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

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.

 


Stand Tall For Christ

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

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