle thinking its presence would give them victory, they lost (1 Samuel 4:12-32). Rather the result was based on the real sin among the people (1 Samuel 2:12-17). But when the ark was mishandled the result was swift judgment (1 Samuel 5:1-6; 6:19,20; 2 Samuel 6:1-7). How can we enter the presence of a God this holy.

 

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The Blessed Man

Where do we get real wisdom? Does it come with a number of academic degrees. Or does it come with street smarts. There are many often contrary ideas of what really is wisdom. And they are often mutually exclusive. People fight over what constitutes true wisdom, is it common sense, intellectual knowledge, scientific expertise, something else, some mixture. Scripture makes it clear that true wisdom comes from fear of God and knowledge of His word (Proverbs 1:7; Psalms 1:2; 119:99). This needless to say is a controversial answer. It is easy to become one of those who scoff and rebel against God’s truth (Psalms 1:1; 2:2,3; 2 Peter 3:3,4). But Scripture says the wisdom of this world is foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 3:18-20; Romans 1:22,23) and its outcome destruction (Psalms 1:4-6; 2:4; James 3:14-16). I am not against intellectual learning. It can give you a broader perspective on life and the world. It can help you see things through the eyes of different people in different times and different places. But apart from the knowledge of God it can become a intellectual game. A preoccupation with abstractions that is disconnected from real life. The history of philosophy is one of a futile search that seems to go nowhere. Common sense is a useful thing. It can help you make good practical decisions. It can help you know how to deal with everyday tasks in the best and most efficient way. But without God it can become a narrow prison. It imprison you within the everyday and prevent you from seeing anything out of the ordinary or unusual. And this can end up sealing out God. Then there is science. Science is a useful tool. It can do many things to make our lives easier and to help us to understand our world. But science is a tool. It can tell us how things happen and how to make them happen differently. But it cannot tell us what should happen. And apart from God it can allow us to both heal and destroy more efficiently. The question is which one will win. But it is God who bridges the gap. God is ultimate reality, who became a man in our everyday world (Philippians 2:5-11; John 1:1-18; Psalms 2:7-9) to save us from our sins (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be saved by putting our faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Psalms 2:12) and based on this we are being transformed by His power (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:29). We also have a record by which we can know about these things (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:19,20; John 17:17). In this the two worlds meet, God invades history, intellectual facts meets practical realities and the ultimate goals of lives are grounded in eternal principles. And based on this all the contents of purely human wisdom are an empty bucket with no final answers. Professor Erich's Take Professor Erich's Take

 
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