Archive for the ‘Jesus has overcome the world!’ Category

The Supremacy of Christ and Your Map for Life

May 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. David Jeremiah’s Bible notes tell us:

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

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

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

Why are they like that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jeremiah’s notes:

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

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

Advertisements

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

January 24, 2017

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

You can watch the video here:

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

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

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

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

The first word is “strife.”

The meaning of the word “strife:”

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

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

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

4. Archaic. strenuous effort.
– Dictionary.com

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

noun

1.  grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering.

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

tribulation in the Bible:

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

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

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

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

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

2Th 1:6

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

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

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

You can view the video clip HERE.

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

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

Maybe not…

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

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

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

Mat 24:7

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

Mat 24:8

“All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Mat 24:9

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

Mat 24:10

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

Mat 24:11

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

Mat 24:12

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

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

Matthew 24 informs us:

Mat 24:13

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

Mat 24:14

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

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

Gal 5:22

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

Gal 5:23

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

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

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

Gal 5:19

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

Gal 5:20

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

Gal 5:21

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

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

Jesus tells us:

Jhn 16:33

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

Paul reiterates this in Romans:

Rom 8:38

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

Rom 8:39

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

Our true and ultimate home:

Jhn 14:2

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

 

Jhn 14:3

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

NKJV Footnotes

(14:2)

Literally dwellings

Hat tips to all links and graphics.

*******

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

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

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

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

Where are you going
Where do you go.

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

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

Where are you going
Where do you go.

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

Songwriters
HARRISON, GAVIN RICHARD / BYER, RICARDO A.

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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

What is Stored Up In You?

January 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The NIV version of 2 Corinthians 7:10 reads:

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

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

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

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

Luk 23:39

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

Luk 23:40

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

Luk 23:41

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

Luk 23:42

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

Luk 23:43

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

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

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

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:

“Christianity starts with repentance.”

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

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

Mat 3:1

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

Mat 3:2

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

Mat 3:3

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

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

More prophecy fulfilled from (4:16)

Isaiah 9:1, 2

 

Mat 4:12

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

Mat 4:13

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

Mat 4:14

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

Mat 4:15

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

Mat 4:16

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

Mat 4:17

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

There is a Proverb that reads:

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

There is another Proverb that reads:

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

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

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

Hat tips:

Blue Letter Bible
All Graphics links

Who Is Your Source of Hope?

October 1, 2016

Take it from me…it pays to pre-order books because sometimes you will get the book even before the national release date!  Yesterday, I received Dr. David Jeremiah’s latest book:

People Are Asking: Is This The End?

I read the introduction and the first few pages of Chapter 1 – “The Age of Anything Goes.” For an excerpt of the first chapter, scroll down the page at the following link and read Overview of Chapter 1: The Age of Anything Goes.

That excerpt is sobering, but now that I have delved into the entire chapter, the evil and depravity that is going on in the world today is so very discouraging, damaging and frightening!

I truly am saddened that the country that I grew up in from the mid-nineteen fifties through graduating college in 1977 has disappeared and been replaced with the “normalization” of the most egregious sinful secular-leftist and atheistic (even devil-worshipping!) kinds of immorality and death-cult beliefs that it is absolutely astonishing!

There was a time when Christian parents could shield their children from all of this, but no more.  The so-called “smartphones” that adults and children hold in their hands today are just a click away from pornography websites.

Excerpt from Chapter One:

Depravity in Our Minds

In January 2016, the Internet’s largest online pornography site released its annual statistics.  On just this one website in just one year – 2015 – consumers watched 4,392,486,580 hours of pornography.  Convert those hours into years, and it means those people collectively spent more than 500,000 years watching porn.

On this particular site in 2015 alone, people watched 87,849,731, 608 X-rated videos.  Over 87 billion!  That’s twelve videos for every man, woman, boy and girl on the planet.

The rate at which sexual depravity is being “normalized” is causing havoc upon many freedoms that Christians have enjoyed in the past.  Now, deeply held religious beliefs, freedom of speech, freedom to practice our faith in the public domain, freedom of association to reject the immoral cesspool around us, and most of all, the freedom to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is actively being punished by “the powers that be” in government! This scenario is especially egregious in the liberal courts dominated by anti-Christian “judges” who decide to allow sexual immoralities described in God’s Word to trump the First Amendment rights of Christian believers.

I could go on and on…but most readers get the picture.

The saving grace in all of this is the fact that Christians know Who wins and triumphs at the end of days.  There will come a time when God’s mercy and grace will run out and the judgments will fall upon those who rejected God’s provision for salvation – the Cross of Jesus Christ!

This is probably the biggest reason why this blog exists.  To warn people about the schemes of Satan that are there to grab our minds, entice our flesh, and spiral us down into the cesspool of depravity through active sin;  in order to keep our minds, hearts, bodies, souls and spirits away from God.

God the Father,  who loves us so deeply that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place and free us once and for all from the penalty that we all deserve for our rebellion and sin; gives us the kind of hope that can never be achieved on our own.

What will YOU do (and decide about God’s provision through Jesus Christ) on this side of eternity?

Dr. Jeremiah masterfully shares the truth that for many people, their source of hope is sadly misplaced.  He states that “the question you must address is not whether America and the world will regain their footing, but how you will respond whether they do or not.”

“That is what this book is all about!”

Dr. Jeremiah explains the four common responses to the growing fears about the future.  Three are wrong, and one is right.

Wrong:

    1.  Denial – Living in the illusion that nothing will change, refusing to heed the clouds gathering on the horizon.
    2.  Despair – Collapse is inevitable, all is hopeless, nothing can be done and we are doomed.
    3. “Eat, drink, and be merry.”  As Solomon (see Ecclesiastes 8:15) warned us, all the pleasure we can get because there is “nothing new under the sun” is not productive.  It doesn’t give us hope.  In fact, it is “all vanity and grasping after the wind.”  (see Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Ecc 1:14

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Right:

The one right response is to look beyond the gathering storm to the one solid and certain source of hope–to God Himself.  Hope in the future of America and the stability of the world is little more than wishful thinking.  It is not reliable.  The hope God offers is the only realistic, absolute hope that carries the promise of a certain outcome.

The next three paragraphs in the Introduction are very powerful!

We do not know whether America will soon fall.  We do not know when the Lord will return.  But we do know that whatever our circumstances, God’s desire for us is to live without anxiety and with hope.  He offers you “thoughts of peace and not of evil.” and He wants “to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

In this book I will show you how to find that hope.  It is a hope that is not dependent on whether America falls or recovers or whether world order stabilizes or disintegrates.  It is a hope that rises above trouble and chaos, enabling you to keep your focus on your future reward and endure whatever comes, whether good or evil, with grace and equanimity.

Had to look that last word up in the dictionary!

equanimity:

1.

mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.
Dr. Jeremiah continues:

The added benefit of this hope is that those who exercise it before others set an example that may just make a difference in the outcome.  Enough Christians exhibiting faith in God just might be the salt that saves America.

— Dr. David Jeremiah

San Diego, California

June 2016

Hat tip: David Jeremiah.org – “People Are Asking: Is This The End?”

Hat tips to all links.

A Prayer For Righteousness

September 21, 2016

Our Heavenly Father,

You are righteous, holy, and pure, light without shadow, presence without stain.

You’ve told us:  “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

We confess our sins to You, Lord; we have no righteousness of our own.

We claim the righteousness that comes by grace through faith in Jesus.

We claim the Spirit’s power to live pure and upright lives, for the grace that brings salvation also teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to be self-controlled and godly in this present age as we await our glorious hope–our Lord’s return.

So keep our minds pure.  Keep our eyes blameless.  Sanctify us by Your truth.

Preserve our hearts and homes in holiness befitting Your Name.

Your eyes are on the righteous, Lord, and Your ears are open to our prayers, so keep us from falling and restore righteousness to our land.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Proverbs 14:34

Pro 14:34

Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people.

Source: Turning Point Ministries, 2016 Prayer Card.

Hat tips to added graphics.

Revisiting the “God’s Not Dead” Movie

August 17, 2016

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

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

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

This movie presents examples of what is stated in Psalms:

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

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

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

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

Talk Wisdom: Remaining Obedient to God

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

Plugged In had a good review of the film.

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

Wikipedia:

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

Plugged In:

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

“You prayed and believed your whole life,” Mina’s brother says to their mother, almost as an accusation. “Never done anything wrong. And here you are. You’re the nicest person I know. I am the meanest. You have dementia. My life is perfect. Explain that to me!” Then, in a moment of unexpected spiritual clarity, she does. “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God,” she tells her shocked son.

 

“Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”

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

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

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

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

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

Num 32:23

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

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

Mat 4:12

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

Mat 4:13

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

Mat 4:14

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

Mat 4:15

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

Mat 4:16

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

Mat 4:17

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

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

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

Jhn 16:33

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think this paragraph explains it:

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

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

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

Chase concludes his post:

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

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

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

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

Hat tips to all links.

Answering Folly

August 11, 2016

In a previous post, my friend Joe from Oil For Your Lamp attempted to inform a commenter with the screen name of GMpilot, that what he spews against the evidence for Jesus Christ in the Scriptures (as well as what is shown through historical, extra-biblical sources) is a matter of a person being “irrational, delusional, and insane.”

Sounds harsh…right?  But after reading what the Bible (and Jesus Himself) says about such persons, we prove the points in Jeremiah 17:9-10.

For clarity, here is the comment written by Joe:

Black3Actual Says:

August 6, 2016 at 7:24 pm

CJW: GM’s response to you is why we should hold EVERYTHING he says suspect. He claims Josephus was born some 400 years after Christ Died, HOWEVER, even Wiki knows he lived 37-100 AD (they use CE, but same general thing). This means Josephus was alive and old enough to have had actual discussions with first-hand witnesses.

Furthermore, GM likes to argue that people do not respond to his points, or make spurious replies, yet he has just done the same thing. It does not matter about WHAT Josephus said, it matters that he acknowledged that Christ was a real figure in history, and that his life outside Scripture was generally acknowledged to have been the same as IN the Scriptures. To the intellectually honest, this is called corroborating evidence.

Furthermore, notice how he picks on one narrow aspect of this outside evidence, and only on that evidence which he believes he can ‘interpret’ to his favor. First, he has NO EVIDENCE that anything has been ‘corrupted,’ so — like Franklin — he admits he is only speculating according to his own biases. Second, he ignores the corroborating evidence which is stronger than the one he chose to dissect. ALL of this is fallacious (and if you know that while you are doing it, deceitful) argumentation.

There is MUCH outside evidence to testify that the Scriptures are accurate, and that Christ died and rose again. I bet GM does not even know that the global eclipse and a global earth quake were recorded by at least 3 extra-Biblical sources considered — in their times, anyway — to be “scholars.’ The interesting part of these records is they were recorded in distant geographical regions, and all of them agree — pinning Christ’s death to the year 32-33 AD! This is not only powerful support of the Scriptures but — if it were not connected to the claim that Christ IS God — it would be considered definitive proof. But because people do not want to face the ramifications of acknowledging Christ’s true identity, they deny what would otherwise be counted as FACT!

So, how does one argue with a person who — by their own admission — refuses to acknowledge fact? I mean, by definition, such people are not only irrational, but delusional, which is also defined as insane.

My response:

Joe, you and I both know that no matter what evidence is provided to GM, his purpose here is to ignore it and continue to spew his rhetoric – no matter how irrational, delusional and insane he makes himself appear to be.

I love how God’s Word is filled with answers regarding such people. Proverbs tells us to “answer a fool according to his folly.”

Pro 26:5

Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes.

Yet, Proverbs also tells us to “not answer a fool according to his folly.”

Pro 26:4

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.

This is godly wisdom that informs us that there will come a time when “answering a fool” becomes too ridiculous to continue to do so. That is where you and I are… regarding GM.

You nailed it when you wrote:

But because people do not want to face the ramifications of acknowledging Christ’s true identity, they deny what would otherwise be counted as FACT!

So, how does one argue with a person who — by their own admission — refuses to acknowledge fact?

Unregenerate man is described in Jeremiah 17:9. Jeremiah 17:10 informs us what happens through the entire lifetime of a man or woman.

1. The LORD searches the heart.
2. He tests the mind.
3. He gives every man according to his ways.
4. According to the fruit of his doings.

If a man or woman’s heart rejects the salvation and regeneration of the heart afforded by Christ, then his/her heart remains deceitful and desperately wicked. Some would object to this because they believe that they are “good.” But the truth about the evil in man is revealed by Christ Himself! That link is only a portion of examples where Christ agrees with the fact that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?!”

Jer 17:9

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

Jer 17:10

I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

The Gospel of Christ solves our most deep and desperate need. Jesus said that we must be “born again” of the spirit. There is no other way! Christ IS THE WAY!

Every person’s heart is searched by the LORD. Every person’s mind is tested. Every man – according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doing – will result in reconciliation with God or separation from Him forever in eternity.

What we discuss here is vital! Though many choose to mock it, there will be some, perhaps a remnant, who will heed what is shared and as Jude informs us:

Jde 1:23

but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[fn] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude 1:3-1:16 and 1:17-19 describes those with “deceitful and desperately wicked hearts.” It’s not a pretty picture!

However, the following beautiful verses from Jude instructs us and informs us of what believers in Jesus Christ recognize as being what is in store for us.   Jude’s words teach us what we are to do and  how we can endure what evildoers throw at us in this fallen world:

Jde 1:1

Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified[fn] by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:

Jde 1:2

Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

Jde 1:3

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Jde 1:20

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

Jde 1:21

keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jde 1:22

And on some have compassion, making a distinction;[fn]

Jde 1:23

but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[fn] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jde 1:24

Now to Him who is able to keep you[fn] from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

Jde 1:25

To God our Savior,[fn]
Who alone is wise,[fn]
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,[fn]
Both now and forever.
Amen.

NKJV Footnotes

(1:1)

NU-Text reads beloved.

(1:4)

NU-Text omits God.

(1:12)

NU-Text and M-Text read along.

(1:22)

NU-Text reads who are doubting (or making distinctions).

(1:23)

NU-Text adds and on some have mercy with fear and omits with fear in first clause.

(1:24)

M-Text reads them.

(1:25)

NU-Text reads To the only God our Savior.

(1:25)

NU-Text omits Who . . . is wise and adds Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(1:25)

NU-Text adds Before all time.

What Do You Think About Eckhart Tolle?

July 1, 2016

Recently, the suggestion to read a book entitled, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle was given to me by a young man in whom I love and admire.  He was so enthusiastic about what Tolle had written about Jesus, that he thought that I might be enthusiastic about it as well.  He also asked me, “have you ever heard of him and what do you think about Eckhart Tolle?”

I needed to do some research about Tolle, but when I found out that he was one of the “gurus” whose book was featured and endorsed by Oprah Winfrey,  I immediately knew that Tolle’s writings most likely stray away from biblical truth.

*Sigh…*

This young man had contacted me via email and said he wanted to discuss what Tolle wrote regarding what Jesus said in Matthew 6:28.  He didn’t write out the verse, so I looked it up.

Matthew 6:28 – And why take ye thought for raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.

When we finally had the opportunity to see each other, the version of Matthew 6:28 that he quoted was quite different from what the KJV or the NKJV says.  I was expecting him to quote the verse in this familiar fashion:   “And why are you worried about clothing?”  That is what most “modern” versions say.  Perhaps he was attempting to paraphrase?

Well, we didn’t have much time to get into detail.  I did tell him that Tolle’s book was on Oprah Winfrey’s reading list years ago (2008 – I think).  But we didn’t have the chance to get into a discussion.  Thus, I decided to write a blog post about it.

The first thing I did was look at the individual Bible verse, and read the surrounding Bible verses.  Next, I found biblically-based commentary on the individual verse and surrounding verses, and then read and applied the whole message of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6.  The main point of this Sermon is this:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

David Brown’s commentary is a great read. Scroll down to this section and read to the end:

28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider–observe well.
the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not–as men, planting and preparing the flax.
neither do they spin–as women.

      29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these–What incomparable teaching!–best left in its own transparent clearness and rich simplicity.

David Guzik’s is an easier read. The point of Matthew 6:28, as well as the entire Sermon on the Mount is this:

 

David Guzik wrote:

4. (33) Summary: Put God’s kingdom first – He will take care of these things!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

a. But seek first the kingdom of God: This must be the rule of our life when ordering our priorities. Yet it is wrong to think that this is just another priority to fit onto our list of priorities – and to put at the top. Instead, in everything we do, we seek first the kingdom of God.

Guzik continues:

i. For example, we rarely have to choose between honoring God and loving our wives or being good workers. We honor God and seek first the kingdom of God by being good husbands and good workers.

ii. We should also remember this statement in its immediate context. Jesus reminds us that our physical well-being is not a worthy object to devote our lives unto. If you think it is worthy then your god is mammon, your life is cursed with worry, and you live life too much like an animal, concerned mostly with physical needs.

iii. Jesus didn’t just tell them to stop worrying; He told them to replace worry with a concern for the kingdom of God. A habit or a passion can only be given up for a greater habit or passion.

iv. “What this verse demands is, therefore, a commitment to find and to do the will of God, to ally oneself totally with his purpose. And this commitment must come first.” (France)

b. And all these things shall be added to you: If you put God’s kingdom first, and do not think that your physical-well being is a worthy object to live your life for, you then may enjoy all these things. He promises heavenly treasure, rest in divine provision, and fulfillment of God’s highest purpose for man – fellowship with Him, and being part of His kingdom.

i. This choice – to seek first the kingdom of God – is the fundamental choice everyone makes when they first repent and are converted. Yet every day after that, our Christian life will either reinforce that decision or deny it.

5. (34) A conclusion with common sense.

Next, I did some research online and found a list of anti-Christian beliefs promoted by Eckhart Tolle.

  1. God and man are one (pantheism).  Christianity teaches that God is distinct from man, that He created man.
  2.  That human self is an illusion (Buddhism).  Christianity affirms the existence of the human self, but laments it’s corruption by sin.
  3.  Death and the human body are illusions (Buddhism).  Christianity confirms that both are real.
  4.  Jesus is not uniquely God, since everyone is God.  Christianity claims that Jesus is the unique human manifestation of God.

Elsewhere I found:

Gnosticism is an ancient form of the philosophies aere perennius (Latin for “more lasting than bronze”) which Tolle embraces.

Definition of Gnosticism:  A group of ancient heresies, stressing escape from this world through the acquisition of esoteric knowledge.

Gnosticism: (British dictionary).

A religious movement characterized by a belief in Gnosos through which the spiritual element and man could be released from its bondage and matter:  recorded as a heresy by the Christian church.

It is also known that Gnosticism was a mixture of Hellenic, oriental, and Christian elements.

Hellenic:  of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient Greeks or their language, culture, thought, etc., Especially before the time of Alexander the Great.

Like the Gnostics, Tolle sees Jesus primarily as a teacher and interprets salvation as a transformation of consciousness, kind of waking up to a new awareness.  Christianity certainly affirmed that Jesus is a teacher, but, it emphatically states that he is infinitely more than a spiritual cover.   Jesus is God, and that makes all the difference.  He is not simply one teacher among many who has found a way to God; he, in person, is the way; he is not simply one enlightened figure among many who has come upon the truth; he, in person, is the truth.  What Jesus brings is not only teaching, (however moving Tolle’s opinions may be and how moving and transformative his writings may be) what Jesus brings is the divine life through the salvation offered by the forgiveness of sins at the foot of the cross.  His resurrection to life is proof that the salvation Christians embrace is much more than the clearing up of a false consciousness as Eckhart Tolle professes in his opinions and books.

I do admit that I have not read Eckhart Tolle’s book. However, I don’t have to because I have found Pastor Greg Boyd’s review of  Tolle’s earlier book, “A New Earth” which well describes the author’s spiritual views.

Greg Boyd is a former atheist who surrendered his life to Christ in 1974. graduate of Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary. professor of theology for 16 years at Bethel University. founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church, an evangelical megachurch in St. Paul, MN.

 

I suggest reading Boyd’s entire essay. Tolle may have had good intentions, but there is no denying that readers will see the deep divide and contrast between what Tolle attempts to teach, compared to what Scripture states as truth.

Excerpt:

This eastern worldview that Tolle espouses fundamentally contradicts the biblical worldview. It’s important we understand why this is so. For Tolle, the world of distinct things and distinct people is only quasi-real. Ultimate reality is one, “formless,” “pure potentiality,” “pure awareness,” etc. This means that relationships are only quasi-real, since relationships must take place between distinct persons. And this means that love is only quasi-real, since love is obviously a relationship.

This is why Tolle says that the biblical teaching that “God is love” is “not absolutely correct.” The truth, according to Tolle, is that…

God is the One Life and beyond the countless forms of life. Love implies duality: lover and beloved, subject and object. So love is the recognition of oneness in the world of duality (106).

In other words, since duality is not an ultimate reality, love is not an ultimate reality – which is why God can’t be said to be love. Love is rather a means to an end –the end being the recognition that you and all other people are not really distinct. Love thus helps us transcend the world of duality and enter “the light of consciousness itself.” “To love,” Tolle says, “is to recognize yourself in another” (105, emphasis added). For, ultimately, there is no “other” to love. There is only the self.

By contrast – sharp contrast – the biblical worldview affirms that the teaching that “God is love” is not only “absolutely correct” but is the most important and correct truth there is (1 Jn 4:8). In the biblical worldview, God is an eternal, perfect, loving relationship. As Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God is eternal, perfect love shared between a plurality of “persons.” Love and plurality are not pen-ultimate realities: they are ultimate reality!

Not only this, but out of perfect love, God created a world filled with ultimately real individuals with the hope that they’d share in and reflect the joy and ecstasy of his eternal, perfect, and ultimately real love. The goal of life, therefore, is not to dissolve all individuality into oneness but to eternally affirm individuality in loving relationship with all other individuals and with God. The goal is not to realize you are God, but to be eternally related to God with a love that participates in the perfect love that God eternally is.

This fundamental difference is clearly manifested in the way Tolle teaches people to “stay awake” and “live in the now,” in contrast to the way Christians such as Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God) and Frank Laubach have helped people “stay awake.” Tolle encourages people to cultivate an on-going awareness of their essential oneness with life. The goal is to transcend the ego and lose any distinct awareness of yourself. By contrast, Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach encourage people to cultivate an on-going awareness of the presence of God and to surrender to this presence on a moment-by-moment basis. Tolle aims at experiencing one’s own divine “I AM” on a moment-by-moment basis. Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach aim at experiencing a loving relationship with the I AM on a moment-by-moment basis.

Clearly, Tolle’s eastern worldview fundamentally contradicts the most important aspect of the biblical worldview.

Scripture informs us that “the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.”

1Co 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

This is one of the main reasons why the Cross of Jesus Christ is often rejected, while the combination of different forms of spirituality (Gnosticism, Buddhism, Eastern religions etc.) can be appealing to those who dislike the need for repentance given by Christ in his earthly ministry.

Mat 4:17

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

What is more appealing to the self, the ego, the flesh and the mind?

What is more accurate (Tolle’s opinions or the truth of the Bible?) regarding our souls and spirits?

Tolle’s view:

 

If we can remain consciously aware of our essential oneness with all things on a moment-by-moment basis, we will find that the perpetual striving and anxiety that attaches to our individual ego disappears. We will thus be free, fulfilled, peaceful, etc… The three words that are “the secret of all success and happiness” are “One With Life” (115). Instead of living with an ego-centered awareness of how we (as individuals) are distinct from all other things, we must cultivate an ego-free awareness of how we are one with all things on a moment-by-moment basis.

 

Where do we find Christ’s Truth?

 

I am reminded of Paul’s missionary journeys as recorded in Acts 17:16 – 17:34.

Note this portion:

Act 17:21

For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing

 Act 17:22

Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;

 Act 17:23

“for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:

 Act 17:24

“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

 Act 17:25

“Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

 Act 17:26

“And He has made from one blood[fn] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

 Act 17:27

“so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

 Act 17:28

“for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Act 17:29

“Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

Act 17:30

“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

Act 17:31

“because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

 

Act 17:32

And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.”

Act 17:33

So Paul departed from among them.

Act 17:34

However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

*******

VERY important note:  The same decisions still occur to this day!

 

Some mock.

Some will hear again on this matter.

Some will believe.

 

Dear readers… what is your decision?

 

See:  How To Know God Personally

 

Hat tips to all links, graphics,  and quotes.

Remaining Obedient to God

June 7, 2016

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

Plugged In had a good review of the film.

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

Wikipedia:

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

Plugged In:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Num 32:23

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

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

Mat 4:12

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

Mat 4:13

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

Mat 4:14

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

Mat 4:15

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

Mat 4:16

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

Mat 4:17

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

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

 

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

Jhn 16:33

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

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

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

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

I think this paragraph explains it:

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

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

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

Chase concludes his post:

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

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

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

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

Hat tips to all links.

About “Self- Identity…”

June 1, 2016

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

Secondly…

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

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

John:

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

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

Additionally, John also wrote:

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

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

Big hat tip:  Truth2Freedom blog!

[Note:  Graphics within post added by Christine.]

What Is Your Self-Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center

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

BCC logoI am ADHD.

I am bipolar.

I am depressed.

I am an addict.

I am [fill in the blank].

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

Self-Identity: Do Your Words Describe or Define?

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

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

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

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

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

How Does Jesus Define You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the Discussion

[Note:  Graphics added by Christine.]

  1. What is your self-identity?

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

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

 

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

Hat tips to all links.


Stand Tall For Christ

1 Corinthians 16:13

Talk Wisdom

Talk Wisdom's goal is to defend the tenets and values of Biblical Christian faith. We defend our Constitutional Republic and Charters of Freedom, especially when speaking out against destructive social and political issues. As followers of our Savior and Lord, we should boldly stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world - now.

WINTERY KNIGHT

...integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Cry and Howl

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. I Kings 20:11

pastorwardclinton

Pastor Ward Clinton is a pastor in the Church of The Nazarene and author of a handful of books.

James Bishop's Theological Rationalism

Where Reason and Evidence Meet Faith.

GraceLife Blog

Thoughts About God's Amazing Grace

True Discernment

2 Timothy 4:3-4

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

romans122life

Not Conforming, But Reforming

The Apologista

Love, Life, and Logic with Lauren

Eternity Matters

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

willisbryanblog

Enough already

Freedom Is Just Another Word...

Rules?? What Are rules? I don't need no stinking rules!!!

Centinel2012

De Oppresso Liber

The Oil for Your Lamp

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)

Walter Bright

Refining theological understanding. Sharpening ethical rigor. Heightening devotional intensity.

Know Greater Love

"This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers." - 1 John 3:16

Kingsjester's Blog

Opinions from a Christian American Conservative

As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) KJV

Narrow is The Way Ministries

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14 (KJV)

Daniel B. Wallace

Executive Director of CSNTM & Senior Research Professor of NT Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary

The Master's Table

God honoring, Christ Centered

Truth2Freedom's Blog

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

Citizen WElls

Obama eligibility, Obama news

Fellowship of the Minds

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

sharia unveiled

illuminating minds

drkatesview

Thoughts on Our Constitutional Republic

We the People of the United States

Fighting the Culture War, One Skirmish at a Time

partneringwitheagles

WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

danmillerinpanama

Dan Miller's blog

Be Sure You're RIGHT, Then Go Ahead

"Our threat is from the insidious forces working from within which have already so drastically altered the character of our free institutions — those institutions we proudly called the American way of life. " -- Gen. Douglas MacArthur

The Last Refuge

Rag Tag Bunch of Conservative Misfits - Contact Info: TheLastRefuge@reagan.com

Nice Deb

It is what it is...

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips)

Eternity Matters

Christianity, politics, family and general ramblings.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.