Archive for the ‘grace, Jesus Christ, God, Bible’ Category

Wherever pride is found, it is always hateful to God.

September 21, 2017

Perhaps some readers here have heard of the latest “prophecy” claim being made regarding the Second Coming of Christ.  Some are  predicting it to happen on September 23, 2017.  Geoffrey Grider over at “Now The End Begins” blog explains quite well (via Scripture) why such a prediction is false and cannot possibly happen.

See: Now The End Begins: False Prophecy Alert Called ‘Great Sign’ That’s Happening on September 23rd is 100% Not True.

Excerpt:

In order for September 23rd to “usher in the Second Coming,” you would have to cram into the next five (now, two days) days the Rapture of the Church, the rise of Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast and all other events of the 3.5 years of the time of Jacob’s trouble, otherwise known as The Great Tribulation. Chances of all of that happening in the next 5 days (now, 2 days)? Absolutely zero.

I read on another website that a “Christian numerologist” joined the bandwagon making a similar “prediction.”

I can see why people are panicked due to all of the hurricanes happening in a row over the past few weeks which are causing much devastation.  We also have seen the earthquake that happened in Mexico.  However, Jesus told us that such events would only be the “birth pangs.”

Rom 8:22

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Reading the entire chapter of Romans 8 can help soothe our fears, especially the last two verses:

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.

It really helps to read, study, and know what the Bible teaches in order to not get caught up in false assumptions, false rhetoric, false pride, or false prophecy given by those who may just be in it for attention or to sell their books.

Habbakuk 2 speaks about the proud being rebuked and informs us:

Hab 2:3

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.

Hab 2:4

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

David Guzik’s commentary of this portion of Scripture is really good!

Here are a few excerpts that spoke of the time of Habbukuk, but also see if you agree with me that this speaks towards our world today!

b. For the vision is yet for an appointed time: Habakkuk spoke to an age beyond his own. The Babylonian conquest would not be evident in his own day, but in the future.

2. (Hab 2:4-8) God knows how to deal with the proud.

a. Behold the proud: Habakkuk wondered why Babylon – a nation even more sinful than Judah – would be used to bring judgment to Judah. In answering the prophet, God first assures him that He sees the proud, and knows that his soul is not upright in him.

i. Pride is everywhere and takes all manner of shapes.

– Here is the rich man, proud of what he has

– There is the poor man, proud of his “honor” in having less

– Here is the talented man, proud of what he can do

– There is the man of few talents, proud of his hard work

– Here is the religious man, proud of his religion

– There is the unbeliever, proud of his unbelief

– Here is the establishment man, proud of his place in society

– There is the counter-cultural man, proud of his “outcast” status

– Here is the learned man, proud of his intelligence and learning

– Here is the simple man, proud of his simplicity

Now, think about those who are involved in identity/racial/grievance crowd politics.  Can you see that pride is one of the main culprits that is being used to divide our nation, our people, and our government?

ii. “If there is a sin that is universal, it is this. Where is it not to be found? Hunt among the highest and loftiest in the world, and you shall find it there; and then go and search amongst the poorest and the most miserable, and you shall find it there. There may be as much pride inside a beggar’s rags as in a prince’s robe; and a harlot may be as proud as a model of chastity. Pride is a strange creature; it never objects to its lodgings. It will live comfortably enough in a palace, and it will live equally at its ease in a hovel. Is there any man in whose heart pride does not lurk?” (Spurgeon)

Guzik goes even further:

iv. “Wherever pride is found, it is always hateful to God.

The list of those utilizing “pride” (above) demonstrates how and why so many of the evils of our time are being perpetrated by those who adhere to such tactics;  and how it negatively affects us all!  Not only is pride “always hateful to God,” it is also hateful to man.

Why! pride is even hateful to men. Men cannot bear a proud man; and hence it is that a proud man, who has any sense left, often sees that it is so, and he therefore tries to affect manners of modesty. He will seem to be humble, when he really is not, if he has the suspicion that all about him will dislike him if they know him to be proud. But God cannot bear pride; it is a part of his daily business to put down the proud.” (Spurgeon)

So…what is the antidote to pride which is hateful to God and man?

b. But the just shall live by his faith: In contrast to the proud, there are the just. The principle of their life is faith, instead of pride that looks to self. True faith looks outside of self unto the LORD God, while pride always looks to self.

That last sentence deserves to be repeated:

True faith looks outside of self unto the LORD God, while pride always looks to self.

i. This brief statement from the prophet Habakkuk is one of the most important, and most quoted Old Testament statements in the New Testament. Paul used it to show that the just live by faith, not by law. Being under the law isn’t the way to be found just before God, only living by faith is.

ii. If you are declared just -that is, approved – before God, you have done it by a relationship of faith. If your life is all about living under the law, then God does not find you approved.

iii. In Hebrew, the important part of the verse has only three words: “the justified man,” “by his faith,” and “will live.” Every word in Habakkuk 2:4 is important, and the Lord quotes it three times in the New Testament just to bring out the fullness of the meaning

Romans 1:17 is the commentary on the justified man – “The just shall live by faith”

Hebrews 10:38 is the commentary on faith – “The just shall live by faith

Galatians 3:11 is the commentary on the Christian life – “The just shall live by faith”

The just shall live by faith!

Whenever someone makes a dated prediction about the end of the world, it will do readers good to recall what Jesus Christ said to his disciples (and, to all of us!):

Mat 24:3

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Mat 24:4

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

Mat 24:5

“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

Mat 24:6

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[fn] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

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.

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.

I suggest reading Matthew 24 in its entirety! The words of Jesus Christ are faithful and true and can be trusted!

Blue Letter Bible: Matthew 24

Hat tip: Blue Letter Bible and David Guzik Study Guide on Habbukuk 2

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The Mental Battlefield

June 24, 2017

I have been watching a series on Nat Geo entitled, “Genius.” It’s about Albert Einstein’s life and times. It was fascinating to see how he developed his theories; particularly the theory of relativity. Other scholars (especially his professors) seemed to enjoy continually trying to crush his intellectual endeavors.

Could be lots of reasons for this, but mostly, I think it was because he challenged the status quo in the scientific world and they didn’t want to change what they have believed for most of their lives. Even the Nobel prize people shunned Einstein’s work and theories at first, giving the award year after year to other scientists (some of whom created awful ways to kill people).

For me, however, it was more disappointing to find out that he was a philanderer, very nasty towards his first wife, and an absent father. In all of his “success,” he failed at two of the most important… being a faithful husband and good dad.

It was interesting to hear him state in a synagogue where he made a speech that it had been years since he set foot in one. When challenged about his spiritual beliefs, he did say that God must have created everything. However, it appeared to me that he “put all of his faith in his own arguments” and though he may have believed in God, he didn’t make Him Lord over his life.

Several weeks ago, I watched the movie, “The Theory of Everything.” It was sad to see such a brilliant “mind” as Stephen Hawkings’ treat his wife and family with such bitterness and disdain. What is it with these “intellectuals”?

I found it deeply sad that these “geniuses” who are ‘worshipped’ by so many in the scientific arena, appear to have failed in what matters most in life. God first, family second!

This month’s Turning Points magazine and devotional discusses the topic of “all thoughts captive.”

Most people are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

That phrase comes from 2 Timothy 3

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

Our minds are made for truth.

Biblical meditation involves filling your mind with God’s Word.

We are encouraged to study His truth and assimilate it to every part of our spirit.

We are all born with a certain level of gifts.  In the scientific world, Einstein was gifted with a brilliant mind for scientific theory discovery.  His last name is often used as a substitute for the word, “genius.”  What a great honor that is!  Yet, I can’t help but wonder whether or not he also grew in the wisdom of God’s Word?

Dr. Jeremiah:

Jesus said all the parts of one’s life–heart, soul, mind, and strength–must manifest love for God.

We must give Him all our heart and acknowledge Him as Lord in all our ways.

Acknowledging God is like acknowledging a very close friend.

People who are given a larger platform to speak and be heard (i.e. actors, actresses, politicians, media pundits [MSNBC, CNN] etc.), unfortunately, develop sharp tongues and say the most awful things about people with whom they disagree politically.  I cannot think of a time during my life where the rhetoric has been as disgusting, mean, vicious and downright dangerous!

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

The apostle Paul warned how easily our thoughts become futile, our hearts darkened, and our minds debased (Romans 1:21, 28).  Proverbs 15:26 says, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD.”

Satan can quickly seize control of a mind that isn’t submissive to God.  According to Paul, the god of this age (Satan) blinds the minds of those who do not believe (2 Corinthians 4:4).   He uses skepticism, unbelief, false arguments, empty entertainment, pornographic images, addictive patterns, genetic traits, faulty logic, and erroneous religious notions to make sure people do not glorify God but become darkened in the foolishness of their hearts (Romans 1:21).

That’s why we must inventory our minds and ensure we are cultivating a Spirit-controlled thought life.  The Bible states this in strongest terms in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

What a phrase!  Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Life is made up of thoughts, words, and actions–all of which spring from the heart.

We are told in the book of Jude that resistance to Godly thought will increase the closer we get to the end times.  I have seen such hatred manifest itself in people over the course of my life, and now such darkened hearts and debased minds often ridicule those who hold to Christian faith.  Fortunately, God’s Word warns us that this will, and is happening!  Despite the fact that much of the ugliness that is being spewed on the news these days is evidence of the rejection of God’s will for our lives (see Romans 1:21), as Christians, we have the ability to renew our minds and fill our hearts with God’s truth (Romans 12:2).  Moment to moment, we can find our responses being pleasing to God.

Dr. Jeremiah:

Our brains only come alive when redeemed by the power and knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ.  The Bible says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).  Ephesians 4:23 tells us to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind.”  Our minds are made for truth.  God created our brains to need the truth of His Word just as He made our bodies to need the food and water He built into the material world around us.

Amen!

Grace

May 28, 2017

 

I have been thinking about the term “grace” a lot lately.  According to Dictionary.com, the word has several different meanings.  When I went to that site today, the “word of the day” happened to be “hedonism.”  How ironic…

Word Origin and History for grace

n.

late 12c., “God’s favor or help,” from Old French grace “pardon, divine grace, mercy; favor, thanks; elegance, virtue” (12c.), from Latin gratia “favor, esteem, regard; pleasing quality, good will, gratitude” (source of Italian grazia, Spanish gracia), from gratus “pleasing, agreeable,” from PIE root *gwere- “to favor” (cf. Sanskrit grnati “sings, praises, announces,” Lithuanian giriu “to praise, celebrate,” Avestan gar- “to praise

According to Blue Letter Bible.com, the word “grace” appears in the NKJV 143 times in 137 verses.

My concern in this post is about the grace of God. Nave’s topical Bible shares general scriptures concerning the grace of God, including some that help in the growth in the grace of God. [Note: if you click on that link and hover your cursor over the Bible verse, a box pops up to reveal the entire verse.]

It is difficult to pick a favorite, but for today’s purposes I chose these verses:

Romans 5:15-21 (KJV) 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Those verses contain the term “grace” five times, and shares the gospel message!  That passage of Scripture explains why Jesus Christ is the only way unto salvation!

We are meant to continue to grow in grace! And, how do we do that? Through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

2Pe 3:18 KJV – 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

 


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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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