Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

December 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving on with this post.

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

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

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

Mat 13:18

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:

Mat 13:19

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

Mat 13:20

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

Mat 13:21

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

Mat 13:22

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

Mat 13:23

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

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

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

David Guzik has a good commentary about that verse:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The Ligonier essay continues:

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

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

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

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

Hat tip: Ligonier.org

How Do I Get to Heaven? Unlocking the Bible.

October 25, 2018

Graphic:  newriversinternational(dot)org

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic:  wordblessings(dot)com

Christ Justified Us

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

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

The New Testament repeats this theme again and again:

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

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

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

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

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

Christ Gives Complete Assurance

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

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

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

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

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

Heaven Is Nearer Than You Think

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

Graphic: pinterest(dot)com

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

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

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

How Do I Get to Heaven? — Unlocking the Bible

Graphic:  thereshope(dot)org

Hat tip: Truth2Freedom’s Blog

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.

How Were People Saved Before Christ?

May 16, 2018

That is a good question.  Through Bible study, I have learned that people who believed in God the Father in the Old Testament also knew that one day the Messiah would appear and save them.  So, was it the faith that they had about the coming Messiah that saved them?  The people written about in the Old Testament, as well as the writers who were carried along by the Spirit of God, had the choice to believe in God or reject His existence.  When Moses came down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments, the people then knew what the Law says and they were encouraged to follow it.  Some were more successful than others, but the truth is that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Did following the Law save them?  Was it looking forward in faith to the coming of the Messiah that saved them?

Via Truth 2 Freedom’s blog, I found a great essay written by J. Warner Wallace at Cold Case Christianity.com.

Excerpt:

Unfortunately, the Old Testament saints were just as incapable of following the Ten Commandments as we are today. God provided them with the Law and recognized they would constantly break it. For this reason, He also provided them with an elaborate sacrificial system (to remind them of their shortcomings and the penalty for their continuing sin) and the promise of a Savior. Like us, the Old Testament saints were not saved by their adherence to the Law. They were saved by the grace of God through their faith in the Savior, even though this Savior was only a promise at the time.

They Knew About Grace
These early believers listened closely to the words of God as they were revealed by the prophets and the Scripture. As a result, they understood the nature of grace. David, for example, wrote about God’s forgiveness and grace (Psalm 32:1-5) and Paul later told us that David understood that “God reckons righteousness apart from works” (Romans 4:6-8). All the Old Testament heroes of faith recognized their good works could not save them (read Hebrews 11:13). Even Isaiah knew his “goodness” wasn’t “good enough” (Isaiah 64:6) and that animal sacrifices weren’t going to ultimately please a Holy and perfect God (Psalm 40:6).

They Knew a Messiah was Coming
With the limited knowledge of God given to them at the time, the Old Testament saints understood God would have to do something dramatic to save them. They placed their faith in the coming Savior who was described from the earliest of times. God told Adam and Eve one of their descendants would eventually defeat Satan (Genesis 3:15), and Abraham understood God would provide a sacrifice for sin, just as God provided the substitutionary sacrifice to replace Isaac (Genesis 22:8, Romans 4:3 John 8:56). Job had a similar expectation and hope for a Redeemer (Job 19:25-26), and Moses also expected and believed in the coming Messiah and the reward of Salvation (Hebrews 11:26, John 5:46). Many other Old Testament prophets and wise men spoke about the coming Savior. Enoch, for example, even talked about the second coming of the Messiah (Jude 14)! Old Testament prophets clearly described where the Messiah would be born (Micah 5:2), how He would be betrayed (Zechariah 11:12), how He would die (Isaiah 53:5), and how He would be resurrected (Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 26:19).

Old Testament saints understood their imperfect works would not unite them to a perfect God. They looked forward to the work of a flawless Messiah who would be “pierced through for our transgressions”, “crushed for our iniquities” and chastened “for our well-being” so that “by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Those who understood and accepted the truth about grace and the coming Messiah were saved on the basis of their faith. The Savior has now appeared and His name is Jesus. We have today what the Old Testament saints only anticipated. Jesus is, as He always was, the Messiah and the only way to the Father.

Hat tips to both links.

Genuine Forgiveness Includes Reconciliation

March 2, 2018

A mother who has been suffering through a sudden estrangement situation with her son told me that his “break up with his parents” letter included the following comment:

“I forgive you, but I can’t be around it anymore.” 

According to the letter the mom had received, his grievances included perceived “unhealthy communication” and “crossing boundaries,” plus “convictions” regarding grievances which had never been shared with the parents while growing up.  But now, they have “come to light” and were included without much explanation in the letter written.  The son has ignored the pleas of his mother to at least talk it out, or even see a counselor together in order to understand the son’s convictions and grievances; some of which she has no idea in what he’s talking about.

The entire family has been suffering with grief over this for the past four months.  They don’t know whether or not this young man will ever come around and be willing to talk with them or see them again.  It’s a very sad situation!  This young man even wrote to his own sister and in a separate email message where he basically made her choose which side she and her husband were on; his or their parents!

I’m not trained as a counselor and I don’t claim to have all the answers to such a situation.  However, when I see human problems from a biblical perspective (which is something that, as Christians, we should always strive to do), I like to share it here at this blog in the hope that what is written might help someone who is suffering in an estrangement situation.

Forgiveness is Divine.

No wonder it has been said that, “forgiveness is Divine.”  Isn’t it so true that it is often very difficult for us imperfect and sinful human beings to forgive?  But when one forgives another, it is like a huge weight has been lifted off of the heart, soul and mind.  It releases all of that pain, resentment, and rage that once plagued us.  It’s difficult to explain, but when it happens in your life, you know it!

The second (and most important) action that follows forgiveness is reconciliation.  Without reconciliation, the term “forgiveness” is hollow and meaningless.  Man can still claim to forgive, but holding a grudge and refusing to return towards a relationship with one who has been forgiven demonstrates that there is still contempt, dislike, or maybe even hatred for the person (people) that one claims that they have forgiven.  Holding a grudge eats away at one’s heart, soul, spirit and mind!

Christians should not live that way.  They should not hold grudges or have contempt for those that they have loved before, claimed to have forgiven for a simple trespass, yet refuse to participate in a path towards reconciliation.

Our Model, in this respect, is Jesus Christ Himself.  Even when He was being crucified on the cross, (a most painful and excruciating form of punishment that leads to death) He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”  When Jesus died for our sins – the sins of all mankind – He was buried in a guarded tomb.  However, death could not hold Him down and after fulfilling His purpose on this earth, He rose on the third day.  Yes!  His glorious resurrection had a crucial purpose.  Those who would believe in Him and the reason why He died for our sins would join in with the joyous purpose of being reconciled back unto God!

Without the goal of reconciliation, the entire purpose of forgiveness of our sins would be meaningless, wouldn’t it?

If Jesus had listened to and obeyed the man in the crowd at Calvary who yelled, “if you are truly the Son of God, come down from that cross and save yourself,” then the entire purpose for which He was sent and born into this world would have been lost!  Jesus would have ended up going back to the Father, but He would have entered back into heaven alone, for all of eternity.  The offer and goal of salvation for mankind would have been lost.

Only the sinless Son of God could have (and did!) accomplish the plan of forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation for all who would believe in Him!

Jesus is the bridge that crosses the deep cavern that exists between sinful man and Holy God!  Without reconciliation in this manner, what good is there in forgiveness?  Answer:  it would be hollow, to say the least, and not a soul saving type of forgiveness.

This serves as a model for human relationships and the need to follow Christ’s lead towards forgiving one another.  Without reconciliation, it is hollow at its core.

God bless and may you find peace in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ,

~  Christine

Dan 9:24 – “Seventy weeks[fn] are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of[fn] sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.

*******

Rom 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 – Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Rom 5:10 – For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Rom 5:11 – And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

*******

2 Cor 5:18 – Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
2 Cor 5:19 – that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2 Cor 5:20 – Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
2 Cor 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

*******

Update

Also see:

Truth 2 Freedom: March 2 The Godhead Forever One

What Photos Can’t Show

July 6, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

Quote:

A man’s heart is what he is.

~ R.B. Kuiper

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

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

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

Jer 17:9

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

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

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

Jer 17:10

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

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

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

Jer 17:14

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

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

The Supremacy of Christ and Your Map for Life

May 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. David Jeremiah’s Bible notes tell us:

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

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

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

Why are they like that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jeremiah’s notes:

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

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

The Serpent’s Old Lie in an Updated Package

May 9, 2017

Yesterday I was going through the headlines on my blog reading list when suddenly, boom! the electricity in our house shut off.  As I temporarily sat in the darkness that surrounded me at my computer, I thought, “oh no…not again!”

Power outages seems to happen on our block several times a year so my husband bought a gas generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer going until it comes back on.  He contacted the utilities company and was told that it was a “planned power outage” cable  replacement in our area.  We should have received a notice about this.  Well, the notice was sitting in my husband’s mail inbox!  It would have been nice to have known about the outage ahead of time, but we made the best of the situation.

I started reading my Bible by flashlight and was drawn to the book of Colossians.  It sparked some insight into my mind which will be discussed in my next post.  Today, I need to “set the stage” so to speak, in exactly why my study in Colossians had such a profound impact on me.

The contrast of what is in that particular book of the Bible compared to what is going on in our society (often for the purpose of countering biblical Christianity) these days will become quite obvious.

When I compare the truth of Scripture with the lies being spread in the news, through haters in Hollyweird, the Democratic party (which voted God out of their political platform years ago), and the minions of “splinter groups” that are raging today (often paid to do this!)…it is obvious to me that demonic influence abounds!   They are all derived by men and women who have been influenced by the lies of that serpent of old that we read about in Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible.  You will vividly see how the nefarious ideas, deeds, and plans of such individuals have been derived from what Jesus named as the enemy of our souls who comes to lie, steal, kill and destroy.

Jhn 10:10

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

See Romans 1

1Jo 1:6

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Previously, I had been reading a book entitled, “So What’s The Difference” by Fritz Ridenour.  In the past, I had the habit of skipping over the cults and false religions pages, but this time I wanted to read the details about Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Age, and many others that are briefly, but succinctly detailed in the book.  When I got to the New Age section, it can be hard to define because of its far-reaching claims, lack of formal structure and organization and it’s adherents being interested in “hoping to transform society by bringing about reawakening that will emphasize self-discovery, spiritual growth and enlightenment.”  The truth is, New Age thinking isn’t really new because it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden where the serpent asked Eve if God really said that she couldn’t eat from that tree (see Genesis 3:1-5).

It was interesting to read about the “founder” of New Age, Alice Bailey.  New Agers have their own definition of God, find “salvation” in themselves, use “channeling” (the New Age version of contacting spirits), often believe in reincarnation, believe in syncretism (all religions lead to the same place), and many are into the plan for a worldwide government led by one great leader.

Shirley McLaine was a high-powered NAM (New Age Movement) adherent with great media exposure due to her “star” status in Hollyweird.  She lied in her book, claiming that the Fifth Ecumenical Council struck down the idea of reincarnation from the Bible.  Author Fritz Ridenour said it well when he wrote:

Contrary to New Age thinking, the Bible overwhelmingly teaches resurrection, not reincarnation (see Psalms 49:15, John 5:25; 6:40; 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).  New Agers like to think they have all kinds of time to “get it right” as they progress toward some kind of self-induced salvation.  The Bible clearly says you get one chance and after that comes the judgment (see Hebrews 9:27).

Much of today’s “progressive movement and thinking”  is derived from one or many of the errors of the NAM.  They may not call themselves New Agers, but their beliefs certainly line up with the NAM!

Ridenour writes:

Ever since Satan told Eve, “Eat the fruit; become like God Himself,” men and women have been trying to “do it on their own,” or at least with the help of spirits and demons–what Paul calls “the powers of this dark world and … the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).  It is no coincidence that the Bible firmly forbids contacting spirits or getting in touch with the dead (see Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:10-13).  Other New Age concepts or practices condemned or countered in the Scriptures include:

  •  many gods, goddesses, spirits and demons:  see Gen. 1:1; Exodus 15:11; 20:2-6; Deut. 6:4; Isaiah 45:5,6,21,22.

  •  manipulating or bartering with the spirit world:  see Deut. 13:1-5, 18:9-14; 1 Kings 11:33.

  •  continuing blood sacrifice rituals:  see Hebrews 7:27; 10:10-13; 1 Peter 3:18.

  •  mythological, unhistorical legends:  see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-19; 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Peter 1:16.

  •  secret knowledge only for elite “knowers”:  see John 1:12; 3:16; Colossians 2:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:4.

  •  magic arts, spells, taboos, astrology:  see 2 Kings 17:16-18; Isaiah 47:12-15; Acts 8:9-24.

  •  confusion of identity between the creator and the created:  see 1 Kings 8:27; Psalms 8:1-9; 24:1-10; 89:5-14; Isaiah 40:12-17; 1 Peter 1:24, 25.

  •  ethics and morals derived from humans or the self; no absolutes, everything is relative:  see 1 Kings 8:46; Psalms 51:1-4; 143:2; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 2:14-16; 1 John 1:5-10.

  •  reincarnation:  see Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27.

  •  salvation by human effort:  see Romans 4:3; Galatians 2:15,16.

  •  picking and choosing among religions:  see Exodus 20:2-5; 23:13; John 1:7-9.

  •  worshipping other gods, especially fertility religions:  see 2 Kings 17:9-12; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 6:13.

  •  the idea that Christ is optional, only one of many spiritual masters:  see John 14:6-8; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.

I realize that’s a lot of reading to do, but if you, dear reader, happen to be caught up into any one of these errors, I urge you to find out the truth that is only contained in the Bible!

Ridenour’s book was originally written back in 1967, updated in 1979 and then updated again in 2001.  It is interesting to me that he wrote:

Because the New Age seems to be everywhere and in practically everything, it would seem logical to see all of the NAM as taboo and dangerous.  But there are some things New Agers talk about that Christians can agree with, to a point. (bold, italics mine)  Saving the environment is one.  Trying to end war, terrorism, bigotry and racial and gender discrimination are others.  The New Age solution to these problems, however, is found only in fallen mankind, and that is doomed to a dead end.

That paragraph is almost prophetic!  Now, in 2017 we see such things ratcheted up into such a frenzy that the so-called “solutions” are being used to demonize people who don’t agree with their “methods” to help “solve” such problems!  This is just another “updated package” being spewed through individuals who don’t know God and are (either knowingly or unknowingly) being influenced by the enemy of our souls!

In fact, many are using either the “ostrich mentality” regarding radical Islamic terrorism; while perpetuating bigotry towards people of faith in Christ and biblical Christianity; as well as exploding racial division and gender identity issues to an extreme!  Don’t even get me started on the “man-made global warming (or, is it now just called ‘climate change?’) hysteria” where celebrities and “scientists” often use pollution producing jets to go and lecture us all about carbon dioxide emissions!

Readers, can you now see why biblical Christianity is so extremely hated by the leftists?  They scheme against Christians on all levels and we are often targeted by them through lawsuits meant to impose huge financial fines with the goal of putting Christian business owners out of business.  Through purposely targeting Christians and utilizing phony “discrimination” claims; as well as perpetuating constant violent demonstrations towards speech suppression at universities and spewing hateful rhetoric through late night “comedians” and in the leftist led alphabet news networks, they demean and  trample upon the First Amendment rights of Christians that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

So, what is their ultimate goal?

Could it be to eradicate our beliefs from public, political, social, freedom of conscience/speech/association of thought…and ultimately from existence in our nation?

Notice, also, the FACT that the NAM proponents idea of “syncretism:  all religions lead to the same place” cannot, and does not,  include biblical Christian faith?

They don’t attack the lukewarm churches that agree with the NAM’s agenda, so what are biblically-based Christians supposed to do?

Ridenour writes:

In response to New Age thinking, Christians must have a thorough understanding of their own faith.  To know what God’s Word teaches is imperative.  Even more important is to know the Living Word –His Son–in a personal, vibrant way.  A favorite response of the New Ager to the Christian who tries to point out the absolute truth of the Bible is, “That’s your reality, but it’s not mine.”  Christians can only respond confidently but humbly that, in the end, only one reality will turn out to be real:  Jesus Christ –the only way, the only absolute truth and the only source of life.

Reference:  “So What’s the Difference?” by Fritz Ridenour, Bethany House, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2001 pp. 147-159

Next up:  The difference between man-made religion and man’s attempt to find God vs. biblical Christianity which affirms that true faith is the result of God’s successful efforts to reach out to man through the Person of Jesus Christ.

What Matters Most on This Election Day, 2016?

November 8, 2016

One of my first thoughts upon awakening this morning was, “thank God this election season will soon be over!”  In a previous post, I included the following graphic:

It reads:  “Giant Meteor 2016.  Just End It Already.”

I thought it was funny and very apropos for how so many people are feeling after this long, crazy, and vitriolic campaign season!

Secondly, after lifting up prayer to Jesus I was given the thought, “what matters most on this election day?”

People are SO anxious, afraid, sleepless, grief-filled, concerned, and worried about who will win. I can’t say that I blame them, because there is a LOT at stake. The direction that our nation will go depending on who “wins” will be like night and day! There are many good reasons to be highly concerned because the candidates and their party platforms are polar opposites.

There is a battle going on in this nation, and it involves good vs. evil. There are mini battles going on too, especially in regards to Christians and their choice for president.

I now present just one example.

In the comment thread of a former post, a commenter seemed bothered by the fact that certain prominent Christians differ over whether or not to vote for Donald Trump.   It seemed to me that the commenter was pushing the idea onto me that James Dobson is correct to warn others against voting for Trump.

I wrote:

christinewjc Says:

James Dobson has his opinion, but so does another Christian believer, Joel C. Rosenberg.

GMpilot  replied:

GMpilot Says:

Let them fight it out, then. You’re not denying it. That alone is significant.
I’ve made my decision as, I suspect, have you.

My reply:

No need for them to “fight it out.” Both men are born-again Christians, so whether or not one or both are wrong about either candidate does not ultimately affect their salvation. THAT is what is significant, not your opinion or feigned consternation about their voting choice.

We are all sinners. There are none righteous – no not one. We are saved by grace through faith through the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. His resurrection to life proves who He is and we can rest in His promises.

Elections come and go. Presidents are elected, then after 4 or 8 years, leave office.

This Billy Graham quote applies more now than when he first said it back on New Year’s Eve, 1975:

I believe that every problem facing us as Americans is basically a spiritual problem. Crime is a spiritual problem. Inflation is a spiritual problem. Corruption is a spiritual problem. Social injustice is a spiritual problem. The lack of will even to defend our freedoms is a spiritual problem.

The damage done by those in positions of power who do not adhere to the commandments of God are egregious and damaging to our people, the nation, and the world.

However, God is still on His throne in heaven and we know where all of this is going.

The good is always there.

The bad and the ugly are in existence for a time, but one day, evil will be swept away.

Galatians (see Galatians 5:16-5:21 below)* tells us how damaging the “lusts of the flesh” are to our souls.  We are told in many places within Scripture of this fact, and it is why Christians, through the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us, can endure the longsuffering (see Galatians 5:22-5:25 below)** going on in this world.

Why?

Because it isn’t our final home.  We are told in many places within Scripture of this. Many of the most significant Bible verses are those stated by  Jesus, Himself.

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.”

Jhn 14:2

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

Jhn 14:3

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

What this means most of all (e.g. “He has overcome the world”) is that His ultimate plans will not be thwarted; even though the evil ones think they can oppose God’s ultimate purposes.

Despite the evil intent of the God haters, they are (unbeknownst to them) being used to achieve more believers in Christ!

The Gospel continues on, being preached throughout the earth and Christian believers will ultimately be with Jesus in eternity. What goes on here on this earth is insignificant compared to where each of us will spend eternity. Even more important is Who we will be with! Jesus Christ!

Yes, GMpilot. I have made my decision and you have made yours. And, I’m not talking about this particular election.

*******

*Galatians 5:16-5:17

Gal 5:16

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Gal 5:17

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Gal 5:18

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

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.

**Galatians 5:22-25

Gal 5:22

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

Gal 5:23

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

Gal 5:24

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Gal 5:25

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

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.


Talk Wisdom

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

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