Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

The Supremacy of Christ and Your Map for Life

May 10, 2017

This post is the follow-up to my previous post entitled The Serpent’s Old Lie in an Updated Package. I suggest reading that link first.

In today’s world of “political correctness,” the title of this post would be frowned upon by those who hold to relativism – especially moral relativism. As was stated in my previous post, many people don’t like the thought of absolutes; especially when it comes to moral absolutes. They don’t like to be told what is sin and what is holy and the truth. This is one of the big reasons why Christianity, in general, and those who hold to biblical Christian faith are chastised, mocked, ridiculed, called bad names, targeted by those who don’t agree with them, and told to “just shut up and keep your religion to yourself.”

This is not new. The early churches (such as the church in Colossae) needed encouragement from the Apostle Paul, and to be assured of the preeminence of Christ. Why? Because almost immediately, those who hated and disagreed with believers in the resurrected Christ tried to squelch the spread of their faith. This is even more prevalent today! And, it’s currently a really sad state of affairs here in America.

The important thing to remember, however, is that we were told throughout Scripture that this would happen. The naysayers would attempt to belittle our faith and downplay its significance, not only here in America but around the world.  Their goal is to attack the Gospel message and those who share it.

Whenever the raging voices in the media of mass deception continue to spread lies and propaganda because they don’t like what is happening in our current government, I am reminded that administrations will come and go…but the Word of God stands forever!

In Colossians 1:9-14, Paul requests that the people “may be filled with the knowledge of His will.”

Dr. David Jeremiah’s Bible notes tell us:

The rest of the passage describes its result in the believer’s life (4:12). Knowledge alone is never enough. God’s Word must change one’s life and pattern of thinking (Romans 12:2); James 3:13), literally filling the believer’s life and motivating every area of his or her being (Phil. 1:27). Sometimes Christians fail to live by the will and Word of God because they fall prey to false teaching; others fail through neglect, neither reading the Word nor applying it.

That last paragraph describes why there are so many “Christians” who can support leftist causes (i.e. abortion, homosexual behavior and “marriage”, transgender issues, Islamism, radicalism on any and every issue, etc.) while ignoring God’s Will and His Word. The anti-Christian groups may celebrate them and their misplaced ideology, but the question remains, are they truly reconciled in Christ? To support such issues (and, often the violence that accompanies such “causes”) shows that their Christian walk is off, their work is misplaced, their wisdom  has not come from God, and probably their worship is misplaced as well.

Here’s one example.  When I see how committed and virulent abortion advocates are to their “cause” it’s unbelievable to me!  How can anyone justify killing a baby in a mother’s womb?  Yet, there are women and men who claim to be “Christians” who place the “woman’s right to choose” above the life of that innocent baby in the womb.  It’s unconscionable to me!  How could anyone be so hard-hearted?  What’s more, their attitude towards those who hold to the pro-life position is absolutely poisonous!  They are intensely bitter, violently hostile, and malicious in their verbal attacks against Christians who believe that life begins at the moment of conception.

Why are they like that?

I think that it has to do with fear.  The fear that this so-called “right” will one day be taken away.  It’s also a huge money-making deal for those in the industry, so the fear of losing millions of dollars must have a lot to do with it, too.  To them, it’s a “business” and they must not be in the least mindful of the killing of a human being in the womb.

Dr. Jeremiah writes in his Colossians 1:9,10 Bible notes:

The will of God and the wisdom of God are inseparably linked with saturation in the Word of God (Psalms 1:1, 2).  Godly wisdom is gained by studying His Word, spiritual understanding is how his children discern His will.  Both wisdom and understanding are gifts of the Spirit (spiritual); they do not come from a unspiritual or “fleshly” mind (2:18).  Such spiritual knowledge provides insight into God’s will.  However, no one can anticipate the will of a stranger.  Christians who long to discern the will of God discover it in their growing knowledge of who God is and what He wants (Ephesians 5:17; 2 Peter 3:18).

So, being unspiritual and fleshly in the mind can lead a person to think nothing of killing a baby in the womb; not to mention making money off of the horrible procedure.

The abortion issue is just one example of the unspiritual and fleshly minds of those who have not been truly born again in Jesus Christ.

Just for the record, the sin of abortion can be forgiven just like any other sin, at the foot of the Cross of Christ.

Norma McCorvey (the plaintiff in Roe vs. Wade trial that disastrously legalized abortion in all 50 states in 1973) had a tragic life as she got caught up in the culture wars.  But she died in Christ through conversion from her past sins into salvation in the Lord Jesus.  She was an example (extreme one, to say the least!)  of persevering in stress, despite so many haters clamoring around her because of her conversion to pro-life beliefs through her conversion to Jesus Christ.

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

When believers please the Lord constantly, that is their Christian walk (Ephesians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 4:1).  When they produce fruit consistently, that is their Christian work.  When they progress in knowledge continually, that is their Christian wisdom

When they persevere in stress cheerfully, that is their Christian welfare (2 Corinthians 8:2).  When they praise God correctly, that is their Christian worship.  The better a person knows God and His Word, the better he or she knows what is pleasing to Him – a knowledge that becomes second nature, producing confidence by discerning God’s will rather than fear.  This knowledge produces fruitful character, conduct, conversation, and contributions (giving of resources).  It also increases becoming a part of who they are.  They no longer rely solely on experience; they progress in their understanding of God as they progress in their understanding of His Word (2 Peter 3:18).  People who take God’s Word seriously don’t just read it to see what it says; they make it a map for life so they can learn what to do–then they do it.

I like that phrase!  They make it a “map for life.”

The book of Colossians is just one of many of the books of the Bible that answers the age-old questions of “why am I here?” and “what is the meaning of life?”  It also gives us direction regarding “what am I supposed to be doing in this life?”

Colossians 3:1-4 reiterates to “2 Set your (our) mind(s) on things above, not on things on the earth.  3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Dr. Jeremiah’s notes:

Christ’s death enables Christians to die to their old life and makes their new life secure (John 10:28, 29; Galatians 2:20).  Through Jesus, God has placed a double lock on the security of their lives –nothing can harm them, for His followers are in Christ and Christ is in God.  A Christian’s true identity and purpose in life are hidden with Christ, so people outside of Christ will not understand the believer’s motivations and goals.

Paul has covered every phase of life:  God’s people have been raised with Christ in the past.  They are hidden with Him in the present, and they will appear with Him in the future.  They may be hidden now, but they will not be hidden forever.  Scripture points to the One who can supply everything their hope expects.  This is every Christian’s destiny with Christ.

The Serpent’s Old Lie in an Updated Package

May 9, 2017

Yesterday I was going through the headlines on my blog reading list when suddenly, boom! the electricity in our house shut off.  As I temporarily sat in the darkness that surrounded me at my computer, I thought, “oh no…not again!”

Power outages seems to happen on our block several times a year so my husband bought a gas generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer going until it comes back on.  He contacted the utilities company and was told that it was a “planned power outage” cable  replacement in our area.  We should have received a notice about this.  Well, the notice was sitting in my husband’s mail inbox!  It would have been nice to have known about the outage ahead of time, but we made the best of the situation.

I started reading my Bible by flashlight and was drawn to the book of Colossians.  It sparked some insight into my mind which will be discussed in my next post.  Today, I need to “set the stage” so to speak, in exactly why my study in Colossians had such a profound impact on me.

The contrast of what is in that particular book of the Bible compared to what is going on in our society (often for the purpose of countering biblical Christianity) these days will become quite obvious.

When I compare the truth of Scripture with the lies being spread in the news, through haters in Hollyweird, the Democratic party (which voted God out of their political platform years ago), and the minions of “splinter groups” that are raging today (often paid to do this!)…it is obvious to me that demonic influence abounds!   They are all derived by men and women who have been influenced by the lies of that serpent of old that we read about in Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible.  You will vividly see how the nefarious ideas, deeds, and plans of such individuals have been derived from what Jesus named as the enemy of our souls who comes to lie, steal, kill and destroy.

Jhn 10:10

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

See Romans 1

1Jo 1:6

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Previously, I had been reading a book entitled, “So What’s The Difference” by Fritz Ridenour.  In the past, I had the habit of skipping over the cults and false religions pages, but this time I wanted to read the details about Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Age, and many others that are briefly, but succinctly detailed in the book.  When I got to the New Age section, it can be hard to define because of its far-reaching claims, lack of formal structure and organization and it’s adherents being interested in “hoping to transform society by bringing about reawakening that will emphasize self-discovery, spiritual growth and enlightenment.”  The truth is, New Age thinking isn’t really new because it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden where the serpent asked Eve if God really said that she couldn’t eat from that tree (see Genesis 3:1-5).

It was interesting to read about the “founder” of New Age, Alice Bailey.  New Agers have their own definition of God, find “salvation” in themselves, use “channeling” (the New Age version of contacting spirits), often believe in reincarnation, believe in syncretism (all religions lead to the same place), and many are into the plan for a worldwide government led by one great leader.

Shirley McLaine was a high-powered NAM (New Age Movement) adherent with great media exposure due to her “star” status in Hollyweird.  She lied in her book, claiming that the Fifth Ecumenical Council struck down the idea of reincarnation from the Bible.  Author Fritz Ridenour said it well when he wrote:

Contrary to New Age thinking, the Bible overwhelmingly teaches resurrection, not reincarnation (see Psalms 49:15, John 5:25; 6:40; 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).  New Agers like to think they have all kinds of time to “get it right” as they progress toward some kind of self-induced salvation.  The Bible clearly says you get one chance and after that comes the judgment (see Hebrews 9:27).

Much of today’s “progressive movement and thinking”  is derived from one or many of the errors of the NAM.  They may not call themselves New Agers, but their beliefs certainly line up with the NAM!

Ridenour writes:

Ever since Satan told Eve, “Eat the fruit; become like God Himself,” men and women have been trying to “do it on their own,” or at least with the help of spirits and demons–what Paul calls “the powers of this dark world and … the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).  It is no coincidence that the Bible firmly forbids contacting spirits or getting in touch with the dead (see Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:10-13).  Other New Age concepts or practices condemned or countered in the Scriptures include:

  •  many gods, goddesses, spirits and demons:  see Gen. 1:1; Exodus 15:11; 20:2-6; Deut. 6:4; Isaiah 45:5,6,21,22.

  •  manipulating or bartering with the spirit world:  see Deut. 13:1-5, 18:9-14; 1 Kings 11:33.

  •  continuing blood sacrifice rituals:  see Hebrews 7:27; 10:10-13; 1 Peter 3:18.

  •  mythological, unhistorical legends:  see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-19; 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Peter 1:16.

  •  secret knowledge only for elite “knowers”:  see John 1:12; 3:16; Colossians 2:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:4.

  •  magic arts, spells, taboos, astrology:  see 2 Kings 17:16-18; Isaiah 47:12-15; Acts 8:9-24.

  •  confusion of identity between the creator and the created:  see 1 Kings 8:27; Psalms 8:1-9; 24:1-10; 89:5-14; Isaiah 40:12-17; 1 Peter 1:24, 25.

  •  ethics and morals derived from humans or the self; no absolutes, everything is relative:  see 1 Kings 8:46; Psalms 51:1-4; 143:2; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 2:14-16; 1 John 1:5-10.

  •  reincarnation:  see Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27.

  •  salvation by human effort:  see Romans 4:3; Galatians 2:15,16.

  •  picking and choosing among religions:  see Exodus 20:2-5; 23:13; John 1:7-9.

  •  worshipping other gods, especially fertility religions:  see 2 Kings 17:9-12; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 6:13.

  •  the idea that Christ is optional, only one of many spiritual masters:  see John 14:6-8; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.

I realize that’s a lot of reading to do, but if you, dear reader, happen to be caught up into any one of these errors, I urge you to find out the truth that is only contained in the Bible!

Ridenour’s book was originally written back in 1967, updated in 1979 and then updated again in 2001.  It is interesting to me that he wrote:

Because the New Age seems to be everywhere and in practically everything, it would seem logical to see all of the NAM as taboo and dangerous.  But there are some things New Agers talk about that Christians can agree with, to a point. (bold, italics mine)  Saving the environment is one.  Trying to end war, terrorism, bigotry and racial and gender discrimination are others.  The New Age solution to these problems, however, is found only in fallen mankind, and that is doomed to a dead end.

That paragraph is almost prophetic!  Now, in 2017 we see such things ratcheted up into such a frenzy that the so-called “solutions” are being used to demonize people who don’t agree with their “methods” to help “solve” such problems!  This is just another “updated package” being spewed through individuals who don’t know God and are (either knowingly or unknowingly) being influenced by the enemy of our souls!

In fact, many are using either the “ostrich mentality” regarding radical Islamic terrorism; while perpetuating bigotry towards people of faith in Christ and biblical Christianity; as well as exploding racial division and gender identity issues to an extreme!  Don’t even get me started on the “man-made global warming (or, is it now just called ‘climate change?’) hysteria” where celebrities and “scientists” often use pollution producing jets to go and lecture us all about carbon dioxide emissions!

Readers, can you now see why biblical Christianity is so extremely hated by the leftists?  They scheme against Christians on all levels and we are often targeted by them through lawsuits meant to impose huge financial fines with the goal of putting Christian business owners out of business.  Through purposely targeting Christians and utilizing phony “discrimination” claims; as well as perpetuating constant violent demonstrations towards speech suppression at universities and spewing hateful rhetoric through late night “comedians” and in the leftist led alphabet news networks, they demean and  trample upon the First Amendment rights of Christians that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

So, what is their ultimate goal?

Could it be to eradicate our beliefs from public, political, social, freedom of conscience/speech/association of thought…and ultimately from existence in our nation?

Notice, also, the FACT that the NAM proponents idea of “syncretism:  all religions lead to the same place” cannot, and does not,  include biblical Christian faith?

They don’t attack the lukewarm churches that agree with the NAM’s agenda, so what are biblically-based Christians supposed to do?

Ridenour writes:

In response to New Age thinking, Christians must have a thorough understanding of their own faith.  To know what God’s Word teaches is imperative.  Even more important is to know the Living Word –His Son–in a personal, vibrant way.  A favorite response of the New Ager to the Christian who tries to point out the absolute truth of the Bible is, “That’s your reality, but it’s not mine.”  Christians can only respond confidently but humbly that, in the end, only one reality will turn out to be real:  Jesus Christ –the only way, the only absolute truth and the only source of life.

Reference:  “So What’s the Difference?” by Fritz Ridenour, Bethany House, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2001 pp. 147-159

Next up:  The difference between man-made religion and man’s attempt to find God vs. biblical Christianity which affirms that true faith is the result of God’s successful efforts to reach out to man through the Person of Jesus Christ.

Peace In Fearful Times

April 24, 2017

Ever since the very contentious election of 2016, I have found that many people are still so angry because their candidate of choice didn’t win. Also, they tend to be very vicious against those who voted for the candidate that won the election. It has come to the point where I don’t even want to try to discuss politics with anyone! Personally, I thought that the vitriol would have calmed down by now, but it seems to be getting worse every day.  How very sad…

No matter which side of the political spectrum you are on, dear readers, many believe that we are living in fearful times.  What’s more, the enemies of the United States and Her allies (enemies that include worldwide spread of Radical Islamist Terrorists, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and yes…Russia) stand ready to attack at any time.  Some are doing a lot of sabre rattling, others are terrorists who continue to attack in Europe and elsewhere; while others are downright determined to destroy the West from within our borders and are patiently planning and plotting our ultimate demise.

Personally, I thank God that we have a strong military (and, a friend in the White House who allow our military to do its job!) which stands ready to do whatever it may take to keep our enemies in check and/or do what is necessary to protect our beloved United States of America and Her allies.  “Peace through strength” used to be our motto, and I’m hopeful that it is back again.

With that brief synopsis written, the real purpose of this post is to share how we, as Christians, can have peace in fearful times.

Pastor Doug at NewLife Christian Fellowship in San Diego had this to say back in March, 2017:

Today we will be talking about “Peace.”  If we read the New Testament letters looking to find Bible verses about peace, we find a specific greeting used sixteen time:  “Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Yet, there is more to “Grace and Peace” than a simple greeting.  Peace, like creation is not an accident.  it is not a condition invented by psychology.  God designed it, understands it, and gives it to those He calls. True peace comes from a saving knowledge of Jesus.  Peace was designed by God, and comes through the blood of Jesus.

Peace is listed in the top three characteristics of the fruit of the spirit.  Without love, joy, and peace, there is little hope of accomplishing forbearance (longsuffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control.  All of those characteristics are predicated on the love, joy, and peace of God.  The peace of God must be evident in us.  Others need to see what we have and desire to have it.  Then we can be peacemakers, able to share the love of God with a troubled world.  All too often we lose our peace in the midst of tragedy and the circumstances of life.  When we do that, we have nothing to offer a watching world.  If a neighbor comes to us distraught over tragedy and finds us just as undone, what testimony have we given about the peace of Christ, which He promised?  It is the Christians in a community who should be able to offer a word of encouragement and comfort during difficult times.  But we can only do that if we possess the peace of Christ – that peace which He purchased for us at the price of His own blood.”

There is nothing more blessed than sewing peace into the lives of those around you.  They need Jesus, the only source of peace, and you have what they need.  Be a peacemaker!

~ Pastor Doug

The Book of Acts 18:1 – 22:29 helps us to discover the answer to peace in fearful times.

How can we have peace in such a time as this?

  1.  Learn to fear (meaning, “be in awe”) of God.  See Hebrews 12:28-29; Ephesians 6:5; Philippians 2:12; Proverbs 3:7; 14:27; Matthew 10:28; Psalms 56:11
  2. Tell God.  Philippians 4:4-7; Matthew 23:37
  3. Trust God.  Acts 22; 2 Corinthians 1:9-10; 2 Timothy 1:12
  4. Obey God.  We need to know what God wants us to be like in order to obey Him!  We find this in His Word, the Bible, and in the Living Word, Jesus Christ!  See Acts 18; 19:11, 20

What is the single most common command in the Bible?

Answer:  “Fear not.”

The terms “fear” and “not” appear 129 times in the NKJV and 11 exact phrases shown first at this link.

In my notes at the end of the sermon, I wrote:

Trust in spite of appearances. Fear makes things worse than they are. When we obey God in spite of our fear – that is when we are equipped by God.

Strife in this World. Where Are You? Where Are You Going?

January 24, 2017

I recently listened to one of the Dave Matthews Band’s greatest hits entitled, “Where Are You Going.”

You can watch the video here:

YouTube: Dave Matthews Band: Where Are You Going? [Lyrics below post]

I have always liked this singer’s voice and many of the band’s songs. Matthew’s singing style is often very calm and soothing. In this particular song, Dave Matthews  asks  the “where are you going?” question.  At certain spots in the song, he (sadly) states that he “has no answers for you.” But he does state, “where you go is where I wanta be.”

So, where does one look for the ultimate answer to “where are you going?” Where do YOU ultimately want to be and with Whom?

Before we get to those important questions, let’s look at a few words that describe what most of us go through at times in this life.

The first word is “strife.”

The meaning of the word “strife:”

noun
1. vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism:
to be at strife.

2. a quarrel, struggle, or clash:
armed strife.

3. competition or rivalry:
the strife of the marketplace.

4. Archaic. strenuous effort.
– Dictionary.com

The Bible utilizes the term “tribulation” [“trouble” in some versions]

noun

1.  grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering.

2.  an instance of this; an affliction, trouble, etc.

tribulation in the Bible:

trouble or affliction of any kind (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 13:21; 2 Cor. 7:4). In Rom. 2:9 “tribulation and anguish” are the penal sufferings that shall overtake the wicked. In Matt. 24:21, 29, the word denotes the calamities that were to attend the destruction of Jerusalem.
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary
– Dictionary.com

The NKJV at the Blue Letter Bible website informs us that the term “tribulation” occurs 22 times in 22 verses.

The plural version of “tribulations” occurs 8 times in 8 verses.

I encourage readers to click on the individual verses and read the surrounding Scripture. It always helps to clarify the content and keep it in proper context.

When we read this portion of a verse in 2 Thessalonians, one could accidentally take it out of context.

2Th 1:6

since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,

Reading all of 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 reveals what we are to be, do, and endure on this earth. There will come a time when those who wrought trouble upon believers in Jesus Christ will be “repaid with tribulation” by God Himself.

Did anyone reading here today hear about the recent clash between a female anti-Trump passenger and a male passenger sitting next to her on a plane?

You can view the video clip HERE.

In the video clip, Martha McCallum also interviews the man who was verbally attacked, and you might be surprised at what he says near the end of the interview. He didn’t want to press charges against her, saying that “maybe they were just having a bad day, or something.” And he ended the interview by saying, “I just wanted to show them the love of Jesus.”

Perhaps the Christian man heard that the woman and her husband were flying back from the funeral of her mother-in-law? Now THAT would have been a very bad day for anyone! If the woman and her husband were not kicked off of the plane, perhaps he could have shared the Good News of the Gospel with her.

Maybe not…

But this man showed grace towards two individuals – one was silent (the husband) while the other verbally abused and cursed at him (the cursing part isn’t in the video clip, but several witnesses said he was cursed at during this encounter).

Jesus warned us that “in this world, we would have tribulation (or trouble).”

Matthew 24 describes it vividly, and we learn that such trouble and strife will increase the closer we get to the end times.

Mat 24:7

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[fn] and earthquakes in various places.

Mat 24:8

“All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Mat 24:9

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

Mat 24:10

“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another

Mat 24:11

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

Mat 24:12

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

I am seeing a huge increase in “the love of many will grow cold.” Even relatives, friends, and acquaintances are turning on each other over the election results last month! It’s truly sad…

Matthew 24 informs us:

Mat 24:13

“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Mat 24:14

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The truth contained in the Bible knows no equal! We are told that Christians are going to be persecuted. Notice that “the fruit of the Spirit” contains the term “longsuffering.”

Gal 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Gal 5:23

gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Longsuffering is why Christians are told (in Matthew 24:13)  to endure till the end.

What are we seeing since the election (as well as before it)? A huge increase in the following as described in Galatians:

Gal 5:19

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[fn] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

Gal 5:20

idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Gal 5:21

envy, murders,[fn] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

No matter what is thrown against us, we have the promises of Jesus Christ to sustain us through it all.

Jesus tells us:

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.”

Paul reiterates this in Romans:

Rom 8:38

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

Rom 8:39

nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our true and ultimate home:

Jhn 14:2

“In My Father’s house are many mansions;[fn] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[fn

 

Jhn 14:3

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

NKJV Footnotes

(14:2)

Literally dwellings

Hat tips to all links and graphics.

*******

Lyrics to “Where Are You Going” by the Dave Matthews Band.

Where are you going
With your long face
Pullin’ down
Don’t hide away,
Like an ocean
That you can’t see
But you can smell
And the sound of waves crash down.
I am no superman
I have no reasons for you.
I am no hero,
Aw that for sure,
But I do know one thing,
That’s where you are is where I belong.
I do know
Where you go,
Is where I wanta be.

Where are you going,
Where do you go.
Are you looking for answers,
To questions, under the stars
Well if along the way,
You are grown weary,
You can rest with me
Until a brighter day
When you ok.

I am no superman,
I have no answers for you.
I am no hero,
And that’s for sure.
But I know one thing,
That’s where you are, is where I belong.
I do know
Where you go,
Is where I want to be.

Where are you going
Where do you go.

Where do you go.
Where are you going,
Where do you go.

I am no Superman
I have no answers,
For you.
I am no hero,
Aw that’s for sure.
But I do know one thing,
That’s where are,
Is where I belong.
I do know
Where you go,
Is where I wanta be.

Where are you going
Where do you go.

And a where are you going.
Where…lets go!

Songwriters
HARRISON, GAVIN RICHARD / BYER, RICARDO A.

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Read more: Dave Matthews Band – Where Are You Going Lyrics | MetroLyrics

What is Stored Up In You?

January 19, 2017

As I witness the continual, never-ending calamity going on within our political system, I decided to find out the truth behind it all.   The reasons for my search include the following:

  1. The horrible rhetoric that comes from certain individuals in Congress.
  2. The pundits on TV who agree with such harmful words (and their motives behind it all).
  3. The hatred spewed daily by the Hollyweird crowd.
  4. The radical and dangerous groups that have chosen to do evil and plot schemes to cause disruption and outright harm to the Americans attending the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as our next President of the United States.What is the underlying cause?

    I decided to go to the Bible to help me figure out and understand why many persons on the far left choose to be so vicious against (and highly disparaging of) their opponents (especially Christians!) on the right.

Those words spoken by Jesus in John 16:33 are a continual comfort to me!  We are to expect trouble and tribulation in this temporal world, but Jesus has overcome the world!  As believers and followers of Him, what could be better than all of His promises to us?

When addressing the Pharisees in Matthew 12:22-37 (who accused Jesus of casting out demons through the power of Satan) in Matthew 12:22-37,  Jesus said, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”  Matthew 12:35 NIV

 

Jesus was telling us that what we say reveals what is in our hearts.  What comes out of the mouth is an indication of what your heart is really like.

When Jesus began his ministry on earth, he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17b

We know that well-known people (i.e. athletes, celebrities, politicians, even religious leaders) make public apologies.  However, it begs the question:  Are they truly sorry or sorry they were found out?

Only God knows, of course.  We could phrase it another way and say if people (including us) are sorry for sins, shouldn’t they (we) come forth on their (our) own before they (we) are called out?

In 2 Corinthians 7:9 we are shown the fruit of genuine sorrow.

“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance.  For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.”

We recognize that “godly sorrow produces repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:10).  That is, when we are truly sorry about something, it will be evidenced by our repentance–which includes confession, asking forgiveness, and restitution where it is needed.

The NIV version of 2 Corinthians 7:10 reads:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

We could contrast the obvious godly sorrow that Peter felt when he denied Jesus three times (which Jesus predicted he would do even before it happened!) vs. the worldly sorrow that Judas felt when he tossed the 30 pieces of silver back to the Pharisees and then ended up hanging himself.

Compare Peter’s remorse and repentance with Judas’s bitterness and act of suicide.  Both disowned Christ.  One repented and was restored to faith and service, the other took his own life.  Worldly sorrow leads to death.  Not only death in this earthly life, but also eternal death.

Another example is the two thieves on either side of Christ as he hung on the cross.

Luk 23:39

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[fn] save Yourself and us.

Luk 23:40

But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?

Luk 23:41

“And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

Luk 23:42

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[fn] remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

Luk 23:43

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

It is never too late to repent!  Right before the thief’s death, he acknowledged his sin and asked Jesus to remember him when He comes into His kingdom!

Paul told us that there is a false kind of sorrow–the “sorrow of the world.”  And that sorrow leads not to repentance but to “death.”  Yes, sins and errors of judgment are embarrassing and sometimes shameful.  But when their magnitude is truly realized, godly sorrow always leads to repentance–a change of mind and direction.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:

“Christianity starts with repentance.”

Very true!  The term “repent” appears in the Bible 33 times in 32 verses.

John the Baptist, who was prophesied in Isaiah 40:3 urged people to repent:

Mat 3:1

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

Mat 3:2

and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Mat 3:3

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.’ ”[fn – Isaiah 40:3]

More prophecy fulfilled from (4:16)

Isaiah 9:1, 2

 

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.”

There is a Proverb that reads:

For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.  Proverbs 24:16

There is another Proverb that reads:

Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.   Proverbs 24:1-2

Since there is none who are righteous (see Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3) God sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins and reside in our hearts (through the Holy Spirit)  as His righteousness within us!

Jesus’ shed blood at the cross was the propitiation for our sins; and believing in Him, confessing and repenting of our sins, is the only way back to God.

Hat tips:

Blue Letter Bible
All Graphics links

The Presidential Campaign Has Gone From Bad to Worse, to Nightmarish, to Surreal!

October 10, 2016

Joel Rosenberg’s blog post should be read by everyone – especially Christians!  It is spot on in describing what the current presidential campaign has become!

Ironically, Dr. David Jeremiah mentioned Mr. Rosenberg’s expertise on the Bible and Bible prophecy in today’s sermon on Turning Point:  “The Apathy of America.”

Excerpt:

As the news from both presidential candidates goes from bad to worse to nightmarish to surreal (see below), I find myself grieving. There is no other way to put it. I’m not grieving as one who has no hope. But I am grieving all the same.

It is bitterly painful to see America arrive at this point, neck-deep in corruption and vulgarity, edging closer and closer, day by day, towards moral, spiritual, social and economic implosion.

We desperately need a revival, a sweeping spiritual awakening, to put us back on the right track. Will it come? I honestly do not know. I’m praying — pleading — for the Lord to give us one, and soon. I’m praying for each of the presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their families and advisors. I’m praying the Lord will supernaturally salvage this train wreck of an election and give us a surprise ending that will truly bless the entire country. Yet I’m also praying for His infinite, amazing grace and mercy if He chooses to let us proceed down this ugly path “as is.”

Unless we turn wholeheartedly to Christ our coming King and Redeemer, it could be a very dark four years indeed. But the Scriptures do offer us hope.

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

I have to admit that I seriously long for the Lord to set the Rapture into motion in the days or weeks ahead. Election Day would be just fine, though sooner would be better.

I am willing to preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God and make disciples and serve the poor as long as the Lord tarries, so as long as He continues to grant the grace and strength to do His will and forgiveness whenever I inevitably fall short.

But as darkness falls over America, as it is falling over so much of the world, I am growing weary. As the rich and powerful and corrupt seem to gain more riches and more power and grow more corrupt, I am growing weary. As I see injustice spreading like a cancer, and as I see so many people abandoning the faith and ignoring the Word of God and doing whatever is right in their own eyes, I am growing weary.

It is all foretold, of course. The ancient prophecies are coming to pass — all the apostasy, the corruption, the persecution and darkness that the Lord Jesus and the Apostles and the Hebrew prophets foretold about the “last days” — we’re seeing it all play out, just as the Word warned us ahead of time.

Consider just this passage and ask yourself if this doesn’t describe American culture and politics today? “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The worse it gets, the more I find myself saying, “Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus!”

I’m not going to post anything new about the increasingly toxic and tremendously disturbing presidential campaign. If you’re interested, you can read what I posted on my “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook on Friday. Or you can scroll through the last several days of Tweets.

For now, let me just say this: regardless of how grieved I am by both nominees, I am 100% committed to genuinely and faithfully praying for the Trump family, and for the Clintons, as I have been throughout this campaign. I will continue to pray that the Lord Jesus Christ shows them great mercy, that they will seek Him with all their heart, and that He will supernaturally change them and bear much good fruit in and through them.

The God of the Bible is a change agent. All through the Scriptures we see God saving, changing and redeeming broken, burdened, troubled lives, and it is breathtaking to behold. The Lord loves to change hearts and minds and mouths. He alone has the power to change lives, and I truly pray He will show His great mercy and love to the Trumps and the Clintons. Meanwhile, I have great respect for those who feel called to provide either family and either candidate sound, Biblical, spiritual counsel. Both families need true, faithful believers around them speaking the truth in love, as do we all.

Indeed, whoever wins the presidency and is raised up to lead America for the next four years, I will pray for faithfully and respectfully. This is what the Apostle Paul commands of us. Thus, I hope you and your family and friends will be faithful in praying for the next president and all the Members of Congress, too. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)

That said, I believe it’s important for all of us to realize just how much trouble we’re in. After killing 58 million babies, America now faces impending divine judgment. There is no way out, no way back. The blood of 58 million babies is crying out for justice and they will get it.

Only a true revival — a great, sweeping spiritual awakening — could possibly forestall such a judgment. In addition to such a great awakening, ideally the Lord will give America a leader like King Josiah, the Biblical leader who made big, bold changes to turn his nation around. Indeed, God saw Josiah’s humble heart, and his great love for the Scriptures, and his passionate commitment to help his nation make major reforms and get back on the right track, and therefore He gave Josiah much favor. Indeed, because of Josiah’s leadership, the Lord chose to forestall imminent judgement of the nation of Judah for some two decades.

Sadly, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton nor Tim Kaine have demonstrated any of the characteristics of Josiah. But Gov. Mike Pence has. Perhaps the Lord will raise him up to provide the leadership we need at this time. I hope so. Time will tell.

In the meantime, prayer is really all we have as individual Christians at this point. Yet what more do we need? Prayer offers us a direct line to our Father in heaven, the Almighty God of the universe who could grant us a great awakening if He sovereignly chose to, or who alone can give us the grace to endure the suffering and hardships if He chooses to set His judgments into motion.

In these dark times, my friends, come what may, may you and I keep our eyes on Jesus and be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

Hat tips:

Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog: Some thoughts on a presidential campaign going from bad to worse to nightmarish.

David Jeremiah.org

“Stuck In The Middle With You” – Election 2016

September 21, 2016

Readers here don’t need me to tell them that the Election of 2016 has been, currently is, and will be unlike any other in the history of the United States of America.

Those following the political candidates closely are all waiting for the next shoe to drop.

(Well…Hillary’s already did while getting into the van!  Now don’t get all bent out of shape!  It’s a joke…you’re supposed to laugh!)

Today, I feel like a person in the midst of that Stealers Wheel classic song, “Stuck in the Middle With You.” [Youtube Video link]

Ironically, one of the latest comments there says:

Indio Side 3 months ago (edited)

‘Clowns to the Left of me, jokers to the Right’. FITS THE CURRENT PRESIDENTIAL RACE!

Regular readers here know that from the very beginning, I wasn’t thrilled with either candidate. I have stated in past posts that I need to be a NEVER HILLARY voter, but Trump disturbs me as well. I have stated that he would be light-years better than Hillary, but that’s just my observational opinion.

This morning, my blog reader list had the two following posts back to back:

True Discernment: Reconsidering My Opposition to Trump [Note: don’t let the title keep you from reading the post! You might be surprised about the ending.]

Oil For Your Lamp: A WARNING TO CHRISTIANS WHO SUPPORT TRUMP!

Can you now see why that “Stuck in the middle with you” song jumped into my mind?

I have blogging friends who have been sounding the alarm about Trump.

I have a blogging friend who deleted my blog from their blog roll list because I’m not enthusiastically supporting Trump.

I have friends who are very pro-Trump, very anti-Trump (and vow to write in a candidate of their chosing), semi-pro Hillary (with the caveat that “at least we know what to expect from her” meme), and, of course the anti-Hillary/NEVER HILLARY ones who know all too well about the Democrat machine of stealing elections, all the years of Clinton corruption, the obviousness of HilLIARy lies, the terrible health problems plaguing her (which they try to hide from the public), and the fact that the horrid billionaire backer Georgevil Soros will do everything sick and sinfully humanly possible to get her elected.

Sheesh…

Anyway, I saw a commercial last night during Hannity’s TV show on Fox where Franklin Graham was offering a free copy of Decision magazine’s guide to the 2016 Election.

Copy of message on the page:

This election could be the most important in our nation’s history, and I believe God can use us—His people—to turn the tide. We must pray fervently, stand on His Word, and vote according to Biblical truth.

I’d like to send you a free copy of the special September issue of Decision magazine: our presidential election guide. In this magazine, we examine the major issues facing our nation today, where the candidates stand, and what God’s Word says. Explore the candidates’ stances on the Supreme Court, religious liberty, and abortion, plus the party platforms on marriage, terrorism, and more.

I hope you will request your copy of Decision today—then pray and cast your ballot on Election Day. May God bless America!

Franklin Graham

I signed up to get a copy today and the message I got was “allow 4-6 weeks for delivery” which means I may get it as late as November 2nd! If you want a copy, I suggest going to that link and ordering it now!

During my search for the Decision magazine link, I ran across an older article at The Political Insider claiming that Franklin Graham is supporting Donald Trump.

Comments there are varied.  Some are stating that it is right for Graham to support Trump because of his positive stand on Israel.  After all, Scripture tells us:

Gen 12:1

Now the LORD had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.

Gen 12:2

I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.

Gen 12:3

I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So…on that one very important issue, Franklin Graham got it right! As Christians, we are to bless Israel.

We know that the current inhabitant in the White House and his Badministration didn’t bless Israel! In fact, he and his Muslim Brotherhood sycophants showed attitudes of cursing Israel! 0bama only pretended to be a Christian during the election of 2008, yet God allowed the people of our nation to naively vote for him. In hindsight, we see what a liar Hussein has been for 8 long and dreadful years. Recall how the people “clamored for a political ‘messiah’,” and ended up voting for BHO – the worst pResident in history!

Christians might ask, “where was God in all of this?”

Answer: He was teaching us a hard lesson. What we need now is repentance!

We had another chance to change course in 2012. But the people were still too blind to see that the “change” 0bama professed for America was more like chains of socialism and dependency. Less people voted for BHO (plus there was much evidence of vote fraud), but apparently, too many people wanted their free “gimmies” and didn’t care about jobs, the economy, the Supreme Court selections and judges around the country; or the terrible errors in the war against radical Islamic terrorism, (etc…name the poison) to change course just yet.

Today, it’s a totally different story! Millions more people have been awakened and now know that they were hoodwinked and don’t want four more years of 0bama’s dreadful policies via HilLIARy Clinton!

So…what is the call of God for Christian voters? For me, the answer is in these Bible verses:

2Ch 7:14

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2Ch 7:15

“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.

Hat tips to all links.

People Are Asking…

September 3, 2016

Is This The End? 

Never have the headlines been this jarring, the cultural changes this rapid, the moral decay this pronounced.  What on earth is happening?  After each new occurrence the most oft-heard questions are , “Will the world ever be the same again?” and “Where is God in all of this?”

People Are Asking...Is This the End?, by Dr. David Jeremiah

Many Christian believers ask that first question.  In fact, I often think about that very question every day!  With over 25 years of Bible study, I instinctively know the answer to that question.  But what about that second question?  I used to ask that question 25 years ago.  However, believers who are diligently reading, studying, and applying the Word of God in our lives,  can understand the more difficult second question. “Where is God in all of this?”  As believers, we have the answer:

Mar 16:15

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Studying prophecy helps tremendously in recognizing that the closer we get to the end times, the more likely it will be that the world will not ever be the same again…until Christ returns.

Then, the world at the time of the Millennium will be MUCH BETTER!  [Note:  A broader discussion of this will be forthcoming as in the coming weeks and months, I share the content of the book at this blog.]

Those who have not studied the Bible are very likely to ask, “Where is God in all of this?” 

This new book could be a great resource to help people understand what is coming and what is absolutely needed for eternal salvation.

Those of us who are Christians are to help people understand.  It is extremely important to know God’s Word in order to be able to “rightly divide the word of truth.”

2Ti 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Yesterday, I pre-ordered the new book written by Dr. David Jeremiah entitled:  “People Are Asking…Is This The End?  Sign’s of God’s Providence in a Disturbing New World.”

The book is set for release on October 4, 2016.  I’m looking forward to reading it and using it as a resource when sharing the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

There are previews of each chapter at DavidJeremiah.org.  Here is the title of the first chapter and a copy of the preview provided there:

Overview of Chapter 1
The Age of Anything Goes

Ours is an age of decadence, self-delusion, and depravity of every variety—and each time we think things can’t possibly get worse, they do. The shameful acts of yesterday are the celebrated triumphs of today. Perversions are normalized, purity is labeled puritanical, and the only act that cannot be tolerated is dissent from this brave new world where pleasure is king.

Scripture tells us that the road that leads to life is narrow, while the path that leads to destruction is wide. A glance around our culture today and one would be forgiven for thinking that the words found in Matthew’s Gospel are an understatement.

Scripture tells us that the road that leads to life is narrow, while the path that leads to destruction is wide. A glance around our culture today and one would be forgiven for thinking that the words found in Matthew’s Gospel are an understatement. Not only are many people walking down that wide path, they are holding a parade for themselves as they do, celebrating their sins as they march blissfully toward a judgment they don’t believe is coming. In the other direction, the narrow way seems overgrown with weeds from disuse.

As Christians, we should not be surprised at the depths to which humanity seems content to sink. Scripture speaks clearly of humankind’s propensity to sin and God’s holy intolerance of it.

From the days of Noah to the days of the Roman Empire and beyond, people have been lovers of pleasure, inventors of evil, and happy to believe anything our itching ears want to hear. Beneath the constant barrage of the media telling us that anything goes, even Christians are tempted by the wide path. We’re being worn down and written off, and it seems easier to go along in order to get along.

How did things get so bad? Is there anything we can do to stem the tide? And what is God’s next move?

The Age of Anything Goes explores just how our culture made the leap from one founded on Judeo-Christian principles to one that persecutes those who hold to those values. What you read here may shock you. But without a clear picture of where we’ve been and where we are, we cannot truly grasp God’s marvelous grace, nor His plan for our future.

2 Timothy also informs us that certain individuals will not listen to what we share.  Therefore, stay away from ignorant disputes.  However, we should at least try first to, “be gentle to all, able to teach, patient in humility correcting those who are in opposition.”

2Ti 2:23

But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.

2Ti 2:24

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient

2Ti 2:25

in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

2Ti 2:26

and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Why Does God Require Faith to Please Him?

September 1, 2016

Have you ever contemplated why God requires faith to please Him?  We know from Hebrews 11:6 that it is not only a requirement, but that not having faith in Him makes it impossible to please Him!

Heb 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

That verse explains that God is also “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In Dr. David Jeremiah’s current series, “Ten Questions Christians Are Asking,” this past Sunday’s broadcast on faith was one of the best!

Readers can view it at this link:

David Jeremiah.org: What Is Faith?

When I come across skeptics, (seekers and/or outright deniers of Jesus Christ included) they often cite humanistic reasons for not being able to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They use the same humanistic “wisdom” (minus the Wisdom of God in the Scriptures) to claim that any and all of their “reasons” for unbelief are valid. For them, the following verse either offers confusion or an excuse for their unbelief:

Heb 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains:

1. It is the substance of things hoped for. Faith and hope go together; and the same things that are the object of our hope are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation that God will perform all that he has promised to us in Christ; and this persuasion is so strong that it gives the soul a kind of possession and present fruition of those things, gives them a subsistence in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them: so that believers in the exercise of faith are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ dwells in the soul by faith, and the soul is filled with the fullness of God, as far as his present measure will admit; he experiences a substantial reality in the objects of faith.

  • 2. It is the evidence of things not seen. Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true. It is a full approbation of all that God has revealed as holy, just, and good; it helps the soul to make application of all to itself with suitable affections and endeavours; and so it is designed to serve the believer instead of sight, and to be to the soul all that the senses are to the body. That faith is but opinion or fancy which does not realize invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.

 

Christians would inevitably nod their heads in agreement with what Henry wrote in his commentary.  On the other hand, it is likely that nonbelievers might have the tendency to deem what he has written as “opinion or fancy.”

Why? 

Because he or she cannot (or refuses to learn) “the invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.”

Rejection of the Gospel truth in the Bible is often likely because of ignorance about the Scriptures and the Person in whom the Scriptures point to as Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ.  But what about those who claim to have studied Scripture and yet do not believe?  Henry explained quite well why they might reach such a conclusion.

Another way of putting it is the fact that no Christian can MAKE someone believe in Jesus Christ.  All we are to do is to point the way towards the truth of the Gospel.  The knocking on the door of the heart of the hearer of the gospel message is done by the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Jesus Christ to indwell believers.

Heb 11:2

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Henry writes:

II. An account of the honour it reflects upon all those who have lived in the exercise of it (v. 2): By it the elders obtained a good report-the ancient believers, who lived in the first ages of the world. Observe,

  • 1. True faith is an old grace, and has the best plea to antiquity: it is not a new invention, a modern fancy; it is a grace that has been planted in the soul of man ever since the covenant of grace was published in the world; and it has been practiced from the beginning of the revelation; the eldest and best men that ever were in the world were believers.

  • 2. Their faith was their honour; it reflected honour upon them. They were an honour to their faith, and their faith was an honour to them. It put them upon doing the things that were of good report, and God has taken care that a record shall be kept and report made of the excellent things they did in the strength of this grace. The genuine actings of faith will bear to be reported, deserve to be reported, and will, when reported, redound to the honour of true believers.

Notice how Henry includes the word “true” when he describes believers.  This brings to mind the need to avoid those who have fallen into, ( and in today’s era, unfortunately preach),  the heretic and apostate beliefs as described in this Syncretism Stew post.

The book of Jude provides the warnings and signs about those who have “crept in unnoticed” and, “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[fn] (1:4)

NU-Text omits God.

 

Heb 11:3

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Henry writes:

III. We have here one of the first acts and articles of faith, which has a great influence on all the rest, and which is common to all believers in every age and part of the world, namely, the creation of the worlds by the word of God, not out of pre-existent matter, but out of nothing, v. 3. The grace of faith has a retrospect as well as prospect; it looks not only forward to the end of the world, but back to the beginning of the world. By faith we understand much more of the formation of the world than ever could be understood by the naked eye of natural reason. Faith is not a force upon the understanding, but a friend and a help to it. Now what does faith give us to understand concerning the worlds, that is, the upper, middle, and lower regions of the universe?

  • 1. That these worlds were not eternal, nor did they produce themselves, but they were made by another.

  • 2. That the maker of the worlds is God; he is the maker of all things; and whoever is so must be God.

  • 3. That he made the world with great exactness; it was a framed work, in every thing duly adapted and disposed to answer its end, and to express the perfections of the Creator.

  • 4. That God made the world by his word, that is, by his essential wisdom and eternal Son, and by his active will, saying, Let it be done, and it was done, Ps. 33:9.

  • 5. That the world was thus framed out of nothing, out of no pre-existent matter, contrary to the received maxim, that “out of nothing,  nothing can be made,’ which, though true of created power, can have no place with God, who can call things that are not as if they were, and command them into being. These things we understand by faith. The Bible gives us the truest and most exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest or run down the scripture-account of the creation, because it does not suit with some fantastic hypotheses of our own, which has been in some learned but conceited men the first remarkable step towards infidelity, and has led them into many more.

    Hat tips to all links and graphics sites posted here.

Revisiting the “God’s Not Dead” Movie

August 17, 2016

Read an interesting review this morning over at James Bishop’s blog about the first movie, “God’s Not Dead – In 13 Quick Points.”

At the end of the post, James writes, “let me know your thoughts.” I decided to share mine over there and here!

Some people may choose to laugh at the title of the movie. They think that “God’s Not Dead” is a belief in fairy tales. They laugh at us because they see Christians as ignorant, unknowledgeable buffoons; unscientific, brain-dead…you get the picture. On the other hand, those who claim (and conclusively believe) that “God is dead” are so arrogant to say such a thing!  They are the ones who deserve to be laughed at for their obvious ignorance of God’s Word, their incessant rebellion against truth, justice, and morality; as well as their mindset that they absolutely and intentionally refuse to see their need for forgiveness for their sins through repentance at the foot of Christ’s cross.

This movie presents examples of what is stated in Psalms:

Psa 37:12
The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.

Psa 37:13
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.

I agreed with, and enjoyed reading what you [James] wrote in your “good points.” However, many of the criticisms (which you are certainly entitled to believe and share) were not my feelings about the film. In the case of Raddison being “angry with God” because of the death of his mother at a young age, I can say that I know of people who once claimed that they “used to be Christian…now they are not” because of tragedies they had endured in their lives. Whether or not they were genuinely born again in Christ is between them and God, but typically those who know Christ (or once accepted Him) can, in near death instances, turn to Christ at the last minute and repent of their sins. My own father did just that several months before his death.

You did far more research regarding other reviews and opinions of the movie, but I only looked up two examples to use in my blog post about the film – one was positive and the other negative. Here is a copy of my post after seeing the movie for a second time. If you click on the link to my blog, then you can read the links that I placed within the post.

Talk Wisdom: Remaining Obedient to God

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 (son 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.”

[Added here: The examples of the Muslim girl being sent away when her Sharia law father found out she was a secret Christian is an example of tribulation because of her rejection of Islam and sincere belief in Christ. The same could be said of the Chinese student whose father was obviously an atheist who wanted his son to reject God as well. Jesus told us that belief in him would often divide believing vs. unbelieving family members:

Mar 10:29
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[fn] or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,

Mar 10:30
“who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

*******

Mat 12:48
But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”

Mat 12:49
And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!

Mat 12:50
“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”]

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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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). 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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. 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