Archive for the ‘salvation’ Category

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

December 8, 2018

Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13 - Seed, Soil, wayside, stony ...HT graphic:  gbcdecatur.org

That’s a question that Ligonier.org – The teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul answers in a video presentation. There is also a transcript to read.

Excerpt:
He actually answers that question Himself, or gives one answer to it, when He tells the parable of the sower and the soils and His disciples don’t get it. They come to Him and say, “What was that all about?” and He explains it to them.

He says, “I’m giving these explanations to you because you’re my disciples. But one of the reasons I tell these parables is because when I tell the parables it actually makes clear whether people really grasp the meaning of the kingdom or not.” (See Matthew 13:11-17, Mark 4:10-12, or Luke 8:9-10.)

I don’t know if it’s said so often these days, but there was a time when people constantly said to ministers, “You should tell more stories like Jesus so that we can understand.” But Jesus didn’t tell these parables so much so that people would understand. They were really test cases of whether they understood the gospel that He preached in other words. When you think about it, that’s the case.

The Parable of the Sower is the gateway to all of the parables of Jesus.

Parable of the Sower | BibleOpia BlogThis explains why people can be at different levels of belief in their lifetimes.  It explains why people can “fall away” from faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bible is an honest book, telling us the truth about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, while also informing us about the sins, errors and failings of mankind.

Personally, I have gone through several “crises of faith” in my 64 years on this earth.  A person who once loved (the agape kind in Christ, no less!) my husband and I made a sudden and devastating decision to abandon us.  Why?  Over a simple argument that could have easily been resolved.  In addition, he also rejected any family members, friends, acquaintances that he perceived as “siding” with us.  This occurred over a year ago, but when it first happened I cried day and night for three months.  I thought, how could this person do such a drastic, painful and heartless thing? Where is the forgiveness?  Where is the reconciliation?   I asked and prayed, “God?  Where are you in this?”  Now, I realize that it is a situation that needs to be resolved in the life of this person.  We are just the “collateral damage,” so to speak.  If this person is supposed to be a true Christian, then why this rejection, even after apologizing and asking for forgiveness?

Apparently, a person can reject those that he used to love unconditionally; and be totally indifferent about it.

Last Christmas, the pastor mentioned to pray for those who are in estrangement situations.  Much weeping and sniffling could be heard from the congregation.  I never knew how prevalent the act of disowning family members was until I did some research on it.  Rejection hurts – terribly!  But with faith and love in Jesus Christ, we can overcome.  Why?  Because He has “overcome the world” through His death and resurrection to life!  In eternity, there will be no tears, pain, hate, indifference, warfare, sin, or rejection.  Why?  Because the imperfect world we live in now will be gone, and a new life of love, peace, joy and worship of God will replace all of those negative and painful things that we endure while on this earth!  That is why the lovely list (love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, goodness) in “the fruit of the Spirit” also contains the term longsuffering.

As Jesus told us in Scripture, there will be those who will reject Him – and the Gospel.  Then, why would we ever expect to never be rejected by people who have obviously been negatively convinced against us?  I really don’t know how this person can live with himself.  It’s very sad.  However, people make bad choices all the time and then need to live with possible regret and future consequences.

Moving on with this post.

One of the more popular posts here at this blog is entitled, The Importance of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.

Within that post, we also read about the Parable of the Sower:

Jesus told us that there will be those who will reject the Gospel in the Parable of the Sower

Mat 13:18

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:

Mat 13:19

“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

Mat 13:20

“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

Mat 13:21

“yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

Mat 13:22

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

Mat 13:23

“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

As Christian evangelists, we are to “plant the seed” through spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God does the rest! The verses in Matthew reveal the many ways that a person who hears the Gospel either “goes by the wayside,” or, “receives it with joy but only endures for while and then stumbles because of persecution,” or,  “allows the word to be choked out because of the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches.” All of these can cause a person to become unfruitful.

We may inquire further to discover what Jesus meant when he stated (in Matthew 13:23) “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it.”

David Guzik has a good commentary about that verse:

d. Good ground: As seed falling on good ground brings a good crop of grain (Matthew 13:8), so some respond rightly to the word and bear much fruit.

i. This soil represents those who receive the word, and it bears fruit in their soil – in differing proportions (some hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty), though each has a generous harvest.

e. Therefore, hear the parable of the sower: We benefit from seeing bits of ourselves in all four soils.
– Like the wayside, sometimes we allow the word no room at all in our lives. – Like the stony places, we sometimes have flashes of enthusiasm in receiving the word that quickly burn out. – Like the soil among thorns, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are constantly threatening to choke out God’s word and our fruitfulness. – Like the good ground, the word bears fruit in our lives.

i. We notice that the difference in each category was with the soil itself. The same seed was cast by the same sower. You could not blame the differences in results on the sower or on the seed, but only on the soil. “O my dear hearers, you undergo a test today! Peradventure you will be judging the preacher, but a greater than the preacher will be judging you, for the Word itself shall judge you.” (Spurgeon)

 

Guzik goes on to reveal another aspect of this parable, and it has to do with “good soil” and ultimately asking ourselves, “what kind of soil am I?”

ii. The parable was also an encouragement to the disciples. Even though it might seem that few respond, God is in control and the harvest will certainly come. This was especially meaningful in light of the rising opposition to Jesus. “Not all will respond, but there will be some who do, and the harvest will be rich.” (France)

iii. “Who knoweth, O teacher, when thou labourest even among the infants, what the result of thy teaching may be? Good corn may grow in very small fields.” (Spurgeon)

iv. Even more than describing the mixed progress of the gospel message, the parable of the sower compels the listener to ask, “What kind of soil am I?”

The Ligonier essay continues:

Think about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). We all know what the answer is to the question “Which man went down justified?” but that’s only because we don’t really grasp the parable. Nobody listening to Jesus thought it would be the tax collector who went away from the temple justified.

I sometimes say to people, “Just think about these two men. You’re an evangelical Christian. Which of these two are you more like? Don’t you say to God, ‘I thank you that I’m not like other men’; ‘I thank you that you’ve helped me to discipline my life’; ‘I thank you that you’ve helped me to give away money rather than hoard money’? When you begin to think of those things, actually you sound more like the Pharisee.” And that’s very, very uncomfortable: to discover that, even though you trust in Christ, there’s a Pharisee deep down inside you.

Jesus tells these parables to probe inside us to see whether we really understand the gospel and whether the gospel is really beginning to transform our lives.

They’re not just stories. They’re weapons in spiritual warfare.

Hat tip: Ligonier.org

How Do I Get to Heaven? Unlocking the Bible.

October 25, 2018

Graphic:  newriversinternational(dot)org

How do I get to heaven? The story of the thief on the cross makes the answers to this question crystal clear—this man had no works to offer, either before or after his salvation. His salvation was only by grace of God. A. W. Pink asks:

What could he do? [The thief] could not walk in the paths of righteousness for there was a nail through either foot. He could not perform any good works for there was a nail through either hand. He could not turn over a new leaf and live a better life for he was dying.[i]

Truth can always be twisted by perverse people. The wonderful truth that God saves by grace, through faith and without works is no exception. A man said to Spurgeon, “If I believed that, I would carry on in a life of sin,” to which he replied, “Yes, you would!”[ii]

But the redeemed heart loves Christ. The forgiven sinner has a desire to please his Lord.

If the thief had been rescued from the cross and lived another 30 years, he would have lived a new and different life, but he did not have that opportunity. The fact that he entered paradise shows us with great clarity where our salvation lies.

Our salvation in Christ involves three marvelous gifts—justification, sanctification and glorification. Justification is the gift by which our sins are forgiven, sanctification is the gift by which we grow in the likeness of Christ, and glorification is the gift by which we enter into the everlasting joy of heaven. If you get that, you get the Christian life.

Graphic:  wordblessings(dot)com

Christ Justified Us

Now think about what happened to this man. He was justified and glorified on the same day! He completely bypassed sanctification! This man missed out on the entire Christian life—no battles with temptation, no struggles with prayer. He was not baptized, he never received communion, and he did not become a member of any church.

Let’s return to our question: How do I get to heaven? Here’s what this story tells us: Entrance to heaven comes through justification, not through sanctification. You enter heaven by forgiveness and through the righteousness that Jesus gives you. You do not enter into heaven by the Christian life.

The New Testament repeats this theme again and again:

A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2:16)

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:5)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

It’s always true that where faith is birthed, works will follow, but salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This is the good news that your acceptance with God does not depend on your performance in the Christian life.

Where would you be if Christ said, “I forgive you, but I’ll be watching to see how you do from now on.” What kind of love is that? “I forgive you, but make sure you don’t mess up again.” When you read the words “not by works,” rejoice. If it wasn’t for this, you’d be sunk because your Christian life is not what you want it to be and neither is mine.

Christ Gives Complete Assurance

“Today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Don’t you just hate the business of waiting for exam results? You do the test, hand in your paper, and then you have to wait. Can you imagine living your whole life waiting for the results? Imagine praying every day, serving every week, and then wondering, “Will I make it into heaven? Or will I spend eternity in hell?”

When the man says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” Christ does not say, “We’ll have to wait and see.” He doesn’t say, “It’s rather late in the day for you to think about repentance now. Look at all the years you’ve wasted!” No, Jesus says, “Today, you will be with me in paradise!”

The Son of God brings the declaration of the last day forward for all who put their trust in him. Do you see how the gift of assurance flows from Christ saving us by grace, through faith, and without works? If our works were in any way involved in our gaining entrance into heaven, assurance would be impossible.

If salvation rested on our works in any way, all assurance would be arrogance because it would be saying “I’ve done the necessary works.” Salvation depends not on your works for Christ, but on Christ’s work for you. His work is finished. It’s perfect and complete. You can rest your life, death, and eternity on him with complete confidence.

Heaven Is Nearer Than You Think

Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Christ is the Lord of paradise. He holds its keys. There can be no higher assurance than his promise. That’s why the apostle Paul says, “It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?” (Romans 8:33-34).

Graphic: pinterest(dot)com

Death does not lead to a long period of unconsciousness. Nor does it lead, for the believer, to a long process of being prepared. For a Christian believer, death is an immediate translation into the joys of life at the right hand of God. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Christian, heaven is much nearer than you think. “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

[This post was adapted from Pastor Colin’s sermon, “Breakfast with the Devil, Supper with the Savior,” the second sermon in his series, 7 Words from the Cross.][Photo Credit: Unplash]
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[i] A. W. Pink, “The Seven Sayings of the Savior from the Cross,” p. 34, Baker, 2005
http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Sayings-Saviour-Cross-Arthur/dp/0801065739/
[ii] C. H. Spurgeon sermon, “Election and Holiness” March 11, 1860
http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0303.htm

How Do I Get to Heaven? — Unlocking the Bible

Graphic:  thereshope(dot)org

Hat tip: Truth2Freedom’s Blog

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.

What Photos Can’t Show

July 6, 2017

 

One of the first photographs ever taken (1839) was of an American photographer taking a picture of himself–perhaps history’s first “selfie.”  Fast forward to today, there are tens of millions of selfies posted on social media sites around the world every year.  Many of the pictures record events and relationships.  But far too many are of individuals taking images of themselves alone–the “Look at me!” variety of selfie.

The problem with any picture, selfie or otherwise, is that it only records what is on the outside.  The camera has yet to be invented (and never will be) that can photograph the spiritual status of the heart, soul, or mind.  And that is the part of us God is most concerned about.  When Samuel was sent to anoint Israel’s new king, God told him not to anoint a man who looked like a king.  Instead, he was to anoint a man who had the heart of a king, a heart after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).

Those viewing your photos can’t see your heart, but God can.  Make sure He finds in you a heart that is pursuing Him.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Points Devotional, July 5, 2017

Quote:

A man’s heart is what he is.

~ R.B. Kuiper

This particular devotional really stood out to me when I first read it, and I have been thinking about it ever since.

As a Christian, I have instinctively known that much of the ills, sins, hatred, rebellion, and crimes of humans stem from a “heart” issue.  I’m talking about the spiritual state of humans as they go about their everyday lives.  Why are some humans prone to do such evil?  Why are others prone to sexually abuse?  Why are others prone to spew hatred?  Why are others prone to commit murder?

All of these terrible situations are ultimately derived from heart/spiritual problems.

Jer 17:9

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

Readers might be thinking, “no…not MY heart!  I’m good!  Well, most of the time.”  No one wants to admit the obvious!  Jeremiah 17:9 is truth, and we all must face that fact.

Fortunately, Jeremiah doesn’t end with verse 9.  In verse 10, the prophet explains:

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.

When a person is “after God’s own heart,” he/she is much less likely to do evil.  I’m not saying such people are perfect (for, no one is – “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”) however, when Jesus enters into a man or woman and indwells his or her heart through the power of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual strength that we had lacked here-to-fore becomes stronger with Christ “at the wheel” of our journey.  Such a process is called “sanctification” and it is a life-long journey.  We can never completely arrive as “sanctified” until we are at home in Heaven with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Knowing that Jesus Christ took the punishment that every human being who has ever lived deserved; and that confessing and repenting of such sins and asking Jesus to indwell our hearts through the Holy Spirit saves us from spiritual death, why would anyone want to reject the Gospel message?

Jer 17:14

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.

Hat tips:
Turning Points Devotional, July 5, 2017
Blue Letter Bible
Graphics links

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.

The Wonder of Your Mercy…

September 26, 2016

I have often found that people who are not (yet!) born again in Jesus Christ do not “get” the whole concept of forgiveness, mercy and grace via the Cross. I see that there are people who think Christians are “arrogant;” and thus surmise that “we think we are better” than everyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Repentance for sin is a MUST  before we can take part in the forgiveness, mercy and grace given to us through the shed blood at the cross of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah reminds us of our true condition before the Cross of Christ cleanses us:

Isa 64:6

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.

We know that being born again does not mean we are perfect. We will still have to live with a sinful nature (here on earth), but because of what Christ did for us, we DESIRE to live for Him more fully and avoid the occasion of sin.

In a later verse, Isaiah shares hope for us:

Isa 64:8

But now, O LORD,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

This past weekend, a non-believer told my son that he thinks that, “the Christian faith is a beautiful religion.” This is the adult young man who encouraged me to read Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now.” They had a great conversation, and although I didn’t hear all of it I was so proud of my son for witnessing to him! Near the end of the conversation, my son also shared that there are religious off-shoots of Christianity (i.e. Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses) that do not adhere to the general revelation of God nor the Scriptures that have “once been delivered to the saints.” He didn’t use those exact words, but that was the gist of it. At that point, the young man objected to “bashing” someone else’s beliefs. I’m sure that this was because Tolle’s book (and teachings) combine some Christianity, Buddhism, and Gnosticism; therefore, we must be “tolerant” of other religions. When they briefly touched on the “religion” of Islam, the young man stuck to the liberal leftist stance that the religion has been “hijacked” by a radical few. My son didn’t try to change his mind on that issue (would take too long anyway), but the next time I see this young man I will mention the “tenet” of “taqiyya” within Islam which allows any Muslim to lie in order to advance their global jihad political Caliphate plans via claims of being a “religion of peace.”

All in all, it was a great conversation to observe! I was so encouraged that my son is not worried about political correctness [PC] when sharing the Truth with others.

PC is what is constantly used against Christians in order to shut them up.

One of the tools being used by the PC and “tolerance” crowd is the “coexist” movement.  What is ironic is the fact that the PC crowd (usually the liberal leftist side of the political spectrum)  ignores the reality of the danger presented by Islam and many who live in the PC universe spew claims that Christians are not tolerant.  Well, many Christians would whole-heartedly disagree!  Here is why:

The following graphic describes what is REALLY behind the “Coexist” bumper sticker and movement, quite well!

H/T for graphic: Watchman’s Bagpipes blog

Hat tips to all links.

Mercy Lyrics

from Your Grace Finds Me
I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross,
Where mercy paid for me.
Where the wrath I deserve,
It is gone, it has passed.
Your blood has hidden me.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

We will lift up the cup
And the bread we will break,
Remembering Your love.
We were fallen from grace,
But You took on our shame
And nailed it to a cross.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross,
Where mercy paid for me.

Read more: Matt Redman – Mercy Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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.

B. Franklin Warned About “Keeping Our Republic.”

August 4, 2016

At the birth of our nation, the wise Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Sir, what kind of government have you given us?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

After 240 years, we can see why Franklin warned about “keeping our Republic.” He instinctively knew the hearts of men (and probably Scripture) and how the evil that men do… who do not know God, His Word, or Jesus Christ… would eventually work to take this nation in a downward spiral towards its destruction. This is why no “one” man or elected official could ever save us. Only Jesus Christ saves – and no matter what happens in this world (where Jesus said, “you will have trouble (tribulation)”; we know that only He can “fix it” if it be His will.

Our true and genuine hope is not in this world, because we are not of this world. Our true and genuine hope is in Jesus Christ and that through Him we are saved for all eternity!

My blogging friend over at Oil For Your Lamp wrote an interesting essay entitled, Superman’s America Has Been Conquered!

Superman stood for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. But no more!

Excerpt:

This nation has been conquered!

And the American people cheered while they watched it happened!

I look at what is happening in the United States today and I think:

There was a time when the Truth mattered to Americans.  That time is no more!

Today, we watch our leaders and media lie to us every time they open their lips, but we do not care.  We have learned to accept lies as the new normal.

There was a time when Justice mattered to Americans.  That time is no more!

Today, we watch people we know to be guilty tell us they are innocent, but we do not care.  We have learned to accept corruption as the new normal.

There was a time when this nation understood that ‘The American Way’ meant that you did not begrudge others their success: instead, we worked hard and tried to learn from their example so that we could be successful, as well.  That time is no more!

Read it all HERE.

 

I can certainly  see his point!

“Superman’s ideal America” sadly, no longer exists.  The decline started gradually, but has now exponentially tanked our nation into a pit of despair!

The prophecy of Scripture both warns us and informs us about what will happen the closer we get to the end times.  Those who reject God and His Christ have much to fear.

However, those who genuinely belong to Jesus Christ can “take heart…because Jesus has overcome the world!”

We pray that our God will heal our land. We pray:

2Ch 7:14

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

Even then, the temporal healing is only temporary…and does not compare to the eternal healing that we can experience through being born again in Christ!

I pray that those who do not currently know Jesus Christ (and the salvation He offers to those who repent and confess their sins) will turn to Him and believe in Him before it’s to late.

Read what those who belong to Jesus gain!

Rom 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Rom 8:19

or the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Rom 8:20

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;

Rom 8:21

because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Rom 8:22

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

Rom 8:23

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Rom 8:24

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

Rom 8:25

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Rom 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[fn] with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Rom 8:27

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Rom 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Rom 8:29

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Rom 8:30

Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Rom 8:31

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Rom 8:32

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Rom 8:33

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Rom 8:34

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Rom 8:35

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Rom 8:36

As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[fn]

Rom 8:37

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

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.

Hat tip: Oil For Your Lamp

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.


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