Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

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

Five Remarkable Things About the Ben Shapiro and John MacArthur Interview – Pulpit and Pen

December 3, 2018

The following discussion between John MacArthur and Ben Shapiro has to be one of the most important and wonderful, biblically-based discussions that I have ever heard in my life!

Take the time to view it!  You will not be disappointed!

Published on Dec 2, 2018

Pastor John MacArthur joins Ben to discuss the intersection of the Bible and politics, the proper role of government, and the similarities and differences between Judaism and Christianity.

Hat tip via: Truth 2 Freedom’s blog (where I discovered the interview).

Also read more at Pulpit and Pen: 5 Remarkable Things About the Ben Shapiro and John MacArthur Interview.

Excerpt:

5. MacArthur gave the clearest presentation of the Gospel imaginable to one of the largest broadcast audiences imaginable.

As Shapiro regularly says, “The Ben Shapiro Show is the largest and fastest-growing conservative podcast in America.” Fans of MacArthur already view him as a giant. Who doesn’t know John MacArthur, after all? He’s epic. He’s a legend in his own time. He’s Johnny Mac, JMAC, J MAC DADDY, the Fourteenth Apostle, the Sultan of Soteriology, the…okay, the last few I just made up. The point is, MacArthur is yuuuge.

But then we must stop to consider that the conservative evangelical world is really small. Mainstream evangelical figures like Greg Laurie, Ravi Zacharias, and Rick Warren (none of whom will be known one-hundred years from now; but future generations will know John MacArthur) no doubt have a bigger media footprint than MacArthur. By this, I mean by virtue of their self-promotion, publicity and appearances. Over the course of a lifetime, MacArthur still puts these men to shame, but my point is that the “typical” American either has a copy of The Purpose Driven Life or seen it on the shelf at Walmart. That’s not necessarily the case with MacArthur’s latest books.

But truth-be-told, MacArthur is not a household name among your typical Trumpkins, your average politicos, your regular owners of the Leftist Tears Tumbler. It is absolutely awesome that MacArthur got on the program to discuss the substance of the Gospel.

4. Shapiro knew exactly where to go to have an intelligent conversation about spiritual things.

This is as commendable to Shapiro as it is MacArthur. While Steven Furtick titled his book, Unqualified, as a “dig” toward John MacArthur, let’s face it… Nobody is going to call up Steven Furtick to have a serious conversation about Christianity and Judaism. Shapiro is known for his intellectualism, and there’s a reason he didn’t turn to any number of fancy-pants, skinny-jeans, steroid-ripped hipster pastors out there to discuss the issue. Could you imagine Shapiro trying to have a conversation on the Bible with Carl Lentz? That’s hilarious (I am actually laughing so hard right now, just thinking about Shapiro trying to have an intelligent conservation with Carl Lentz, I had to pause typing for about 5 minutes). I mean, to think of Shapiro trying to sit across from Andy “Unhitch the Old Testament from Christian Faith” Stanley like some kind of intellectual equal or cognitive peer is (hold on, laughter break…). Okay, I’m back.The thought of Shapiro even attempting a rational discourse with someone from the Passion Conference is hilarious.

No, when Shapiro and his staffers wanted to have an interesting, compelling conversation about faith and the Bible they knew where to go. It was straight to our elder statesman, who is considered far too serious-minded by the latte mafia, but who fit well with Shapiro’s giant brain.

Furthermore, could you imagine Ben Shapiro trying to have a conversation about such things with Tim Keller? Keller would be like nailing Jello to the wall on any given subject, speak in riddles, say some nonsensical rubbish that sounds like one of Jack Handy’s Deep Thoughts but without the humor and Shapiro would just shout, “Cut!” and walk off the stage disgusted.

No, JMAC was the man for this.

3. MacArthur shared the Gospel for a really long time, while Shapiro was mostly silent.

Yeah. Shapiro, silent. Who knew that was possible? I presume the reason for that is that MacArthur carries himself with gravitas. I mean, if John MacArthur is talking, why would anybody talk over him? That would seem dumb, and Shapiro’s not dumb.

Also, it’s likely that Shapiro was just trying to be a good podcast host. But my hope is that Shapiro found MacArthur’s commentary to be compelling, meaningful and thoughtful. I don’t just hope Shapiro was silent. I hope Shapiro was listening. May God give him ears to hear.

2. MacArthur clearly articulated the difference between Judaism and Christianity.

I didn’t really have “fear,” so to speak, but my first trepidation about MacArthur going on Shapiro’s program was that MacArthur wouldn’t spend time clarifying to Shapiro that Jews need Jesus too, or (more likely) it would be edited out of the final production. Instead, MacArthur spoke extensively about Shapiro’s (and everybody else’s) need for Jesus. MacArthur made some of the same points from the Old Testament that I’ve made in my one-sided fantasy conversations with Shapiro.

Furthermore, there wasn’t a hint of hesitation in MacArthur’s voice to confront Shapiro or the listening/viewing audience with their sin. There was absolutely no wishy-washiness with MacArthur whatsoever. And that, frankly, shouldn’t surprise any of us.

My favorite line of the night, by the way, was from MacArthur: “It’s my goal to offend everybody.” Classic. And you could hear Shapiro chuckling at that in the background. Double classic.

1. MacArthur kept pushing back to the Gospel.

I think virtually all of us thought that MacArthur would speak more about Social Justice and political conservatism. Shapiro certainly tried to steer it there. But every time the conversation drifted away from the Gospel, MacArthur would politely lend his opinion on the subject (from ungodly political leaders to the Enlightenment) and then **BAM** back to the Gospel again. Gospel. Gospel. Gospel.

MacArthur was absolutely relentless in turning it back to the Good News. And man, that’s why we love him.

Finally, what stood out to me is that Shapiro expressed genuine surprise and was impressed that so many people (ostensibly, his staffers) were waiting outside to meet him and shake his hand. Really? These are politicos. Here’s John MacArthur who wrote, Politics Can’t Save You, and has never been overtly political. And yet, these mostly young people had so much respect they wanted to shake his hand and meet him, even though they regularly see political celebrities come through those doors.

It kind of makes you wonder how much influence a pastor-preacher can have politically just by sticking to the Bible.

Amidst A Hostile World

November 9, 2018

While scanning my reader feed this morning, the phrase “amidst a hostile world” jumped out at me.  It was mentioned in a post regarding the political, social, and even religious climate here in the United States.  There is no doubt about that fact.  There seems to be no end to the hostilities.

But before I get to that post, I wanted to share a text conversation with my daughter that includes sadness about one of the prevailing social ills that plagues us more and more as the years go on.

She wrote:

“I’m so sad today over this news (the killings at the CA country music club).  I’m so scared for my babies to grow up in this world.  It’s just so horrible.  You aren’t safe anywhere.”

My response:

I know, honey.  I’m sad too and I worry about our family – especially the children.

You are a wonderful mom!  You keep Lucy close and safe.  You never take chances and I’m so glad you are smart about that.  You all are always in my prayers for protection.

It’s especially unnerving because it happened so close to your home.

She wrote:

Thank you mama.  Being a mom is so wonderful but it also fills you with worry.  You just want to protect your little ones!  Thinking of all the moms who lost their college-aged children.  I can’t even imagine how they feel.

You’re right it is especially unnerving because it’s so close.  Tyler said he grew up going there all the time.

My response:

I know that kind of worry so well.  When you went off to college, it was really tough.  But I didn’t want to hover over you so you could grow.

So sorry to hear that Tyler knew the place and went there years ago.  Terribly sad!

I think there are too many people (ex military too) with mental disorders not getting treatment and help.

Too much killing and violence is glorified on TV, in movies, video games etc.

Personal relationships suffer because of devices and social media being substituted for genuine interaction.

Too much hate is being spewed at people who disagree politically and/or otherwise.

In my early years, there weren’t so many fears as today.  But I’ll never forget when it started – it was when President Kennedy was killed (I was 9 yrs. old), then Martin Luther King Jr., then Bobby Kennedy.  America went downhill from there, IMHO.

She wrote:

You’re so right!  It just continues to get worse.  I think it’s gotten much worse since I was a kid.  I remember Columbine but don’t remember any other school shootings when I was a child.  And then it seems like after 9/11 we just have tragedy after tragedy.  The last 5-7 years have been insane.  So much violence and hatred.  Everyone just needs love.  Love is the answer!  Love and God!

My response:

You’re attitude is wonderful!  God is love so keep believing and sharing your love.

It’s tough when we only see the here and now.  But in eternity, all will be made right and understood.  (Hope I’m not too preachy today.)

Here’s a quote I recently read:

“I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

She wrote:

That’s one of my favorite quotes!

My response:

You gave me an instant smile!

She wrote:

Love you mama.

There is a bit more to add to that conversation, but I’m waiting until a proper time to share it.

*******

Lately, the political divide has been ratcheted up between the differing beliefs (mostly political) of leftist Christians vs. Christians on the right.

Here’s a good (but sad) example:

Religious Left Thinkers: “No Middle Ground” with Nationalists

I suggest reading it all.  These excerpts do give us an idea of why the “religious left thinkers”  think the way they do.

Snyder and Burton condemned a form of nationalism that Snyder in his book labeled “Christian Fascism.” Advocates claim their nation is part of Christendom, and then assert, “We just are a Christian country no matter what we do,” said Snyder. He said this ideology is used to justify attitudes and actions that are anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican, and anti-immigrant. Snyder warned that these ideas have become ascendant in Russia, Poland, and Hungary, but now, “there’s an awful lot of that going on in the U.S.”

While Snyder and Burton never precisely identified the agents of Christian Fascism in America, they referred to them variously as the Christian right, Christian nationalists, white nationalists, people who listen to Fox News, and “people like Mr. Trump.” They spent less time discussing the opponents of this group, but usually referred to them with the labels “we” and “us.”

So, those of us who believe in protecting our borders from illegal immigration should be accused as being “anti – (fill in the blank)”?

So, born-again Christians are now being re-labeled as “Christian Fascists?”

I think that what the “religious left thinkers” are missing are some very important facts!  The term “evangelicals” can (and does) include a myriad of people who profess to be Christians.  Some have very different political views.  Sadly, not all of them may hold to the truths of the Bible; especially those truths that have been taught to us by Jesus in God’s Word.

[For a good example, please read Evangelicals Earn “F” on Beliefs about the Trinity]

Excerpt:
In Hebrews 4:14 and 10:23, Christians are exhorted to “hold fast our confession” amidst a hostile world. Evangelicals across the U.S. need to engage more deeply with the theological truths of Christianity, so we will recognize false doctrines when they come.

The book of Jude warns us that the closer we get to the end times, the more that all different types of people will “have crept in unnoticed” in order to “turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Christianity Today shares even more from the survey. I appreciate this conclusion:

Snyder blamed the overall lack of orthodoxy on the fact that “most evangelicals churches have largely abandoned catechesis (or a functional equivalent). … Theologically informed discipleship is mostly absent from churches.”

“The survey underscores our desperate need for sound doctrinal teaching in the local church,” agreed Jones. “I fear that we’re spending too much time in cults of personality around charismatic superstar pastors, who often focus more on their personal theological idiosyncrasies and pet ideas than on basic Christian orthodoxy.”

She found the results of the survey to be a call to action: “People are hungry for orthodoxy. Church leaders need to feed them.”

I would add that the importance of studying the Bible will help Christians to discern truth from error.

Hat tips to all links.

The Belt of Truth

October 4, 2018

Isn’t it good to know that we’re not left defenseless in the arena of spiritual warfare? God has given us a full suit of armor!

Dr. David Jeremiah teaches about the first piece of that armor, which is designed to help us press forward into battle with the enemy.

In order to be armed with the truth, we must know the truth—the whole comprehensive counsel of God.

God has put everything He wants us to know between the covers of the Bible—everything He wants us to know about Himself, about His Son, about eternity, and about life. And when we study God’s Word, carefully analyze and apply its truth, we end up with power in our lives.

Now, you might never memorize the whole Bible, but make it a priority to know your Bible well enough to know that there are certain places in Scripture where you are going to find answers. The more truth we know, the better equipped we are to go into battle and be victorious. And when you take God’s truth to yourself, then you can embody that truth in your life, and God will begin to show you how you can be victorious on the battlefield.

One of the highlights of the message is when Dr. Jeremiah shares an analogy regarding truth. It’s the story of the three baseball umpires.

One umpire states, “There are balls and there are strikes, and I call them as they are.”

The second umpire states, “That’s arrogant! There are balls and there are strikes, and I call them the way I see them.”

The third umpire states, “That’s no better, why beat around the bush? Why not be realistic about what we do. There are balls and there are strikes and it ain’t nothin’ until I call ’em.”

The first umpire represents the traditional view of truth. Objective, independent of the mind of the knower; it’s there to be discovered.

The second umpire speaks for modern relativism. Truth as he or she sees it; according to each person’s perspective or interpretation.

The third umpire bluntly expresses the post-modern position that truth is there to be discovered? No. It is for each of us to create our own truth and to speak our own truth into the situation. They ain’t nothin’ unless I call ’em balls or strikes.

Dr. Jeremiah explains:

But as Christians, we cannot borrow from the philosophy of this world. As Christians, we must be set on the objective truth of God’s Word. Truth isn’t about our objectives or our perceptions. It’s always about reality.

A majority of us could agree that we would like gravity to be suspended tomorrow, but our vote would have no impact upon reality. Americans embrace Democratic rule which gives us a voice to declare what is truth. But the universe isn’t a democracy, and truth isn’t a ballot measure.

You and I can discover truth, but we cannot create it. What’s true is true, and what’s not is not – for all of us, all the time. Our culture sees truth as something inside of us, subjected to revision according to our growth and enlightenment. But Scripture views truth as something outside of us; which we can believe or not believe. But it is still the truth no matter what we do to it.

People say, “well, I don’t believe this.” And I get the impression that because they don’t believe it that it seems no longer to be true. Well let me tell you something – truth is truth whether you believe it or not! Truth is not touched by your emotions, your opinion, or by your perception. And that is what’s being lost in our culture today. Today, there is no absolute truth anymore. Today, your truth may be different from my truth, but it doesn’t really matter. Isn’t all truth …just a “kind” of truth? No it’s not!

In a world so confused about truth, many people say, “if you are Christians and you think that you know the truth, then isn’t that arrogant on your part? But it’s not arrogant to believe what the Bible teaches! In fact, it’s the opposite. Arrogance is when we try to tailor truth to our preferences.

Dr. Jeremiah tells the story about when a lady approached him one time and said that “her” God would never send anyone to hell. Dr. Jeremiah replied, “you are absolutely right – because your god doesn’t exist!” That god doesn’t exist because you don’t get to create the kind of god that you want and what you want Him to do.

If you found the God of the Bible and how He created, why do you want to spend all of your waking hours trying to discover truth that you already know? If you don’t believe that truth is in the Bible, then search on, my friend!

But if you are a Christian and you believe that God has spoken, and it is true, then why spend all this time trying to find “truth” that isn’t going to be true when you find it?

The Word of God is true. And satan is busy trying to deceive. He continually tries to throw things at us that aren’t true.

When you know Jesus and God’s Word, you can discern truth from error!

Amen!!!

How Biblically Illiterate America is Being Deceived

September 24, 2018

Back in September of 2016, someone recommended that I should read a book entitled, “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle.  In a previous post, I asked the question what do you think about Eckhart Tolle?   One of Talk Wisdom’s long time readers wrote that the book helped her and in her opinion, perhaps I was being too judgmental against the young man who had encouraged me to read it.

She wrote:

I decided to comment because I have read the power of now and I love it! I think it is a beautiful ode to Jesus’ teachings. I did not get anything but messages of love from it and I too felt compelled to share it as I share bible verses. I guess your post made me feel bad about that, as if I was somehow not as good of a Christian when this book has brought me nothing but joy and strength in my Christianity.

Of course, it isn’t my intention to harm anyone’s “joy and strength in [their] Christianity.”  However, we are warned in the book of Jude* that there will be “certain men [who] have crept in unnoticed” who are “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Readers can to go that previous link (above) to read the rest of the conversation.

Today, I read a very comprehensive post about Tolle and his book at CIC Ministry.org.

I need to acknowledge Truth 2 Freedom’s blog for sharing an excerpt from that commentary which led me to the CIC Ministry website.

First, I want to say that I understand that many people are on their own life’s journey and along the way, they may find themselves taking a “detour” while searching for truth.  Been there, done that!  I was raised in the Catholic church, and when I read and studied the Bible, the encounter of Nicodemus and Jesus Christ led me towards the need to be born again.

[Please see John 3 and this excellent commentary.]

When individuals find something that works for them (in the here and now) as did Tolle’s book for both the young man in my previous post and commenter Jennifer, my goal is not to disparage them in any way. My goal is to hopefully steer them toward God’s truth – which is found only in the Bible.

Here is an excerpt from the CIC Ministry essay:

The “Pain-body” and Interconnectedness

 

A common theme in neo-paganism is the transpersonal soul and interconnectedness of all things.6 Tolle’s pantheism has the same theme. In his case he posits the existence of a “pain-body” which is something like karma. He says:

 

Strictly speaking, you don’t think: Thinking happens to you . . . The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past, you are forced to reenact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is karma. (Tolle: 129)

Tolle explains that we have been “mind-possessed” and a false self (ego) has developed that is identified with the mind and thinking (which is a bad thing). The emotions are also a dimension of the ego and they are problematic as well. Then there is the “pain-body” that connects us to all the negative vibrations of the human race. Our problems are not just ours, but those of the unconscious human race who went before us. Tolle describes the “pain-body” in its individual manifestation:

 

The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and then let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body. It consists not just of childhood pain, but also painful emotions that were added to it later in adolescence and during your adult life, much of it created by the voice of the ego [i.e. thinking]. It is the emotional pain that is your unavoidable companion when a false sense of self is the basis of your life. (Tolle: 142)

Keep in mind that the “false sense of self” is the belief that we have a unique, independent existence, that our personal identities are meaningful, and that our unique identities can be defined objectively. The true self is consciousness of Presence, I Am, Now, and other ways of describing deity. It appears to me that Tolle’s pain-body idea is a replacement for the biblical idea of sin. Our problem is not that we have rebelled against the unique creator God who has given us His moral law, but that we have allowed our thoughts, emotions, and addiction to forms to define us and keep us from becoming conscious (i.e., aware of our deity).

In this scheme of things, there is also interconnectivity or collective karma:

 

The pain-body, however, is not just individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans throughout the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence. This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis. (Tolle: 142, 143)

So this “pain-body” is a huge problem, endemic to the human race, and the cause of the many problems we encounter. The solution for Tolle, of course, is to realize that it is illusion, escape from thought that attaches us to ego, and awaken to our real identity as I Am.

Christ has a role in helping us with this problem of pain-body suffering:

 

Why is the suffering body of Christ, his face distorted in agony and his body bleeding from countless wounds, such a significant image in the collective consciousness of humanity? Millions of people, particularly in medieval times, would not have related to it as deeply as they did if something within themselves had not resonated with it, if they had not unconsciously recognized it as an outer representation of their own inner reality—the pain-body. . . . Christ can be seen as the archetypal human, embodying both the pain and the possibility of transcendence. (Tolle: 144)

Tolle introduces the idea of Christ, and cites Jesus often as a teacher of the new consciousness. But he makes no effort to actually understand what the Bible tells us about the person and work of Christ. Christ came to die for sins, not to embody pain and possible transcendence. God’s wrath is directed against sin. That wrath is satisfied for believers by the once-for-all shed blood that Christ offered. The new consciousness “Christ” that Tolle describes is not the Christ of the Bible. We do not need to merely identify with Christ as the one suffering pain, but to repent and believe the gospel. But that idea will not be presented by Oprah through her huge media network. Instead, Tolle and his ilk get massive promotion. People are attracted to such a “Christ,” but this attraction does them no good; rather it leads them to further deception.

Take note that the ideas presented by Tolle are offered as the wisdom of the spiritual masters that he has gleaned, modified, and presented as the means of obtaining the “new earth.” He sees no need to present evidence or proof that the universe is as he says it is. It would be counterproductive, in his way of thinking, to do so. Why? Because evidence causes our minds to spring into action and analyze things, and thoughts are the problem—the awakened consciousness is the solution.

Thus we see odd claims tossed our way with no evidence reinforce them. Consider these statements:

 

Thoughts consist of the same energy vibrating at a higher frequency than matter, which is why they cannot be seen or touched. Thoughts have their own range of frequencies, with negative thoughts at the lower end of the scale and positive thoughts at the higher. The vibrational frequency of the pain-body resonates with that of negative thoughts. (Tolle: 147)Thus our collective pain-body is attracted to negative thoughts, which causes addiction to unhappiness. Here is why: “This is because the pain-body at that time [when you have negative thoughts] is living through you, pretending to be you. And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure” (Tolle: 147).

I think this sort of idea is what attracts many people to the Oprah/Tolle understanding of spirituality. If the negative thoughts their listeners and readers wish to be rid of are merely a pain-body (that is, not them) resonating at a lower frequency, then perhaps finding a different state of consciousness would solve the problem. The problem is not our own sin and guilt, but an unfortunate equating the interconnected pain and guilt of unconscious humanity with who we really are. If we find a way to awaken to the reality of our own divinity, all that pain will instantly disappear. It will be seen for the unreality it is.

But is there any reason to believe this material which has no evidence for its veracity? What if it is all a lie and our guilt really is our guilt and it needs expiation not relegation to the category of “illusion”?

Good question, isn’t it?

There is much, much more to read, so I suggest going over to CIC Ministry.org to read the entire commentary.

Today, there are so many different viewpoints being expressed by various Christian denominations, it can be difficult to ascertain what is truth via the Bible vs. human errors that can be taught due to social and politically “correct” ideology.

With that said, I also suggest reading about the Berean Bible Society.  People may ask, what does Berean mean?

Answer:

What is a “berean” anyway?

Thanks for asking. We get asked that a lot. Being called a Berean comes from Acts 17:10-11. In verse 11 it says that those from Berea (hence, the Bereans) were nobler than the people in Thessalonica because they “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”So, when we say that someone is a “Berean” we mean that they do two things: (1) They have an open mind and willingly receive the Word of God when it is taught to them and (2) But then, they check out what they were taught by comparing it with the Scriptures.Both aspects are important. Some people are so closed-minded that they will not even listen to anything new or that might threaten what they already know. Others are so gullible that they accept whatever is told them without ever checking it against what the Bible says. Both extremes are to be avoided.

A Berean is one who has a balanced viewpoint. We listen to what someone has to say because we are eager to learn the word of God more perfectly. We realize that we have not learned it all. But then, we take what we have heard and compare it with the Bible. Then, if both match, we have learned something and increased our knowledge of God’s Word, rightly divided.

*******

*Jude 1:4
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, 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.

I truly believe that it is more compassionate to share the truth of the Bible with people who may get trapped in deception!

And yes!  It can be painful for both the person currently “in the fire” as well as the Christian who is trying to “pull them out of the fire,” right?

Isn’t the reward of eternal life worth it?

Jude 1:20
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

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

Jude 1:22
And on some have compassion, making a distinction;[fn]

Jude 1:23
but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[fn] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude 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,

Jude 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.

Hat tips to all links.

Basic Training – Being Berean: 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture by Michelle Lesley

September 14, 2018

In the past here at Talk Wisdom, I have often mentioned the need for Christians to be “Berean” in their beliefs regarding discernment while examining the Scriptures and also when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  My previous posts are listed at this link.

Today, I found a great blog written by a Christian woman named Michelle Lesley.  Her recent post entitled Basic Training Being Berean: 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture is one of the best I have ever found on this topic!

The post is excellent and very thorough in describing exactly why we, as Christians, need to follow the “Berean Way.” It is also a guideline on discernment when evaluating churches, the pastors that lead them, the teachings that are given at churches as well as the various teachings one may find through all of social media online.  The importance of utilizing  discernment and the “plumb line of Scripture” is that which establishes what we are to deem as truth vs. error by those who claim to be Christians.

Excerpt:

How do you know if what your pastor, you Sunday School teacher, your favorite podcast preacher, or your favorite Christian author is teaching you matches up with what the Bible actually says?

Did you know that you’re supposed to examine what you hear and read by the measuring stick of Scripture and reject anything that conflicts with it? Or do you just take for granted that if someone is a pastor, teacher, or Christian celebrity, he must know what he’s talking about, and what you’re hearing or reading must be biblical Christianity?

If you didn’t know you need to examine what you’re being taught, or you’ve always just assumed that if someone calls herself a Christian teacher what she’s saying must be biblical, sadly, you are not alone. In fact, you are in the overwhelming majority of the visible church. I’ve been a faithful church member all my life and, to this day, in the churches I’ve attended, I’ve never heard a pastor or teacher proactively preach or teach this biblical concept. I was nearly forty when I “stumbled across” the concept of being a good Berean – through a para-church ministry.

What does it mean to be a Berean, or discerning, or to “test the spirits”?

The term “Berean” comes from a little story in Acts:

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
Acts 17:10-12

“Testing the spirits” comes from 1 John 4:1:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Some Christians have an extra measure of discernment – “distinguishing between spirits” – as a spiritual gift:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;…to another [is given] the ability to distinguish between spirits,
1 Corinthians 12:4,10b

But all of these passages have the same foundational concept. All Christians are to believe what rightly handled, in context Scripture teaches, and reject whatever contradicts it. Although it is the responsibility of our pastors and church leaders to teach and lead us to distinguish between true and false doctrine, we are not to depend solely on others to “do discernment” for us. We need to learn how to be good Bereans ourselves.

How do we go about that?

 

Read the rest HERE.

 

Hat tips to all links and graphic sites.

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.

*******

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

*******

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.

*******
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.

*******

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!

Gain the Strength to Cope, and Experience Restoration

June 30, 2018

~ Daily life verse . com

Dear Readers,

At this blog, I try to share valid information that will help people to understand what is going on in the world today.  Most importantly, I (especially!) like to share the Good News of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of the world!

Back in the early years of blogging, I attended a Christian based seminar where the instructors (at BIOLA University – Bible Institute of Los Angeles) shared tips on how to run a blog, what to write about (mostly, from the Bible/Christian perspective), how to gain readers, etc.  It was “everything you would want to know” for running a Christian oriented blog.

During one class, I raised my hand to ask the professor his opinion of whether or not it was OK to share Bible/Christian based posts along with criticism about the secular worldviews that continue to try to challenge faith-based posts.  He stated that it might be best to choose between only pursuing Christian apologetics/worldviews vs. additionally discussing worldview criticism and exposing it.  In his opinion, it would be difficult to do both.  Apparently, he meant that it might be difficult to do both at the same blog and at the same time, successfully.

I understood why he believed that.  Years ago, I noticed that the different types of approaches yielded different results.  The sweet Scripture-based blog owners wrote about only the good things that expressed “the fruit of the Spirit” based on Galatians 5.

Galatians 5, however, also shares the reality of “longsuffering” and covers “the works of the flesh” and the evil it spreads. What’s more, those who practice such things (having not been re-born in Jesus Christ) “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Serious topics to contemplate and express on a blog, aren’t they?

Today, it seems that satanic influence in the world and upon people has been ratcheted up; even more so ever since Donald Trump became president.  I truly believe that it’s because people are (knowingly, or unknowingly) being used by the enemy of our souls and his demons to carry out such evil.  Of course, it didn’t start after the election of 2016.  It’s been going on ever since sin entered into the world.  However, in my 63 years on this earth, I see that the corruption has grown exponentially.  It can be very disheartening, to say the least.

Galatians lists them all:

Gal 5:19
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[fn] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Gal 5:21
envy, murders,[fn] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

~Christian statements . com

I prefaced this post with that information because the Bible is true, and Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life.”  No matter what happens in this fallen world, those facts will never change and those who have prayed and repented of their sins, asked Jesus Christ into their hearts as Lord and Savior, and have the Holy Spirit indwelling them can gain the strength to cope, and experience restoration despite all the grief and horror that is going on.

Please read John 16

The last verse is a favorite verse for me.

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.”

During the tough times when I become disheartened, that Bible verse brings me back to the purpose of Jesus’ life, death on the cross, and resurrection to life; and the promises that He made to all believers.  The pain and anguish of “Good Friday,” became the joy and peace that surpasses all understanding on Resurrection Day!

I had one of those disheartening moments this morning when I read about:

Hackers are selling babies’ personal data on the Dark Web.

Excerpt:

The personal information of babies is now available on the Dark Web.

Younger children — even newborns — now have a social security number, but they have obviously never made any purchases, which means they have a “perfect” credit history. Hackers sell the information these days with a complete “how to” for the buyer, explaining the steps to file fraudulent tax records or apply for a credit card without getting caught.

I’ve heard about the “Dark Web” before, but never wanted to pursue the information.  However, that link above is safe.  It’s from a Fox News tech site, written back in 2014, entitled, “Darknets: Murky recesses of the hidden web.”

Information like this makes me so sad and angry!  While we tend to enjoy all of the latest technology (and sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs etc.), knowing that such evil exists that is often hidden from the general public is very discouraging.  It’s bad now, so I worry how bad it can get during my sweet granddaughter’s lifetime?!  How will she be protected from identity theft and the filth online?

Months ago, I had a brief conversation with someone who has a relative in the CIA.  He stated that he would recommend never publishing a baby or child’s photo online.  Why?  Because they can take a photo and photo-shop it for very ugly reasons (porn etc.).

All I can do is pray for protection over members of my family and friends!  It is time to do more praying, than ever before!

Luk 11:1
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

Luk 11:2
So He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,[fn]
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.[fn]
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Luk 11:3

Give us day by day our daily bread.

Luk 11:4

And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”[fn]

Matthew adds:

Mat 6:13
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.[fn]

~ Our daily breadcrumbs . com


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