Posts Tagged ‘repentance’

The Essence of Repentance

July 5, 2018

…And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

REVELATION 22:17

It is inherent in the nature of man that his will must be free. Made in the image of God who is completely free, man must enjoy a measure of freedom. This enables him to select his companions for this world and the next; it enables him to yield his soul to whom he will, to give allegiance to God or the devil, to remain a sinner or become a saint.

Graphic:  Rachel Wojo

And God respects this freedom. God once saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. To find fault with the smallest thing God has made is to find fault with its Maker. It is a false humility that would lament that God wrought but imperfectly when He made man in His own image. Sin excepted, there is nothing in human nature to apologize for. This was confirmed forever when the Eternal Son became permanently incarnated in human flesh!

Graphic:  Just Being Brutally Honest blog

So highly does God regard His handiwork that He will not for any reason violate it. He will take nine steps toward us but He will not take the tenth. He will incline us to repent, but He cannot do our repenting for us. It is of the essence of repentance that it can only be done by the one who committed the act to be repented of.

God can wait on the sinning man, He can withhold judgment, He can exercise long-suffering to the point where He appears lax in His judicial administration—but He cannot force a man to repent. To do this would be to violate the man’s freedom and void the gift of God originally bestowed upon him. The believer knows he is free to choose—and with that knowledge he chooses forever the blessed will of God![1]

Graphic:  cc southbay


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Hat tip: Truth 2 Freedom: July 5 – God Never Violates Our Freedom of Choice.

Note from Christine:

Yesterday, we celebrated Independence Day. It is the day that 242 years ago, America became a free nation via the signing of The Declaration of Independence.

Ben Franklin wisely stated to a woman who asked, “What type of government have you given us?” Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Lately, we have seen many unhinged people on the far left political spectrum rant and rave against all that helps keep our nation free.  They use issues to further their desires for more socialist/communist ideas and forms of government.  Don’t they know history and the hard-fought battles against such evil, failed and dictatorship types of government?  I guess not.  Perhaps it isn’t being taught in public school education anymore.  It certainly appears to be lost on most of those who attend, or have attended liberal/leftist colleges and universities and staunchly agree with the aberrant, extremist leftist professors who push their ideology upon the students.

Ronald Reagan quote

“The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas — a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, and the ideals to which we are dedicated.”

— Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) —

Yes.  We continue to go through “a test of wills and ideas.”  One’s choice does depend on the essence of repentance at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Ultimately, it is a spiritual struggle, as the last paragraph in the quoted topic above reveals:

[God] cannot force a man to repent. To do this would be to violate the man’s freedom and void the gift of God originally bestowed upon him. The believer knows he is free to choose—and with that knowledge he chooses forever the blessed will of God![1]

Hat tip: Truth 2 Freedom’s blog.

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Jesus On The Problem of Evil – Stand To Reason

June 1, 2018

This morning, I read a very hard-hitting essay over at Truth 2 Freedom’s blog regarding the problem of evil in this world.

[Note: Scroll down past the long introduction to read the post]

This problem can often be used by those who don’t believe in Jesus as an excuse, or even the ultimate reason to be an atheist or agnostic in their individual personal beliefs regarding Jesus and God the Father.

Several months ago, a young man (who is not a Christian) attended church with our family.  The pastor had pointed out this portion of Scripture during the sermon:

Unchecked Copy BoxJer 17:9“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?*

After the service, our guest complained that such a thing can’t be true of everyone, and he objected to the pastor using that Scripture to make his point.

Well, I sympathized with our guest over the harshness of that verse. No one wants to think of their own “heart as deceitful” or “desperately wicked.” To cool the fire of his objection, I shared the next verse with him:

Jer 17:10
I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.**

The LORD searches our hearts!  So, it DOES MATTER what we hold in our hearts, what we think in our minds, and what we do during our lifetime on this earth!

From Truth 2 Freedom’s blog:

In Luke 13:1–5, we have Jesus’ clearest teaching on the problem of evil:[1]

Jesus’ answer to the problem of evil is that all fallen, unregenerate sinners born in Adam are worthy of death. Whether we die by murder, accident, or disease isn’t anything more than we deserve. It is only by God’s grace that anyone is saved, and it is only by God’s mercy that anyone is kept alive.

What implications does this have for Christian apologetics? At least three:

First, it means that Christian apologists need to take the consequences of sin and the reality of human depravity seriously when addressing the problem of evil.

Second, when addressing the problem of evil, Christian apologists need to present a theodicy that minimally includes the biblical teaching of original sin and human depravity. Why God allows evil won’t make sense unless we have the problem of sin clearly before us.

The subject of sin is vital knowledge…. If you have not learned about sin, you cannot understand yourself, or your fellow-men, or the world you live in, or the Christian faith. And you will not be able to make head or tail of the Bible. For the Bible is an exposition of God’s answer to the problem of human sin and unless you have that problem clearly before you, you will keep missing the point of what it says.

The same is true for the problem of evil. The subject of sin is essential because in raising the problem of evil, the skeptic must put forth an anthropodicy (justification of man) by arguing that man is “basically good” and God is unjust for allowing the suffering and evil He does. In response, the theist must show these assumptions to be false and, in their place, put forth a theodicy (justification of God) that includes evidencing the depths of human depravity and arguing that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing the evil that He does. Until we clearly articulate and defend the gravity of sin as well as the universal corruption and guilt of humankind, many of our answers to the problem of evil will largely remain unpersuasive.[4]

Third, the present moral and natural evils we see are appropriate segues into our need to practice and preach repentance in light of the final eschatological judgment. Those who experience such evils are not any more deserving. Rather, these disasters serve as warnings to all of us that final disaster awaits everyone who remains hardhearted and unrepentant. Clay Jones concludes,

So when disaster strikes, let us not wring our hands over the mysterious ways of God but encourage everyone to reflect on their sinful and doomed state in hopes that some will escape the Final Disaster that awaits the ultimately unrepentant.

Hat tips to all links.

*******

* Portion of a Commentary by David Guzik

3. (Jer 17:9-10) The folly of trusting one’s own heart.

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

a. The heart is deceitful above all things: To this point the Prophet Jeremiah has given some reason to be cautious about the inclinations and direction of the heart. He noted how the evil heart of the people of Judah had led them astray.
· Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart (Jeremiah 11:8) · They prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart (Jeremiah 14:14) · Each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me (Jeremiah 16:12)
b. The heart is deceitful above all things: Our hearts often deceive us, presenting heart-fulfillment as the key to happiness. What we desire is often not what we need. The advice “be true to your heart” fails when the heart is deceitful above all things.

i. “In the OT usage the heart signifies the total inner being and includes reason. From the heart come action and will.” (Feinberg)

ii. “The pravity and perversity of the man’s heart, full of harlotry and creature confidence, deceiving and being deceived, is here plainly and plentifully described; and oh that it were duly and deeply considered.” (Trapp)

c. And desperately wicked: The heart is not only deceitful, but also wicked – and desperately so. Many have been led to rebellion, disobedience, and great sorrow by following their heart, without challenging their heart and judging it by the measure of God’s truth. “Follow your heart” is poor advice when the heart is desperately wicked.

i. The sense of the Hebrew for desperately wicked seems to have sickness more than depravity in mind. “Unregenerate human nature is in a desperate condition without divine grace, described by the term gravely ill in verse 9 (RSV desperately corrupt, NEB desperately sick).” (Harrison)

d. Who can know it? The heart’s deceit and wickedness are advanced enough that even the individual may not know or understand their own heart, and outsiders have even more difficulty in discerning the heart of others.

** Portion of a Commentary by David Guzik:

e. I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind: Though knowing the heart of one’s self or others is difficult and sometimes impossible, God searches, tests, and knows the heart and mind. It is wise to trust what God says about us more than what we think or feel about ourselves.

i. I test the mind: “A second word is here set in parallel to heart, literally, ‘kidneys’, hidden depths. These, Yahweh assays or ‘tests’…the two terms ‘heart’ and ‘kidneys’ cover the range of hidden elements in man’s character and personality. Nothing is hidden from Yahweh.” (Thomspon)

ii. “The Lord is called by his apostles, Acts 1:24, kardiognwsthv, the Knower of the heart. To him alone can this epithet be applied; and it is from him alone that we can derive that instruction by which we can in any measure know ourselves.” (Clarke)

f. Even to give to every man according to his ways: Because God perfectly knows the heart and mind of man His judgment is true. God knows to what extent the heart either justifies or condemns the doings of a man or woman.

In his commentary, Mr. Guzik includes:

1. 4. (Jer 17:11) The folly of trusting in riches.

2. 5. (Jer 17:12-13) The folly of failing to trust in the God of all glory.

3. 1. (Jer 17:14-17) A prayer for deliverance and defense.

Ultimately, we all need to pray a prayer for deliverance and defense!

David Guzik writes:

a. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: In contrast to the foolish people of Judah who trusted in man, in their own heart, or in riches, Jeremiah looked to Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel. Jeremiah was confident that healing or salvation from the Lord would be true healing, true rescue.

i. It’s hard to say if the healing Jeremiah cried out for was literal or spiritual in nature, and in the bigger picture it doesn’t really matter. Either need is real, and God’s ability to heal both our physical and spiritual need is true and proven.

b. You are my praise: Even in his need of healing and salvation, Jeremiah could praise God, even making God Himself his praise. Though in pride others demanded an immediate revelation of God and His power, Jeremiah was willing to wait and trust in the Lord.

c. As for me: In a series of brief statements, Jeremiah defended and justified his ministry before God. He did this to contrast himself with those who demanded God bring immediate revelation and resolution.

· I have not hurried away from being a shepherd that follows You: Jeremiah was confident in his pursuit of God’s call on his life.

· Nor have I desired the woeful day: Jeremiah spoke much of the judgment to come, but he did not desire it. It was a painful message for him to deliver.

· You know what came out of my lips: Jeremiah could appeal to God as the One who heard and judged his message, seeing that it really was faithful to the voice and the heart of God.

· You are my hope in the day of doom: Jeremiah proclaimed his trust and hope in God alone, not in the folly of most of the people of Judah.

Debating forgiveness: must a person admit wrongdoing before being forgiven? – Wintery Knight Blog

March 9, 2018

Relationships can be difficult and hard in this life. It takes work, but also a lot of love and forgiveness in order to get through disagreements, hurt feelings, and terrible things that can happen. No one has a perfect life, nor a perfect marriage.

I wholeheartedly agree that repentance is required in order for genuine forgiveness to happen. Without these facts, then reconciliation would be hollow and even non-existent!

God’s love for us was poured out through His Son Jesus at the Cross of Calvary. As believers in Him, we are instructed to love others, as He has loved us. The Bible doesn’t say to stop loving others when they make mistakes, especially when they are willing to ask for forgiveness and desire reconciliation with those that they have sinned against.
Jesus told Peter that we are to forgive not only seven times, but “70 times seven” times! Was Jesus utilizing hyperbole in order to get the point across that repentance, as well as reconciliation are required?
I read a devotional today that asks some pertinent questions.

“Today, when you look at your life, and the lives of those closest to you, do you see fruit and abundance? Or do you see another picture? Are you like a dried-up branch, devoid of any good works that speak of a godly source? Do your relationships suffer because you are at the center, not Jesus?”

The requirements of confession, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation are all needed to be forgiven for our sins and become right with God through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Is this not the pattern that we should follow for the forgiveness of people in our lives during our journey in this world? If we don’t follow such a pattern, then how are we to bring others into God’s Kingdom?

The devotional ends with:

“Throughout the trials you face–whether big or small–cling to Jesus as the source and giver of life. May you remain in His love. And may His love fill you with abundance and cause you to bear fruit for His Kingdom.”
Amen!

Hat tip:  Wintery Knight

WINTERY KNIGHT

Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win! Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win!

I’ve listened to this debate three times because I liked it so much. I even ordered Chris’ book for my best friend Dina. She has listened to the debate, and is currently split between the two debaters. I am in firm agreement with the pastor Chris, although Remy has some useful things to say that I agree with.

Here’s a link to the debate page on Moody Bible Institute’s “Up For Debate” program with Julie Roys.

Details:

Should Christians Forgive No Matter What?

Should Christians forgive someone even if he’s not sorry?  Or does true forgiveness require repentance and a desire to reconcile?  This Saturday, on Up For Debate, Julie Roys will explore this issue with Chris Brauns, a pastor who believes forgiveness requires repentance, and Remy Diederich who believes it does not.

Although I disagree with Remy, I only disagree with him…

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The Love of Many Will Wax Cold

August 6, 2017

Hello my blogging friends, it’s been a while since I’ve had the desire to post here.  Visiting family and the busyness of life can be a convenient excuse, but in my case it’s often true.

A situation occurred back east that left my daughter and I clearly disappointed.  Without going into much detail, let’s just say that no effort was made by certain family members to see us while we were there, primarily for the purpose of visiting my mom.  My daughter was really sad that they couldn’t even take an hour of their time to at least see her 20 month year old daughter.  At least we had a great visit with great-grandma (Grammy) who is 93 years young!

I tried to come up with reasons why this happened.  But being there for four days before that family’s vacation left no good excuse.

My dear cousin drove her 97-year-old mom from N.J. to VA and stayed in the same hotel with us for two days.  Each time these sisters (my mom and my cousin’s mom) get together, the hugs are long and the tears flow.  At their ages, they do not know whether or not they will both be here on this earth for their next reunion.  We all couldn’t help but tear up at the site of them hugging each other!  But in the next moment, they start their comments of slight ridicule…”I hate those black rimmed glasses,” or, “I don’t like your shoes!”  Too funny!

During the plane ride home I recall telling my daughter that, “we can’t make people want to spend time with us.”  It’s sad, but true.

During an email exchange with my best friend, she wrote that the same thing has happened to her when she goes back to N.Y. to visit her mom.  The rest of the family cannot be bothered to visit with her.  She wrote to me, “don’t take it personally, Chris.  People are just wrapped up in their own lives.”  I replied, “you’re right!”  It’s so true.  I mentioned that in our world today, texting, Facebook, Instagram and other social media often takes the place of physical get-togethers.  Sad, but true.

Since I’ve been back home for 11 days, the Bible verse, “the love of many will wax cold” has often come to mind.  Ever since the very contentious election of 2016, the hatred towards those who are even perceived as voting for President Trump is nothing like I’ve ever seen before in my life!

Today, I read an article from WorldNetDaily about Pastor Mark Blitz’s new book and documentary.


Signs in sky reveal America as ‘Covenant’ nation, says ‘Blood Moons’ discoverer
Mark Biltz: Coming solar eclipse may be warning, and ‘I would not mock’

Biltz also discussed the recent appearing of a double rainbow over the White House.

Never thought I’d quote Newsweek here, but the stark contrasts of opinions in the article does point out how “the love of many will wax cold.”

Excerpt:

Both the right and left interpreted the double rainbow as more than just a weather phenomenon but had vastly different takes. Trump fans suggested on Twitter that God sent the rainbow and was protecting the White House in the President’s absence, while Trump critics wrote that the weather was celebrating the fact that he was gone.

You can read the rest HERE.

The fact that the left wants to equate rainbow appearances in the sky with LGBT pride is in stark contrast with the original meaning in the Bible – which is God’s covenant with His people.

The fact is, the LGBT rainbow is missing a color from God’s rainbow.  The color that is missing from the homosexual rainbow flag is the color blue. It only has the indigo color – dark blue.

Here is the identity of the seven colors of God’s rainbow:

Always remember the name ROY G. BIV
Red, Orange, Yellow. Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet

Was the light color blue left out purposely by the LGBT activists?  From a website no longer available:

The light color blue indicates that there has to be that there are laws for people’s lives just as there are laws for the natural world: “Things are made to fall down, not up, and I’m doing as I was made to do.”

This law corresponds to the blue color in the rainbow. Blue is the purest color and the closest to white, which represents original knowledge and truth. Blue is the color of the sky, a cool, soothing color, and it signifies the fulfillment of kindness and love, their peaceful nature which brings us near to heaven.

 

It was in those paragraphs where I read him mention the same Bible verse that came to my mind after my trip back east:

 

Biltz agreed they were signs, but suggested the rainbows aren’t about a particular president, policies or a party. Instead, they are a symbol of God’s relationship with the larger nation.

“The rainbow speaks of God’s covenant that He won’t break His word,” Biltz told WND. “I believe God is telling us we are a covenant nation, which is why we will be held accountable if we break covenant. There is hope if we pray. And we should always be praying for the president whoever it may be.”

Ultimately, Biltz argued, America is entering a troubling time because of the collapse of the Christian faith in the United States and rising political and social divisions as the culture breaks down. Biltz suggests God is giving America a chance to turn back to Him. But this requires taking the signs of the times seriously.

“Americans have become too divisive and polarized,” mourned the pastor. “The atmosphere is corrosive and as the Bible says, ‘the love of many will wax cold.’ Interestingly, the Bible says when Lot spoke to his son-in-laws he was as one who mocked. We have become a nation of mockers.”

More from WND:

Path of solar eclipseThe discoverer of the “Blood Moons” phenomenon says God is sending a message to the church – and all people need to do to see it is look skyward.

The Boston Globe recently reported the path of the upcoming total solar eclipse which will cross the United States on August 21 will overwhelmingly move over counties won by Donald Trump in the recent presidential election.

The paper was mocked on social media for suggesting heavenly events have some connection to earthly politics.

But Pastor Mark Biltz, the man who discovered the “Blood Moons” phenomenon, argues people should be cautious before resorting to snark.

He points out Genesis 1:14, which says astronomical phenomena were partially intended “for signs.” And as Biltz believes the solar eclipse itself is a sign and a warning to the United States, he suggests there may also be meaning in the solar eclipse’s path.

“I would not mock those who do or do not believe there is significance in this eclipse’s path,” the pastor told WND. “The path of totality is showing where it is the darkest and the path of judgment unless there is repentance. At the same time, though, judgment always begins with God’s people first. This is a call for the church to repent and become more like Abraham rather than Lot and to intercede. The church needs to wake up and repent if we are to save this nation and not be mocking the unrighteous. We need a different tone in America.”

Biltz urges believers to look to their own conduct and seek to renew their own communities. He previously stated a total solar eclipse represents a specific warning to a specific nation or nations depending on its path. Therefore, the path of the eclipse could be a sign not just to the United States in general, but for mostly conservative residents of these areas in particular to spearhead a movement of repentance.

President Donald Trump, Biltz suggested, also has a role to play in this movement. And the pastor identified possible precursors in Scripture for Trump’s position.

“As the king of Nineveh led that nation to repentance, may our president do the same,” prayed Biltz. “Many are unaware that there was a total solar eclipse over Nineveh a month before Jonah showed up on the first of the month of Elul, known as the month of repentance before the fall High Holy days. Here we have a total solar eclipse at the first of Elul, the same time frame beginning the month of repentance. It is also the same day Moses ascended the mountain trying to make atonement for his nation.”

The timing of such events, suggested Biltz, is of deep significance, especially when viewed from the Jewish, or biblical, calendar. In his new book “God’s Day Timer,” Biltz suggests adopting the biblical calendar would provide deep insight for Christians seeking to understand the signs of the times.

“If the church would get on God’s calendar and understand ‘God’s Day-Timer’ they would see the prophetic significance of this time,” he claimed.

 

00:0001:5501:55

01:55

The Bible story is more miraculous and astounding than you could have imagined. See the incredible proof of the unchanging nature of God – and the exciting clues to what awaits at the end of days in “God’s Day Timer” by Mark Biltz, available as a book or documentary now in the WND Superstore.

Of course, the upcoming solar eclipse isn’t the only heavenly marvel garnering attention. A double rainbow appeared above the White House on Thursday night, leading to leftists and conservatives arguing about what it all means. Sebastian Gorka, a member of the national security advisory staff, called the rainbows “beautiful signs.”

Biltz agreed they were signs, but suggested the rainbows aren’t about a particular president, policies or a party. Instead, they are a symbol of God’s relationship with the larger nation.

“The rainbow speaks of God’s covenant that He won’t break His word,” Biltz told WND. “I believe God is telling us we are a covenant nation, which is why we will be held accountable if we break covenant. There is hope if we pray. And we should always be praying for the president whoever it may be.”

Ultimately, Biltz argued, America is entering a troubling time because of the collapse of the Christian faith in the United States and rising political and social divisions as the culture breaks down. Biltz suggests God is giving America a chance to turn back to Him. But this requires taking the signs of the times seriously.

“Americans have become too divisive and polarized,” mourned the pastor. “The atmosphere is corrosive and as the Bible says, ‘the love of many will wax cold.’ Interestingly, the Bible says when Lot spoke to his son-in-laws he was as one who mocked. We have become a nation of mockers

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/signs-in-sky-reveal-america-as-covenant-nation-says-blood-moons-discover/#2Frk0yqtsY70X2TV.99

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.

What is Stored Up In You?

January 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The NIV version of 2 Corinthians 7:10 reads:

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

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

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

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

Luk 23:39

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

Luk 23:40

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

Luk 23:41

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

Luk 23:42

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

Luk 23:43

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

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

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

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:

“Christianity starts with repentance.”

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

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

Mat 3:1

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

Mat 3:2

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

Mat 3:3

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

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

More prophecy fulfilled from (4:16)

Isaiah 9:1, 2

 

Mat 4:12

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

Mat 4:13

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

Mat 4:14

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

Mat 4:15

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

Mat 4:16

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

Mat 4:17

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

There is a Proverb that reads:

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

There is another Proverb that reads:

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

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

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

Hat tips:

Blue Letter Bible
All Graphics links

The Presidential Campaign Has Gone From Bad to Worse, to Nightmarish, to Surreal!

October 10, 2016

Joel Rosenberg’s blog post should be read by everyone – especially Christians!  It is spot on in describing what the current presidential campaign has become!

Ironically, Dr. David Jeremiah mentioned Mr. Rosenberg’s expertise on the Bible and Bible prophecy in today’s sermon on Turning Point:  “The Apathy of America.”

Excerpt:

As the news from both presidential candidates goes from bad to worse to nightmarish to surreal (see below), I find myself grieving. There is no other way to put it. I’m not grieving as one who has no hope. But I am grieving all the same.

It is bitterly painful to see America arrive at this point, neck-deep in corruption and vulgarity, edging closer and closer, day by day, towards moral, spiritual, social and economic implosion.

We desperately need a revival, a sweeping spiritual awakening, to put us back on the right track. Will it come? I honestly do not know. I’m praying — pleading — for the Lord to give us one, and soon. I’m praying for each of the presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their families and advisors. I’m praying the Lord will supernaturally salvage this train wreck of an election and give us a surprise ending that will truly bless the entire country. Yet I’m also praying for His infinite, amazing grace and mercy if He chooses to let us proceed down this ugly path “as is.”

Unless we turn wholeheartedly to Christ our coming King and Redeemer, it could be a very dark four years indeed. But the Scriptures do offer us hope.

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

I have to admit that I seriously long for the Lord to set the Rapture into motion in the days or weeks ahead. Election Day would be just fine, though sooner would be better.

I am willing to preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God and make disciples and serve the poor as long as the Lord tarries, so as long as He continues to grant the grace and strength to do His will and forgiveness whenever I inevitably fall short.

But as darkness falls over America, as it is falling over so much of the world, I am growing weary. As the rich and powerful and corrupt seem to gain more riches and more power and grow more corrupt, I am growing weary. As I see injustice spreading like a cancer, and as I see so many people abandoning the faith and ignoring the Word of God and doing whatever is right in their own eyes, I am growing weary.

It is all foretold, of course. The ancient prophecies are coming to pass — all the apostasy, the corruption, the persecution and darkness that the Lord Jesus and the Apostles and the Hebrew prophets foretold about the “last days” — we’re seeing it all play out, just as the Word warned us ahead of time.

Consider just this passage and ask yourself if this doesn’t describe American culture and politics today? “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The worse it gets, the more I find myself saying, “Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus!”

I’m not going to post anything new about the increasingly toxic and tremendously disturbing presidential campaign. If you’re interested, you can read what I posted on my “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook on Friday. Or you can scroll through the last several days of Tweets.

For now, let me just say this: regardless of how grieved I am by both nominees, I am 100% committed to genuinely and faithfully praying for the Trump family, and for the Clintons, as I have been throughout this campaign. I will continue to pray that the Lord Jesus Christ shows them great mercy, that they will seek Him with all their heart, and that He will supernaturally change them and bear much good fruit in and through them.

The God of the Bible is a change agent. All through the Scriptures we see God saving, changing and redeeming broken, burdened, troubled lives, and it is breathtaking to behold. The Lord loves to change hearts and minds and mouths. He alone has the power to change lives, and I truly pray He will show His great mercy and love to the Trumps and the Clintons. Meanwhile, I have great respect for those who feel called to provide either family and either candidate sound, Biblical, spiritual counsel. Both families need true, faithful believers around them speaking the truth in love, as do we all.

Indeed, whoever wins the presidency and is raised up to lead America for the next four years, I will pray for faithfully and respectfully. This is what the Apostle Paul commands of us. Thus, I hope you and your family and friends will be faithful in praying for the next president and all the Members of Congress, too. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)

That said, I believe it’s important for all of us to realize just how much trouble we’re in. After killing 58 million babies, America now faces impending divine judgment. There is no way out, no way back. The blood of 58 million babies is crying out for justice and they will get it.

Only a true revival — a great, sweeping spiritual awakening — could possibly forestall such a judgment. In addition to such a great awakening, ideally the Lord will give America a leader like King Josiah, the Biblical leader who made big, bold changes to turn his nation around. Indeed, God saw Josiah’s humble heart, and his great love for the Scriptures, and his passionate commitment to help his nation make major reforms and get back on the right track, and therefore He gave Josiah much favor. Indeed, because of Josiah’s leadership, the Lord chose to forestall imminent judgement of the nation of Judah for some two decades.

Sadly, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton nor Tim Kaine have demonstrated any of the characteristics of Josiah. But Gov. Mike Pence has. Perhaps the Lord will raise him up to provide the leadership we need at this time. I hope so. Time will tell.

In the meantime, prayer is really all we have as individual Christians at this point. Yet what more do we need? Prayer offers us a direct line to our Father in heaven, the Almighty God of the universe who could grant us a great awakening if He sovereignly chose to, or who alone can give us the grace to endure the suffering and hardships if He chooses to set His judgments into motion.

In these dark times, my friends, come what may, may you and I keep our eyes on Jesus and be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

Hat tips:

Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog: Some thoughts on a presidential campaign going from bad to worse to nightmarish.

David Jeremiah.org

Who Is Your Source of Hope?

October 1, 2016

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

People Are Asking: Is This The End?

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Chapter One:

Depravity in Our Minds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That is what this book is all about!”

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

Wrong:

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

Ecc 1:14

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

Right:

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

The next three paragraphs in the Introduction are very powerful!

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

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

Had to look that last word up in the dictionary!

equanimity:

1.

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

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

— Dr. David Jeremiah

San Diego, California

June 2016

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

Hat tips to all links.

Revisiting the “God’s Not Dead” Movie

August 17, 2016

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

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

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

This movie presents examples of what is stated in Psalms:

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

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

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

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

Talk Wisdom: Remaining Obedient to God

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

Plugged In had a good review of the film.

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

Wikipedia:

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

Plugged In:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Num 32:23

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

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

Mat 4:12

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

Mat 4:13

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

Mat 4:14

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

Mat 4:15

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

Mat 4:16

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

Mat 4:17

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

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

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

Jhn 16:33

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think this paragraph explains it:

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

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

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

Chase concludes his post:

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

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

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

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

Hat tips to all links.

Remaining Obedient to God

June 7, 2016

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

Plugged In had a good review of the film.

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

Wikipedia:

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

Plugged In:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Num 32:23

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

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

Mat 4:12

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

Mat 4:13

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

Mat 4:14

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

Mat 4:15

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

Mat 4:16

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

Mat 4:17

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

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

 

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

Jhn 16:33

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

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

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

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

I think this paragraph explains it:

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

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

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

Chase concludes his post:

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

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

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

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

Hat tips to all links.


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The mindset in postmodernism is that objective truth does not exist. But in post-truth, the person believes that objective truth exists, but they subordinate truth to their preferences, or their comfort. In other words, one doesn’t care that truth exists or what the truth is if it doesn’t line up with one’s preferences. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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