Archive for the ‘Jesus Christ’ 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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Faith Is Needed For What We Can’t See And Can’t Touch

August 26, 2017

People can choose to have faith in many things.  Most, of which, is faith in things that they can see and touch.   And, that’s OK!   I like to have faith that my family members love me and I like to do things and help with things going on in their lives that demonstrate to them that I love them as well!   We could all write many lists of people and things that we can choose to have faith in.

What about what it means to have faith in God and Jesus Christ?

The faith that is spoken of in Scripture is precisely defined and described by the prophets in the Old Testament, as well as the disciples, apostles, and writers of the New Testament.  Each were guided along by the Holy Spirit of God, because we are told that Scripture is God-breathed. This is why we can trust the Scriptures!

2Ti 3:16

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

2Ti 3:17
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So, now that we have established why we can trust the Scriptures, what does the Bible reveal to us regarding having faith in 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.

Jesus spoke to doubting Thomas and proclaimed:

Jhn 20:29

Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[fn] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were waiting for the coming Messiah. They did not live to see Him, however their hope for Him and belief that He would deliver them from their sin was enough at that time in history to save them.

Isa 30:18

Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Jesus told us that ‘if we love Him, keep His commandments.” Belief in His sacrificial death on the cross saves us from the penalty for our sin. However, the sanctification process continues throughout a believer’s lifetime. That is why keeping His commandments shows our love for Jesus and what He did for us on the cross and the resurrection to life that is promised for all who believe in His Name.

Rev 22:14

Blessed are those who do His commandments,[fn] that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

All of Hebrews 11 is a description of faith and gives examples through history of those who held onto the faith.

I especially like David Guzik’s commentary on Hebrews 11. He shows examples of faith to help the discouraged.

Here is just a portion:

A. Faith defined.

1. (Hbr 11:1) A definition of faith.

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

a. Now faith is the substance: Just as our physical eyesight is the sense that gives us evidence of the material world, faith is the “sense” that gives us evidence of the invisible, spiritual world.

i. Faith has its reasons. The Bible doesn’t recommend a “blind leap” of faith. But the reasons can’t be measured in a laboratory; they have to be understood spiritually. “Faith extends beyond what we learn from our senses, and the author is saying that it has its reasons. Its tests are not those of the senses, which yield uncertainty.” (Morris)

ii. “Physical eyesight produces a conviction or evidence of visible things; faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order.” (Bruce)

b. Of things hoped for… of things not seen: If you have the substance before you or if you can see it, there is no use for faith. Faith is needed for what we can’t see and can’t touch.

i. Faith does not contradict reason, though it may go beyond reason. One may objectively prove the Bible is the most unique book ever published and has impacted society more than any other book. But only faith can prove that the Bible is the Word of God. Therefore, this is a belief beyond reason but not in contradiction to reason or against reason.

c. Faith is the substance… the evidence: Faith is not a bare belief or intellectual understanding. It is a willingness to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to.

People can refuse to have faith in Jesus Christ. That is their free will choice. However, there is a caveat regarding faith! It is revealed very well in Mr. Guzik’s paragraph below (that faith is of things hoped for…of things not seen).

b. Of things hoped for… of things not seen: If you have the substance before you or if you can see it, there is no use for faith.

Faith is needed for what we can’t see and can’t touch.

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!

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.

Destroy This Temple

April 18, 2017

Someone had a question about what Jesus meant when he said:

Jhn 2:19

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

David Guzik has a great commentary on John 2.

I believe that it is often best to read the entire chapter (as well a commentary in link above) in order to understand John 2:19.

Note that the chapter begins with the wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine.

Guzik writes:

This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

f. This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee: This beginning of signs in the Gospel of John is a miracle of conversion, from the old ways of law, ceremony and purification to the new life of Jesus.

It is interesting to note that the money-changers, where Gentiles were selling wares, was on the outer court of the Temple. This was the only place where Gentiles could enter.

Guzik excerpt:

B. The temple cleansed.

1. (Jhn 2:13-17) Jesus drives out the moneychangers and sellers of expensive “approved” sacrificial animals.

a. The Passover of the Jews was at hand: Jerusalem would be crowded with thousands of visitors coming at Passover. The temple mount would be particularly crowded, and Jesus saw many doing business in the outer courts of the temple.

b. When He had made a whip of cords: When Jesus drove those doing business out of the temple courts, He did not do it in a flash of anger. He carefully took the time to make a whip of cords, and thought carefully about what He would do.

c. He drove them all out … poured out the changers’ money and overturned tables: Why did this offend Jesus so much? The outer courts of the temple were the only place where Gentiles could come and worship. This area (the court of the Gentiles) was made into house of merchandise.

i. Matthew, Mark, and Luke each describe another cleansing of the temple Jesus performed, towards the end of His earthly ministry. In both cases, the presence of these merchants in the temple courts spoiled the only place Gentiles could pray. In addition, their dishonesty made their presence all the worse.

d. John began with a miracle of conversion (changing water into wine). Then he shows Jesus with a work of cleansing (the cleansing of the temple). This is always how Jesus works in His people: conversion, then cleansing. [bold mine]

2. (Jhn 2:18-22) Jesus speaks of a new temple, and its destiny. [bold and italics mine]

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. ” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

a. What sign do You show to us, since You do these things? This wasn’t necessarily a bad question. Anyone who drove out the merchants from the temple courts claimed the authority to do it. The Jews wanted to know if Jesus really had this authority. The problem is that they demanded a sign from Jesus to prove it.

b. Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up: Jesus speaks here of the temple of His body. He probably even gestured to Himself as He said this. Jesus knew that these religious leaders would attempt to destroy His body, but He also knew that they would not succeed.

i. The body of Jesus is still a temple (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5).

c. I will raise it up: Who raised Jesus from the dead? Jesus says that He will raise Himself, despite the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses and others. This was a claim no mere man could make, a claim repeated dramatically in John 10:18.

Hat tip:

Blue Letter Bible – David Guzik Commentary on John 2

Question: Why did Gandhi say, “Your Christians are so unlike your Christ?”

March 13, 2017

I have thought about answers to that question for quite some time.  Many Bible quotes come to mind which could agree with that statement or disagree with it.  Trouble is, no matter what I might say about it, “the world” would most likely still agree with Gandhi!

This is what got me thinking about that Gandhi quote.  While driving in my car I often listen to an a.m. talk radio station.  One advertiser on that station (“The Foundation for a Better Life”) often quotes the Hindu leader Gandhi.  They end their segment by saying, “pass it on.”)  However, I have noticed that one quote made by Gandhi doesn’t seem to ever be included in the commercial segment.  It is this one:

“I like your Christ but do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Gandhi

I wonder…why don’t they play that one?

It’s quite cringe worthy…to say the least!  Perhaps Gandhi did have a point when he made that statement.  However, is it fair to lump all Christians into such a category?

Such a disparaging statement caused me to wonder…in what ways did Gandhi think that Christians are so unlike our Christ?

Was he expecting us to be perfect?  Only Jesus is perfect!

Was he expecting us to be totally sanctified (which will only happen when resurrected to eternal life either at death or when the Rapture occurs) and never say the wrong thing or ever sin again?

It is difficult to counter what Gandhi said.  So many people admire him for that particular quote as well as many others that he made in his lifetime!

Perhaps I could share the following graphic to start the conversation:

That graphic holds a verse from 2 Corinthians 4.  I suggest reading the entire chapter.*

There is also the fact that many who claim to be Christians haven’t repented of their sins, become born again in Christ, invited the Holy Spirit into their lives and therefore, have rejected the mercy and grace afforded to those in Christ.  These days, biblical Christian faith is often frowned upon and hated by those who reject the Bible as truth.

Jesus warned us that there would be false prophets who are “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Mat 7:15

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

These are the pretend “Christians.” Jesus told us in Matthew 7 that we would “know them by their fruits,” and that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Further down in the same parable, Jesus describes who “will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” What’s worse is this part: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Back to Gandhi.

So, maybe he encountered “foolish men who built their houses on the sand.” Or, maybe he encountered false prophets? Or, maybe he encountered “wolves in sheep’s clothing?” Or, maybe he encountered “the bad trees?”

Mat 7:17

“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Mat 7:18

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Mat 7:19

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Gandhi claimed to “like Christ,” but he obviously didn’t actually believe in Him, love Him, nor worship Him.

How ironic it would be to think that Gandhi didn’t like “your Christians” because of the world’s so-called perceived “judgmental character” of Christians?  In that particular quote, wasn’t Gandhi being judgmental against all of us?

Let’s begin the comparison of Gandhi’s religion vs. Christianity.  The following is not a comprehensive comparison of Hinduism versus Jesus Christ, but it is a good summary.

Along with their rejection of God as sovereign creator of the world, Hindus also part company with Christianity on the critical issue of Jesus Christ as god’s incarnate Son.  Hindu worshipers of Vishnu, for example, believe that God has become incarnate many times in the past.16  The Bible teaches that God became incarnate only once in human history (see John 1:14).  Jesus came not to teach humanity various “ways” to salvation, but to be “the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) and “to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).

The resurrection of Christ demonstrates His absolute uniqueness as God the Son, His victory over death and His divine approval from God the Father.  It also refutes the Hindu teaching of continuous reincarnation and their belief that Christ is just another teacher-avatar (super-savior).

OK…so now we know why Gandhi, as a practicing Hindu leader, would say that he “likes (your) Christ.”  He sees Christ as just one of the great teachers, but that is as far as he will go.

The next quoted section will reveal why the Hindu’s god is too small.

Actually, Hinduism is more a philosophy than a theology (a study of God).  The Hindus try to make a tremendous case for the bigness of their impersonal god–Brahma–the “that” behind and beyond reality.  But where does the Hindu seek Brahma?  Within himself.  For the Hindu, each person is “god” (or at least part of “god”).

Ah ha!  That partially explains why Gandhi would make the claim that “I (he) do (does) not like your Christians!”  He expects each Christian to be their own god, or at least part of “god.”  Therefore, he most likely saw each Christian who had not become totally sanctified in this regard as a failure.

Continuing:

The Hindu’s god is too small.  The biblical record (see 1 John 5:11,12) states that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  If we have the Son, we have eternal life (not a series of mythological, absolutely unproven reincarnations).  As an Indian folksong put it:  “How many births are passed, I can not tell.  How many yet to come, no man can say; But this alone I know, and know full well, that pain and grief embitter all the way.”17

Christians, however, can rest in “the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

In conclusion, I will be summing up major differences between Hindus and Christians.  But first, I wanted to mention in the more detailed text of the book that I am quoting from, we find out that “Hindus call sin “utter illusion” because they believe all material reality is illusory.”

The term “illusory” is often confused with elusive, so here is the dictionary definition of illusory from Dictionary.com as well as the word origin and details:

adjective

1.

causing illusion; deceptive; misleading.

2.

of the nature of an illusion; unreal.

1590-1600; < Late Latin ill ū s ō rius, equivalent to ill ū d (ere) to mock, ridicule (see illusion ) + – t ō rius -tory1

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com

1. fallacious, specious, false. 2. imaginary; visionary, fancied.

Word Origin and History for il-lu-so-ry Expand

adj.

1590s, from French illusorie, from Late Latin illusorius “ironical, of a mocking character,” from illus-, past participle stem of Latin illudere “mock at,” literally “to play with,” from assimilated form of in- “at, upon” (see in- (2)) + ludere “to play” (see ludicrous ).

So, is it a stretch of the mind to conclude that Gandhi (and all Hindus) might regard Christ’s sacrificial death to atone for the sins of the world as something to mock, deceptive, imaginary, false, and ludicrous?

But Gandhi still claimed to like Christ!

Continuing:

Regarding God and Jesus Christ:  Hindus do not believe in a personal, loving God, but in Brahma, a formless, abstract, eternal being without attributes, who was the beginning of all things.18  They believe that Jesus is not God but just one of many incarnations, or avatars, of Vishnu.19  Christians believe that God is an eternal, personal, spiritual Being in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (see Matthew 3:13-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).  Jesus Christ is God as well as sinless man and He died for our redemption (see John 1:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24).

Regarding sin and salvation:  Hindus call sin “utter illusion” because they believe all material reality is illusory.  They seek deliverance from samsara, the endless cycle of death and rebirth, through union with Brahma, which is achieved through devotion, meditation, good works and self-control. 20  Christians believe that sin is prideful rebellion that leads to eternal separation from God after living only one life, not many (see Romans 3:23; Hebrews 9:27) and that salvation is gained only through believing in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3).

Gandhi, like other Hindus, could not accept the Christian answer to the problem of sin, het he felt a deep hunger for real salvation from sin.  He wrote:

“For it is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from Him, who, as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am.” 15

Reference:  So What’s the Difference by Fritz Ridenour, Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group Minneapolis, Minnesota. 2001 pp. 95-97.

Footnotes:

15.  Mahatma Gandhi Autobiography (Washington, DC:  Public Affairs Press, 1948). p. 170.

16.  These incarnations (avatars) included a fish, a tortoise, a boar and a manlion, as well as different human forms, including Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism Kalki; the tenth avatar is yet to come.  See Myrtle Langley, World Religions:  A Guide to Faiths That Shaped the World (West Oxford:  Lyon Publishing plc, 1993), p. 22.

17.  Cited by S. H. Kellogg, A Handbook of Comparative Religions (Philadelphia, PA:  Westminster, 1899), p. 30.

18.  Yamamoto, Hinduism, TM and Hare Krishna, pp. 55, 85.

19.  Yogananda, Paramahansa, Autobiography of a Yogi (Los Angeles, CA:  Self-Realization Fellowship, 1972), pp. 195, 196.

20.  Ibid.

*******
* 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

2Co 4:1

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.

2Co 4:2

But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

2Co 4:3

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

2Co 4:4

whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

2Co 4:5

For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

2Co 4:6

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2Co 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

2Co 4:8

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2Co 4:9

persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—

2Co 4:10

always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

2Co 4:11

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2Co 4:12

So then death is working in us, but life in you.

2Co 4:13

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,”[fn] we also believe and therefore speak,

2Co 4:14

knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

2Co 4:15

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

2Co 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

2Co 4:17

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

2Co 4:18

while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Hat tips to all links and graphics.

Why True Conviction in Christian Faith is Detested

March 6, 2017

A friend of mine (screen name “L”) recently wrote about churches drifting away (or, in some cases deliberately doing so) from the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this is often true. What’s more, it is happening at a greater rate in this generation than ever before!

Our family left two churches over the years because we found that the pastor was drifting away from excellent Bible teaching. In one case, the pastor started to follow another pastor’s way of teaching and this caused errors (one was huge!) in the direction that he started taking the church.

2Ti 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

2Ti 4:4

and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

I suggest reading my post entitled Syncretism Stew. An author by the name of Marsha West has created a list of denominations that have drifted their congregations away from what the disciples originally called, “The Way.”

Today, one of the most “admired” ideas is the human philosophical combination of many religions under the guise of labeling it in a term called COEXIST.

I have seen many of these stickers on the bumpers of cars here in California. It is a very nice sentiment and would be nice if sincerely followed. However, each of those religions disagrees with the teachings of the others. Therefore, each religion thinks that all the others are wrong! This is an example of where human philosophical efforts often fail. If a person doesn’t agree with all of the other religions listed on that banner, then you are often labeled as “bigoted,” “phobic” (including all the phobias being spouted around today), “crazy” or even “evil”!

Why?

Because behind the banner of “can’t we all just get along” is the premise that the claim of exclusivity of being saved by grace through Jesus Christ is bad news…rather than the Good News of salvation.

We see today how Christian faith is attacked by non-believers (often relentlessly) and the Jewish faith (which is the root of Christianity) is also highly disparaged.

Why?

Because the proponents of philosophy of religion precludes any true believer in Christ from having true conviction in their faith and replaces it with the demand for syncretism.

So, how are we supposed to know who is correct in such matters?

Good question!

That is where serious studying of the Bible comes in!

There are too many Christians who only rely on the words of others, rather than examining the Word of God and the Living Word – Jesus Christ – for themselves.

There is a verse in 2 Timothy (which is utilized by the AWANA programs for children) that tells us to “study to show thyself approved unto God – rightly dividing 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.

What’s more is that we need to be diligent about it! There are so many tools that can be used to help us in our studies. I think that the commentaries of past biblical scholars (like Matthew Henry) are very helpful! Also, using a concordance in order to understand the meaning of the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words in the Bible helps to prevent error in private study and interpretation. For example, the word “fear” in the Bible can mean either dread of something or someone, or it can mean reverence (usually reverence for God). This is only one example. Proper context is essential in Bible study.

The book of Jude informs us that we are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Jude also warns us about the syncretism stew of those who would do things to gain advantage, follow after their own lusts, and be mockers:

Jde 1:16

These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.

Jde 1:17

But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Jde 1:18

how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.

Jde 1:19

These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

Jude 1:19 informs us that those who do not have the Spirit (meaning the Holy Spirit of God who indwells us when we repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ and then through faith, ask Him to dwell in our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit as saved individuals) are people who are sensual persons who cause divisions. Again, this is an example of the syncretism stew that people can willingly enter, or ignorantly enter into because of their lack of knowledge about the way, the truth and the life of Jesus Christ.

Bible study is crucial, but the fellowship with other Christians in a Bible based non-denominational church is also important. If the church is Bible based, then it is less likely to fall into the syncretism stew types of errors.

The longer I study the Bible, the more I learn.  However, this side of heaven one has “never arrived” regarding the wisdom and knowledge of God.   The Bible is a miraculous book and once saved, we are forever being sanctified through the grace and mercy afforded to us by Jesus Christ.

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.

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Blue Letter Bible
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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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