Friday, April 14, 2017

Celebrating the Resurrection of Christ: 7 Pillars of an Unshakable Christian Faith

7 Pillars of an Unshakable Christian Faith
Available on Amazon

Imagine a church in which faith in Christ was so deeply entrenched, its pastor would be spiritually fed each week by the congregation, instead of the dynamic seen today. It would be a church so biblically-grounded, so rooted in faith, and so confident of the Gift of Salvation from Christ that the pursuit of God’s Promises would be a natural condition.

7 Pillars of an Unshakable Christian Faith” speaks to the soul of every true Christian willing to follow the teachings of Christ, the path of Biblical Discipleship, and the guidance of The Holy Spirit through Scripture. Every reader will find its content informative, practical, and easy to apply in modern Christian life. 

Pillar #1: Bible Study Methods and Correct Interpretation
Pillar #2: Christ’s Commission and Biblical Discipleship
Pillar #3: Biblical History and Historical Theology
Pillar #4: Biblical Apologetics and Defending Christianity
Pillar #5: Purposeful Prayer and Biblical Fasting
Pillar #6: Spiritual Warfare and Defeating Temptation
Pillar #7: Applying Biblical Truth in Modern Christian Life

Click to VIEW on Amazon

Michael I. Kaplan presents a well-reasoned approach to the Gospel that’s easily understood, insightful, and written for a world that needs it now more than ever. 

If you have ANY doubts or unanswered questions regarding your faith – and honestly want to find what you’re seeking in Christ - open this book and begin your journey to an unshakable Christian faith.

Monday, April 10, 2017

12 Tips for Defeating Satan’s Temptations

Defeating temptation hinges upon a single choice: do you want to follow in the footsteps of Christ, or would you prefer to follow the world? After all, the temptations of Satan are enticements to coerce Christians to act against God’s Will. God and Satan both want you to make a choice and, despite their spiritual power, the ultimate power to decide is in your hands. 

Satan wants you to decide quickly and impulsively; he wants Christians to be uninformed. God wants you to decide quickly as well; however, He wants Christians to be well-informed, biblically literate and make choices based on a strong faith. 

The twelve tips listed below will help you in making the wise choice: God the Father, and His Son, Christ Jesus.

1.  Realize God doesn’t tempt Man. 
God will never tempt mankind; Satan is solely responsible for temptation in our life. God will test us, but always with a righteous purpose, and for a noble end. Satan’s goal in tempting man is to destroy him, and his relationship with God.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).

2.  Realize God understands temptation. 
God knows the feeling and impact of temptation; despite His omniscience, He went through temptation Himself in fully human form. The fact He was tempted by Satan, emerged victorious, and was crucified to remove the burden of your sins is proof He loves you enough to understand your pain.

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

3.  Realize God won’t let Satan break your limits.
God will never let any temptation you face push you beyond your capacity to deal with the situation. He knows you have limitations, and He’ll always give you an escape route. Jesus died on the Cross to remove the penalty of your sin; the last thing God wants is for you to fail in sin. Remember that everything – including temptation – is cyclical and comes in seasons. Temptations are always temporary. However, the choices we make when faced temptation are eternal.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

4.  Realize you need God to fight Satan. 
Lucifer, the first cherub, has immense power and authority in the world; You’re no match for him. However, you have the power of God through your faith in Christ, and Satan is no match for God. God wants you to want Him in this fight, and He’ll step in as soon as you pray for His help. You wouldn’t bring a toothpick to a gunfight; don’t make the mistake of bringing your finite capabilities to a God fight.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).

5.  Realize God has a plan to protect you.
God is omniscient; all-powerful, all-knowing, and aware of everything, always. Satan and his fallen angels are not. God has given you access to Him, the Armor of God, and all His forces in the heavenly realm to help you in your battle with temptation. Trust the nature of the God you serve, and the righteousness of His plan to protect you.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

6.  Realize Satan knows God wants to help you. 
There are no secrets in Heaven, and it’s no secret God wants to protect His children from Satan’s temptation. Satan knows this and will do anything to convince Christians that God doesn’t care; that He’s an “absentee landlord” with more important things to do than protect you. Scripture reveals Satan’s deception to be a blatant lie – shown by the fact that God gave His only begotten Son so we could have eternal life in Heaven. Don’t doubt for a second that Satan will try to subvert you. However, don’t doubt for a second that God will subvert Satan when you ask for His help.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

7.  Turn quickly to God’s Word. 
There are many passages of Scripture that speak directly to your weakness, and to the specific temptation you face. Research them, find them, write them down, and memorize them. Have a Bible with you whenever possible for this very purpose. There is no temptation Satan can direct at you that hasn’t already been defeated by God in Scripture.

Or the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).

8.  Realize victories strengthen your faith. 
Achieving victories over temptation with God’s help strengthens your faith, and your confidence in God’s willingness to help. The impacts of those victories build up over time, and degrade Satan’s ability to deceive you.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

9.  Remove yourself from the source of evil. 
Once you’ve found a weakness Satan can use as a door to temptation, shut the door by removing yourself from the environment. Satan will lose a chance to tempt you, and you’ll remove the chance to tempt God by still being there.

Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself” (Proverbs 22:24-25).

10.  Surround yourself with supportive Christians.
Surround yourself with Brothers and Sisters in Christ who will strengthen your righteousness and faith. There is strength in numbers, and isolation magnifies deception.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

11.  Practice spiritual disciplines regularly. 
Spiritual disciplines are just that: discipline for your Spirit. They’re acts of devotion that strengthen faith, increase spiritual growth, and enhance the power of prayer. They show God you’re serious about having a relationship with Him; it’s experiential Christianity in action. The more time spent in prayer, studying God’s Word, and fasting, the less chance Satan has of steering you off the righteous path that leads to God’s Grace and Salvation.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).

12.  Keep a prayer journal and daily devotional. 
The best way to measure success and victories is to track your progress. Journals serve as written prayers, devotionals for daily study, and keep a record of your successes and failures. Over time, a journal will help you to build a strong defense against Satan’s temptations and schemes.

Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book’” (Jeremiah 30:2).

Michael I. Kaplan lectures regularly to faith-based organizations on the topics of apologetics (reasoned arguments or writings in justification of theological doctrine), biblical studies and spiritual warfare.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Christians WILL NOT Defeat Anti-God Bias with Biblical Illiteracy

Christianity is under assault on many fronts in our modern society. 

A liberal bias in the media perpetuates people of faith as “ignorant bigots.” Professors in liberal universities have claimed as their mandate a responsibility to stamp faith out of the minds of their students. A politically correct culture is elevating the “separation of Church and State” to the “separation of Church and Life.” Governmental agencies, hostile to the Christian faith, are using the courts to impose regulations that try to remove religious freedom from Christian-owned businesses. 

The role of Christian Apologetics in defense of faith – supported by a solid foundation of understanding in God’s Word – seems to be obvious.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing
raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are
taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ;

Recent scandals in Christianity haven’t helped the image of the faith. The very public (and very memorable) fall of several televangelists – such as Jim Bakker, Oral Roberts, and Jimmy Swaggart – have seriously undermined the public’s perception of Christians. The acknowledgement of pedophilia in the Catholic Church – culminating with an apology from the Pope to affected families – cast Christianity in a very negative light. 

Despite the moral failures and external forces listed above, the faith has prevailed.  Marginally, and in spite of itself.

While Christian Apologetics may be the obvious answer to the problem, the problem - cultural bias and liberal extremism towards God - may not be as obvious as originally believed. 

Neither the external forces nor the occasional scandal explain the yearly decline in believers professing faith in Christ. Based on the statistics below, the same strategies used to create defenders of Christianity – who are knowledgeable in God’s Word, strong in their faith, and united in biblical fellowship – may solve the problem of cultural ignorance before a strong defense is needed.

Researchers at The Barna Group, a resource and research company considered to be a leading organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture, released results from several of their studies conducted in 2016. 

The results of these studies are terrifying, and explain several of the problems plaguing the Christian faith in our modern culture.

  • Fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels.
  • Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of Christ’s disciples.
  • 82% of Americans believe that, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse.
  • 60% of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments.
  • 50% of high school students thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
  • Many Americans believe that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
  • 12% of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because
you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from
being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the
law of your God, I also will forget your children.

When the Book of Hosea was written almost 2,740 years ago, the prophet was speaking against the widespread habit of engaging in religious ceremony, without a genuine commitment of the heart to serve God. It seems that history’s unlearned lessons reappear to teach mankind what it missed the first time. 

When parents aren’t actively and intellectually engaging children in the truth of God’s Word, and churches sacrifice Bible study to entertain congregants, the result will be alarmingly predictable.

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and
does not blow the trumpet and the people are not
warned, and a sword comes and takes a person
from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but
his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.

We, as Christians, have the potential to do better than this, and reverse this alarming trend. More than potential, we have an obligation in light of an observable, critical need. We simply have no choice.

The majority of professing Christians, while culturally aligned with religion in their public lives, are not biblically aligned with actual faith in their private practices. This is creating a diluted, hollowed version of Christianity that's collapsing under the weight of its own mediocrity.

We, as educated Christians in Body of Christ, owe it to the generations of professing believers that follow to create a cultural environment that allows the free expression of their faith. 

The problem is rampant biblical illiteracy, destroying the integrity of the Christian faith from within. 

The answer is reading the Bible, and possessing a level of understanding in God's Word that ensures an unshakable Christian faith, with the strength to sustain its faithful believers well into the future. That responsibility starts now, and it must begin with us.


Michael I. Kaplan lectures regularly to faith-based organizations on the topics of apologetics (reasoned arguments or writings in justification of theological doctrine), biblical studies and spiritual warfare.