Category Archives: Markethive

Never Talk to Strangers?

God wants us to share His good news with everyone

Written by Gary Schneider on 27/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: EvangelismGospelJesus


And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

John 4:4-10

Though most of our personal evangelism probably happens in the context of some kind of relationship (friend, family member, coworker, neighbor, classmate, teammate, etc.) there are countless opportunities we have throughout our lives to engage complete strangers with the Good News, just like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman in John 4.

To miss those opportunities is to miss the hand of God in our everyday lives. I believe that He is constantly orchestrating moments where intentional Gospel conversations can take place.

The gospel has power

After the woman at the well went back to town to proclaim her newfound faith in Christ, He told his astounded disciples (a rabbi would never talk to a woman in this culture, let alone a Samaritan woman like Jesus did) this: “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). In the same way we must wake up and look around to see the ripe harvest field around us every day… at the restaurant we frequent, in the grocery store we shop at, at the gym we work out in.

One of the biggest blessings this brings is a reminder of the power of the Gospel. Romans 1:16 tells us, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

There’s something inherently powerful about the message of Jesus, so much so that most of the evangelism you read about in the New Testament centers around Jesus and the disciples reaching complete strangers with the Good News. These are people they bumped into along the way. They were fishermen, tax collectors, everyday Harrys and Sherrys who needed that message of hope.

Those kinds of people are all around us today. In this high-stress, low-hope culture, people need the Gospel message now more than ever.

I know that we’re called to make disciples (not just converts) and I’m convinced that disciples can best be made in the context of a relationship, so I believe that a huge part of our evangelistic efforts should center around people we know and are getting to know. Because once they come to Christ we can help them grow in Christ so they can make more disciples.

A story of a changed heart

Several years ago I lived in northern Quebec, Canada for the purpose of learning the French language. During the very early stages of that difficult task, I met a fellow student named Raul who came from Colombia to learn French. God distinctly nudged me to share the Gospel with Raul. Over breakfast one day, I struggled and strained to share the basic truths of the Gospel with Raul. We had a very limited number of French words in common to communicate with as his native language was Spanish. With the help of a napkin, a pen, and the Holy Spirit, I could tell Raul was understanding the message.  My very first prayer ever in French was to lead Raul to Christ. After the prayer he reached into his wallet as if to pay me for the prayer.  I said, “no, no it’s not like that.” He was actually pulling a picture of Jesus out of his wallet.  He then said that all his life he has wanted to know the Jesus in his wallet. Now, Raul said, “this Jesus is not just in my wallet, now He’s in my heart.”

I would have totally missed that opportunity if only shared the Gospel with those I have a relationship with. The only reason I shared the message is because God put him on my heart.  Even with very limited vocabulary and ability to communicate, the Holy Spirit made the message understandable and Raul’s life was changed. We met every week for a year after that breakfast and he became a great friend and a reproducing disciple of Christ back in Colombia.

Let’s share Jesus with those we know. Let’s invest in them and introduce them to the Lord. But let’s lift up our eyes and look around at the harvest all around us all the time.  Divine appointments are waiting for YOU!


Pray this week:

Lord, forgive me for the opportunities I haven’t taken advantage of to share the good news of your Gospel with those I come in contact with. I pray that you will give me more of these opportunities, and that you’ll give me the correct words to say to share your love with those around me. Amen.


Why do you think you don’t share the gospel with those around you – even if they are your friends? What should you do to feel more comfortable sharing the good news with others?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is True Worship According to the Bible?

Worshiping both in Spirit and Truth

Written by Dan Lee on 23/08/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: God, Singing, Worship
The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23-24
In John 4:23-24, Jesus spoke about worship with the Samaritan woman. Let’s try to understand what true worship is according to the Bible, and how you can apply it to your own relationship with God:

1. True worship requires our spirit.
“. . . true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit . . .” Does this mean our spirit, or God’s Holy Spirit? Actually, it’s both! Worship is meant to include our whole self. This is why the Lord commanded Israel in Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Both publicly and privately, we must not just go through the motions of worship, but be fully involved with our heart and soul – our inner selves.

2. True worship requires to worship in the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:19-20 tells us, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” When we are filled with God’s Spirit, a natural result is heartfelt worship – singing to God, and talking about Him to others.

3. We need to worship in Truth.
What is the truth? A better question is, who is the truth? The answer is Jesus: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)

Jesus also said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). The more we know Jesus, who is the truth, the more we will be able to worship in truth. We get to know Jesus through prayer (we talk to Him) and His word (He speaks to us).

When you worship God in a church or anywhere else, ask the Lord to help you “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” (Colossians 3:2). He will help you to worship him with your whole heart, and not just go through the motions. The Lord will be glorified, and your faith will grow, and others will hear about Him.

Pray this week:
Father, Please help me understand how to worship You in spirit and in truth.

Do you need more help understanding worship?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is Worship?

It's Not About Us

Written by Jim Denison on 15/11/2015

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GloryPraisePurityPurpose


 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

 

This verse describes true worship. Do you worship your Maker? We need to know what worship is, what it isn't, and why it matters so much to our God and to our souls.

What Worship Is

God defines worship as "love": "Love the Lord your God." Love is a verb, an action word. It requires doing, not just attending church, listening to a sermon, singing hymns, or giving money. You've only worshipped when you've loved, adored, and honored. And it is about loving God in every way a human can love.

With all our hearts: our emotions and senses.

With all our souls: the life force itself, that which gives our bodies life, our essence. Worship involves a passionate love for God.

With all our minds: We are to have no ungodly thoughts, or songs, or movies, or television shows, or books in our minds (see Psalm 101:3). We are to think about our faith, to study God's word, to engage intellectually in the worship of God.

With all our strength: We love God with our actions, not only on Sundays. God is looking for Monday Christians, Monday worshippers, Monday disciples.

How to Worship

You can love God the same way you love anyone else. You can spend the day with him—talking to him, thinking about him. Ask him for what you need, and thank him for what he gives. Spend the day with Jesus. Love him. Worship him. This is his first commandment for every day.

Worship is not performance, entertainment, therapy, or even evangelism.

Worship is not about us. It is about loving God, every moment of every day.

We were created for worship. He gave us free will so we could choose to worship him. Nothing else fulfills us.

Worship provides the power to serve God. If you want God's power for your life, you must worship God every day.

Why Do We Worship?

Because God deserves our worship. “We love him because he first loved us“ (1 John 4:10). He created and redeemed us, and made us a place in his perfect heaven forever. He watched his Son die on the cross, to save our souls and purchase our salvation. He gave everything for us. He deserves our worship.

When last did he receive yours?


Pray this week:

Lord, help me understand what it really means to worship. Take away my wrong ideas, and teach me how to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.


Is this a new idea for you? Do you need help knowing what it means to worship God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Darkness or the Light

Are you worshipping in the light?

Written by GodLife on 13/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChurchCultsReligionGodJesus


I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

John 12:46

The old saying, “All that glitters is not gold,” is truth. Just because something looks like gold and feels like gold does not mean it is gold. Have you ever heard of fool’s gold? It looks like the real thing, but it is worthless. Those who know the real thing well enough know the difference. 

On the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Paul (Acts 9) and told him he was to open the eyes of the Jews and the Gentiles to bring them out of the darkness into the light, from the power of Satan to the power of God, that they may receive forgiveness of sin and have a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Him. Where do you stand? Are you worshipping in darkness or in light? 

Only One God

There is only one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you are in a church that only focuses on one person of the Holy Trinity, it is not of the Light. Similarly, when a church’s doctrine adapts the Bible’s teachings to conform to a separate religion, it is not of the Light. There is only one way to the Father: it is through Jesus Christ, God the Son (John 14:6). There is only one Holy Spirit given to indwell and guide us, and He points us to the Savior of the World.  

“I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6

Sound churches go by many different names but share the same biblical doctrines. Those who are in Jesus have life because they receive these essential doctrines and have asked Him to save them. They have become a new creation. We are no longer a member of the darkness and must have nothing to do with the world’s pagan religions or practices. We are now in the Light, and we should behave as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)

Demonic Practices

In some African and Latin American societies, Yoruba religion and other tribal practices with witchcraft, spiritism and demon guides have been blended with Catholicism or some other forms of Christianity. This practice has created new man-made religions such as Santería, Candomble and Voodoo with their demon spirit guides and curses. They are satanic in origin. These demons are disguised as Catholic saints and are worshiped. Animal and even human sacrifice may also be involved.  

Some in Hindu societies add Jesus Christ to the list of Hindu idols to be worshipped as one of their pagan gods. Hindi Christians sometimes find it difficult to come out of participating in pagan Hindu religious practices. As Christians we are to leave the darkness behind. To become a Christian is not to accept a foreign culture associated with Christianity, but to trade darkness for the Kingdom of God. 

“You shall not make for yourself any graven image of anything and bow down to it or serve it.” (Exodus 20:4-5)

Come out of the darkness and into the light. God is light, love and life. He brings joy and peace.

“…for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true…  try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:9–11)

Counterfeit Religion

Any other religion mixed with Christianity makes a separate religion. Chrislam is an example of this. Chrislam also began with the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, but has now spread around the world. Chrislam is an attempt to mix Islam and Christianity. Chrislam denies one of the essentials: the deity of Christ Jesus. It treats both the Quran and the Bible as Holy texts. Since the Bible contradicts the teachings of Islam, in Bangladesh a new translation of the Bible has been produced, which changes terms and names in order to refer to Jesus as only a prince or Master. 

In effect, in Chrislam all become Muslim because the full doctrine of Christ is denied. Christ is the Lord, God the Son and the only way to God. Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.” To deny this fact is not to not believe the whole doctrine of Christ. In addition, scripture clearly says if you do not have the Son, the Saviour of the World, you do not have the Father either.

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves so that you may not lose what we have worked for; but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” (2 John 7-10)  

Chrislam, Santería, Candomblé, Vodun and New Age Christianity are counterfeits. They are of the darkness because they deny the Trinity. We are saved only by our faith in the sacrifice of the Son of God and receiving Him as our Lord and Savior. Christianity is about Christ. Fear of persecution leads many into the delusion that a compromise religion would be better. But if we deny Christ, He will deny us. (Matthew 10:33) Christ did not come to give mankind a way to salvation. He said He was “the Way”, and that no one could come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

A child of God cannot worship Jesus in these man-made, false religions. It would be trying to walk with one foot in the light and one in the darkness. It is following a glittering deception: a false peace motivated by fear. Just because something includes Christian terms or practices does not mean it is the real thing. Many first-century Christians were persecuted or martyred when they did not compromise their faith. In peacefully obeying His call to take up their cross and follow Him, they turned the world upside down instead. (Acts 17:6)


Pray this week:

Lord, Please, I only want your Light. Please keep me in your Light in all of my ways.


God loves you. Are you in the darkness? Why not come into the Light? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

More on How to Avoid Misusing the Bible

Be prepared to defend the Gospel

Written by Dan Lee on 06/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BibleWisdom


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Just last week, we talked about ways to avoid misinterpreting the Bible. Today, we want to conclude this two-part devotional series by pointing out something just as important – using the knowledge we gain from studying His Word to better represent the Lord. 

A while ago when I was in school, my teacher would always put us in groups to research and prepare a presentation about a certain topic related to the class. I would prepare for days! My teacher was known for asking difficult questions just to make sure we all did our work. Sure enough, when question time came around, you bet I was prepared to answer all the questions! My peers, not so much. 

It’s the same when it comes to learning the Bible. You must always be prepared so you don’t look foolish. How can you defend the Word of God when you yourself may take out of context?

Let’s use the following verses as examples of how to better interpret the Bible. 

Take it step, by step 

Let’s break down one of the most popular verses quoted by people looking for assurance of a good life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

You might look at this verse and think that God never intends anything bad to happen to you. 

However, when we read this whole chapter in Jeremiah, we find first that something bad has already happened to Israel – they had been defeated by the Babylonians and forcibly removed from their homeland. They were living in exile, slaves to a wicked foreign empire. 

Another prophet, Hananiah, had been telling the Israelites what they wanted to hear: that their captivity would last just two years. Jeremiah’s answer to him? “You are a false prophet, and you’re going to die.” And Hananiah did die (Jeremiah 28:12-17).

Then Jeremiah sent a letter from Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon telling them the truth: They were going to be there for a while. A LONG while:

 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

Yes, the Lord had a plan to restore Israel to their homeland, but it would take place in 70 years – after most of the listeners had died! Not only that, but the promise was conditioned on Israel praying and seeking God with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13).

Your calling 

So what does Jeremiah 29:11 promise for today’s believers? It does not promise peace and prosperity now, but instead promises restoration in the future. For us, the ultimate restoration comes at the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom.

We don’t know when the Lord will be coming back for His church. Until then, we encourage you to go deeper in your relationship with Him and be a living testimony of the truth He brings to the world. Fall in love with His truth and be ready to defend the hope that lives within you. (1 Peter 3:15)


Pray this week:

Lord, I ask you to give me the opportunity to use the wisdom I gain through your Word to share the truth with those around me. Amen. 


Are you prepared to defend your faith when brought difficult questions?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

3 Ways the Coming of Jesus was Foretold

There are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus (the Messiah) in the Old Testament.

Written by Joy on 07/12/2014

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: JesusJesus BirthProphecy


 

“For to us a child is born, …. and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.” Isaiah 9:6-7

 

There are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus (the Messiah) in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfills every prophecy! Since it’s the Christmas season, let’s take a look at 3 ways the coming of Jesus was foretold.

1. The Miracle of His Birth

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). God uses His supernatural power to give us evidence that He, and He alone, is doing something amazing. The foretold virgin birth is only possible by God. It is important that Jesus is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus is unique because he is a man, or a “seed of woman” (Genesis 3:15), and the Son of God (Matthew 3:17).

2. The City of His Birth

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2) Jewish scholars agreed that Jesus would come from the descendants of King David (Isaiah 11:1-2), and be born in Bethlehem.

How amazing that God arranged for a pagan Roman emperor to take a census, causing a pregnant virgin to travel to Bethlehem at just the right time! “And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary and while there, the time came for her baby to be born.” (Luke 2:3-6)

3. The Purpose of His Birth

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus had to suffer as the prophets foretold (Luke 24:26-27). He died in our place so we could have peace with God. This is why the Angels sang at His birth: “Glory to God in the Highest! And Peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

“Without Faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6) Have you received the peace that Jesus died for you to have? Click here to learn how to please God by having faith in Jesus Christ.


Pray this week:

To help you understand Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy.


Are you surprised about these prophecies? If you want to learn more, talk about it with a caring Christian.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Surcharge is NOT the same as Cash Discount

I’ve witnessed a recent spike in interest in cash discount programs. I’ve heard from our sales executives and partners that business owners increasingly are asking about cash discount programs. Google Trends data indicates that searches for “cash discount program” doubled in the second half of 2017.

This activity made me wonder, why the sudden interest in cash discounts? After all, cash discounts have been around for many years. It also made me curious about the interest in cash discount programs compared to convenience fees and surcharges, which have grown in recent years. Upon reflection, I came to realize that, when implemented properly, cash discount programs combine the most attractive elements of cash discounts and surcharges in a single program.

The topic of cash discounts and surcharges can make your head spin, as they are subject to many specific laws and rules. So, what is a cash discount and is it the same thing as a surcharge?

A cash discount is a reduced price paid by customers who use cash or check rather than a credit or debit card. A surcharge is an extra charge that applies to customers who pay with a credit card rather than other forms of payment, including debit cards, cash and check.

The payment networks such as Visa and MasterCard have specific rules for surcharges to comply with a settlement with the U.S. government in 2012. In addition, ten states prohibit surcharging.

Cash discounts are permitted according to U.S. law and Visa and MasterCard rules. One way of implementing a cash discount program is gaining popularity. Businesses post signs indicating that a service fee such as 3% will be added to all posted prices, but the fee will be waived for those who pay with cash or check. In other words, the fee will apply to purchases made via credit card, debit card and prepaid card – anything except cash or check.

The service fee can offset the costs of processing card payments, yielding significant cost savings for merchants. While surcharge programs are limited by rule to credit cards, cash discount programs have the advantage of offsetting the costs of debit card payments as well. Of course, they also motivate more customers to pay with cash and check. I believe this explains the recent interest in cash discount programs.

Is a cash discount program right for your business? That depends on many factors, as discussed in this blog post.

Chris Corey 

Swipe It Inc

(810)308-0872

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How to Avoid Misusing the Bible

Go deeper in your walk with the Lord

Written by Dan Lee on 30/10/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BibleReadingVerseStudying


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Today, we start a two-part devotional on how to avoid misusing the Bible. But first, let’s start with a story about some blind men who encountered an elephant. One of the blind men wrapped his arms around the elephant’s leg and said, “An elephant is like a tree!” Another touched the elephant’s trunk and declared, “No, it’s like a large snake.” They touched the ear or the tail and said, “a fan” or, “a rope” – and so on. Each one came up with a different and incomplete conclusion about how the elephant looked like. 

It’s the same when we interpret the Bible. When we quote Bible verses without considering what the rest of the Bible says, we are just as foolish as those blind men. If we don’t consider verses in their context – at least the surrounding paragraph or chapter, we risk coming to completely wrong conclusions about what God’s word says. 

1. Be careful of taking the Bible out of context

That’s why Paul warns Timothy – and all who believe in Jesus and study His word – to “rightly handle the word of truth.”

Here are a couple verses that are often taken misused.

“By his wounds, you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24

Some people believe that Christians can claim physical healing because of this verse. But, if you read 1 Peter 2:24 in full, it reads, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed.” 

The first part of this verse tells us that it is our sins, our spiritual wounds, that have been healed by Jesus Christ. The verse refers to Isaiah 53:5:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds, we are healed.”

This verse refers to our “transgressions” and “iniquities” – in other words, our sins. There are seven other references in Isaiah 53 to sin, guilt, or transgression, but physical healing is never mentioned in the chapter. 

So the next time you read, “By his wounds you have been healed,” thank the Lord that your most deadly wound – your sin and resulting separation from God – HAS been healed, for all eternity. But don’t use it to claim physical healing for yourself or others.

2. Meditate on the Word and apply it to your life 

Now, let’s look at Matthew 7:1, where it says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Even people who don’t believe in Jesus love to quote this verse! They, and sadly many Christians, think it means we should leave others alone and let them do whatever sinful act they want.

But if you continue reading, you find out that the problem is not with pointing out the faults of others. It is looking at their faults without acknowledging our own sin. 

Verse two says, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” and it continues to verse three by saying, “ Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:2-3

Sadly, we tend to see the sins of others as huge, and our own as tiny (or not to see them at all). Jesus is saying, in effect, “Look in the mirror – look into your own heart and deal with the wickedness there, before you stand in judgment of someone else!”

Several Bible passages instruct us, to help our Christian brothers and sisters by gently pointing out where they are going wrong, especially in matters of serious sin. Take these verses as an example:

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

In conclusion, don’t just look at fragments of God’s holy Word. Look at ALL of it. Commit yourself to read the Bible, one book at a time. Don’t build your whole Christian walk around one or two isolated verses. Strive to find the meaning of every verse in the context of the paragraph or chapter around it. If you do this in the power and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, you’ll be well on the way to becoming “. . . a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2: 15


Pray this week:

Lord, I ask you to give me understanding and wisdom as I study your Word so that I follow your instruction and not mine. Amen. 


Is there anything in the Bible you have a difficult time understanding? Talk to a caring Christian friend! 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Amazon will become an Advertising Giant

Michael K. Spencer

Blockchain Mark Consultant, tech Futurist, prolific writer. WeChat: mikekevinspencer.

Move over Google and Facebook, Amazon will dethrone you.

Just as Alibaba and Tencent compete for supremacy in the veritable tech dynasty that is emerging in China, in the U.S. Amazon and Google are increasingly becoming direct competitors.

Nowhere is this going to be more fun to watch than in advertising, smart speakers and the future of how tech companies become implicated in Health Care.

As Amazon ramps up expensive physical store expansion and logistics fulfillment with rising postal costs and higher minimum wages, it needs another “cash-cow” to fund its growth. The low-hanging fruit here is definitely digital Advertising.

Amazon is on track to generate $10 billion a year from its advertising business

Amazon’s trajectory in Advertising is also based on the growth of its Prime subscribers?—?well over 100 million at this point. With more consumers in the funnel comes more traffic and higher value for brands to advertise with Amazon, instead of outdated banner Ads with Google.

  • Amazon is quickly becoming the 3rd horseman of Western digital advertising.
  • Amazon’s growth in advertising and Alexa becoming ubiquitous is a major threat to Google and, to a lesser extent, Facebook.
  • Google has made progress with Google Home devices in 2018, but it’s hard to catch up to Alexa or AWS in the cloud.

Amazon reported $2.5 billion in sales in its “Other” category in Q3, guess what that means? It means brands are moving from Google to Amazon to do their ads. Some advertisers have already opted to move over half of their budgets from Google search to Amazon ads, according to CNBC.

Like Netflix or Tesla, Amazon is a favorite of Wall Street. Its aggressive pursuit of health care, grocery, AI and advertising means Amazon can scale over the next two decades in ways that will make Facebook and perhaps even Google look obsolete. This essentially means as an advertising platform Amazon can only go up.

Alphabet should be terrified even as they are in the smart home and some hardware initiatives, but nothing that can compare with Amazon’s dynamic approach. Alexa’s penetration of the smart home, robotics and consumer products is elevating the game, and few other companies will be able to keep up (outside of China).

EMarketer predicts Amazon will become the third largest digital ad seller in the U.S. by 2020, behind Google and Facebook. This is not news, but it may be the first time you are reading this. Even as Amazon’s stock had one of the worst weeks in recent memory, the bullish Amazon stock is the epitome of Wall Street’s recent tech bubble.

While Alphabet’s Waymo is going to be a big winner, Amazon will likely have several big winners in the decade ahead. The safest bet is digital advertising as formative companies such as Google and Facebook completely warped the internet due to their emphasis on Ads, and this led to a decline of innovation and startups in the U.S. Amazon is the last U.S. company that, in some sense, can compete on a global scale with China.

Amazon, not Google or Walmart, is the perennial “American Company”. I think the 2020s will demonstrate this.

Amazon has just a small sliver of the digital ads market in 2018, but fast forward to 2028, and just look at that chart.

Eventually Amazon Prime Video will be a massive place for digital Ads. And with Netflix’s level of debt and cash burn, it’s doubtful it will even be around in 2030. Facebook and Google have made some poor decisions that have impacted their reputations in 2018. Amazon here has the most to gain. There’s an important catch here: Amazon has demonstrated it is forconsumers, so an Amazon gain is generally a gain for consumers who value convenience, discounts and bundled services that finally have given subscriptions a good rep.

Facebook and Google were never truly on the side of consumers (nor was Microsoft), and that’s a sign of more evolved business models. Amazon’s trust levels are high and increasing the minimum wage and opening new stores should only augment it. The future of advertising is intimately connected with consumer and brand trust, and this is why Amazon as an underdog in advertising can truly disrupt the Ad-duopoly and change the face of advertising as we know it over the course of the next ten years.  https://medium.com/futuresin/amazon-will-become-an-advertising-giant-83809ac3e858

Amazon’s U.S. advertising business will generate $4.6 billion in revenues this year, giving it a 4.1% share of the market. For Amazon, its A-Z game plan?—?to dominate groceries, AI, the smart home, and ultimately advertising?—?is just beginning. Bottom line, if Amazon wins the consumer wins, and that’s the best equation for the global economy.

Jeff Bezos has googly eyes for taking on Google, and the tech wars have gotten quite serious for the future of artificial intelligence.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is a Cult? How to tell the false from the true

 

How to tell the false from the true

 

Written by Dan Lee on 11/07/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: Church, Cults, Discernment

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.

 

2 Timothy 4:3-4

Do you remember the “People’s Temple”? Started in Indianapolis in 1955 by the Reverend Jim Jones, it moved to San Francisco in 1971. The headquarters was just a few miles from my house, and mere blocks from the hospital where I was born. As a teenager I often rode the bus right past it.

 

In 1974, the People’s Temple established a settlement in Guyana, South America. It promised a tropical paradise, free from the wickedness of the outside world.

 

By 1978, the population of Jonestown, as it was called, had grown to over 900. And in November of that year, the residents of Jonestown were forced at gunpoint to drink poison. Nine-hundred and eighteen people died that day, the largest deliberate taking of American lives before September 11, 2001.

 

The people tasked with cleaning up found a shocking discovery: Not a single Bible was found in Jonestown. This “church” turned out to be one of history’s most dangerous cults.

 

As a follower of Jesus, you need to be regularly involved in a church, or local fellowship of believers — “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

 

But you must choose your church carefully, avoiding false teachers, and making sure you don’t end up in a cult. Here are some characteristics of a cult, or a church or group that has gone the wrong path:

 

Authority Other than the Bible

Sometimes it is writings, such as Mormonism’s The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. Often it is the teaching of an individual, such as Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claimed that historic beliefs of the church were wrong (the Trinity and the deity of Christ).

 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses took this a step farther with their New World translation of the Bible, which is “the first intentional, systematic effort at producing a complete version of the Bible that is edited and revised for the specific purpose of agreeing with a group's doctrine.” (gotquestions.org)

 

Additional Revelation

Many cults are based on new discoveries or so-called revelations. For example, Joseph Smith’s founding of the Mormon church was based, he claimed, on his discovery of golden tablets. Other cult leaders simply declare that they have received direct revelations from God, which cannot be proven or disproven.

 

Paul warned in his very first epistle about those who departed from the established truth of the gospel: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

 

The Mormons make their stand very clear: “We do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete or the final word of God.” (From an address to the Harvard Divinity School in March 2001 by Robert L. Millet, former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University.)

 

Incorrect view of Jesus

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons deny the full divinity of Jesus. They cite isolated passages to prove their point, rather than looking at the totality of teaching about the Lord. They ignore passages that show the eternal nature of Christ, such as John 10:30, “I and the Father are one” or John 17:5: “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” Also, Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

 

Salvation by Works

Most cults do not teach that one is saved by faith alone in the finished work of Christ, but by following the rules and teachings of that particular group.

 

For instance, the Mormons add “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” to the requirements for salvation. But the Bible makes abundantly clear that works cannot save us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Romans 4:5 says, “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” Also see Titus 3:5, Galatians 5:4.

 

Authoritarian Leadership and Excessive Control

If a church, or even a fellowship group, is led by someone who has complete rule, whose authority is never to be questioned, watch out! Pastors and elders are to lead gently and lovingly, “not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

 

Another warning sign is when group members are required to submit their daily lives to group control – to quit their jobs, or give all their money to the group. This was definitely true at the People’s Temple.

 

Other possible reasons for caution include:

 

Exclusivity / Denunciation of other groups – “Everyone else is wrong”

Secret rituals or doctrines

Bondage – you cannot leave, and if you do you are shunned.

 

Jeremiah 23:1-2 gives a dire warning to pastors who lead their people astray: “‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: ‘You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.’”

 

One of life’s most important decisions is choosing your church family. Ask Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep (Hebrews 13:20), to help you find a church and a shepherd who will be true to God’s word and lead you and help you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

 

Pray this week:

Lord, guide me by Your Holy Spirit to know when a church or group is one that I should participate in, or avoid as a cult. Lead me to a true Christian fellowship that honors and glorifies You, and where I will grow in my faith and witness for you.

 

Do you have doubts about the group you’re involved in? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member