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This is some ramblings about things I think about or portions of my study notes as part of my quiet time with God using "Study Notes" from e-Sword.



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April 23, 2016

Hosea 5:15

... until they confess their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction the will seek me diligently.

In verse 6 (Hos_5:6) it mentions them seeking Jehovah, but not finding them.  When calamity was to come on them they would indesparation seek Jehovah, but not after seeking the protection from the  pagan King of Assyria, Jareb, who "could not heal you nor cure you of your wound".  
They had played the harlot with the pagan nations.  The spirit of fornication ruled the land (Hos_5:4) so they could not see.  They had pride which also blinded them (Hos_5:5) so they will not find Jehovah, and indeed He has withdrawn from them. (Hos_5:6)
So if this is the case, vs 15 starts  with  "I will go; I will return to My place".  The "go" and "return" is to Jehovah's place elsewhere and is reflected in vs 6 "withdrawn", but here "until" indicates coming back and associated with them "seed My face".
 If the sin is what motivated to withdraw, what motivates His return?
"until they confess their guilt and seek My face".
The confession of guilt is the opposite of sinning an being proud about themselves.

I find a striking parallel to late 20th and early 21th century America.  We threw off all decency starting with the "sexual revolution" of the 1960's, inviting the "spirit of fornication" to rule over us.  We are also a prideful people who claim to seek God in times of calamity, but we do not confess our guilt.  9/11/2001 "attack" on the Trade Center" is such an example.  The nation flocked to churches for two weeks, did not repent, did not find God whom they sought, and turned back to their former ways.  We will escape judgement? I think not.
Someday, in our affliction, we may finally get to the point of confessing our guilt and seeking God and He will return and heal our nation.
This too will be true for Isreal when the prophecy is fullfilled:
"And I will pour on the house of David, and on the people of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be bitter over Him, as the bitterness over the first-born. (Zec_12:10),
And then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory. (Mat_24:30)

October 19, 2013

James 3:1

...teachers...receive the greater condemnation.

As a teacher of Sunday School, Bible studies, prison ministry and even occasional preaching, this is a solemn warning to me.  Greater condemnation or "severer judgement" according to Albert Barnes commentary means "judgement, trial, account".  Teachers are liable for what they teach.  Therefore it is imperitive they do not teach heresey or false things about God.  There can be a tendency for people who want attention or to be in a place of influence for personal gratification to want the position of teacher, and this scripture should also cause one to examine his motives for error here has greater consequences than perhaps teaching English, sports or music etc.
It is God, not man holding us accountable.  A Bible teacher must rely heavily upon the Holy Spirit and is best to stick with the text.  Study the context of the passage, follow sound hermanutic principles of interpretation and do not be afraid to qualify that which is uncertain about a difficult question of interpretation as your best understanding and not as dogma.  
I was asked to an entry level Bible study using well prepared materials I had only recently went through as a student myself.  I felt wholely inadequate and it was perhaps there I learned to lead on God's Holy Spirit for the words to say.  I was taught to be humble and be ready to respond to a question I didn't have the answer to "I don't know they answer but I am willing to find out and get back to you on that".   A teacher does not need to know all things, only God knows all things.  A teacher should teach what scripture is clearly saying and with humility as one who gives an account before God.
I feel priviledged to teach and that I have been called to do so.  But I do so with fear and intrepedation which leads me to dependence on the Lord.  To him who is given much, much is expected (Luk_12:48).  

July 27, 2013

Mark 14, 36

...all things are possible to You...

And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible to You. Take away this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will. 

Jesus, God incarnate, prays to God the Father, acknowledging that all things are possible for Him.  Jesus asks that what He came for might not have to happen; that  perhaps there is som other way for it to be accomplished.  In His humanity, the pain, suffering, the corruption of taking on the sins of the world, isolation from the Father and tasting death were overwhelming Him for He knew or could sense how awful it was what He had to go through. 
But an intriquing point is that it was the will of His Father that He endure this suffering.  Jesus prayers not withstanding, the Father did not spare Him this suffering.
We all rather avoid suffering.  We pray all the time to avoid it.  We sometimes loose faith in the Father's love when we pray for relief but receive none.  We think our heavenly Father does not hear nor care to spare us.  But did the Father not care for His only begotten and perfect Son? And yet He did not answer that prayer by sparing Him.  Jesus rightly said not my will but your wll be done.   Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and bear it.  He is has His perfect will in this.   Jesus learned obedience through suffering (Heb_5:8).  How much more do we need to be taught how to be faithfully His son?  That may mean suffering according to His will.  Let us see to it we learn obedience through our suffering just as our loving Shepherd did.

January 26, 2013

Matthew 26:53-54  

Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? 54  But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?

Jesus willing went to the cross in obedience to His Father on our behalf.  He was never out of control, man had no power over Him.  Amazingly all was done EXACTLY as scripture said it would happen, even WHEN it would happen, hundreds of years prior!

The jeers from the crowd:
Psalm 22:8 He trusted on Jehovah; let Him deliver Him; let Him rescue Him, since He delights in Him!

Description of crucifixion long before it had been invented by the Romans, even dividing His clothes! 
Psalm 22:14-18 I am poured out like water, and all My bones are spread apart; My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. 15  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws;
Psa 22:16  and You have brought Me into the dust of death. For dogs have circled around Me; the band of spoilers have hemmed Me in, piercers of My hands and My feet. 17  I can count all My bones; they look and stare at Me. Psa 18  They divide My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing. Psa 22:18  They divide My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing.

What was given Him to drink, Both items:
Psalm 69:21 They also gave Me gall for my food; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.

He died willingly as a punishment for OUR sins:
Isaiah 53:1-12 Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of Jehovah revealed? 2  For He comes up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He has no form nor majesty that we should see Him, nor an appearance that we should desire Him. 3  He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7  He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. 8  He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken. 9  And He put His grave with the wicked, and with a rich one in His death; although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10  Yet it pleased Jehovah to crush Him; to grieve Him; that He should put forth His soul as a guilt-offering. He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. 11  He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul. He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify for many; and He shall bear their iniquities. 12  Therefore I will divide to Him with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death; and He was counted among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors.

Finally EXACTLY when it would take place: (note 70 weeks of years or 490 years, after 69 weeks of years Mesiah is "cut off")
Danial 9:24-26a. Seventy weeks are decreed as to your people and as to your holy city, to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. 25  Know therefore and understand, that from the going out of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem, to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in times of affliction. 26  And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself....

January 24, 2013

 ...not as I will...
Matthew 26:39

Not all prayers are answered in accordance to our desires, even if we perceive them as the best good.  God has a purpose in the things He does and allows.  This is true for our lives as it was for Jesus.  Some sorrows are needed for God's will to be accomplished.  If we don't care for it, we are in good company, neither did Jesus.  But we, like Jesus must surrender our will to the Father "not as I will, but as You will."

January 21, 2013 


All of you will be offended in Me...
Matthew 26:31

Offended in the greek is skandalidzo from which we get our word "scandalize" from.  According to Strong's definition it means to entrap or trip up (figuratively stumble or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure); make to offend.
The affects of the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of our Lord were overwhelming to the disciples even though Jesus told them before hand what was to happen.  They likely could not comprehend what was about to take place, and the treat of real violence over taking the "Son of Man" (though He in reality laid down His life willingly) was a real threat to them.  They would abandon Jesus, scatter, hide and even deny being associated with Jesus,  trying to protect their lives while trying understand how things unraveled so fast.  Their fears and doubts would later be arrested by the risen Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit would ultimately serve, even unto death, their Lord and Savior.
We who look back upon the cross so long ago must try to imagine the reality of such an event, not shun it but embrace it based upon the testimony of these same men and be emboldened to "preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness" (1Co_1:23) to the world of our day.  Let not the crucifixion of Christ be a stumbling block to us today.  The concept is still abhorrent to some in our "civilized" world today.  They cannot; no they will not believe that God is an angry and jealous God who would pour His wrath out on His own Son to pay the penalty for sin, nor would He do so upon those who reject Him.  But this is the lie from Satan "God hath not said...".
God did say.  God did do.  Jesus did die for your sins and mine.  Will you be offended in Him or will you embrace the Love which went to the cross to save us from the wrath of God because of our sin?
The Apostle Paul says: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Rom 1:16

Dec 21, 2012

Heb 10:35

...do not cast away your confidence...

I heard this verse on "The Word for Life" radio broadcast today.  Its context was used with Noah from Hebrews 11, the "hall of faith" chapter.  Noah believed God and labored 120 years building an ark.   Some scholars say that it had never rained before this time, but the mist spoken of in Genesis provided all the water for crops, men and animals.
Regardless Noah labored and endured scorn "reproaches and afflictions" (Heb_10:33) while preaching to the world.   Certainly if anyone had reason to cast away his confidence, it was Noah.  He endured for the long run and received the  "recompense of reward".
We lose our confidence when we do not see things going the way we would like them to go.  But the previous verses teach us that this is not what we should expect.  Those honored in chapter 11 did not receive the promise in this life  Heb_11:39.  They saw the promises not for this world, for they confessed they were strangers and aliens of this world, but for the next  Heb_11:13.
Our confidence is in the one who holds the future and the future reward.  We are to fight the good fight of faith while in this world and "not let your hearts be troubled (Joh 14:1)  ...but be of good cheer.   I have overcome the world" Joh_16:33.  This last verse cited also says "I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation".
So let us not "cast away your confidence" but knowing what to expect, walk in confidence.

Dec 26, 2011

Joel 3

 I use e-Sword for my personal Bible reading and studying and they have a place to write study notes, basically your own commentary tied to verses in scripture, just like the other commentators.   From time to time as "illuminated" (the "ah ha" moments of understanding scripture as given by the Spirit") I write down thoughts.   Sometimes it is just general information for clarification.   I highly phrases in verses in the MKJV Bible tab in yellow to indicated that I have written a comment on that phrase.   Today, being off work and able to soak in scripture spent time in Joel 3.   This speaks of a yet future (perhaps very soon from now) events surrounding Judah and Jerusalem (the land of Isreal).   

I date when these comment were written.  As the years go on, they may indicate a growing understanding of these scriptures, and what God was speaking to me about.

Here are my comments gleaned from this wonderful time:

Joe 3:1 ...in those days and in that time...
Dec 26, 2011
The wording is obviously future to Joel's time but when?  "I will bring again the exiles of Judah and Jerusalem, I wll aslo gather all the nations and will bring them down into the  valley of Jehoshaphat..."
It will be a time when exiles are gathered.  This would have to be after Babylon or some time far distant as in our time.  But the gathering of "all nations" and that "I will fight with them" does not discribe the post Babylonian exile but sounds more like the gathering of the nations to Armageddon (Rev_16:16) for battle (Rev_16:14)

Joe 3:2 ...divided My land..
Dec 26, 2011
There have been "land for peace deals with Isreal" since the 6 day war in 1967 when Jerusalem was captured.  None have brought peace, yet there are still calls today for the land to be divided and the Palistinians to have a homeland with all of Jesursalem, God's city, to be its capital. 
This seems to be one of the causes for which God wages war on the nations.  More reasons are given in the following verses. 

Joe 3:4 ...Philistia...
Dec 26, 2011
 or Palistine (KJV)

...if you reward Me...
repay (LITV), recompense (KJV, ASV), pay Me back (ESV) that is for what God would do to them, would they try to get even?   Gill comments:
"will ye render me a recompence? for turning you out of your land, and putting my people into it? do you think to retaliate this?

and if ye recompense me; by doing an injury to my people:

swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; bring swift and sudden destruction upon you."

Jor 3:6 ...to the sons of the Greeks...
Dec 26, 2011
The Greeks were not the formitable nation they would later become with Alexandar more than a century later, after the Babylonian exile.
The commentators all seem to mention the Jews as slaves to the Romans in exile that came much later and also perhaps with the destuction of Jerusalem in AD 70. 

Joe 3:17  ...dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain...
Dec 26, 2011
This verse and forward speaks of the time of the Millenial Kingdom yet future when Christ will reign from Jerusalem.
The Jewish people will again turn to Jehovah God and know Him(Joe_3:17).  Blessings will be poured out and Jerusalem will be a holy city where only true worshipers will dwell.
A new temple "house of Jehovah" (Joe_3:18) will exist, and Judah and Jersalem will never be displaced (Joe_3:20).

Joe 3:21 ...their blood...
Dec 26, 2011
This probably refers back to vs 19, the blood of the "sons of Judah whose innocent blood they poured out in their land"
Barnes comments that the term "blood" is not a reference to general sin but specifically to shed blood.   That being of the persecuted Jews perhaps of Revalation whose pleaded to the Lord for vengence of their martyrdom, hence "cleanse" or "proclaiming the innocence" of the blood that was shed.

The phrase "which I did not cleanse" is perhaps the delay in judgement of the nations who shed the blood of the sons of Judah. 

Not supported by the commentators, and if taken out of surrounding text but applied to general history of the Jews with specific reference to the rejection of Christ and "causing of His crucification" (0f course He laid down His own life, none took it) they were judged with the judged in AD 70 and scattered for 2000 years.  Now perhaps at this time after the judgements of the nations, He will pronounce their innocence, not that they did not do this, but like one who turns to Christ, their sin is pronounced cleansed, so as the Jewish nations recognizes their Messiah, so they will finally be truly cleansed and pronounced innocent by virtue of the work of the cross.

July 30, 2011

Trusting God's Method's

Hudson Taylor the famous missionary to China once said "God's work done in God's way will not lack God's resources".   God has commissioned us to do His work and did not say "use whatever method works for your culture".   Many misuse the Apostle Paul's  statement "I am made all things to all men, so that I might by all means save some. " 1Cor 9:22b as an excuse to use the worlds methods to do God's work.  But the results will not be of God, for they cannot be for they were works of men and not the power of God.

Paul also says: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Rom 1:16 

The gospel of Christ is the gospel of sin and the cross, Jesus' death and resurrection to be a propitiation (paid the penalty to satisfy justice)  for our sin.  Why did Paul have to mention that he was not ashamed of this?  

In 1 Cor 1:22-29 he explains this: 

" For the Jews ask for a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; 23  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness. 24  But to them, the called-out ones, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25  Because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men. 26  For you see your calling, brothers, that not many wise men according to the flesh are called, not many mighty, not many noble.
27  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28  and God has chosen the base things of the world, and things which are despised, and things which are not, in order to bring to nothing things that are; 29  so that no flesh should glory in His presence. "

Note again this mentions the power of God.  To both Jews and Greeks he preached a difficult (stumbling block) and foolish (not worldly wisdom) message.  He did not appeal to pride of working ones way to heaven (Pharisee's obedience to the letter of the Law) nor to the philosophy of the Greek mindset.   In other words worldly methods.  His "becoming all things to all men" was to identify with them in their helplessness in regards to the things of God.  To identify is not to imatate.  Paul was separated out by God that God should get the glory in his life.  God does not get the glory by living like the world.  If Paul lived like the world, they would not have hated him so much and he would not have suffered for Christ and Jesus said he would have to.  

Notice in vs 28 that God will use the things despised by the world to bring about the power of God to save men.  Why?  "so that no flesh shoud glory in His presence".  If we use God's methods, we should be so amazed that it worked, because we would never have thought of that.    

Now I must confess that while I know this I have not seen this take place but in very small ways.  As I am now in my lower 50's I am getting the mid-life crisis thoughts about "what have I done with my life that will make a lasting difference?".

I have not lived in the power of God and I show little fruit as a result.  I must seek the power of God and learn to trust Him to do what I cannot do of my own accord.

In closing, what inspired this was a quote my pastor said last Sunday from the late Francis Schaeffer in a sermon he gave:

"Trusting God’s Methods
Is it not amazing: though we know the power of the Holy Spirit can be ours, we still ape the world’s wisdom, trust its forms of publicity, its noise, and imitate its ways of manipulating men! If we try to influence the world by using its methods, we are doing the Lord’s work in the flesh. If we put activity, even good activity, at the center rather than trusting God, then there may be the power of the world, but we will lack the power of the Holy Spirit.
The key question is this: as we work for God in this fallen world, what are we trusting in? To trust in particular methods is to copy the world and to remove ourselves from the tremendous methods promise that we have something different – the power of the Holy Spirit rather than the power of human technique."

May 17, 2011

1 John 2:2 ...He is the propitiation concerning our sins...

Propitiation:  To appease, atonement.

From Vine's Epository Dictionary:
Propitiation: " It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins."

God's moral law has been broken by sinful man.  He owes a moral debt to God just as any man who commits a crime owes society for his crime, be it a fine, community service or jail time.  God's righteousness demands the the debt to be paid.  The debt mus tbe satisfied.  Shall it be God's wrath upon man?  It will be for many who refuse God's other alternative, an exchange of our sin debt for the righteousness of Chirst.  Christ paid  our sin debt at the cross and in exchange for our sin debt He voucher's us with Christ's righteousness, at least for those who humbly cry out to Him for this merciful gift He offers through the Gospel.
For those who refuse, or even think they are righteous enough apart from humbly receiving this gift, the wrath of God abide upon them.

Joh 3:36  He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him. 

Believes on is an active verb.  Trusts in.  A belief that leads to action, not merely a acedemic assent.

March 31, 2011

Matt 6:10:  Your kingdom come....

Jesus kingdom, that is his earthly reign from Jerusalem, the millennial kingdom, is still to come.  But He is the king.   This is like David, of whom the Messiah was to be.  David was annointed king after Saul disobey God and offered up a sacrifice which was only for the priests to do.  But David did not go to Jesusalem and usurp the throne from Saul.  Saul persued David to kill him.  even when David had a clear chance to kill Saul he refused to put a hand on God's (once) annointed king, but wait for God to bring Saul to an end which happened at the hands of Saul's enemy.

David then took his rightful position on the throne. 

Jesus is the annointed King and Lord of all but until He physically returns again an sets His feet on the Mount of Olives, at the appointed time, we do not see Him reign physically on the throne in Jerusalem, but that day will come.   "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."

January 15, 2011

Monopoly Analogy:

One day this week I was working from home because of the icy roads.  Kyle was also off school.   About mid morning the electicity also decided to take the day off.   Thrust back a century or more ago we did our best to entertain ourselves.   Out came the Monopoly game (one of my least favorites)  and despite my best scheming I found myself landing on houses and hotels until I lost everything I hoped to gain.

But imagine if I started the game with one other opponent who was given all the properties with 1 hotel on each.  I was given the usual starting dollars.   My first roll of the dice was Reading railroad,   $200 because my opponent had all four railroads, ugh. 

Next turn I got 5, visiting jail, great!  No rent!  Next time I rolled 10, yeah!   Free Parking!  But I was haunted with the reality that I could not dodge all those properties for long, it was only a matter of time before I would be bankrupt.  

I roll a 2, Chance!  I dodged another bullet.   The card read "If you desire you can give ALL your money to your opponent and you will share His properties, no more rent."  Wow, I never saw that card before.  I really need that one.  But I wouldn't have any money left.....and how could I ever hope to win?

That game is the one we play with God.   But we have laned on a number of properities and piled up IOUs that we can never hope to pay back.  You our sin before Him is like landing on properties.   How long would you except IOUs from someone who never paid you back?  

The Gospel is like that "Chance" card.  If we give ourselves to Jesus, we share in all that is His, he paid our sin debt.

Mar 8:35-38  For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, he shall save it.  36  For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  37  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?   38  Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

January 3, 2011

Thinking Differently:

I succeed at work because when I don't know the answer to something, I look it up.  My supervisor really wants me to do that rather than guess because the consequences of being wrong could be very costly to the company, like a recall, lost sales or poor company image for the customer.  That makes sense right? 

Here is a quote from the “One Minute Manager”, a book given do me at work to read. 
“I remember one time when visiting my son's school, I observed a fifth grade teacher giving a state capitals test to her class.  When I asked her why she didn't put atlases around the room and let the kids use them during the test, she said, 'I couldn't do that because all the kids would get 100%.' As though it would be bad for everyone to do well”

No wonder I never care for school though I love to learn.

Rom 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God. "

Renewing your mind is thinking differently.  Specifically thinking they way God wants us to think rather than the way the world wants us to think.

Pastor Kevin spoke on 1Jn 2:15-17

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 16  because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17  And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Do we think the same way that the average person thinks about the importance and priorities of things, position, education, power, prestige, happiness and (dare I say) self esteem?
One hundred years from now the things that we think of that are so important will they really mean anything to anyone?  God and people are the only things that last. 

We need to think differently about things.  While we might not know as much about biblical thinking as we would should, (and I do strongly recommend being a lifelong student of scripture), you would go a long way to the values demonstrated in most commercials and TV shows and do just the opposite.

We need to think differently about things.    

Nov 30, 2010

God is serious about the Sabbath, are we?

Sometimes what I read in scripture is very convicting and difficult to apply in a world that is very different than the way God designed it to be.  Today's reading in Ezekial is one of those.  Here is what I wrote in my study notes:

Ezek 20:20
...keep My sabbaths holy and they shall be a sign....

Do we every think of Sunday (The Lord's Day) as a sign between God and us that we may know that Jehovah, the Lord is our God?

We say that baptism is a sign of our identification with God in Chirst.  We partake of communion to "proclaim His death until He comes again", but do we take Sabbaths seriously?  To be a sign that Jehovah is our God?

When I was a child, almost everything was closed on Sunday, even gas stations closed  (they did not take credit or debit at the pump either).  Resturants and shops were closed.  Only churches were open for worship.  Saturday Masses were not even started yet (and thankfully Baptist  churches did not go that way to this day).
Do we treat God as Holy and obey His statutes and judgements?
Do we show they world that we belong to Him by our obedience to Him?
Or is Sunday just another day off for us, or worse, do we have to work at a place of employment as a convenience to others who do not take honor the sabboth? 

Even more hitting home should we even partake of goods and services on the sabbath to make business profitable on that day that they force other believers to work on the Sabbath?

No one wants to answer that question because it woudl be a big inconvenience.  We would hate to have our relationship to God be an inconvenience to us, wouldn't we?

November 24, 2010

Why Does God Allow False Teachers?

If you know me at all, you know that I am passionate about truth, especially when it comes to God's Word and faithfully teaching it and preaching it "in season and out", that is when it is popular and when it is unpopular (read not politically correct).  

My many comments on this website, spurred on by my seeker targeted past experience attest to this.  We are to love people and share with them the truth, but we are not to be people pleasers  where God's truth takes a back seat.   There are many false teachers these days wanting to "win many to Chirst" what ever that means who adulterate the word of God for drawing in many people to there edifices.

By why does God not just zap these false teachers who are bringing so much confusion that it is hard to know who to believe or who to trust?    Jim Bulblizt who used to run the "Old Truth" blog before facing some serious medical conditions wrote a blog yesterday for his church in milwaukee, Christ Reformed Baptist Church   It is as follows:

JIM BUBLITZ ON . . .

Why Does God Allow False-Teachers?

Forgive the recent delay in postings on this blog; both of it's writers have been dealing with some medical issues that have kept us busy. Your prayers are always appreciated.

Like many of you, I come from a church that is accustomed to "binding and loosening" the devil and evil spirits of various kinds. The first few chapters of Job however, give us a different depiction of who exactly is in charge.  We know it's God, and the power of the devil does not even come close; in fact in Job we see the devil asking God's permission to carry out his schemes. 

So the question arises, if God is in charge - why does He allow so many false teachers today that are deceiving people by the bus load.  A quick glance at the Top 50 churches in America leaves one wondering how we've gotten to this point where so many suspect teachers have accumulated giant crowds and such positive critic acclaim. A while ago however, I found this helpful excerpt from AW Pink that seemed to make some sense of the matter:
This is a very solemn question, and we must restrict ourselves to what the Scriptures say by way of reply.
"You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul". (Deuteronomy 13:3).
From those words it is clear that God allows teachers of error for the same reason as He does persecutors of His people: to test their love, to try their fidelity, to show that their loyalty to him is such that they will not give ear unto His enemies. Error has always been more popular than the Truth, for it lets down the bars and fosters fleshly indulgence, but for that very reason it is obnoxious to the godly.

The one who by grace can say "I have chosen the way of Truth" will be able to add "I have stuck unto Thy testimonies" (Psalm 119:30, 31), none being able to move him therefrom.
"For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." (1 Corinthians 11:19).
Error serves as a flail, separating the chaff from the wheat. Let some plausible and popular preacher come forward with an old error decked out in new clothes and empty professors will at once flock to his standard; but not so with those who are established in the Faith. Thus, by means of the false prophets, God makes it appear who are the ones who hold the Truth in sincerity: they are faithful to Him despite all temptations to turn away unto a "broader-minded" way. The genuine gold endures every test to which it is subjected. Thus too are the unregenerate "converts" revealed: the counterfeit gold will not withstand the fire. Those who are attracted by a novelty do not endure but are soon carried away by some newer innovation.
From Pink's writing in Sermon on the Mount - (Ages Software)

Sept 18, 2010

Spiritual Deception in the Church

An entry a few days back at apprising ministries entitled "Heritics and the Cross" (http://apprising.org/2010/09/10/heretics-and-the-cross/) brings up the point that spiritual deception depends upon counterfit experience that looks and feels real.

It never announces itself as false, but depends on some bit of truth understood and believed almost unquestionably.  Once trust is gained the reader or hearer is likely to accept what follows after. 

Jesus warns us:  "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give miraculous signs and wonders in order to seduce, if possible, even the elect."  Mark 13:22 

Now Jesus loves us and as the "author and perfecter of our faith"  (Hebrews 12:2) he is warning us to be aware imposters.  These will be powerful deceivers trying to make people beleive they are Christ or his prophet.   It is easy to say  "I would not be decieved" but how would you know?  After all the skeptic Pharisees missed the real appearing of the Messiah and when someone comes with the signs and wonders on par with what we read, not wanting to be like the Pharisees, we may want to believe them. 

What's my point?  Today there are many who are being deceived by a huge new wave of teaching that is called "Spiritual Disciplines"  that involve silence, labyrinths, Lecto Divina, chanting and many other to "experience God" in a new and fresh way.  Those who teach and encourage the use of such rarely appeal to scripture because it isn't there.  The only thing I hear quoted is "Be Still and Know"  from Ps 46:10, but if you read the Psalm, you will not get the idea of sitting somewhere in silence and experiencing His presense, it is in a the midsts of a picture of God's judgement upon the earth of the nations.  He is our refuge and we can know that He will be exhalted before the nations.

Instead the harken back to the "desert Fathers", monastics who lived alone in the desert trying to experience God.  Their methods were taken from eastern mystical religions.  These methods open one up to the spiritual world in ways forbidden in scripture.  Some eastern mystics have noted that drugs, and the experiences people have when on them, are shortcuts to the spiritual world.  They let down the defences of a conscious mind allowing control to the spiritual realm.  If God forbids this, then who or what is it people are experiencing?  Satan disquises himself as an angle of light (2 Cor 11:14) and is more than willing to deceive believers and non-believers alike to think they have experienced God when they have, in reality, been derailed.  It gives them peace and joy so it must be right?  Wrong!  True peace and joy come from God when we walk in His light, the Word of God.    

Taking eastern mystical techniques and adding Christian language to it does not make it Christian anymore than adding a little wine to sewage making the sewage into wine.  This is nothing more than Transcendental Meditation with a Christian facade.  

The way to see through the lies and deceptions of Satan is to know and obey the Word of God given to us in the Bible.  "But to this one I will look, to the afflicted and contrite spirit, and the one who trembles at My Word." Isaiah 66:2.  We need to know the truth and be aware that our adversary is seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) and be weary of anything that is not solidly based in scripture.   The tradgedy today is that there are many "big name" teachers and endless books promoted at churches and bookstores these days that peddle Contemplative Sprituality and who want to radically change (redefine, reimagine, rethink) church and the Bible.  The detest truth as an absolute knowable entity tied inextricably to God Himself.  The don't believe the Bible is the truth or if it is, can be understood.  These people do so to weaken the foundation and then introduce God as experiencable.  There methods of experiencing God introduce deceived men and women to encouters with demons that delight them and meke them feel good, for now.  But they lead them away from the true and living God who we can know and enjoy fully, but we must do it on His terms and not the false teachers of this world who love this world and not the truth to death.

July 6, 2010

Ideas have consequences: Update

I posted a link to the article below on FaceBook and had a response that challenged the idea that Hitler was anti-Christian.  The link is:  http://www.nobeliefs.com/speeches.htm.

I read the whole thing.  It was a collection of quotes from Hitler from 1922 to 1945.  Rather than undermining the points made in "Ideas have consequences" it actually confirms them when you read it carefully.

"Ideas have consequences" (IHC) posited the antithesis between the source of truth being God and "the will to power" of Nietzsche (collective will of the people as to what truth is) that was embraced in the fascism of the Nazis.  Post-modernism (then in Nazi Germany) had long since rejected God as the source of truth.  This came after modernism and higher criticism stripped the church of any Biblical Authority.  quoting  IHC:

Heidegger (who invoked Nietzsche in a famous address) realized the implications as explained by Veith: “If God is dead, there is no longer a transcendent authority of reference point for objective truth” 

If God was no longer the source of objective truth, then this left "the will to power" to determine what turth is.  Hitler's quotes affirmed this as he stipped the church of any moral authority to challenge the state but only let it attend to social gospel concerns and other religious matters.  Hitler claimed to identify with Christianity, and he may have believed that, but primarily to justify what he was trying to do.  It is clear he did not have a grasp of true biblical Christianity. Early on he quoted (twisted badly) a few scriptures to justify his hatred of the Jews and what he would do to them.  By the end he referred to Almighty God occasionally and "Providence" abundantly, again to justify what he was doing.  He felt his success was due to providence.  But all his actions and beliefs were totally opposite to biblical Christianity we understand from scripture.   He despised the weak, sick and poor and purged them from the state. I found it fascinating that he often spoke of God helping those who worked hard for the causes he promoted. In the end it came out as the familiar "God helps those who help themselves".  

The collective will of the state was the law of the land and that was fashioned by his hand and re-enforced though education, rallies, and propaganda.  Life was oppressive even for those of the "right race" (a Darwinist idea) and expendable for everyone else.  He emphasized sacrifice for the good of the state in his quotes.  On the contrary scripture is replete with admonitions to plead the case of the widows and orphans (the weak who could not take care of themselves) to do justice and mercy.

Ironically I heard and interview today of a man who wrote a new biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  In his research he found mounds of evidence the Nazi's hated Christianity and Christians.  They considered it a weak religion for the very reasons that it instructed to take care of the helpless.

From Hitler's quotes I got the impression that he truly thought he was doing good thing and all for the people (the right kind of people) of Germany and that God empowered him and even saved him from an assassination attempt (I think the one Bonhoeffer was involved in).  There was no evidence, despite his words that Hitler was a Christian in any Biblical sense of the word and he did not tolerate any moral authority the church may have tried to criticise his actions. He rejected the moral law of God and replaced it with his own idea of morality.   At first he touted the endorsement of the Catholic church but when it started to protest his actions he says:

"Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church."

-Adolf Hitler, reportedly to have said in Berlin in 1936 on the enmity of the Catholic Church to National Socialism

The Bonhoeffer biography is called "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet and Spy" by Timothy J. Keller.   I have not read it but it sounds like a book that is hard to put down.

July 5, 2010

Ideas have consequences!

What's happening to America?  What's happening to Christianity?  Have we seen this before?

Ideas have consequences.

This is a lengthy yet concise article.  I'll warn you it is not an easy read but has deep consequences.  Having read Francis Schaeffer books that touched on philosophy, art, culture and its affect on the world and Christianity, this article looks back on the philosophy prevalent that embraced Fascism after WWI.  Those underlying philosophies seeded decades ago in the USA are bearing its fruit at an alarming rate.

http://apprising.org/2010/07/04/bob-dewaay-ideas-have-consequences/

Tom

July 3, 2010

Jeremiah, a prophet for our time.

I have bee slowly plowing through Jeremiah which has to be going on two years now. not everyday mind you, but often in my morning devotion time.  I highlighted the uncountable times that God speaks in first person "I will", I have done" "I caused"... which, to me, makes any Deist argument laughable.  He did not just create the world, wind it up and then watch from a distance without out interacting with His world. 

But Jeremiah speaks to our time in a resounding voice for those "who have ears to hear".  We live in a period of time where even the elect of God could, if it were possible, be seduced or decieved.  Mar 13:22 (see  also 2 Tim 3:13)  If you look at a bible concordance for the word deceive and deceived it would surprise you.   This disception is not an external threat to the church but it is invading from every corner of that which identifies itself as christian.  But those who love the pure word of the Lord and rightly handle it, that is letting it speak to us and not read into it what we want to believe which many today do, you will see the subtle deception. 

In Jeremiah's day there were many prophets, but only one who spoke for God.  The others claimed to speak for God but their messages were of successs, prosperity while the people worshiped foriegn gods.  Jeremiah rightly cried for repentance humility before God.  The Babylonians were at the door to haul them into exile as God Himself purposed as punishment for His people's sins.

Ken Silva sums up the rest of what I want to say.  For the ful article see:

http://apprising.org/2010/07/01/the-cost-of-the-truth

The Time Has Now Arrived To Tell The Truth—No Matter What; To The End

Sound like a fun job; or can you now see the life of the faithful prophet Jeremiah in stark contradiction to our current version of evangelical Christianity? All of this people-pleasing preaching put forth by today’s semi-pelagian evangelical compromisers in the ECoD [Ecumenical Church of Deceit] that somehow we are entitled to—and even expected to—have a “successful” purpose of self-introspective spirituality leading to a distorted view of an abundant best life now. So what is the faithful Christian going to do? Should we simply smile and tell everyone, “all is well” while the visible Christian Church is on fire and crumbling down all around them?

As Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) once said, “It is not unloving to tell the truth. You can get in a lot of trouble for doing it; but it’s not unloving.” He was absolutely right; and more importantly, he is backed up by what Jesus Himself tells us as His disciples:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” (John 15:18-21)

It’s been pointed out many, many times; but the above simply does not appear to be a mandate that at some point in time the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Dr. John MacArthur has rightly stated is “hard to believe,” is suddenly going to become popular with the world. The “if” in verse 18 above warns that the genuine Christian is eventually going to come into conflict with the world system of Satan, which quitely literally hates the one true and living God, as well as His adopted children in Christ. This is absolutely inevitable; and it’s made crystal clear from the end of verse 19 — “therefore the world hates you.”

June 13, 2010

The Decietfully Rebellious Heart of Man

We have formed (a) god in our own image who believes what we believe and who thinks the way we think. We are comfortable with this god for he demands no change in us. But the transcendent God who created us said: “you thought that I was like yourself, but I will rebuke you, and set in order before your eyes.” Ps 50”21

Isa 55:6-9 Seek Jehovah while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Jehovah, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

We cannot for get who we are and who He is. Our hearts are described as "deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9 So how can we comprehend God as He is without conjuring up a distorted version of our own making? The answer is in scripture itself. In scripture He revealed all we need to know about Him. But we must accept the whole of scripture, not just some of the “red letter” words, the sayings of Jesus we like. We must reconcile the righteousness of God which demands things we recoil at with the love of God which has mercy on those who come to Him on His terms. We must come to scripture and rid ourselves of all our preconceived ideas of God, the god we made up, who we are comfortable with and let the Bible speak for itself of who God is and fall on our face and worship Him.

June 6, 2010

How Deep the Father's love for us:

I was deeply touched by the offeratory song today in church.  Much is made of God's love for us, but rarely is mention the cost of that love and why it cost that much. 

It was my sin that put Him there, my sin that He bore.   Too often the reason is forgotten.   Tragic still after all that cost,  the story is not told at all.   An assumed universal saving of everyone is implied, but that is not true.   

"He came to His own, and His own received Him not.  But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name"  John 1:11-12

Here are the lyrics:

Stuart Townend

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocing voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that helf Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I knoww that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast inJesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

May 30, 2010

Prodigal...

Luke 15:11-24 is a familiar parable about the man who had two sons.  The eldest of whose duties was to care for this father in old age and who would also be given a double portion of the inheritence for the extra responsibility and his younger brother.

The younger brother wanted to cash out early thinking he had a better way to run his life than under the shawdow of his father and elder brother.  He lived it up for a while until the money was gone and found himself destitute, feeding pigs and wishing he had as much to eat as they had.  

I heard this parabable explained at least a dozen times, usually very well.   I always put myself in the place of the elder brother, thinkin of myself as responsible and never going off on my own in wanton pleasure.

But this morning in church, though not covering this passage at all, it came to mind that really each one of us is that prodigal, even myself.  God is gracious to all in what we call common grace.  This usually refers to Matt 5:45 where He causes the rain to fall upon the evil and the good alike.   But there is much more that He does for us in common grace.   But each one of us is like the prodigal and we take the blessings bestowed upon us from God and go our own way in life with little thought to the sourcee of the blessings and what He desires.

The prodigal finally came to his senses and realized it was better to be a servant in the house of his father than to rule his own life as he had.   He made up his mind to go back to his father and say "I have sinned against Heaven and before you and am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants. "

Did you catch that?  He admitted his sin both against his father and heaven, that is God.  He plead for mercy, if only to be treated as a servant.

As prodigals, we need to come to our senses ourselves and recognize the siitution we are in.  We may not be as poor as the prodigal was, but we are slaves to sin, whether it be to our passions, pride, or whatever, we are in rebellion to God.   But like the prodigal who realized his error, we can come  to the father in repentance and see the gracious response from God as the prodigal saw from his father.  

But until we do, we are still in a "far away land".   If the prodigal had not come to his senses,  the story would have had a very different ending.  He would have been lost forever and died in misery.  Have you "come to your senses" like the prodigal did?

May 23, 2010

God's "X" men:

I found this article interesting in brining a point in the history of Israel to life and a reflection of our times.
"My Spirit shall not always strive with man"  Gen  6:3 .   God repented of making man because of his sin and destroyed all but  Noah's family.
He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, those who forsook Him in the wilderness while Moses was on the mount, the land of Canaan when Joshua led Israel into the promised land, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem who delighted in sin in the passage referred to here in Ezekiel 9

We play lightly with the things of God and do not treat Him as Holy.  We must take heed and discern the times we live in.

Luk 18:7  And shall not God avenge His own elect who cry day and night to Him, though He has been long-suffering over them?
Luk 18:8  I say to you that He will avenge them speedily. Yet when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?


PASTOR LARRY DEBRUYN: DISCERNING “X-MEN”

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Marked for life: discernment ministry in light of Ezekiel 9:1-11.

Someone once said that sin is as much breaking God’s heart as it is His Law. When God looked down on the perversity of the people on earth before the Deluge, it was recorded that He “was grieved in His heart” (Genesis 6:6b). When confronted by resident wickedness both without and within the professing church, Christians can manifest one of three reactions: approval (1 Corinthians 5:2), indifference (Zephaniah 1:12), or disapproval as indicated by the presence of either anger (Psalm 119:53) or grief (Psalm 119:136). So the question becomes, as we see the worldliness-wickedness invading the church, how do we feel about it? Are we agitated by, indifferent to, or accommodating of it?

Not unlike the society and church of our times, during Ezekiel’s ministry Judah found herself in a moral and spiritual “melt down.” Fraud, violence, adultery, and idolatry were running rampant amongst God’s chosen people. Idols had been set up in the Temple (Ezekiel 8:17; 9:9). From his location in Babylon, the Lord took Ezekiel on a virtual reality tour of the Temple, the place where on the Mercy Seat beneath the Cherubim, God’s Shekinah glory was to have been seated (Ezekiel 8:4). What he saw in that place of worship stunned the prophet. On his guided tour of the inner court, the Lord showed the prophet where first the people had substituted an idol image for Yahweh; where second, the elders worshiped animals; where third, the women sobbed over the death of Tammuz, a mythological fertility god who had married the Egyptian goddess Ishtar; and where fourth, the priests worshiped the sun (Ezekiel 8:5-18). Up-close and personal, the prophet saw how the nation had abominated into apostasy, how Israel had turned from worshiping the Creator to idolizing the creation and its creatures (See Romans 1:21-23.).

Yet in the midst of all those “alternative spiritualities,” and like the remnant of Elijah’s day who refused to bow their knee to Baal and kiss the idol god (1 Kings 19:18), some believers preserved themselves to be holy unto the Lord. So the Lord instructed the angel dressed in white to mark an “X” on the foreheads of the faithful, a mark that would spare them from the coming divine judgment (circa 600 BC).[1] Most have heard about “the mark of the beast”, the mark the deceived will receive at the end of the age, an identity without which they will neither be able to buy or sell (Revelation 14:9-12). The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a different mark, an “X” that was to be written on the foreheads of those in Judah who had refused to go along with the popular spiritual trends of that day. The “X” would spare them from the coming divine wrath. So the Lord instructed the angel: “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst” (Ezekiel 9:4). Pause with me . . . for a moment let’s project back to that era and ask ourselves the following question: If we had been alive in Ezekiel’s day, would the angel have marked us to be spared from divine judgment?

It was a remnant who strongly disapproved of the apostasy of the majority. In the words of the Lord, they groaned and sighed over the “abominations” (Ezekiel 8:6, 9, 13, 15, 17; 9:4) they saw being committed in the name of religion in their midst. What they saw sickened them to the core of their spiritual and emotional being. Would the angel have marked us if we had lived in that day? We should check out our feelings. Charles Feinberg observed: “Grief is always the portion of those who know the Lord in an evil day. The marked ones were penitent and faithful at a time of widespread departure from the will of the Lord.”[2] Another commentator adds that the criterion for receiving the mark was “an affair of the heart–a passionate concern for God and His people. Failing that, there was no mark . . .”[3]

Some in the mainstream Christian media have called those involved in discernment ministry “Christian attack dogs.”[4] Maybe a better metaphor-label would be “Christian guard dogs”! Discerners so love their Master (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) and His Bride (i.e., the church) that they agonize to protect His truth and her purity.

Allow me to propose a litmus test as to whether or not we might have been marked in Ezekiel’s day. But before asking some questions, we should note the Apostle Peter’s warning: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2:1; Compare Matthew 7:13-15; Jude 17-19.). Based upon Peter’s prediction, does the worldliness that is invading the church bother us? (James 4:4) Does it concern us when we see churches being manipulated by the mechanics of church growth, when the end of growth justifies any means to achieve it? (2 Corinthians 2:17) Does it bother our souls to see the goal of growth eclipsing the Gospel, to see methods employed usurping the Message preached? (Romans 1:16) Does it grieve us to observe the church believing God’s truth less while enjoying “worship celebrations” more? (Matthew 15:8-9) Does the rampant immorality amongst professing evangelicals cause us to sigh? (1 Corinthians 5:2) Were you bothered a few years ago when one evangelical leader, who led a movement in his state to preserve the institution of traditional marriage, was cornered into admitting that he solicited sex from a male prostitute? (Jeremiah 23:14) Do false teachers with their strange and unbiblical teachings annoy you? (Revelation 2:2) Given our media age, does the development of the personality cults around evangelical leaders and speakers, where appearance and a schmoozing style trump substance, concern us? (1 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Peter 2:3; Jude 16) Are some of us even unaware that there are such critters as false teachers who stupefy their followers with their heretical teachings? (Romans 16:17) Does it upset us to see the Christian faith being publicly maligned for reason of the immoral behavior and unbiblical teachings prevalent amongst professing evangelicals? (2 Peter 2:2) In short, are we discerners? (Hebrews 5:14) If we are not, then we should not expect to be marked.

Well, you might be asking, how can we know whether or not a person is a false teacher? Through Jeremiah the Lord provided this description of false prophets: “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14). Of such prophets Jeremiah said that, “They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16b). Again, I ask you, do you know of any false prophets today? You may protest the question saying, “Well, I know men who speak for God who are true.” But that’s not the question. Do you know any false teachers? I know this is a discomforting question–but do you? If you don’t, I would say that you have a very grave problem . . . a very grave problem indeed. And it is this: You may not value God’s truth enough to know what it is and thereby be incapable of discerning “the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:4-6).

From his study of human history, a famous historian once remarked how he observed that the majority was seldom right. Jesus agreed. He said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.” He continued to say, “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” Then the Lord concluded: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:13-15). Interesting, isn’t it . . . that the Lord warned the multitudes to watch out for false prophets in the very context in which He differentiated the way of the majority from the Way of the minority. Jesus knew that to their own destruction the majority will follow the way of the false prophets and teachers. They will not be marked out for salvation. They will not be “X-Men”. Like the compromisers of Ezekiel’s day, they went along to get along. So allow me to ask you again: Dear Reader, do you know of any false prophets around today, or are you living in denial, in “a spiritual never-never land”? Will you choose to remain unwarned by the very warning that Jesus and the rest of the prophets and apostles warned you about; mainly, that false prophets and teachers will arise who will lead multitudes to walk the broad way leading to destruction? Remember: Seldom is the majority right.

For any Christians concerned to discern, they may be comforted to know they’re taking the narrow Way. A spirit of discernment is symptomatic of true faith. The Lord’s sheep care, yes, even “sigh and groan” when they see fellow evangelicals lapsing into worldliness and ungodliness. Goats however, are unmoved (Matthew 25:31-46). Yet the caring can be comforted to know that their discernment evidences their solidarity with the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Being concerned to discern marks them out– “X” — as true believers (See 1 John 2:18-24.). Yet the overriding emotion of discernment ought to be that of grief. Yes, there may be a time for anger. God gets angry. He was with Ezekiel’s generation, so much so that after He had told the angel in white to mark the believing remnant, the Lord instructed the other six angels, “Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:5b-6). Yet we must remember that, “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

So it’s truly a sad day when we see those professing to know God believing and behaving as if they do not. So it’s significant to note that the divine judgment was to begin in the sanctuary and then work its way out through Jerusalem and the rest of the entire nation (Compare 1 Peter 4:17.). This order of judgment compelled Paul to command the congregation at Rome: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18, KJV). But if we are to engage in such marking, we ought to be reminded that the accompanying emotion ought to be one of grief. Yet we ought also to be reminded that in the end those who refuse to mark false teachers may not be marked by the Lord to be spared divine judgment

May 9, 2010

Contending for the faith once delivered...

Jude 1:3-4  Having made all haste to write to you about the common salvation, beloved, I had need to write to you to exhort you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.:4  For certain men crept in secretly, those having been of old previously written into this condemnation, ungodly ones perverting the grace of our God for unbridled lust, and denying the only Master, God, even our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Paul writes to the Galatian church:  " I marvel that you so soon are being moved away from Him who called you into the grace of Christ, to another gospel, 7  which is not another, but some are troubling you, and desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ". Gal 1:6-7 

Some of you may know that I keep up with some online discernment ministries.  These are weary and persecuted soldiers of Christ willing to say what is needed to be said few are willing to do it.   People in the "church" will accuse them of "causing division" when in reality those who pervert the gospel of Christ are causing division. Those is the church are fed a diet less than milk and are no longer discerning but believe everything writen in the latest book or preached from pastors trained in corrupt seminaries.  Sola Scriptura (scriptures alone, as the source of of God's truth) that the reformers died for, is being dump for "doctrines of demons" which contradict scripture in the name of "Contemplative Spirituality".  This itself warmed over from "Desert Fathers" who got if from Buddist in the east.  Even Thomas Merton, a monk who helped revived this practice says he felt closer to Buddah than Christ. 

It is wearysome to read this and more wearysome to see it taking over the church body like undected cancer.  Those who would decern and speak out will soon, and already, are persecuted.  Rightly Jesus said "Yet when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8 

Over at the website "Apprising Ministries" an 3 part article by Gary Gilley is published on a new (latest) take on what the apostle Paul "really meant" in his epistles. Part of the opening here sums up my wearysome feelings:

The lovers of God’s truth can be excused if they seem to be a little “under the weather” lately, for everywhere we turn there are attacks on cardinal doctrines of the faith which most of us have considered secure and untouchable for years. Nathan Busenitz says it well,

It seems like just about every major doctrine of historic Christianity is currently under attack. Theology proper faces the Open-Theism debate; bibliology is still reeling from higher criticism; and pneumatology is split over the Charismatic question. For Christology the issue is the lordship of Christ; for anthropology it’s Christian psychology; and for ecclesiology it’s the Church-growth movement.[1]

Not even the gospel is safe from attacks by those who claim to be part of the church. As a matter of fact, the foremost battle being waged at this moment is over soteriological issues. Emergent church leaders are in the forefront of this battle as they slice, dice, rearrange, deny and undercut the gospel message as found in Scripture.[2] Emergent church leaders fight this battle largely on the popular front, but underpinning their views is the theological framework of what has been termed “The New Perspective on Paul” (NPP).

I do believe this is part of the great apostasy the Bible speaks of  before the rapture, the return of Christ for His church and the times of tribulation that will follow.  If not for a few good men who spoke up over a century ago llike J. Gresham Machom and Charles Hadden Spurgeon, Christianity in America would have been as it is in Europe.  But they are gone and few are willing to replace them today.  Hats off to relatively unknows like Ken Siva, Phil Johnson, Gary Gilley, Ingrid Schlueter and more who join a more familiar name like John MacArthur.

April 4, 2010

He is Risen! Have a blesses Ressurection Day!

Jesus told His disciples:
 
Mat 20:18-19  Behold, we go up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death. 19  And they shall deliver Him to the nations to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He shall rise again.
 
From what I could find, Jesus, his disciples and even his enemies mention His amazing prophetic words at least 12 times.  And it happened just as He said!
 
This is why we have hope that our sins are forgiven, The Paschal Lamb, once and for all, was sacrificed for our sins that the judgement of God would passover all who trust in His shed blood.   This is the gospel.  This is our hope.  It is confirmed by God by raising Jesus from the dead.  In this we have hope and rejoice exceedingly!
 
The Apostle Paul says if Christ were not raised we would still be dead in our sins and if we have hope in Christ in this life only we are men most to be pitied.
 
Celebrate His resurrection!  If you haven't trusted in the Savior's sacrifice for you, don't delay!  Trust Him today

January 24, 2010

"To Save a Life"   Is a new movie our family watched today.  It was excellent and I recommend this to everyone.  I don't know that I ever did this before, but I will for this.  It is very well written and even my kids thought is was extremely well done and they are tough critics.  Kyle was waiting for some "ouch" moments that never happened, that often happens with movies that have a Christian theme.

The movie is about a popular kid in high school who was strongly affected by the suicide of a boyhood friend who had saved his life in 6th grade but cost that boy a limp and alienation.   The popular boy Jake felt responsible as his friends shuned the other boy and pulled him away.  They parted ways for 3 years.  Now Jake searches for meaning of life beyond basketball and partying and the need to care for those on the fringes.  He takes a serious look at Christianity but is put off by the superficality he sees.  But in the end comes to Christ and changes his youth group into a truly loving comunity.  He make a differnce in the life of another marginalized boy who would have committed suicide if not for Jake.   Jake struggle with a home life falling apart in the midst of finding new life.  

I can't recommend it more highly.   If you are reading this after it is no longer in theatures, rent the DVD!

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

How can 2009 be over yet!  As a kid I couldn't imagine the world of 2000 yet alone what I would look like or be.  Now it is ten years in the past!  By the way where is my "George Jetson" flying car?  (see Flying Car

On November 28 Lake Robinson Radio AM 1610 officially went on the air rebroadcasting VCY America.org programming.  WVCY started in the 70's? as "Voice of Christian Youth" by a Youth for Christ leader named Vic Elliason and has grown to a network of radio stations primarily in the midwest and a TV statioin in Milwaukee.  They are committed to Biblical programming and reaching people for Christ.  They have been a blessing to me and I miss them much.  Now they are on the air in a tiny area in South Carolina (about 1 mile radius give or take a half mile) from the north shore of Lake Robinson between Hartsville and McBee SC.

I also add some spot announcements, putting in content from other ministries and will hopefully add my own program for young (in the Lord) christians in 2010.

This mornings devotions from Jer 37 gave a promise for the future of the people of Israel:  

Jer 31:1  At that time, says Jehovah, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people. 

In Romans 11:26 Paul talks about events after the "blindness in part" (vs 25) of the Jews is complete when the "fullness of the nations has come in".  Specifically that Israel will be saved and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.  This is also the time when they shall "look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him..." Zech 12:10 and referenced in Rev 1:7 as yet future.

When the Millenial Kingdom is established, Israel will be saved and God will be the God of all the families of Israel.
"Even so, come Lord Jesus" Rev 22:20

Will 2010 be the year the Lord returns?  Those who have Hope look forward to His coming.   Do you look forward to it?  If not are you trusting Him only for your salvation?  Those who do have this hope.  Please go to my home page and click on "How someone can be saved" link on the left side.  Or go to the "Living Waters" link.  

The Bible says "  Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness... (Hebrews 3:7-8)   It says the deceitfulness of sin hardens our heart to God and His wrath is building up for the day of Judgment.  But He is a merciful God.  Repent and call upon His name for fogiveness of sin and everlasting life.

God's blessings upon you in this new year!

October 11, 2009

I am back!
This past couple years have been times for change.  We moved to South Carolina for my job but knew that God's hand was upon us and telling us to get out of our comfort zone.  It has been worthwhile with many new things learned and a deepening of our family and faith.  A new ministry adventure will be starting soon with a low power AM radio for reaching my neighborhood for Christ.  This will be an act of faith to get listeners, but that will be a matter of prayer and God's miraculous answers.  Most of the content will be rebroadcasted, but I hope to add my own programming to get the neighbors to know this is for them. 
Please pray that this would be an effective outreach.  More to come...


Postmoderism in the Emergent Church
This is a quote from John MacArthur on the emergent church:

"Postmodernism says, “We give; there may be truth, but we can’t know it. We didn’t get it in our pre-modernism, we didn’t get it modernism.” So this is the after-the-fact, and the answer is, there might be truth–some people would say there is no universal truth–there is no absolute truth; but not all postmodernism would say that, postmodernism will at least say, “we can’t know it. We can’t know what it is; it may be from God, but we can’t know what it is. So we embrace mystery.”

Postmodernism says, “You have your truth, I have my truth, everybody has his own truth. Truth is whatever you think it is, whatever you want it to be; it’s intuitive, it’s experiential. But it’s not universal, and it’s not knowable–universally knowable."

John MacArthur


"So we embrace mystery"  This is where contemplative "prayer" (read Transcendental Meditation or hearing from demons) tells people like "Pastor" Jay Bakker (a.k.a. son of Jim and Tammy Faye) that "I think that God is telling me that homosexuality is okay".

If we can't know the truth, what is to say he is wrong?

The Emergent church is rejecting "Sola Scriptura", Luther's cry starting the reformation that scripture alone is our source of faith and morals.  It is knowable and that is why God gave us His Word.

Isaiah 8:19-20  And when they shall say to you, Seek to the mediums and to wizards who peep and mutter; should not a people seek to their God, than for the living to the dead? 20  To the Law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because no light is in them.







Friend of Discernment
eMail: pocketc@yahoo.com

Has your church been "Warrenized"?
Concerns about Church growth movements and the Emergent Church


Last updated
January 24, 2010