Archive for the ‘Scripture’ 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

GTY Blog Post – The Injustice of Social Justice — by John MacArthur — Truth2Freedom’s Blog

September 8, 2018

The besetting sin of pragmatic, style-conscious evangelicals has always been that they shamelessly borrow fads and talking points from the unbelieving world. Today’s evangelicals evidently don’t believe the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Virtually any theory, ideology, or amusement that captures the fancy of secular pop culture will be […]

via GTY Blog Post – The Injustice of Social Justice — by John MacArthur — Truth2Freedom’s Blog

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Note from Christine:

In my previous post, the subject of “Social Justice is not the mission of the church” shared a “Dallas Statement on Social Justice” which is currently being debated amongst Christian bloggers and whether or not a church leader should sign such an agreement.

The link above has proven to be one of the best posts (if not THE best post!) on the topic!

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Today, critical race theory, feminism, intersectional theory, LGBT advocacy, progressive immigration policies, animal rights, and other left-wing political causes are all actively vying for evangelical acceptance under the rubric of “social justice.”

Not every evangelical leader currently talking about social justice supports the full spectrum of radical causes, of course. Most (for the moment, at least) do not. But they are using the same rhetoric and rationale of victimhood and oppression that is relentlessly employed by secularists who are aggressively advocating for all kinds of deviant lifestyles and ideologies. Anyone who claims victim status can easily and effectually harness the emotional appeal of a plea for “social justice” both to gain support and to silence opposition.

That is the crux of the matter!  The support of “social justice” causes (no matter how deviant the lifestyles and ideologies) are being used to gain support for such deviancies; but most of all (IMHO) TO SILENCE THE OPPOSITION!

We currently see this happening in the political world with the anti- President Trump (derangement) syndrome being utilized by the far leftists who STILL – 2 years later – can’t get over Hillary Clinton losing the election of 2016.  Notice that despite an almost 98% of the media of mass deception promoting such extreme bias and spouting lies; a huge percentage of the American people are not buying their propaganda.

More importantly, the secular far leftists are trying to use their “social justice” mantra in order to squash biblical Christian beliefs online, in the media (both social and news), in schools, in colleges and universities etc. for the purpose of SILENCING THE OPPOSITION!  This is why I am covering this topic at great length, so that the uninformed do NOT get caught up in the “social justice” trap that is being perpetrated by the haters of God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and his saved followers.

Excerpt:

Indeed, as social justice rhetoric has gained currency among evangelicals, just about every cause that is deemed politically correct in the secular world is steadily gaining momentum among evangelicals. It would be folly to pretend the social justice movement poses no threat whatsoever to evangelical conviction.

Evangelicals seldom explicitly define what they mean by “social justice”—possibly because if they gave an accurate definition of where that term came from and what it means in the secular academy, they might lose a lot of evangelical support. Countless critics have pointed out that the rhetoric of “social justice” is deeply rooted in Gramscian Marxism. For many decades, “social justice” has been employed as political shorthand by radical leftists as a way of calling for equal distribution of wealth, advantages, privileges, and benefits—up to and including pure Marxist socialism.

This is EXACTLY why the leaders of Bible-based churches have created and signed that declaration!  There is a needed dialogue now regarding the meaning of “social justice” and how it relates to true biblically-based Christian beliefs.

Excerpt:

Marxists, socialists, anarchists, and other radicals purposely use such arguments to foment resentment, class warfare, ethnic strife, tension between the genders, and other conflicts between various people groups, because in order to restructure society to fit their ideologies, they must first break down existing societal norms.

All of that is true, and the connection between Marxism and postmodern social justice rhetoric is surely a valid and important point. But it is even more vital that we as Christians employ the light of Scripture to scrutinize and evaluate the ideas currently being promoted in the name of social justice.

THAT’S the true goal of these radicals!  They are working to “break down existing societal norms.”

Look, I’m going to share two links to a blog that I have been reading for several months.  You will be shocked by what you read in them!  However, as Christian believers in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we are CALLED to discernment regarding such attempts at breaking down existing societal norms! These posts go way beyond what media would EVER share about these two particular topics!

Absolute Truth from the Word of God JESUS HAS EVERY ANSWER: At Last the TRUTH: A Pharmacist Tells About the Horrific Side Effects of Giving Hormones to People to Make Them Transgender.

St. Sebastian’s Angels: A Network of Gay Catholic Priests.

Excerpt from Truth 2 Freedom’s post:

No Justice but God’s Justice

The Bible has much to say about justice. In the English Standard Version of the Bible, the word is used more than 130 times. It is never preceded by an adjective, except in Ezekiel 18:8, which speaks of “true justice.” It is occasionally paired with possessive pronouns. God Himself speaks of “my justice” twice in Scripture. Twice in prayers addressed to God, we read the expression “your justice.”

The point? There are not different flavors of justice. There is only true justice, defined by God Himself and always in accord with His character.

PLEASE read the rest at Truth 2 Freedom’s Blog.

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Let Us Not Provoke One Another or Envy One Another

Christians are the last people who should ever become offended, resentful, envious, or unforgiving. Love “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13:5). The mark of a Christian is turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, praying for those who mistreat us. Christ is the example whose steps we are to follow: “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Hatred, envy, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, hostility, divisiveness, bitterness, pride, selfishness, hard feelings, vindictiveness—and all similar attitudes of resentment—are the self-destructive works of the flesh. The beneficial fruit the Spirit produces are the exact opposite attitudes: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  The NIV translates 1 Corinthians 13:5 this way: “[Love] keeps no record of wrongs.”

Such qualities, frankly, are in short supply in the rhetoric of those advocating for social justice.

Doing justice (i.e., biblical justice, not the secular substitute) together with loving mercy and walking humbly with God are all essential virtues. Those are the chief practical duties incumbent on every believer (Micah 6:8). Constantly complaining that we are victims of injustice while judging other people guilty of sins we cannot even see is antithetical to the Spirit of Christ.

As Christians, let’s cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, the qualities named in the Beatitudes, the virtues outlined in 2 Peter 1:5-7, and the characteristics of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13. Any notion of moral equity that omits or minimizes those righteous qualities has no right whatsoever to be called “justice.”
— Read on www.gty.org/library/blog/B180907

 

Why “Justice” is Not the Mission of the Church (In the Most Simple Terms Possible) — Pulpit & Pen (Update 9/7/18)

September 6, 2018

Truth 2 Freedom’s blog has drawn my attention to an explanation of “why ‘justice’ is not the mission of the church,” as well as why (plus a link for it) there is a need for the “Dallas Statement on Social Justice.”

At the start, I want to write that I am NOT SAYING that there isn’t a place for social justice.  Of course there is a place for it.

Unchecked Copy BoxMic 6:8He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
The important distinction that is being pointed out through this post as well as Truth 2 Freedom’s post, and,  most importantly, by Pulpit & Pen’s Dallas Statement on Social Justice is the fact that misplaced “social justice” that is incorrectly interpreted can be used as a weapon against those who follow Biblical Christian faith.
Here is just one example of how someone’s determined view of a “social justice” can, and does, conflict with the view of mercy from a pro-life Biblical Christian’s standpoint.

[ Graphics via pinterest]

For those who may believe that abortion doesn’t have consequences for the would-be mother, read the above graphic!

Copy of post:

Is doing justice a major component of the New Testament Church? Many want to know, and the Dallas Statement on Social Justice answers the question in the negative. Others, who don’t know that conservative evangelicals (including Albert Mohler) universally condemned “Social Justice” a decade ago, are flabbergasted that anyone argues that Social Justice isn’t part and parcel of the church’s mission. For those whose sense of history began this morning, they might be startled to hear another point of view from that presented on the website of The Social Gospel Coalition.

Let me explain this in as few words as is humanly possible. Maybe, just maybe, with the multitudinous volume of words being spent on the subject the forest is getting lost for the trees. So then, maybe fewer words are better.

DEFINITIONS

Justice – “Getting what one is due, what they deserve, or that to which they are entitled.”

Mercy –  “Compassion toward one in a lesser estate, particularly done without obligation, but with empathy.”

IN THE BIBLE

Distributing justice is the role of the government, according to 1 Peter 2 and Romans 13. Spiritual Israel, the church, has neither the responsibility nor the right to dispense justice. However, individual believers may petition the government for the distribution of justice in the giving people what they deserve (whether good or bad). The church does not wield the sword of justice; the magistrate does.

Distributing mercy is the role of Christians individually and corporately (Luke 6:36, Matthew 5:7). However, mercy cannot be demanded. In fact, God Himself gives mercy selectively (Romans 9:15-16). Most mentions of mercy in the Scripture are not a command to give it, but to receive it (Hebrews 4:16).

THAT WHICH IS DESERVED IS JUSTICE

Things under the category of “justice” include punishment for the wicked (Romans 13:4), the full enforcement of all laws or ordinances passed for the governance of a people (1 Peter 2:13), fair balances and measures (Proverbs 11:1), and paying laborers their agreed-upon wage (Romans 4:4). It is the government’s job to ensure that criminals are punished, laws are enforced impartially, and contracts are upheld. It is not the job of the church to settle these matters of criminal law and governance.

THAT WHICH IS NOT DESERVED IS MERCY

Things under the category of “mercy” include caring for the widow and orphan, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for the imprisoned. There is no entitlement to kindness. These are acts of mercy and not justice. No one is entitled to food, healthcare, medicine, clothing, or shelter (that belongs to another person), unless they have earned it by previous agreement. The American government, in particular, has no obligation to provide mercy, but Christians should lead the way in the private sector to provide mercy in the name of Jesus.

THE MOST UNFORTUNATE CONFUSION

The presumption of many of the thought-leaders on the side of evangelical Social Justice is that mercy is actually justice and that people are entitled to kindness. They presume this is the case because, as Marxists or collectivists, they have a hard time telling the difference between rights, entitlements, and charity. Sadly, this confusion has soteriological ramifications. If you do not know the difference between justice and mercy, you will have a hard time understanding the concepts of grace and gratitude.

via Why “Justice” is Not the Mission of the Church (In the Most Simple Terms Possible) — Pulpit & Pen

Hat tip:  Truth 2 Freedom’s blog

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Christine’s commentary:

Back in 2008, many who label themselves as “Evangelical Christians” voted for Barack Obama.  The very first reason why I could never have voted for this man was his staunch stance on abortion for any reason.  As I did my homework, the second reason ended up being because of the 38 Reasons Why Obama Is Not a Christian; even though he claimed that he was.

Now, in 2016, a large amount of voters (not all, of course) who call themselves Evangelical Christians voted for Donald J. Trump for President. People may have wondered why then, as well as why Biblically based Christians would stand with him as President today. The vitriol and hatred against the man, against his successful administration, against those that voted for him and against those who continue to support him increases daily. Why is that?

I think that the divide between the “social justices warriors” vs. Christians who hold to the role of the church as “Mercy – “Compassion toward one in a lesser estate, particularly done without obligation, but with empathy” has warped full-on as the great divide.

The book of Jude describes such a divide in much detail.

Here are just a few pertinent verses from Jude:

Jde 1:21
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

God’s Word in Jude tells us that we are to have compassion upon those lost in sin, and “pulling them out of the fire.”

Jde 1:22
And of some have compassion, making a difference:
Jde 1:23
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

We are in such a time as this!

I also suggest reading David Guzik’s complete commentary on the book of Jude. Readers who take the time to read it will gain so much more knowledge of the truth!

Now, with all of the previous commentary and links read, I’d like to share a copy of the Statement On Social Justice found at Pulpit and Pen.org

Excerpt:

The statement’s introduction begins:

In view of questionable sociological, psychological, and political theories presently permeating our culture and making inroads into Christ’s church, we wish to clarify certain key Christian doctrines and ethical principles prescribed in God’s Word. Clarity on these issues will fortify believers and churches to withstand an onslaught of dangerous and false teachings that threaten the gospel, misrepresent Scripture, and lead people away from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Specifically, we are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice.” If the doctrines of God’s Word are not uncompromisingly reasserted and defended at these points, there is every reason to anticipate that these dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles.

We submit these affirmations and denials for public consideration, not with any pretense of ecclesiastical authority, but with an urgency that is mixed with deep joy and sincere sorrow. The rapidity with which these deadly ideas have spread from the culture at large into churches and Christian organizations—including some that are evangelical and Reformed—necessitates the issuing of this statement now…

The statement goes on to read (in part):

WE AFFIRM that the Bible is God’s Word, breathed out by him. It is inerrant, infallible, and the final authority for determining what is true (what we must believe) and what is right (how we must live). All truth claims and ethical standards must be tested by God’s final Word, which is Scripture alone.

WE DENY that Christian belief, character, or conduct can be dictated by any other authority, and we deny that the postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching. We further deny that competency to teach on any biblical issue comes from any qualification for spiritual people other than clear understanding and simple communication of what is revealed in Scripture.

WE AFFIRM that God created every person equally in his own image. As divine image-bearers, all people have inestimable value and dignity before God and deserve honor, respect and protection. Everyone has been created by God and for God.

WE DENY that God-given roles, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, sex or physical condition or any other property of a person either negates or contributes to that individual’s worth as an image-bearer of God.

SCRIPTURE: GENESIS 1:26-302:18-229:62 CORINTHIANS 5:17COLOSSIANS 1:21-22

WE AFFIRM that since he is holy, righteous, and just, God requires those who bear his image to live justly in the world. This includes showing appropriate respect to every person and giving to each one what he or she is due. We affirm that societies must establish laws to correct injustices that have been imposed through cultural prejudice.

WE DENY that true justice can be culturally defined or that standards of justice that are merely socially constructed can be imposed with the same authority as those that are derived from Scripture. We further deny that Christians can live justly in the world under any principles other than the biblical standard of righteousness. Relativism, socially-constructed standards of truth or morality, and notions of virtue and vice that are constantly in flux cannot result in authentic justice.

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This is, my dear readers, the book of Jude in action here and now – in the year of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in 2018!
David Guzik concludes in his commentary on Jude:

c. Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy: As God is faithful, we won’t have to slink shamefacedly into the presence of God. We can be presented before Him with exceeding joy.

d. Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever: This all reminds us of God’s wisdom, glory, and power. Jude isn’t trying to say that we can or should give these things to God. When we acknowledge and declare the truth about God, it glorifies Him. We aren’t giving God more majesty or power than He had before; we are just recognizing and declaring it.

i. Both now and forever: This could also be translated “unto all the ages.” This is “as complete a statement of eternity as can be made in human language.” (Robertson) Our victory, our triumph in God, is forever.

ii. There is serious deception in the world and often among those called Christians. There are enemies of the gospel who have infiltrated the church. Yet despite the greatness of the threat, God is greater still. He wins, and if we will only stay with Him, we are guaranteed victory also.

iii. Jude is a book full of warning, but it closes with supreme confidence in God. Dangerous times should make us trust in a mighty God.

Amen!

Hat tips to all links.

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Update 9/7/18

There is an additional discussion going on over at IB’s blog regarding this topic. See: Justice Is Not the Mission of the Church?

The fact that Albert Mohler was included on the “social justice proponents” list, brought some questions up at that blog. I then clicked on the link in my original post where Albert Mohler was listed as a proponent. But then, I found a Youtube video where (in 2011) Albert Mohler debated Jim Wallis. Within the comments below the video, we read:

The Henry Center for Theological Understanding, in its Trinity Debates forum, is pleased to provide a public venue for addressing this question by hosting two prominent voices from competing perspectives. Jim Wallis will answer “Yes” and R. Albert Mohler will answer “No.”

So, the question is did Albert Mohler change his position sometime after that debate? This needs to be investigated further and I invite readers to share their findings (if so led) in the comment section.

Thanks,
Christine

Too Smart — Too Sophisticated to Believe in God?

July 11, 2018

 

Graphic:  Slide Share . net

The following post over at American Thinker starts off discussing the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, and shares a pertinent Bible verse.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) Bourdain was famous, and worth $16 million.

Kate Spade’s suicide happened shortly afterwards.  What would bring millionaires like this to such despair that they would take their own lives?

We found out that Robin Williams killed himself because of a disease he had and he didn’t want to be a burden to his family.

I’m no expert on why people commit suicide, but apparently there could be many reasons why people, unfortunately, follow through on it.

But this post isn’t only about that tragic state of affairs.  The next paragraph in Mr. Marcus’ post is the main reason I wanted to share it here.

Folks, we live is such an evil time that merely suggesting that people are better off with God in their lives is venomously attacked and branded fanatical religious hate speech. But I am going to go there anyway.

Have you noticed that oftentimes, evangelical Christians are being blamed on news programs for the election of Donald J. Trump?  Never mind those 30% (a diverse crowd, by the way) who had voted for Obama in the two previous presidential elections, but decided to vote for Trump over Clinton in 2016!

Below is the rest of Mr. Marcus’ essay.   His brilliant essay included many of the thoughts and conclusions that I have come to believe regarding the hatred being spewed here in America ever since the election of 2016.

 

Mr. Bourdain, and I suspect Ms. Spade, were leftists. Typically, leftists think themselves too smart -– too sophisticated to believe in God. Remember the closed-door fundraising event at which Obama demeaned fly-over-country voters for clinging to their guns and religion?

On the Christian-hating “View” TV show, Joy Behar called Vice President Pence “mentally ill” for saying he talks to Jesus. Historian David Barton documents how America was founded upon our Founders praying and receiving guidance from God.

In 1798, founding father John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” Today, Christian politicians are branded “dangerous” by leftist-dominated mainstream media.

The Democrat party hijacked by leftists removed God from their platform. When Democrats voted God back into their platform the convention floor erupted with angry boos. Can you imagine a political party so wicked that they boo God?

Leftists laugh at Christians. Leftists erroneously believe man is the ultimate power, capable of regulating equal outcomes. They foolishly believe man can save or destroy the planet. Michael Crichton brilliantly articulates leftist folly in his novel Jurassic Park. Believing themselves to be wiser than God, leftists always fight to change God’s original intent regarding biology, marriage, and gender.

This scripture nails the leftist mindset. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22) Folks, we witness their foolishness every day. They say that if a man awakes feeling like a woman that day, he should be legally permitted to use public women restrooms. They say that teachers addressing students as boys and girls is hateful and exclusive and must not be tolerated. They say four-year-olds must be introduced to homosexuality and taught “gay love is beautiful”.

For eight years Obama forced anti-God extreme liberal foolishness down the throats of mainstream commonsense thinking Americans. Thank God Trump is rolling back Obama’s war on Christianity, restoring our constitutional religious liberty.

Obama was the left’s dream president. He aggressively stripped the God of Christianity from our government. Obama chastised Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast. He relentlessly tried to bully the one-hundred-year-old Little Sisters of the Poor into funding abortion services, an anathema against their religious convictions. Obama enthusiastically honored homosexuals, Black Lives Matter, and Muslims with celebrations at the White House while turning away the National Day of Prayer. Obama was the most biblically-hostile president in U.S. history.

Disney’s movie, A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey struggled at the box office. Perhaps the reason is leftist producers stripped Bible quotes, a reference to Jesus and historical Christian figures from the movie adaptation of the beloved children’s book.

While threatening to jail anyone disrespectful of Islam, leftists boldly display disdain for Christianity. They hate Jesus for saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

How dare Jesus declare himself the only way to heaven. Liberal media goddess Oprah has decreed that Jesus is not the only way to God. Oprah foolishly professes herself to be wise, too enlightened to believe Jesus Christ is the only path to God.

The gangster movie Scarface has a strong biblical message. Drug lord Tony Montana had everything he thought would bring him happiness; power, a mountain of cocaine, extreme wealth, and beautiful women at his command. And yet, Tony was miserable. All Tony’s stuff could not fill that spiritual void inside which produces peace, happiness, and a fulfilled life.

Sadly, Mr. Bourdain’s and Ms. Spade’s extreme wealth, power, and fame failed to produce inner peace and happiness. Both are unfortunate casualties of leftist mindsets, too smart and too sophisticated to humbly trust in the God of Christianity.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American

Hat tip: The American Thinker: Bourdain: Casualty of Leftist Mindset

Hat tip also to: Truth 2 Freedom’s blog where I first found the link to the article.

*******

Personal story.

A few days ago, I got into a conversation with someone with whom I have known for a long time.  She appeared to be conservative, and has claimed that she is a Christian.  Some tough situations within her family life had caused great pain and sorrow.  During our subsequent discussions, she rarely mentioned anything about her faith anymore.

I have been trying to avoid getting into left vs. right arguments with people who dislike President Trump.  However, in this case I realized that this particular woman did not know basic facts about the last election or the vitriol that followed and has been ratcheted up over the last 20 months.

She objected to Trump winning, despite the popular vote that Hillary ended up with on election day.  I explained to her why the Founders decided to utilize the Electoral College method when electing the president.  She truly did not understand it until I had explained it.

During our conversation, she indicated that she personally dislikes Trump.  I agreed that he isn’t the typical, smooth politician and that he has said some regrettable things.  However, despite his personal failings,  I shared several of the many accomplishments of his administration and she agreed that he is doing a good job of turning this nation around.

I mention this because of the above article written by Lloyd Marcus.  People, Mr. Marcus completely NAILED IT in regards to the void of proper discussions going on today.  Instead, it’s only hatred, meanness, derision, mocking, threatening, and dangerous vitriol that is constantly being spewed by radical leftists.  Many, apparently, cannot even fathom having a decent conversation with those on the right or those who support President Trump.

Obama was their “prized” president.  He espoused most of everything on the leftist side of the political spectrum that they believe in.  But, even when he didn’t like some of the policies that came about, they forgave him (or ignored the issue) because of their love and agreement of this man’s political ideology.  They had the mentality that Obama “could do nothing wrong” and the media of mass deception kept that image alive by oftentimes not reporting the truth.

Now, because President Trump is mostly the complete opposite of Obama, the leftists have, and continue to be, losing their collective minds.  The media and celebrity negative rancor dominates 95% of the news broadcasts; oftentimes completely ignoring all of the great accomplishments that President Trump has done for our nation, economy, and people.

It’s truly sad that so many people do not allow those with opposing views a voice on news programs.  They ignore the other side in their conversations.  More distressing, is that when they report, they can’t seem to do it without being hostile, nasty or even downright hate-filled and dangerous!

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.

Spiritual Laws

August 8, 2017

But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” – 1 Samuel 15:26

England’s Sir Isaac Newton was the most brilliant mathematician and physicist of his day.  His Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, published in 1687, gave expression to immutable laws of force in the universe–like the law of equal and opposite reaction.  Put in a spiritual way, actions have consequences–we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

All of our actions in life move us in one of two directions:  toward God or away from God.  Our actions either result in God’s blessing or God’s discipline.  While there are many examples of this in Scripture, Israel’s King Saul is a good illustration.  As Israel’s first king, he was given an assignment by God to subdue the neighboring Amalekites.  Because he didn’t obey God’s directive completely, he was removed from being king.  Saul thought God’s judgment was an overreaction; Samuel stressed that it was a matter of obedience.  Only obedience leads to His blessing.

Think about the actions of your life today and the spiritual laws at work.  Choose actions that will move you closer to God and His blessing.

[God] doesn’t demand our achievements; He demands our obedience.  – Charles Colson

Hat tip:  Turning Point Devotional Magazine, Monday August 7

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 Lies and Viciousness of Leftists

June 13, 2017

A day ago, Ivanka Trump appeared on Fox and Friends and lamented the viciousness and ferocity being spewed against her father and family. She is absolutely correct! There is no doubt about it that the lies and viciousness of the attacks by the leftist Democrats is truly disgusting! Readers who have been paying attention know about all of the more recent attacks.

  1.  Kathy Griffin decapitated head of Trump photo session (sick and evil, to say the least!)
  2.  The fact that she was quoted in an article that she intends to “get  to Trump by “going after 11-year-old Barron” is unconscionable!
  3.   The play where Trump is mimicked in an assassination attempt.
  4.    The 7 month old LIE where the media of mass deception attempted to accuse Trump of collusion with the Russians; and there is much more that I could list.

In another disgusting display of hatred, viciousness, and vitriol, crazy Bernie Sanders went ballistic against Russell Vought in a hearing for his confirmation as President Trump’s pick for deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget.

The following is a copy of a post at FRC.org

June 12, 2017

What does a man’s theology have to do with the U.S. economy? A lot, if you’re Russell Vought. The respected economist, President Trump’s pick for deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget, thought he’d have to answer some tough questions at his Senate hearing last week. But like most of us, he thought they’d be about finances — not faith.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) flipped that script, launching into an aggressive and bizarre attack on Vought’s Christianity (which Sanders called “hateful,” “indefensible,” and “insult[ing]”). Shouting until he was red in the face (see the video below), he accused the president’s nominee of being an Islamaphobe for believing what the Bible says about salvation. In a tantrum that made the James Comey hearing seem tame, Sanders managed to expose one thing: which one of them is truly intolerant. To Sanders’s crazy, Vought was the picture of poise, calmly explaining that he believes every person is made in the image of God, but that Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation and path to heaven.

It was an eye-opening display for most people, who may not have realized the level of contempt many liberals hold toward the majority religion in America. Just think: this is a senator who almost won the Democratic Party’s nomination for president — a man who thinks there’s no room in the public square for people who believe the Bible! I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that the same party who wanted God out of their platform also wants Him out of public service. As far as the Left is concerned, Christians in government have four options: they can hide their faith, deny it, recant it, or work elsewhere. Ironically, that makes most liberals guilty of the same prejudice they’re trying to pin on men and women of faith!

As Emma Green wrote for the Atlantic, “It’s one thing to take issue with bigotry. It’s another to try to exclude people from office based on their theological convictions. Sanders used the term ‘Islamophobia’ to suggest that Vought fears Muslims for who they are. But in his writing, Vought was contesting something different: He disagrees with what Muslims believe, and does not think their faith is satisfactory for salvation. Right or wrong, this is a conviction held by millions of Americans — and many Muslims might say the same thing about Christianity.”

Unfortunately, liberals like Sanders have no problem hauling someone’s personal views into the limelight and judging them on those beliefs — whether they impact a person’s public policies or not! Sanders’s Oklahoma colleague, Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) could hardly believe his ears.

“Bernie Sanders questioned an OMB nominee this week about religion in a way that is dangerously close to crossing a clear constitutional line for how we evaluate qualifications for public service. Article VI of the US Constitution clearly states, ‘no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.’ The First Amendment is crystal clear that the federal government must protect every American’s right to the peaceful and free exercise of religion. We cannot say we have the free exercise of religion and also require people to practice their faith only in a way that government officials prefer… The freedom to be Christian, Yezidi, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or another religion, or practice no religion, is an American right, and the United States Senate must not waver in our protection of that diversity and freedom. If we waver on the First Amendment, all of our constitutional rights, like free speech, freedom of assembly, and many others, become at risk.”

The Framers saw the possibility for the kind of conflict Bernie Sanders ignited and did everything they could to stop it. As James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, observed, “a zeal for different opinions concerning religion” has throughout history “inflamed [men] with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other, than to co-operate for their common good.” To stop those divisions, the Framers made it clear in the U.S. Constitution that there was to be no “religious test” and deferred to the states (many of which had state religions at the time) if they wanted to demand orthodoxy as a condition of public service.

What Bernie Sanders is doing is imposing his own test, a reverse religious test — that people have no religious convictions. But that was never what the Founders intended. It was John Adams, after all, who said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” If anyone’s on the wrong side of that equation, it’s Bernie Sanders — not the millions of Christians whose faith this nation was founded on. Join the 46,669 other Americans who are demanding an apology from Sanders for his bigotry. Sign our petition here and ask his colleagues to pledge that they won’t oppose nominees on the basis of their religious views. /end of transcript

*******

Even if crazy Bernie manages to “apologize,” it would most likely be out of obligation rather than sincerity of heart.  This man’s atheistic communist ideology is nothing new.  However, it is amazing to me that so many young people followed him during the Dem primary, attended his rallies, and likely voted for him in the Democratic primary.  Perhaps the man didn’t reveal this vicious side of himself?  Maybe the young followers did not know the history of his type of belief system because they weren’t taught about it in either high school or college?  So many were fooled by this awful man!

Sander’s hatred of Christianity and Christian believers who actually read the Bible and follow the true Gospel of Christ was foretold 2,000 years ago by Christ Himself.

Jhn 15:18

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

Jhn 15:19

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Sanders is an example of someone who is “of this world.”

Jesus continues:

Jhn 15:20

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Jhn 15:21

“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

Jhn 15:22

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

Mr. Russell Vought was being persecuted for his faith.  Jesus told us to expect this.  However, people like Sanders have “no excuse for their sin.”

Jesus continues:

Jhn 15:23

“He who hates Me hates My Father also.

Jhn 15:24

“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.

Jhn 15:25

“But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’[fn]

Jesus’ words here were indicative during the time and events when they were spoken.  However, since the Bible is a miraculous book, we know that such truth was also spoken for all the ages to come.

I used to think that Bernie was treated unfairly by the Dems.  The super delegate methods imposed in order to get HiLIARy the nomination was a nefarious political move to push him out of the contest.  After hearing the truth about Bernie’s horrible views of Christianity, I feel that America had dodged a second  political “bullet” of disaster.  He might have been even worse than HiLIARy – if such a notion is even possible!

Be prepared.  The ongoing far-leftist Dem vitriol will most likely continue throughout Trump’s presidency.

I will continue to rely on my Savior, Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit is here to guide me unto all truth, and I can rely on Him no matter what comes my way.

Jhn 15:26

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Jhn 15:27

“And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

My recommendation?

Romans 8 is a great portion of Scripture to refer to any day, but especially in this day and age!

The vicious vitriol we face here in America pales in comparison to what Christians are facing in other countries that are battling ISIS.

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.

Even in death, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ!

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 tips to all  links.

Quote:

“When someone is vicious like that towards a person, it is often the result of a deep spiritual problem.” – Charlie Watson Jr.

Col 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Col 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Col 3:17

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

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.

Why Does God Require Faith to Please Him?

September 1, 2016

Have you ever contemplated why God requires faith to please Him?  We know from Hebrews 11:6 that it is not only a requirement, but that not having faith in Him makes it impossible to please 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.

That verse explains that God is also “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In Dr. David Jeremiah’s current series, “Ten Questions Christians Are Asking,” this past Sunday’s broadcast on faith was one of the best!

Readers can view it at this link:

David Jeremiah.org: What Is Faith?

When I come across skeptics, (seekers and/or outright deniers of Jesus Christ included) they often cite humanistic reasons for not being able to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They use the same humanistic “wisdom” (minus the Wisdom of God in the Scriptures) to claim that any and all of their “reasons” for unbelief are valid. For them, the following verse either offers confusion or an excuse for their unbelief:

Heb 11:1

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

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains:

1. It is the substance of things hoped for. Faith and hope go together; and the same things that are the object of our hope are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation that God will perform all that he has promised to us in Christ; and this persuasion is so strong that it gives the soul a kind of possession and present fruition of those things, gives them a subsistence in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them: so that believers in the exercise of faith are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ dwells in the soul by faith, and the soul is filled with the fullness of God, as far as his present measure will admit; he experiences a substantial reality in the objects of faith.

  • 2. It is the evidence of things not seen. Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true. It is a full approbation of all that God has revealed as holy, just, and good; it helps the soul to make application of all to itself with suitable affections and endeavours; and so it is designed to serve the believer instead of sight, and to be to the soul all that the senses are to the body. That faith is but opinion or fancy which does not realize invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.

 

Christians would inevitably nod their heads in agreement with what Henry wrote in his commentary.  On the other hand, it is likely that nonbelievers might have the tendency to deem what he has written as “opinion or fancy.”

Why? 

Because he or she cannot (or refuses to learn) “the invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.”

Rejection of the Gospel truth in the Bible is often likely because of ignorance about the Scriptures and the Person in whom the Scriptures point to as Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ.  But what about those who claim to have studied Scripture and yet do not believe?  Henry explained quite well why they might reach such a conclusion.

Another way of putting it is the fact that no Christian can MAKE someone believe in Jesus Christ.  All we are to do is to point the way towards the truth of the Gospel.  The knocking on the door of the heart of the hearer of the gospel message is done by the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Jesus Christ to indwell believers.

Heb 11:2

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Henry writes:

II. An account of the honour it reflects upon all those who have lived in the exercise of it (v. 2): By it the elders obtained a good report-the ancient believers, who lived in the first ages of the world. Observe,

  • 1. True faith is an old grace, and has the best plea to antiquity: it is not a new invention, a modern fancy; it is a grace that has been planted in the soul of man ever since the covenant of grace was published in the world; and it has been practiced from the beginning of the revelation; the eldest and best men that ever were in the world were believers.

  • 2. Their faith was their honour; it reflected honour upon them. They were an honour to their faith, and their faith was an honour to them. It put them upon doing the things that were of good report, and God has taken care that a record shall be kept and report made of the excellent things they did in the strength of this grace. The genuine actings of faith will bear to be reported, deserve to be reported, and will, when reported, redound to the honour of true believers.

Notice how Henry includes the word “true” when he describes believers.  This brings to mind the need to avoid those who have fallen into, ( and in today’s era, unfortunately preach),  the heretic and apostate beliefs as described in this Syncretism Stew post.

The book of Jude provides the warnings and signs about those who have “crept in unnoticed” and, “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[fn] (1:4)

NU-Text omits God.

 

Heb 11:3

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Henry writes:

III. We have here one of the first acts and articles of faith, which has a great influence on all the rest, and which is common to all believers in every age and part of the world, namely, the creation of the worlds by the word of God, not out of pre-existent matter, but out of nothing, v. 3. The grace of faith has a retrospect as well as prospect; it looks not only forward to the end of the world, but back to the beginning of the world. By faith we understand much more of the formation of the world than ever could be understood by the naked eye of natural reason. Faith is not a force upon the understanding, but a friend and a help to it. Now what does faith give us to understand concerning the worlds, that is, the upper, middle, and lower regions of the universe?

  • 1. That these worlds were not eternal, nor did they produce themselves, but they were made by another.

  • 2. That the maker of the worlds is God; he is the maker of all things; and whoever is so must be God.

  • 3. That he made the world with great exactness; it was a framed work, in every thing duly adapted and disposed to answer its end, and to express the perfections of the Creator.

  • 4. That God made the world by his word, that is, by his essential wisdom and eternal Son, and by his active will, saying, Let it be done, and it was done, Ps. 33:9.

  • 5. That the world was thus framed out of nothing, out of no pre-existent matter, contrary to the received maxim, that “out of nothing,  nothing can be made,’ which, though true of created power, can have no place with God, who can call things that are not as if they were, and command them into being. These things we understand by faith. The Bible gives us the truest and most exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest or run down the scripture-account of the creation, because it does not suit with some fantastic hypotheses of our own, which has been in some learned but conceited men the first remarkable step towards infidelity, and has led them into many more.

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