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Better Than Maple Syrup —

01-Icebreaker

This is my first (icebreaker) speech for Toastmasters.

Here are the links to the resources I recommended in the speech:
TED Talk
The Table Group

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Audience —

audience

Are we all to go and wash ourselves seven times in the Jordan river? 2 Kings 5:10

Are we all commanded to go to Nineveh? Jonah 1:1-2

Are we all to go and wash in the pool of Siloam? John 9:7

Are we all to praise God seven times every day? Psalm 119:164

Are we all to rise every night at midnight to thank God? Psalm 119:62

Are we all to beat our swords into plowshares? Isaiah 2:4

Are we all to beat our plowshares into swords? Joel 3:10

Are we all apostles? 1 Corinthians 12:27-30

Are we all watchmen? Ezekiel 3:17

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Decisions Decisions —

VennDiagram

Salvation is one form of decision, but it is not just any kind of decision. It is a very specific type of decision, so it might be misleading to say that salvation is a decision, unless the meaning is clarified.

Green set = all decisions
Black set = conscious decisions
Blue set = preferences
Gray set = beliefs
Yellow set = humility
Intersection of yellow set and gray set = salvation
Note: This Venn diagram is not to scale

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place,] with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Sometimes, humility can be quite difficult. However, humility becomes completely effortless when I see the glory of God, compared to my stupid, filthy weakness. It is no achievement, virtue, or accomplishment to turn from our sinfulness to His Way. It is the opposite of achievement. It is humility in response to God’s glory. One day, all will respond in humility in response to God’s unveiled glory — every knee shall bow — there will be no choice, which is why salvation can only be obtained before that day. However, in this life, God reveals to each person just the right amount of glory so that the choice is still personal.

As shown in the Venn diagram, there is an intersection between the following two categories of decision that will result in one receiving complete and eternal pardon for one’s sins — salvation:

  1. Belief: I must decide to believe in the one true, holy, loving, forgiving God who created everything, as taught in the Holy Bible — faith.
  2. Humility: I must make the humble decision that God’s Way is the right way, and forsake my sinful way — repentance.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

John 5:39-40
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Proverbs 1:28-30
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

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The Power Of Satan —

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Satan was lying when he said he could give the kingdoms of this world to whomsoever he will. Satan does have power, but not that power. Satan is the leader of the spiritual wickedness in high places. Satan is the god of this world. Satan is the prince of the power of the air.

Ephesians 6:10-13
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Though Satan is the most powerful of the fallen angels, and more powerful than any human, Satan’s power is limited. Satan is not a competing god with the true God. Satan is completely constrained by what God allows him to do.

God limits what Satan is allowed to do that will affect my physical world. I limit what Satan is allowed to do that will affect my soul. Not that I have more power than Satan, but that I can be prepared for Satan attacks by putting on the whole armour of God. And that I have power to call out to God for help. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” There are some other prayers that God might answer “no” or “wait,” but God will always answer “yes” to my prayer to protect my soul from Satan’s attack.

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The Abundant Life —

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John 10:10 I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Luke 9:23 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Regarding the above verse, everyone knows and agrees that Jesus did not mean to go pick up a big piece of wood and get killed. So, what did He mean? Here is one way to look at it.

deny himself take up his cross daily follow me
Don’t be self-centred. Pour out your life for others — live for others. Be like Jesus.

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus not only died for us, He also lived for us.

1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

I have the power of the resurrection to help me live for others to an extreme; minister; walk in newness of life; deny myself; be tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving; live the abundant life. Yes, that describes the abundant life.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We are not going to stay awake continuously serving others until we die from exhaustion. We are not going to give away every mite we receive until we die of starvation. We need to fuel the engine to drive the increase, so that we can give from the abundance. Allow God to bless others through you.

Acts 20:35 I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Beg God to bless others through you.

We can tell that Job and Stephen learned this “secret” of the abundant life, because we know they had peace, joy, hope, longsuffering, love, faith — the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is the antidote to self-centredness. This fruit enables us to live for others. This fruit inspires us to be like Jesus. This fruit is the source of the abundant life. There is no life more rewarding than a life lived in love, in service for others — for their sake — for Christ’s sake.

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Swallow A Camel —

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Protégé: Why do you insist on everything being rational?
Mentor: You have asked a question. When I answer your question, is it OK if my answer is irrational?

Of course, a sane student will realise that life becomes completely futile and chaotic if we tolerate irrational conclusions. If inconsistencies are accepted as valid, it is not even possible to find anything to be true. If a statement is accepted as correct, and the opposite is also accepted as correct, then we are no longer talking about Truth, but opinion, error, or folly.

Jesus had some harsh words to say to those who believed, and especially those who taught, inconsistent doctrine.

What is a biblical approach to interpreting Scripture?

To answer this question, a thorough investigation would include proper reverence to the use of reason. We would do well to show, from Scripture, that two contradictory conclusions cannot both be true within the same context.

For example, the Bible clearly says that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). Because of this, we cannot come to any conclusion, or interpret any scripture, as if God was lying. If we did, we would essentially be throwing out all of the verses and lessons showing us that God does not lie.

The basis of non-contradiction is not disproven by examples of seeming contradiction, such as:

  • “there is one God”
  • the trinity of the Godhead
  • “there be gods many”

This is because those are each true in separate contexts.

Also, there are some doctrines that do not seem to be reasonable. For example, it does not make sense that God would love us while we are sinners. However, this is not a contradiction within the teachings of Scripture, but a discrepancy between the mind of God and the mind of finite humans.

There is a law, as exemplified in Scripture, that all conclusions must abide by logic. This is not the kind of law that was decreed or legislated, but discovered, as a natural law, like mathematics.

Here are some biblical examples of this fundamental law:
1) Jesus demonstrated reason when He taught the Scriptures. Here is one illustration. The disciples thought Jesus was scolding them because they forgot to bring bread. Jesus rebuked them for such thinking. The reason Jesus gave them for His chiding was that He had miraculously fed thousands of people, on two different occasions, so He obviously was not referring to a lack of bread.
2) Jesus says “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” We cannot know the truth if contradictions can be true. Our grasp of the truth would continually elude us.
3) Jesus asserted that it is not OK for doctrine to be contradictory, for example, in Mark 12:27, denouncing the Sadducees doctrinal inconsistency Jesus said, “ye therefore do greatly err.” http://www.whythawye.me/bible/html/830.html
4) There are many occasions in the epistles when logical deduction is employed, such as: Hebrews 8:7 “For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” Another one is: Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

We will not understand everything about God or doctrine, but what we do understand will be consistent. The more we understand it, the more consistent it will be. If I find some teachings in the Bible that seem to be inconsistent, it is because my understanding is incomplete.

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Light Of True Liberty —

7+reasons

Please allow us to draw your attention to a global ministry we hope will grow to bless many millions. Light of True Liberty is a national system without compromise with biblical principles of government.

This is NOT a political campaign!
This is NOT a political party!
This is NOT suggesting or promoting insurrection against any government!

This IS the hope that new nations will be peacefully formed, based on biblical principles of government!

Daniel 4:17 The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

John 19:10-11
10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power [at all] against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Romans 13:1 There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Psalm 33:12 Blessed [is] the nation whose God [is] the LORD

Here is part of a list of reasons someone might want to live in such a country — please see the link below for a longer list:
▪ You want to live in a country that is pro-life and defends the innocent and vulnerable — an ethos of life, where a fellow human does not need to be perfect, or convenient, to be fully valued.
▪ You want to live in a country where the light of true liberty shines out to the world, benefitting billions.
▪ You want to live in a country where the poor get complete justice, not just the wealthy.
▪ You want to live in a country where business is allowed to thrive and flourish, to the benefit of society, rather than government hindering and harassing the free market.
▪ You are not looking for Utopia, just the liberty and responsibility that God offers to those who govern their country by His principles in His Word, the Holy Bible.

Please see more.

Sabbath Keeping —

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It is interesting that the one feature of the calendar agreed by every culture on the planet is the seven-day week. Some isolated points in history and culture have made attempts to deviate from the seven day week, but that always fizzled.

Sunday is the first day of the week. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. Don’t even try to tell me that Monday is the first day of the week. Sunday has been the first day of the week, by the decree of God, since long before the word “Sunday” even existed. It is outside the jurisdiction of humans to change these numbers!

The actual meaning of the word “Sabbath” is “rest” in the sense of “stop.” As a law, this was introduced in the Mosaic covenant. The word “Sabbath” is not used in the Bible until Genesis 16, when Moses is giving instructions for manna. This ordinance was revealed as a dispensation to the Jews after the exodus, though it was, of course, planned from the beginning of creation.

Nehemiah 9:13-14
13 Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:
14 And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:

In Genesis chapter two, it says that God sanctified the seventh day because He was done with the work of creation. The word “sanctify” means “clean” or “holy.” As a ceremonial law, God ordained that the Jews were to commemorate the “sanctified” seventh day by also resting on that day, like God did when He completed all the work which He had made.

It makes sense that some people might have already discovered the blessings that God designed into the seven-day cycle, by resting one day in seven, even before the Ten Commandments were given to Israel.

I think it is clear from Romans 14, Galatians, and Acts 15, that strictly keeping the seventh day as the day of rest is not a requirement for Christians, now that we are in the New Covenant. Since Paul is instructing them to do what they think is right regarding the Sabbath, that means Sabbath keeping is optional. Since it is optional, it is not a requirement. Since it is not a requirement, we are no longer bound to practise this part of the Old Covenant. So, one could be fully persuaded in their own mind that they are going to keep the Sabbath, but it would be contrary to Scripture if one were persuaded that Sabbath keeping was required.

Romans 10:4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

The ceremonial law is no longer binding because it has been fulfilled in Christ. We can still benefit from the blessing of living our lives according to God’s design, so resting one day in seven will be more rewarding than otherwise.

Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

In these post-modern times, the hard part is building up to where we are actually working six days. Many of us are getting too much rest!

Colossians 2:16-17
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days:]
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

As a ceremonial law, the Jewish Sabbath was a living parable looking forward to a fulfilment. That fulfilment is the rest we have in Christ.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

We do not work for our salvation. Christ did it all, and we just place our trust in His work, not our own. This trust is not any form of work, it is rest. This trust is the opposite of achievement, it is humility. Sometimes, humility can be quite difficult. However, humility becomes completely effortless when I see the glory of God, compared to my stupid, filthy weakness.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 66:2 To this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

We can live in the fulfilment of the Sabbath, we can rest from our works, we can live in the Spirit, we can walk in the Spirit. We can have our Sabbath rest in Christ. The New Testament fulfilment, of the Old Testament shadow of Sabbath keeping, is trusting in the virtue of Christ rather than trusting in my own virtue to save me.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

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Heritage Forever —

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John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

1 John 1:1-2
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it,] and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Revelation 19:13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Jesus Christ is God’s Word. Listen to what He has to tell you, by reading the Holy Bible.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

When we read the Bible, we are acknowledging God. We prize His Word so highly that we invest our time to focus on what He wrote. This is a form of worship.

Psalm 119
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as [much as] in all riches.
18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
24 Thy testimonies also [are] my delight [and] my counsellors.
45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
50 This [is] my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
72 The law of thy mouth [is] better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
92 Unless thy law [had been] my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! [yea, sweeter] than honey to my mouth!
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
105 Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they [are] the rejoicing of my heart.
130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
165 Great peace have they which love thy law:
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.

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Prohibition Of Love —

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There are sins that are not crimes. There are sins that are crimes. There are good reasons that government is biblically limited to punishing crime.

When we are forced to do some act, we are now prohibited from using that act as an expression of love. It is only possible for any action to be an act of love, if we have the option to freely refrain from that action. To be clear, the word “love” we are using in this article is not “affection” and it is not “infatuation.” This love is not an emotion. Love is a verb. Love is an action. This love is when you want the best for another person, and your actions, on their behalf, are based on that intent. It is godly love.

When government strays from their focus on punishing crime and forcefully takes our resources to “give” to the needy, this is a prohibition of love. The citizen’s money does not belong to the government, so it is not theirs to give. Much the same as when Herod gave the head of John the Baptist — it was not his to give. When I have the choice to give to the needy, and I do so of my own free will, that allows me to express my love through my actions.

Sometimes, when one neglects a duty, it is criminal negligence, and this would be a matter for the government to address. Other times, negligence is not a crime. When the government forces us to do something, outside the context of crime, this is a prohibition of love.

To illustrate the concept, here are a couple of examples.

When I am forced to say, “I love my king,” with gun held to my wife’s head, then the words I have said lose their meaning. Maybe I do love my king. But, when I am forced to say it, then my words are no longer an expression of love.

Here is an example at the other extreme; more frivolous. What if the government made a law requiring me to give flowers to my wife every Friday. The effect of this law is a prohibition of love. I can no longer express love to my wife on Fridays by giving her flowers.

As more requirements are put in place, we have less options and resources to express our love.

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