Archive for June, 2016

Remaining Obedient to God

June 7, 2016

I watched the first movie, “God’s Not Dead” again last evening.  I thought it was a good film even though many non-Christian reviews were negative.  [See Wikipedia and scroll down to “critical reception” for examples.]

Plugged In had a good review of the film.

It was interesting to me to read Wikipedia’s opinion about the visit and verbal exchange of a son (Mark) in the movie (who previously refused to visit his mom who suffers from dementia) versus what is written over at Plugged In.

Wikipedia:

Mark at last visits his mother, only to taunt her; she responds that all of his financial success was given to him by Satan to keep him from turning to God.

Plugged In:

Mina’s dementia-afflicted mother serves to stimulate thought about how serving God doesn’t always iron out all of life’s wrinkles.

“You prayed and believed your whole life,” Mina’s brother says to their mother, almost as an accusation. “Never done anything wrong. And here you are. You’re the nicest person I know. I am the meanest. You have dementia. My life is perfect. Explain that to me!” Then, in a moment of unexpected spiritual clarity, she does. “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God,” she tells her shocked son. “Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”

Indeed, in the face of difficulty, we hear a lot about God always being good, and having a plan for our lives.

It is interesting to note that after saying such a coherent message, the mom goes back to her dementia-induced state, turns towards her son and asks, “who did you say that you were?”

In contrast to the accusation-filled son Mark, whenever the daughter (a Christian named Mina) visited her mom, she patiently told her (as often as necessary) that she is her daughter.

At the end of the film, Mark (of the mom with dementia) acts as arrogantly and detached as ever from what his mother warned him about being in the state of “their [his] sin is like a jail cell.”

The man obviously rejected the warning, but the Bible tells each of us that “your sin will find you out.”

Num 32:23

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.

In Matthew 4 (just after Jesus was tempted by satan for 40 days and nights in the wilderness) we find:

Mat 4:12

Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.

Mat 4:13

And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,

Mat 4:14

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

Mat 4:15

“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:

Mat 4:16

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”[fn]

Mat 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Since satan had the gall to tempt Jesus, the Son of God, he certainly will tempt any and all of us! However, as we see in the case of Mark in the movie, living a life of ease (yet separated from God for all eternity) still fulfills satan’s goal of taking unrepentant souls to hell with him.

 

Plugged In’s review is more in line with what Jesus tells us in Scripture.

Jhn 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[fn] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Speaking of experiencing tribulation in this world, God’s Not Dead 2 came out in April, 2016. I haven’t seen it yet but a blog I ran across describes a real life example of a situation that is depicted in the film.

God’s Not Dead blog: When God’s Not Dead 2 Plays Out As YOUR Story!

What is God’s purpose to allow us to go through tribulation (in whatever form it may arise) in this fallen world?

I think this paragraph explains it:

News of our legal case reached people all over the world, and some of them contacted me to encourage me and show their support. It’s amazing how God took a simple decision to remain obedient in my freshman year and turned it into a tool that reached the ears of thousands with the name of Jesus.

Remaining obedient often pits Christian believers against the secular worldviews that would have us shut up, sit down, and accept the immoral deluge that is afflicting our free speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience, freedom of outwardly professing our faith, and freedom FROM having immorality forced upon our families.

I applaud individuals like Chase Windebank, who didn’t know what the ultimate outcome would be, yet pressed on about what he knew God would have wanted him to do. Stand up for his faith in Jesus Christ!

Chase concludes his post:

It took nearly eight months for my case to come to a close. The outcome? A victory on the side of free speech! Now, if any other public school student is refused the right to pray during their free time at school, they can use my case as an example to aid in their own victory.

God was faithful to sustain me, and all of those rich memories came flooding back as I watched GOD’S NOT DEAD 2. Even though I am now far removed from it all, it felt so real and present. There were times I literally stood up and jumped in excitement for the case being made on behalf of Ms. Wesley.

The thought and scholarly guidance that this movie undertook in order to depict the truth of what our nation is dealing with was phenomenal. Remember with me, for this is the foundation upon which our nation was built. Remember it well by going to see this film. Be Blessed!

Chase Windebank is a Colorado native who loves hiking through the Rocky Mountains, teaching Taekwondo, and writing. His goal in life is to stir up passion in his generation for the things of God, and to show people the true treasure of the Gospel in his everyday life.

Hat tips to all links.

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About “Self- Identity…”

June 1, 2016

Found an excellent post via Truth2Freedom’s blog entitled, What Is Your Self Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center. It will be posted in full below, but I wanted to first write that the Lord is SO GOOD to have led me to read and share the post here!

Secondly…

Recently, a new commenter came to this blog railing against me because of perceived “insults” that I made in a previous post.

I’m not sure that I want this “John” having complete access to commenting here at my blog, so I will re-post his comment here so that readers can see what he wrote:

John:

This is one of the most ridiculous rants I have read in quite a while. First of all, I know plenty of high school and college aged kids who do know the meaning and significance of Memorial Day. Apparently better than you do! It is not about God and the Bible, it’s about remembering our fallen soldiers. They are well educated, savvy young people who would have gotten edited out of Jesse Watters’ Fox propaganda video. And guess what? They all went to, or are going to public schools and universities. None of them have been dumbed down by “liberal, leftist, progressive, LGBTQ “leaders” of the maniacal asylums…”. And I’m sure they know exactly what The Greatest Generation did for America and the world!

I also wonder how many brave and noble LGBT veterans you’ve offended by this screed. I know gay veterans from the Vietnam war and from both Gulf Wars since WWII, and they served along side their straight brothers in arms without questioning or caring about their sexual orientation.

Additionally, John also wrote:

What I said was Memorial Day is not about God and the Bible! It’s about remembering our war dead! And no! I am not totally ignorant about God’s word.

I think that the following post answers John’s screed against me and other Christians, as well as it also addresses his claim that  “[he] is not totally ignorant about God’s Word”  better than I ever could.

Big hat tip:  Truth2Freedom blog!

[Note:  Graphics within post added by Christine.]

What Is Your Self-Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center

Self-identity: With all the talk of self identity and gender nowadays, you may think this article is about bathroom choice. It’s not. Guest writer Joshua Waulk of Baylight Counseling in Tampa, FL, zeroes in on the “I am” statements we Christians often make about ourselves and suggests a better self-identity. His article appeared first here and is used with permission.

BCC logoI am ADHD.

I am bipolar.

I am depressed.

I am an addict.

I am [fill in the blank].

Within the context of counseling, it’s common to hear people use these types of phrases to describe themselves. To be sure, there’s a sense in which they’re simply using a modern style of communication in order to say that they struggle, actively, with this thing or that thing.

Self-Identity: Do Your Words Describe or Define?

But, my concern is that, too often, embedded deep within the heart of the person, is this subtle notion that, in fact, the thing they’re describing defines who they are. In other words, my concern for some people I meet with in counseling is that their language is not merely descriptive, but is definitive.

My concern is even greater when working with followers of Jesus.

One of my favorite verses in all of the Bible is found in John 8:58. There, Jesus said to the religious rulers of the day, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am [emphasis added].” This statement enraged the men who were persecuting Him, because they understood that Jesus was hearkening back to God’s self-identification in Exodus 3:14
 

Jesus wasn’t simply identifying himself with God, but was defining, or declaring himself to be God.

When we pause to listen to our own “I am” statements, and compare them with the words of Christ, might we reconsider how we use these seemingly self-defining statements? Do we mean to say, when we use them, that who we are is all that the thing, or the struggle, or the condition is? If not, then perhaps we ought to abandon our use of this language altogether.

How Does Jesus Define You?

The point is, in light of who we are in Christ, it would be helpful to temper our use of  “I am” statements, especially those used in connection with our particular sin or suffering. Too often, they simply do not square with our new identity in Christ according to Scripture, but find their roots in the disease models of secular psychology.

As Christians, as people who have died with Christ, and through whom Christ presently and  actively lives, we are no longer defined by the sins and struggles of this world alone, even though we continue to be affected by them.

If Paul’s words are true when he says in Galatians 2:20,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And again in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Then we should carefully inspect how we make use of descriptive language.
How we define and describe ourselves should always be in keeping with Scripture. Sometimes, there will be tension. For example, it would be true for me to say, “I am a sinner.” But, because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, I cannot leave the conversation there.

Because of Christ, I am no longer defined by my sin or suffering, but am defined by Him. I am a sinner, yes, but I am also eternally forgiven, justified, and redeemed (1 John 1:8-9).

I may struggle with this thing or that, but that struggle no longer defines me. Like all things of this world, they are passing away, and who God is making us to be will one day be revealed in Christ (1 John 2:17; Hebrews 10:14).

Join the Discussion

[Note:  Graphics added by Christine.]

  1. What is your self-identity?

2.  How have your own “I am” statements affected your understanding of who you are in Christ?

3.  Can you think of any adjustments you need to make to better reflect a biblical understanding of your identity in Christ?

 

The post What Is Your Self-Identity? appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.

Hat tips to all links.


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Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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