Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hovering over chaos, order came to birth: Valley of Vision

My morning devotional includes reading one prayer from the phenomenal book "Valley of Vision." These are Puritan prayers, collected and compiled by grand subject. Today's was "The Spirit's Work". For me, these prayers are utterly moving, piercing, and beautiful with a lyricism of writing and a stirring of the soul that is unmatched, except by the Bible. Here is today's, and I comment at the end:

The Spirit's Work (from The Valley of Vision)

O God the Holy Spirit,
Thou who dost proceed from the Father and the Son,
have mercy on me.

When thou didst first hover over chaos,
order came to birth,
beauty robed the world, fruitfulness sprang forth.
Move, I pray thee, upon my disordered heart;
Take away the infirmities of unruly desires
and hateful lusts;

Lift the mists and darkness of unbelief;
Brighten my soul with the pure light of truth;
Make it fragrant as the garden of paradise,
rich with every goodly fruit,
beautiful with heavenly grace,
radiant with rays of divine light.

Fulfil in me the glory of thy divine offices;
Be my comforter, light, guide, sanctifier;
Take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul;
Through thee may I daily learn more of his love,
grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty;
Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds,
the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan;

May I there see my sins as
the nails that transfixed him,
the cords that bound him,
the thorns that tore him,
the sword that pierced him.

Help me to find in his death the reality
and immensity of his love.
Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth
in his, ‘It is finished’.

Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of
atonement achieved, expiation completed,
satisfaction made, guilt done away,
my debt paid, my sins forgiven,
my person redeemed, my soul saved,
hell vanquished, heaven opened,
eternity made mine.

O Holy Spirit, deepen in me these saving lessons.
Write them upon my heart, that my walk be
sin-loathing, sin-fleeing, Christ-loving;
And suffer no devil’s device to beguile
or deceive me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I read the line that says,
When thou didst first hover over chaos, order came to birth, beauty robed the world, fruitfulness sprang forth.
It brought to mind a metaphor. When all three Persons of the Triune God were intimately involved with the earth's creation, it made me think of a metaphor of how the Triune God is intimately involved in similar work to hover over us, order coming to birth, beauty robing our soul, and fruitfulness springing forth. He creates out of the formless void of our disordered heart peace, calm, rest, fruitfulness. All three Persons of the Triune God are involved in creating in us an interior world of light.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3)

May the perfect and loving God who created earth and soul, bring you truth and comfort today. Let the Light of His love and Word illuminate your soul.







Friday, October 30, 2015

The old paths


Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)

Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. (Proverbs 4:26)

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:6)

My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. (Job 23:11)

All our righteous walking with Jesus is not without intervention by angels, strength of the Holy Spirit, and the will of God, because satan the adversary always tries to hinder us. He attempts to knock us off the path. He works to misdirect us.

because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:18)

Gill's Exposition says of the Thessalonians verse,
Satan does all he can to hinder the preaching of the Gospel, the hearing of the word, the profession of religion, and the saints coming together, and having spiritual conversation with each other; being, as his name "Satan" signifies, an enemy to Christ and his interest, and to the souls of men: indeed he can do nothing but by divine permission, nor can he hinder the will of God, and the execution of that, though he often hinders the will of man, or man from doing his will; he hindered the apostle from doing what he willed and purposed, but he did not hinder the will of God, which was that Paul should be employed in other work elsewhere. 
Stay true to the Lord and His ways. Stay in the Word, and stay praying. God promised to those who walk in His paths that they will find rest for their souls. Though as we see in the Jeremiah verse, some refused to walk in His ways.
The old way isn't the popular way! It is being abandoned daily by people who have decided that new is better. They are leaving the Bible, the old songs of the faith, old fashioned worship, praising the Lord, and preaching. Seeker services are replacing old time worship of the Lord. Yet, God has not changed, Heb. 13:8. I can find no room to change myself. I think I'll ask for the old paths and walk in them. How about you? The enemies are changing the signs, but the Lord will knows the way. Let's ask Him and He will lead! (source)
Amen!

If satan changed the signs on your path, would you still know which way to go?


Thursday, October 29, 2015

6 destructive Church Trends; Pastor's Wife, Get Real; Beth Moore Simulcast review; Death of PM service; and wearable real-looking wings!

6 Destructive Trends Happening in Your Church by Jared C. Wilson is an excellent article. I love lists, bullet points,and outlines, and this one hits all the points. The article is a synopsis of a longer work,from  Mr Wilson's book--

The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo, by Jared C. Wilson. The book blurb reads:
In The Prodigal Church, Jared Wilson challenges church leaders to reconsider their priorities when it comes to how they “do church” and reach people in their communities, arguing that we too often rely on loud music, flashy lights, and skinny jeans to get people in the door. 
Writing with the grace and kindness of a trusted friend, Wilson encourages readers to reexamine the Bible’s teaching, not simply return to a traditional model for tradition’s sake. He then sets forth an alternative to both the attractional and the traditional models: an explicitly biblical approach that is gospel focused, grace based, and fruit oriented.
My favorite one is #4. Closely followed by #5.

-------------------------------------------------

This next article was published today by Baptist Press. It is titled,

FIRST-PERSON: Pastor's wife, be real!
HOBBS, N.M. (BP) -- It is the loudest silence, a moment so brief it is imperceptible to the untrained ear -- that moment between reality and response when faced with the traditional Sunday greeting of "How are you?"
Inside there is a heart crying out to be known. Yet, as we turn up our smiles, we turn down the volume on the voice of truth. I am fine. I am great. My life is in order.
Pastor's wife, we are facing an epidemic in our churches. It is the epidemic of being "fine." Somehow we have bought into the lie that if anyone knew our true humanity and all of its nagging sin nature, we would be ostracized.
I love the church assembly. Some assemblies are more genuine than others, and of course none are perfect. At least if they had been perfect, they shine was off the moment I joined. However, one thing bugs me about church.

As much as we complain that church isn't a show, we put on a show all the time, in pretending we're fine. We're not. How do I know we're not? We're sinners, (Romans 3:10) and we live on a world whose 'god' is currently the author of evil. (2 Cor 4:4) Of course we're not fine. Get real.

--------------------------------------------

Mrs Sharon Lareau has taken much time, prayer, and study to present to us women a Living Proof Live Simulcast Review, Part One. She extensively compares what Beth Moore was teaching at this latest simulcast, to the Bible. I recommend her presentation to you, urgently.

In a companion essay to her review, Mrs Lareau examines the main idea Beth Moore so fervently delivered in the simulcast, the message that all women are lacking and need to hear, which is that we need a big romance with Jesus. Mrs Lareau looks at this teaching in her essay Romance with Jesus: The Bigger Picture. This is also an excellent essay that I recommend to you. Good gravy, just go to Mrs Lareau's page and bookmark it. You will be glad you did. :)

--------------------------------------------

Another good one from Reformation 21, The Death of the Evening Service
When I was first asked about my "vision" for the church, I made the point that I'd like to see better attendance at the evening service. From some outside the church I received a few silly suggestions, but I resolved to do two things: 
1. Not coerce or manipulate people to come to the evening service.
2. Let the gospel do its work.

So why is retaining the evening service a good idea?
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Now's your chance to see Alexis Noriega's beautiful pair of human-sized pneumatic articulating feather wings, which she made for Halloween. She will be posting a tutorial soon for people interested in building their own pair. Pretty cool.




Fly Like an Eagle



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Of C.S. Lewis and sacred cows

EPrata photo
A sacred cow is...
An idiom is based on the popular understanding of the elevated place of cows in Hinduism and appears to have emerged in America in the late 19th century. A literal sacred cow or sacred bull is an actual cow or bull that is treated with sincere reverence. A figurative sacred cow is a figure of speech for something considered immune from question or criticism, especially unreasonably so. (source)
Are there sacred cows in Christianity? Yes. Just ask young Jessica Lam, who dared to gently chide Beth Moore's teaching, and Moore herself came down on Mrs. Lam like a bag of hammers. You can read about it here.

Sacred cows Ravi Zacharias and Billy Graham also get a pass, being untouchable from criticism, or even from examination of their teachings. The Pope and Mother Teresa are also sacred cows, but they are not in the faith to begin with.

CS Lewis is another sacred cow.

At Church Leaders.com, C. Michael Patton asked a great question. Why do we love CS Lewis and hate Rob Bell? Speaking to the notion of the sacred cow, Patton opens his essay this way

Theologically, there is some stuff people try to sweep under the rug as well. In fact, though I say C.S. Lewis is loved by all, I do remember walking into church one day years ago. They were giving away a bunch of the “overstock” books from the library. I saw a church elder throwing away a lot of books as well. They were all C.S. Lewis! When I inquired about his odd blasphemous actions, he said that C.S. Lewis was a heretic because he did not believe in inerrancy. While this is something of an extreme example, I think it is important to realize that not everyone likes C.S. Lewis. Almost everyone, but not all. Why? 
Because he had some “non-evangelical” leanings. Besides not believing in inerrancy, he also believed in the theory of evolution, denied substitutionary atonement in favor of a “ransom to Satan,” bordered on a Pelagian idea of human freedom, seemed to advocate baptismal regeneration, and regularly prayed for the dead. To top it all off, he held out hope for the destiny of the unevangelized, believing that Christ might save them outside of direct knowledge of him (inclusivism). With all of these foibles, I seriously doubt any evangelical church would take a second look at his resume were he to apply for a pastorate at their church today. In fact, this list alone would be enough for many to call him a heretic. However, we still love him. We still read him. We still defend him. We still hand out his books by the dozens to friends and family who are struggling with their faith. This man who had his Christianity affirmed by Dr. Bob Jones but questioned by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is beloved by just about everyone, making him off-limits for serious criticism. Why?
The writer goes on to defend Lewis despite Lewis' aforementioned "theological foibles." Pardon me but many of the things Lewis believed in, noted above and also including the Catholic concept of purgatory, are heresy, not 'foibles'. But Lewis gets a pass. Why? On the strength of Lewis' persuasive arguments? (Colossians 2:4). His well-written philosophies? (Colossians 2:8).

When I first became a Christian, people urged me to read CS Lewis' work. I said "OK." I read Mere Christianity. I did not like it. I read The Great Divorce. I hated it. I read The Screwtape Letters, and was amused by it, but that waned halfway through. I never finished. I never even started Chronicles of Narnia. I don't favor animal stories. Miracles? Blech. Weight of Glory? Didn't understand it, biblically. I really tried hard, too.

I thought to myself "What is the big deal all about??" So I looked up Lewis' theology. I was shocked that anyone would regard him as an evangelical. The man's theology was a mess.

But I held my peace and went on my way.

In 2011 The Gospel Coalition's Kevin DeYoung cautioned us on Mere Christianity.
C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity is a classic. It is a winsome, thoughtful, well-written defense of the Christian faith. Some of its better known sections–like the famous liar, lunatic, Lord, trilemma–have become part of the way evangelicals think and speak. No doubt God has used Lewis and Mere Christianity to awaken affections for Christ, engage the mind for Christ, and remove obstacles for the Spirit to draw people to Christ. I’m thankful for all this. More than that, I’ve benefited from every Lewis book I’ve read. But C.S. Lewis was not an evangelical. Mere Christianity shows why. Let me highlight two significant problems.
In 2013 Southern Baptist Theological Seminary noted there were some difficulties with Lewis' theology, but continued to value his contribution to the canon of Christian thought and literature.
CT writer J.D. Douglas paraphrases Lloyd-Jones, saying Lewis’ view of salvation was “defective in two key respects: (1) Lewis taught and believed that one could reason oneself into Christianity; and (2) Lewis was an opponent of the substitutionary and penal theory of the Atonement.” In the same essay, Douglas notes Lewis’ wide celebration among evangelicals and even credits Lewis with making “righteousness readable.”
In 2015 we hear a pastor urge us to quit Lewis. I always appreciate Pastor Mike Abendroth's biblical stance and plain honesty. Here is this short clip, he says, "Stop Quoting CS Lewis". I totally agree.



In discernment, the command in God's word is, test all things. Hold fast to the good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Jamieson-Fausset Commentary says of the Thessalonians verse,
Locke says, Those who are for laying aside reason in matters of revelation, resemble one who would put out his eyes in order to use a telescope.
Test ALL. You might be surprised at what you discover, cow plop and all.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Be ye reconciled to God

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8)

The Sacrifice of Isaac is a familiar chapter to most Christians. We study it in Sunday School, it's taught in VBS, we read it familiarly as mature Christians, our eyes having passed over the verses many times.

But sometimes the gravity of the moment just grabs you and won't let go. The Father DID provide the Lamb for the sacrifice. The grandest, most beautiful, most terrible moment in all of history or ever shall be, was the death of Jesus on the Cross at Calvary.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

Ambassadors have all the authority of the sending nation behind them. As Christ's ambassadors, we have all the authority of heaven behind us!


Sometimes just thinking about how Jesus died for us and absorbed the wrath that was rightfully due me, is overwhelming. Sometimes thinking of how despite my craven sinful nature, God cleaned me and forgave me. Sometimes thinking of the fact that God uses me, a poor clay vessel, for His glory, is just too immense for my mind to absorb.

The Christian journey is sometimes not easy, and it is always demanding, but it is also the most joyous and entrancing life a person could ever imagine. If you have not turned to Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, sins that incur the wrath of a Holy God against you every minute of every day, please do it. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth split history. The event divided the world into two paths. One is narrow and leads to everlasting life. The other path is broad and many find it, and will descend to hell for everlasting wrath.

The Father did provide the Lamb. And He is exalted.

The Lamb Exalted
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." (Revelation 5:11-13)


Monday, October 26, 2015

The motivated ignorance and moral vacuousness of Feminism

Of all the civic movements, of all the philosophies, of all the cultural constructs there are or could be, my opinion is that Feminism is the dumbest, most morally reprehensible, and most damaging to the culture in America.

I have always opposed Feminism and I always will.

Now that you know how I really feel, let me get into it.

Regular readers may remember I wrote a three-part series called The Secret Christian Feminists. That series explored that though many prominent Christian female Bible teachers of today deny it, they are in fact adhering to Feminist principles and living like Feminists, kind of like an open secret if you cared to look. Well, I looked.

Christian Secret Feminists Part 1
Christian secret Feminists Part 2
Christian Secret Feminists Part 3

As a movement, Feminism has roots in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:16 records the curse God gave women upon Eve's disobedience to His command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil.

To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

To define Feminism, we read,
Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property; in the domain of the family, fathers or father-figures hold authority over women and children.
This is biblical. It is exactly the way God set it up. Yet Feminism holds that this is unjust and must be destroyed.
Feminist theory defines patriarchy as an unjust social system that enforces gender roles and is oppressive to both men and women. It often includes any social mechanism that evokes male dominance over women. Feminist theory typically characterizes patriarchy as a social construction, which can be overcome by revealing and critically analyzing its manifestations. Wikipedia
As you can see, "Feminist theory" is simply a rejection of the roles that God laid down upon men and women. It is a continual seeking of women to usurp the roles laid out for men and a disassembly of the patriarchal system, which is entirely just, because God created it and He is the ultimate patriarch.

However as a modern movement, Feminism has three distinct waves. The First Wave began in 1848 and extended through around 1920 when women got the vote as the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified.
The first wave of feminism took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, when 300 men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement's ideology and political strategies. (Source)
The First Wave of Feminism focused on working conditions and the vote. These were legal/political issues related to civic life and the betterment of life for all within community. In the first wave of feminism the women were concerned with involvement in political and civic affairs, heretofore dominated by men. Property rights and execution of wills was also part of the First Wave. Ultimately this Wave was about women wanting more control in affairs outside the home.
Second-wave feminism is a period of feminist activity that first began in the early 1960s in the United States, and eventually spread throughout the Western world and beyond. In the United States the movement lasted through the early 1980s. (Wikipedia)
Where the First Wave was arguably more noble, with women focused on civic & legal liberties, the Second Wave of Feminism focused on women's personal freedoms, notably, sexual liberties. Feminists in this Second Wave, (approximately 1962-1982 or so) at that time advocated for sexual freedom, abortion, safe birth control and the like. They also fought for equal pay for equal work. American History writes,
Whereas first-wave feminism focused mainly on suffrage and overturning legal obstacles to gender equality (i.e., voting rights, property rights), second-wave feminism broadened the debate to a wide range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities
In Second Wave of Feminism, the issues feminists attacked were more than just "family" as mentioned above. For example the "de facto inequalities" included making it easier to obtain a divorce. The push for "reproductive rights" was really seeking the establishment of legalized abortion AKA baby murder. If the First Wave was a step for women to abandon the home, the second wave was a studied and purposeful destruction of the family within the home.

In the Third Wave we read a lot about "heteronormativity". Third Wave feminists from the mid 1990s through to today rail against normal heterosexuality, AKA being normal. They want to redefine genders. Not just roles, but genders. They are fighting for acceptance of any and all kinds of sexuality. Finally, they are using words like "slut" and "bitch" to defiantly define themselves. The 3rd Wave Feminists claim that doing so strips the word of its power. This quote is from "Bitch Magazine":
When it’s being used as an insult, “bitch” is most often hurled at women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don’t shy away from expressing them. If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we’ll take that as a compliment, thanks.
No, thanks. The Bible says, She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:26). It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. (Proverbs 25:24)

Living with a loud, obnoxious, quarrelsome woman is a heartache for any man. Look at Proverbs 21:9

It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

Even though God said it is not good for a man to be alone, (Genesis 2:18), if a woman is obnoxious, loud, complaining like a dripping faucet, it's better for him to live on a roof or in a desert! Women are to practice gentle speech and live a virtuous life. Christian women, anyway.

Charlotte Krolakke wrote in her paper "Three Waves of Feminism",
Queer and transgender feminists attack what they see as the crux of the problem: heteronormativity. They call for recognition of queers: not only gays and lesbians but also drag queens, drag kings, transsexuals, masculine women, and feminine men ...
Put another way, Third Wave Feminists see the crux of the problem as that people are normal heterosexuals. They feel this must stop. These attacks on genders and sexual roles are not simply cultural attacks, they are biblical attacks. In Deuteronomy 22:5 we read,

A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.

The Third Wave was and is currently a purposeful destruction of gender- the very core of what it means to be a woman or a man. This also is a biblical attack. We read in Genesis 5:2 that 

Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

The Third Wave of Feminism which is going on now, is a purposeful destruction of what it means to be male and female. In reading about Third Wave Feminists I read the term destabilize quite often, usually referring to gender. They seek to redefine what gender IS and destabilize our perceptions of it.

What sparked this post were two articles published recently that made me do a double take. The first is from a website called The Other McCain where it is reported that "A Yale-educated feminist calls herself a 'morally vacuous harlot'. Her description of herself is in the article, though not quoted here.

A Feminist woman named Alana Massey describes herself in a short bio thus, (and it's excerpted, there's more)
So I was a walking cliche of disastrous 20-something in New York: I treated mental illness with alcohol and drugs and bad sex with much older men. I had a series of bad assistant and PR jobs and would fall back on stripping and fetish work when I inevitably quit my jobs or couldn’t cover expenses. I enrolled in Yale Divinity when I was 25 in the hopes that if I just got a good helping of Jesus, I’d be cured of my debauchery and sadness. 
The Other McCain responded,
Furthermore, could anything be more absurd than Ms. Massey’s idea that she could get “a good helping of Jesus” at the fraudulently named Yale Divinity School? The place has been implacably hostile to Christianity for decades. The impiety and secularized gnosticism of that decadent institution did much to inspire William F. Buckley Jr.’s monumental work God and Man at Yale. If anyone is seeking “a good helping of Jesus,” probably the last place you’d find it is New Haven, Connecticut, being tutored by the academic High Priesthood of postmodern paganism.

Ms Massey's extended bio and quotes are rough, too rough to post here, but suffice to say, she IS a slut. Proudly so. So we went from First Wave Feminists saying "I want the right to vote" to Third Wave Feminists saying "I want the right to be a morally vacuous harlot". Mr McCain gets to the devastating point when he writes,
Alana Massey describes herself as “a morally vacuous harlot” who pursues one-night stands and complains of the “physically substandard experience” that does nothing for “a woman’s sexual fulfillment.” 
Let us ask: Can feminism solve a problem that feminism itself created? 
Is this Yale-educated woman too stupid to see that her compulsive promiscuity — a lifelong habit now abetted by advanced technologies of contraception and dating apps — is the basic cause of her problems? How does her whorish “sex-positive” feminism contribute anything to “true gender equality”? Yet what exactly does she imagine “true gender equality” would look like, if ever we were to achieve it?
I hate Feminism and I always will. It was the first attack on God, satan enticing Eve to rebel against God and subvert her husband. It has led to a rebellion against gentle speech, family harmony, domestic duties, a distortion of gender roles, promiscuity, loss of femininity, and cowed husbands. Feminism has led to the destruction of the family, abortion, divorce, and adultery. Feminism has led to vacuous harlotry and motivated ignorance. [The motivated ignorance article is the second article that prompted me to write this].

Be careful about Feminism's intrusion into Christianity. Beth Moore chooses to be a runabout wife, traveling from one side of the nation to another even while her children were young, being President of her own corporation, with her husband as VP. At Hillsong the female pastor Bobbie Houston claims "We don't sideline the girls" an unbiblical environment from which we get Christine Caine. Feminism has crept in to Christianity with female deacons and female "pastors", female "prophetesses" and rebellious women of all kinds.

Feminism has lasted a long time and the mind-set now is that women can and should participate in leadership roles in the church. Not so.

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed. (Proverbs 3:15-18)

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:23-24)


Ooooh, submit. The one word a Feminist hates. But it is one word that could change everything, for anyone. Submit to the Lord Jesus Christ. Lay your sins at His feet and ask for forgiveness. Submit to the commands for our lives He has spoken in His book. Submit to Him, and not to the flesh. The debauchery of a life such as the one Ms Massey is living will be ceased thanks to the grace of the Holy Spirit creating a new person in her and of her. Her sadness would be replaced with joy, and her rebelliousness would be quelled by submitting to the Spirit, who would help her grow in grace and virtue. It is the same for any woman, living any kind of life. His grace extends its wings over any person willing to repent of their sins, lay aside that female rebellion, and plead for a quiet, peaceful life of reconciliation to God, THE Patriarch.



------------------------------

Further reading

How to be a Godly Woman

Feminism's Radical Agenda

What about Gender Roles and Equality in Genesis 1-3?


Sunday, October 25, 2015

I surrender all



We sang "I Surrender All" at church today. An oldie and a goodie. This American hymn was written in 1896 by art teacher and musician Judson Van DeVenter. Winfield S. Weeden put it to music.

Words of Judson W. Van DeVenter, 1896:
The song was written while I was conducting a meeting at East Palestine, Ohio, in the home of George Sebring (founder of the Sebring Campmeeting Bible Conference in Sebring, Ohio, and later developer of the town of Sebring, Florida). For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, He caused me to sing.
Here are the lyrics:

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His name!

Refrain

After we sang it, I was thinking about what, exactly, we give to Jesus. We give to Him our will, our life, our mind, our strength, our soul. We give Him our sin. It is all we have to offer.

Paul says in Romans 6:19b,

so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.

Jamiessen-Brown-Fausset Commentary says of Romans 6:13-19,
Neither yield ye your members instruments of unrighteousness unto Sin, but yield yourselves—this is the great surrender.
We read the following excerpt from Bible.org, Mark #9 of the mature Christian: surrender
As mentioned in the last study and as seen in the life of Christ, servanthood is ultimately the outcome of one who, having first surrendered himself to God, is able to give himself sacrificially for God and others. This element of surrender is seen in the single-minded devotion of the Jesus who came to do the will of the One who sent Him and to complete His work (John 4:34). But Christ’s single-minded devotion or commitment to the will of the Father was the result of the surrender of His life and will to the Father’s agenda. Such surrender meant giving Himself sacrificially for our redemption in keeping with the Father’s plan (John 3:16).

Thus, as qualities that characterized the Lord Jesus, surrender and self-sacrifice form two more vital marks of spiritual maturity. These two qualities, however, are here treated together because they are so related as cause and effect or root and fruit. Further, because they are so much a part of the character of Christ and true maturity, they deserve special mention in any list of qualities of spiritual maturity and leadership.

Surrender

The first step (the root) is surrender. To surrender means to relinquish possession or control to another, to submit to the power, authority, and control of another. The entire New Testament, as summarized in Philippians 2:6-8, shows us that Christ was willing to surrender His rights and prerogatives as the second person of the Trinity to the will and purpose and plan of the Father. Then, out of that surrender came the willingness to sacrifice for God’s plan no matter what the plan called for. Surrender, then, is part of the pathway to maturity and effective Christ-like ministry.
Prayer:

Lord, I surrender all to You. I know I am a sinful creature and though I claim I surrender and say I pick up my cross to follow You, I retreat, waver, and stumble. Lord, help me surrender my own will to Yours and follow You wherever it takes me. You are worth it. I have nothing to commend myself to you except gratitude for the great exchange of Your blood for my sinful life.





Saturday, October 24, 2015

Expositor FM: A new internet 24-hour radio station

My face when someone says they are doing a Beth Moore study/doing a Jesus Calling Devotional/posting a Joyce Meyer quote.

Here is a link to some critiques of these women who are doing harm to the faithful.

Woman to Woman

On the upside, John MacArthur at Grace To You has launched a new internet radio station. 24 hours of SOLID bible teaching adn hymns. I have listened to it for the several days it has been up and it's great! I heard a wonderful exposition of Jonah 1-2 from James Montgomery Boice and iI loved every minute of it. The sermons come from the aforementioned Boice, Steve Lawson, John MacArthur, S. Lewis Johnson, Dan Duncan, The Master's Seminary, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Dr Barnhouse. If you enjoy having 'background' stuff on while you're at home doing chores, ladies, this will fill the bill. Nothing errant or wild or wrong will pollute you. If you enjoy listening to sermons with focused attention, this station also fills the bill. Meaty and doctrinal, edifying and faith-building, I recommend Expositor FM.

http://www.expositor.fm/





Friday, October 23, 2015

Unrest in Jerusalem: a month of terror attacks takes its toll

Pixabay photo
Jerusalem and Israel proper is the location where our Holy God has put His name (2 Chronicles 6:6) and set up His people. (Zechariah 2:12).

As a result, the world hates the holy city. The world hates His people. The world hates the tiny nation. Yet God has said that those who harm Zion touch God Himself. (Zechariah 2:8).

But the God-hating world doesn't care about what God has said. The sinful world hates Sinless God and ignores His warnings...and touches Israel anyway.

Of late there has been an increase in violence in Jerusalem. Usually when I write about any terror attacks in that holy land it means that the Palestinians are lobbing rockets their way. This time is different. The terror attacks are personal and one-on-one: car rammings and stabbings. Here is a report from Tel Aviv by AFP News
As violence grips Jerusalem and other cities, a climate of suspicion has threatened even the most basic interactions between Jews and Israeli Arabs, not to mention Palestinians. Israeli authorities have long sought to stress the diverse nature of their society, with Israeli Arabs and Jews living together. But while some cities are relatively integrated, on the whole the two communities live parallel existences. Arab Israelis account for some 17.5 percent of Israel's population. A series of gun, knife and car-ramming attacks against Jews as well as ongoing clashes between security forces and Palestinian protesters has worsened mutual mistrust. In the streets of Jerusalem and other cities, Israelis are frightened by random knife attacks, 
See this live-listing from the IDF blog (Israel Defense Force)


The latest cycle of Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians began on September 14th, and has been ongoing. This violence includes unruly riots, shootings, stabbings, car rammings, hurled IED’s and rock attacks that are taking place throughout the country.
The IDF and its troops continue to work tirelessly with its partners in the Defense Establishment to protect themselves and ensure security for Israel’s civilians, in accordance with government directives. 
Terror attacks by the numbers: 
41 Stabbings
4 Shootings
5 Car Rammings 
For real-time updates, follow our Twitter account:@IDFSpokesperson 
October 23
7:15 A.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Gush Etzion. Assailant shot on site.

October 22
8:00 A.M. – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Beit Shemesh. Assailant shot on site. 
October 21
9:00 P.M. – Five IDF soldiers injured in car ramming attack near Bethlehem. Assailant shot on site.
3:30 P.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Jerusalem. Assailant shot on site.
6:20 A.M. – Attempted stabbing attack in Israeli community near Nablus. Assailant shot on site. 
October 20
9:50 P.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Hebron. Two assailants shot on site.
4:30 P.M. – IDF soldier and Israeli civilian injured in car ramming attack at Gush Etzion Junction. Assailant then attempted to stab the wounded but was shot on site.
11:15 A.M. – IDF officer injured in stabbing attack during violent riot near Hebron. Assailant shot on site. 
And so on...

As Mr Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President commented at the outset of this latest surge of violence.
Mr. Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”
CBN posted this a few minutes ago:

Israel Ramps Up Security at Rachel's Tomb amid Terror Surge
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered at Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem Friday and many more are expected throughout the weekend to mark the anniversary of the biblical matriarch's death. Israeli authorities will deploy hundreds of extra police and security forces to the site in view of the surge in attacks by Palestinian terrorists. The rise in attacks began on the eve of the Jewish New Year and continued throughout the fall holidays and afterward.
As I said at the beginning of this essay, the world hates Israel and Jewish people because God has set His name upon them. So why, if God loves His people as the Bible claims, does the LORD allow terror and evil to befall His people so often, these people who are the apple of His eye? Because of His promises. Not only did He promise them Land, and His presence among them as ruler, and exaltation, and being set apart and dwelling in safety, He also promised punishment if they failed to worship Him as He commanded. Therefore, the LORD is allowing this violence as part of His ongoing promise of punishment of His people for rejecting His Son, Jesus, the promised Messiah, for their rebelliousness and their faithlessness.

This punishment will continue until it reaches its full expression in the Tribulation. The Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, FMI go here) is about Daniel's people as it is stated in the Book of Daniel in 9:24.

The Tribulation has nothing to do with the Church. It has everything to do with the pagan world's rebelliousness in pursuing sin and not God, (Isaiah 24). It will be a time when God will purge the earth of wicked people. It also has everything to do with Israel.

As evil and dark as the Great Tribulation will be, it will also be a time of glorious salvation. (Revelation 7, especially Revelation 7:9). Many will come to redemption, and all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:26-27, Isaiah 45:17).

We are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. When we pray for that peace, we are really praying for the Lord's return and the end of all hostilities against His people in His land, forever. The hostilities will continue to occur until that Day, the Day of the LORD.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you." (Psalm 122:6).

We pray for His holy city, for the prosperity of a city whose very name means peace. In so praying we are also praying for the holy Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem. As Gill's Exposition states of the Psalm 122:6 verse,
for Jerusalem, not merely literally considered; though as that was the metropolis of the nation, and many of them the psalmist addresses were inhabitants of it, it became them to seek and pray for the peace of it, their own peace being concerned in it; see Jeremiah 29:7; but for the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem, the church of God, and for the peace of it; that Christ, the Man, the Peace, the Peacemaker
The minds of the Jerusalemites are darkened in understanding about Who Jesus is. The minds of the Palestianians are darkened in understanding about who Allah is. Rather than hate them, because they are not our enemies, we love them in their ignorance and pray for deliverance; deliverance of the city, of the Land, of the people.

The LORD will set the Day in which He will protect His people with His own hand. (Ezekiel 38:17-23). At the final battle called Armageddon, human rule is destroyed forever. (Daniel 2:44). Israel

Pray for the peace that will bring war, and pray for the war that will being peace. Love Jerusalem and share our goods with the poor of that most high city.

For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. (Romans 15:26-27).



Thursday, October 22, 2015

What was the "star" of Bethlehem?


I read with interest the research by Colin Nicholl regarding Mr Nicholl's new book, The Great Christ Comet, reviewed by Tim Challies. Apparently the book is a scholarly journey into discovering what the star was which guided the magi after Christ's birth. Speculations over the years have leaned toward an astronomical event ranging from a planetary conjunction, to a comet, to a nova. Others have speculated that it was some kind of natural phenomenon. Mr Nicholl's conclusion was that the "star" was likely a comet.

I am not a scholar and I am not an astronomer. I may be displaying my great ignorance just by commenting on this topic. However I would like to humbly plunge ahead, and propose that the "star" which led the Magi from the east to Christ's home could have been an angel.

I suggest this as a possibility to be seriously considered, for the following reasons. First, let's read the pertinent verses (of which there are not many) beginning in Matthew 2:1-2,

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

We read further in Matthew 2:9-10, that

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

The very name 'angel' in Hebrew is malak which means messenger, and in the Greek it's aggelos which means the same. The greatest news the world has ever known or will know is the news of Jesus Christ, so it makes sense that God would use an angel to herald Christ's birth to the Magi. God used an angel to tell Zechariah of the coming birth of the forerunner to the Messiah, John the Baptist. He used an angel to tell Mary (Luke 1:30) she would conceive by the Holy Spirit. He used an angel to tell Joseph not to divorce Mary and also to warn Joseph in a dream of the danger to the baby. (Matthew 1:20, Matthew 2:13) He used angels to tell the shepherds that Christ was born. (Luke 2:9). Given that angels were heavily involved as messengers to tell the good news of Christ's birth, it makes sense He would use the same method to tell the Magi, as well.

Secondly, angels are formidable, powerful beings. They possess intellect, will, and strength. The holy angels carry out the will of God, including agents of His judgment. Look at some biblical examples of how powerful angels are:

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. (Revelation 7:1)

saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. (Revelation 9:14-15, these are unholy angels, but being angels, they are still incredibly powerful).

One angel in Revelation 14:6-7 is so powerful that he flies around the earth at mid-heaven to proclaim the eternal Gospel to all who live on the earth with his loud voice.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, (Revelation 19:17).

By these examples we know the power of angels, and that they can and do supersede 'the natural order' when God wills. If they can hold back the winds of earth, fly in midheaven around the planet, and stand on the sun, it makes sense that angels can also appear in the sky and shine a light bright enough to guide Magi across the desert.

Third, angels are called 'stars' in the bible. It is one of their nicknames. In Job 38:7 we read that all the stars shouted for joy when God made the world, and stars could either mean the actual stars or more probably, it was the angels shouted for joy at being witness to this stupendous act of God.

In Rev 12:4 we read that satan drew 1/3 of the 'stars of heaven' down with him to sin and rebellion against God, and a parallel to that is in Daniel 8:10, where the 'little horn' grew great and drew some of the 'starry host' down to earth. Revelation 1:20 tells us that the stars in context are angels:

As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

However the verse from Daniel 8:10 and Revelation 1:20 are disputed. The angels referred to as stars in Revelation could also mean the pastors of those churches.

Fourth, if the star that moved purposely in the sky was an angel, it would solve the issue that arises with a planet normally maintaining an orbit, or a comet maintaining a trajectory. The star in Matthew did move in a way that was distinct from any known planetary object. It moved before the men and came to rest at the place the LORD intended for it to rest, above Jesus' house.

So we have learned that angels have a function in the bible from Genesis to Revelation as messenger, are powerful enough to stay in the sky and guide men, are frequently referred to as "stars" in the Bible, and are used intensely in the events surrounding Christ's birth. These are just some of my ideas as to the mysterious object in the sky leading the Magi to the place where our precious Savior dwelled in his earliest days on earth. I could be extremely wrong, but I thought I'd throw my two cents into the pot.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The winds of sin: A Poem

The winds of sin blow strong
The hearts of stone weigh heavy
The minds of shadow love darkness
The evil day His will prolongs.

The wicked will not prosper
They answer for their deeds
Their names not found on the roster
They stand before Him, these weeds

The winds of grace blow strong
Sin, death and hell cast out
All is fresh and new in beauty
Jesus reigns in glory over the throng



By EPrata

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Awaiting the Blessed Hope

Here is a beautiful drawing from Chris Powers of Full of Eyes Ministry. His picture brings to life the verse from Titus 2:12-14,

training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

I'm waiting for the Blessed Hope, so eagerly and excitedly.

Chris' artist statement is:
In these verses, Paul's point seems to be that the grace of God teaches us to be godly pilgrims in this life, living in the world as faithful people of God, and yet always waiting, always hoping, always looking for the appearing of our great God - Jesus Christ. I have always been struck by the beauty of Paul's contrasts here....directly after affirming that Christ is "our great God and Savior," he adds "who gave Himself for us." Christ's deity and His sacrificial death are placed side by side as a reminder of the depths of His love and the beauty of His character.....our God is the One who gave Himself for us....and the God who gave Himself for us is the One whose glory will one day dissolve earth an heaven in His appearing......how stunning it will be for believers on that day! 
The One whose beauty is splintering the skies and whose majesty is terrifying the nations,  that same one  is the one who loves us and gave Himself for us....wonderful.
In this image I wanted to show that the believer is a pilgrim and yet always lives with the "sight" (by faith) of Christ's appearing before their eyes....He is our great hope.

Chris Powers illustration, Full of Eyes Ministry
I can't imagine what it will be like when we hear the trumpet and the Voice calling us home! I can't imagine our joy, and our amazement and our relief and our surprise and our worship. I can't imagine what it will be like to live in a body that is un-corrupt and free from sin!

The Christian life is hard. As we grow more toward the holy end of the spectrum the more we hate our own bodies, minds, and hearts. Not because we have low self-esteem, as I used to think before I was saved, but because we know how our sinful acts blot the name of Jesus and are against Him and Him alone. We love Him so much, He being of perfect character and beauty, that when we sin it's hurtful to our own selves more and more. Our very bones groan in agony. Psalm 6:1-3 captures it

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
3My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?

And that brings us back to the Titus 2:12 verse. The spirit is training us to renounce ungodliness and live self-controlled upright lives, while we wait for the Blessed Hope. He is Blessed, and the Hope is great! Turn your countenance toward heaven, see the joy set before you (by faith) and know that one day, our joy will be by sight.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Jack Kelley has died

Source
Many of you are familiar with writer Jack Kelley. He ran a website called Grace Thru Faith and on it he wrote many essays explaining the Bible from his interpretation. Apparently he had been sick to his stomach for a few weeks, unable to keep anything down. His (I assume wife) Samantha took him to the hospital due to symptoms of dehydration. After extensive tests they discovered cancer riddling his body. They put Mr Kelley in hospice care immediately.

Now it is reported that Mr Kelley has died. The end came very quickly for him. He went from feeling merely unwell, to hospital, to end of life care, to death, to eternity. The following was posted on his website today:
Monday, October 19th, 2015
Update: Last night after a beautiful time of prayer and worship over him, Jack went home to meet his Savior. It wasn’t the healing I, and so many others, had asked and believed for. But it is, in Jack’s words, the ultimate healing. Below are the words that he wrote in 2006 that bring me comfort in this while my heart is broken. I pray they give you comfort as well. 
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
The following question was emailed to our “Ask a Bible Teacher” column this week. Since it’s such an important question, I’m responding in our feature article format so as to provide greater detail. This will also allow more people to see it, because it’s a question we’ve all asked. Continue reading
I've mentioned that I disagreed with Mr Kelley on many of his biblical interpretations regarding bearing fruit, Calvinism, Catholicism, and young earth. My point is, he knows the truth now. The end can come at any time for any person. Do you know what you believe? Do you know why you believe it? Are you sure that what you believe is in line with the Bible? How do you know?

Though we sin daily, we need not fear standing before the Lord when we are called home through death or the rapture. It could be fairly sudden as it was for Mr Kelley. Death could come nearly instantly, like when my Christ-denying father failed to yield at an intersection, was hit, and died at the scene. When Mr Kelley went to the hospital I'm sure he never expected to be put in hospice care that day. When my father got in his car to drive into town I'm sure he never expected to end up a few moments later at his eternal destination.

If you're putting off witnessing to a person, thinking, "I'll get to it tomorrow" there might not be a tomorrow for that person- or for you. Life holds many surprises. The very next breath we draw could be our last. Or the breath we expect to be our last might turn out to be one of many more.

yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

Anyway I just wanted you to be aware of the news regarding Mr Kelley. I know some of you read his site.

You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. (Psalm 39:5)

-----------------------------------------------

Further reading

airō on Jack Kelley: Gutless Gracers' easy-believism


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Scripture photo: Love unmerited; and a praise to the Lord



I attended a church service today that was so sweet, so fresh, so fine, it sparked my thirst for seeing Jesus face to face all the more. Heaven's worship is going to be so wonderful, I can hardly think on it!

The service began with five baptisms at the middle service. The pastor said there were several baptisms at the early service and several more would be conducted at the later service. Upon stating their desire for baptism, the prospective baptizees must complete a four week 'new member' course prior to being immersed. Baptism at this church is a serious thing, being a weighty ordinance of the Lord, and it is not undertaken casually. Therefore, knowing this, I celebrated their obedience into the faith all the more! I always tear up at baptisms, and this one was so beautiful I did have many more tears than usual. The elderly lady sitting next to me put her arm around me and said "Is one of them yours?" I said "No, but yes, they all are, now. They are my family."

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

What a blessing to see new believers step forward and openly declare their intent to follow Jesus. Some of the baptizees were adults, some were college aged, some were younger. One man was an exchange student from China. What a wondrous display of the Holy Spirit's move, to bring a person here to be baptized into the faith and when his school term ends, will return to plant his own seeds.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6)

After some good music, "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God almighty..." the pastor said that next Sunday the congregation will come together to vote on purchasing a house and 4-acre parcel adjacent to the existing 16-acre campus, it will complete their long-term vision. They believe they are meant to be in that spot, stay in that spot, and to grow disciples who in turn go out and plant churches in the neighborhood, county, state, nation, and the world. And they are doing this. They are committed to this biblical model, and it is a joy to see their obedience to it and the Spirit's working through them in it.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

The sermon was at once Jesus-exalting and personally humbling as the pastor exposited the word of God and gravely and lovingly explained a parable from Matthew. What a balm to receive the word from a mature preacher who understands the scripture and is eager and sober in explaining it to his flock.

And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15)

After the sermon we had the privilege of praying over and commissioning a couple with their baby who are finishing their furlough and are returning to their mission field into East Asia. Anyone who wanted to pray aloud for this humble and obedient couple was invited forward to do so. Hands were laid upon them, tears were shed, and hope was ignited that many living in darkness would hear the Gospel and be saved.

And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. (Mark 5:19-20)

I know the state of the visible church and it is not good. But the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church that Jesus is building and where there IS a solid visible congregation, it is a beautiful thing.

Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)

The worship of the Holy head of our church, Jesus Christ, no matter where you are, is a life-affirming, sobering, joyful, glad thing, and something we have privilege to do each day for all eternity when we arrive en masse at New Jerusalem at the rapture. O blessed day.

Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. (Psalm 111:1)


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The biggest heresy in America


Listening to John MacArthur's second sermon this morning, on "Why The World Hates Christians, part 2" he mentioned an 11-month-old survey done by Ligonier and LifeWay Research. The research involved identifying the biggest heresy in America. Before MacArthur revealed what it was, I'd thought it might be Prosperity Gospel, or Charismatic errors. Nope.

Here is what Ligonier/LifeWay found: The biggest heresy in America was a denial of human depravity. Human depravity is the concept that after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, all humans from that point on are completely unable to see the things of God, to do any righteous deeds pleasing to God, or to respond in any way to God. We are completely unable. Our inability renders us dead in our sins, and being dead in our sins renders us unable. We need God to draw us to Him, to make us see Him, and to be able to respond to Him. This doctrine means, we as humans prior to repentance and justification, cannot "choose God." As John MacArthur explains complete inability:
This doctrine has been called “Total Depravity,” but I feel that the “total depravity” is a misleading term.  If you look up “depravity” in the dictionary, it’s a synonym for viciousness.  It’s a synonym for being vile.  In fact, to be depraved, according to the dictionary, is to be degraded, debased, immoral to a dangerous degree like rapists and serial killers.  The word “depraved” sort of connotes a level of evil that’s just not applicable to everybody.  To say someone is totally depraved, you know, you think of Jeffrey Dahmers, or Charles Manson, or somebody who has not a vestige of human goodness, and void of all normal affection and restraint.  To call someone “totally depraved” would set them outside normal people as vicious perverts.  
That is not what is meant when theologians refer to total depravity because not everybody is as bad as they could be, and not everybody is as bad as everybody else.  What we’re talking about here is what I’ve chosen to call “absolute inability.”  What is true of everybody is we have no ability to respond to the gospel.  We are completely unable to raise ourselves out of a state of death.  We are completely unable to give our blind hearts sight.  We are completely unable to free ourselves from slavery to sin.  We are completely unable to turn from ignorance to truth.  We are completely unable to stop rebelling against God, stop being hostile to His Word.  
We are not only unable but we are unwilling to do that, unwilling to repent, unwilling to believe.  And if we are to repent and to believe, then it must be like it was for Lazarus, where God who commands the dead to rise has to also give them the power.
The church I used to attend is just such a church, participating in promoting the biggest heresy in America. From the pulpit and in Sunday School the Calvinist-hating pastor used to promote the notion of "free will" and our ability to choose Jesus as Savior. He would talk about our minds having just a ''flawed rationale' and 'clouded thinking', not the fact that the Bible states we are completely blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) and totally unable to do anything for God. (Romans 3:10). Five minutes into one Sunday School lesson he explained free will and on that same Sunday in a 20 minute sermon he mentioned it again 5 more times. Talk about indoctrination. And this was just a dinky little Southern Baptist Church in a rural county.

Here is a web page listing all the verses which explain man's incapability to choose God.


With such indoctrination about the false concept from churches from east to west, and on television and in books and in movies that we have freedom to choose Jesus, it's no wonder that this heresy has grown so monstrously pervasive. I'm glad Ligonier/LifeWay named it a heresy.

Here is an excerpt from their research conclusions-
Thanks to a recent survey by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research we now know the biggest heresy in America. Pushing errors regarding the trinity and the church into second and third place is the denial of the Bible’s teaching about the doctrine of sin, especially in the related areas of human depravity and human inability. I say “related” because what we believe about human depravity impacts what we believe about human ability; what we are determines what we can or cannot do.
Regarding human depravity, the research showed: 
  • 67% agree “Everyone sins at least a little, but most people are by nature good.”
  • 40% agree “God loves me because of the good I do or have done.” 
Regarding human inability, the statistics were: 
  • Only 16% agree with the doctrine that says “people do not have the ability to turn to God on their own initiative.
  • 71% of Americans agree that “an individual must contribute his/her own effort for personal salvation.”
  • 64% of Americans agree “a person obtains peace with God by first taking the initiative to seek God and then God responds with grace.” 
In summary, the vast majority believe that: 
  • Though we sin a little, by nature we are good.
  • We can do good and God rewards our good deeds by loving us.
  • We have the ability to turn to God on our own initiative.
  • Salvation involves us taking the initiative that God then responds to.
Go to the link above for more information and Ligonier's infographic. Their conclusion was this:

"The future belongs to Christians with conviction."

Is that you? Do you stand by what you believe? Are you strong on biblical knowledge and exhibiting a practical holiness? Because now is the time to know what you believe, why you believe it, and be ready to defend it- at all costs. Luke 14:28.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Here is an example of how satan targets children

Satan is targeting your children. You know this. But do you really know it?

We read the newspapers about what the world is doing to children in schools, with the teachings on the false theory of evolution, with gender-neutral bathrooms, the homosexual agenda in "sex ed." But outside of schools behind the scenes there is monstrous pressure, relentless, shark-like never ending pressure to succumb to evil. Here is an excerpt from an unsolicited email I received this week. It is one of many I receive from authors and publishers wanting me to promote their books. If they are sending me, a small, insignificant blogger, emails like these, you can be sure they are papering their doctrines of demons from wall to wall, top to bottom.
I would love to send you a new book that teaches The Law of Attraction, and other metaphysical ideas, to children. The author is a Reiki Master and proficient in the Bowen Technique, as well as has a diploma in Energetic Healing. Even if you do not typically review books, we did want to offer the book to you in case you felt so inspired to share it with the children in your life, and, if they enjoy the book, perhaps post about it on social media or in your newsletter or recommend it among like-minded friends.
It's gut-wrenching and startling to read something like this, isn't it? Satan is at work, prowling like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. Be honest, when you read that verse, you picture in your mind that satan is going after you, or friends- adults. But instead, picture satan the lion devouring a child. He rips their little souls to shreds, their innocent faith crumbling under massive badgering to see the world satan's way.

From the beginning of the Bible, we see that human-kind understood that children are a blessing from God, given by Him. Eve said,

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord." (Genesis 4:1).

In Genesis 33:5 we read,

Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. "Who are these with you?" he asked. Jacob answered, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant.

The LORD thinks highly of children. He blesses a family by giving a child to them!

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)

So if children are a blessing, a heritage, and a reward, how should we be raising them? In the knowledge of the LORD and His ways, of course. But these days, easier said than done.

Now, I do not have kids, so even commenting on parenting children and raising them in the Lord is a tough row to hoe for me. However, I am an educator in an elementary school and have been since 1983. I've seen the decline of morality, and the foundation of family crumble, from a mass perspective if not a personal one. in looking at classroom after classroom of wide-eyed innocents. Let me tell you, the decline is precipitous.

So given how high-risk these days are, and given how hard satan is going after the children, here are a few good resources for parents and relatives to peruse and perhaps use in contending for the spiritual safety of the kids.

Parents—Don’t Leave Teaching to the Church
The church is not the only place our children should be taught biblical truth. Parents can do many practical things to combat the evolutionary indoctrination their children face. In addition to ensuring that their children receive meaningful instruction from church, parents are responsible to build a biblical worldview in their children on a daily basis.
On. A. Daily. Basis.

Don't wait until the children are one year old, or two years old. Or entering daycare. Or wait until Pre-Kindergarten. From birth, teach Jesus on a daily basis. AND live it in front of them.

Michelle Lesley wrote a series entitled The 10 commandments of Parenting.

Commandment 1: Thou Shalt Be A Believer
Commandment 2: Thou shalt put God first in thine own life
Commandment 3: Thou shalt have a Christ-centered marriage 
Commandment 4: Thou shalt make a pro-active decision that thy household will be a Godly one
Commandment 5: Thou shalt train thy children in the words of the Scriptures
Commandment 6: Thou shalt teach thy children to pray
Commandment 7: Thou shalt consistently and lovingly discipline thy children
Commandment 8:
Commandment 9: Thou Shalt Be Forgiving
Commandment 10: Thou Shalt Love

Grace To You: Ten Commandments of Parenting
One of the most common questions I get from Christian parents is about parenting.  They want specific and practical advice for rearing their children in the very best way. Couples usually understand their general parental responsibility, but will often speak of the need for help in specifically framing their biblical commitments to optimally shepherd and train their children.
Children don't know when their innocent and correct worldview is being chipped away at. But it is, since the first moments they take a breath. Guard the kids!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

When love includes hate

I had a Twitter interaction this week. With an opening like that, you know how the rest of this is going to go.

There are Christians on Twitter who tweet verses about God's love. This is fine and great. I do that too! But there is an overemphasis in social media on God's love, and rarely presentation of our personal sin, or His wrath, or the world's curse or death, or hell. Yet Jesus spoke more of hell than heaven.

As the writer at Bible.org stated,
It may be worth noting that in Deuteronomy 28 (and following), the blessing section (28:1-14) is a great deal shorter than the cursing section (28:15-68). 
Speaking only of hell or wrath isn't good either. God is a balanced and perfect God, and speaking of any and all of His attributes is always fruitful. But the excessive focus on "love" is, well, sickeningly sweet to me. Presenting only the 'good' attributes like love to the world, gives the world a picture of a Holy and Sovereign God as needy and wimpy.

Here is how the Twitter conversation went. I saw this tweet being re-tweeted by someone who I follow and follows me:


So I replied with this from Revelation 19:11,



And she valiantly and staunchly tweeted back:



She didn't even tweet back a verse of love, but instead chose to deliberately cut out the part of the verse that says He makes war and judges. Those attributes are not so popular, and they get very little airing on public forums like Facebook, comment sections, and Twitter. So I answered:



And there was no reply.

I had heard a Phil Johnson sermon this weekend that I enjoyed. (What Phil Johnson sermon ever isn't to enjoy? :) Here is the part where Pastor Johnson was explaining how an overemphasis on Jesus' love diminishes even the holy attribute of His love to a man-centered false notion of love that is far from the truth. Here is Pastor Phil Johnson:

Love Not The World
Now this is vital, because there are a lot of people who want to make the principle of love a kind of ethereal goodwill that is strewn about indiscriminately on every conceivable object. In fact, in the culture of American Christianity, if you include the mainstream denominational groups and everyone in our society who uses the label "Christian," I think it's fair to say that the prevailing notion of Christian charity in society at large is an idea of love that is always benevolent, always congenial, always positive about everything. 
I hear this all the time. Years ago, when I first began to investigate and catalogue the Christian resources on the Internet, I made a large list of links to other Christian Web sites. And in order to keep them all straight in my own mind, and in order to help Christians who might not be very discerning about doctrinal dangers on the Internet, I classified my links to other web sites Web sites according to their doctrinal soundness. So there's large a category of links I have labeled helpful, and then there are other categories called "Bad Theology" and "Really Bad Theology." And then a few years ago I found I had to add a category called "Really, Really Bad Theology." And I've annotated every link on those pages to help explain why I categorize them as bad.
And to this day, nearly every week of my life, I get e-mail messages from people who are convinced that it is inherently unloving to label anyone else's ideas bad theology. And they write me to chide me for posting my disagreements with other Christians' doctrine on the Web. 
But the love that is called for in the New Commandment is not a vague, indiscriminate congeniality. Real love for the truth necessarily involves hatred for error.
Real love for God includes hatred of error. One error is the gauzy exclusive focus on Jesus-as-boyfriend, "in love" with His bride wearing a wrath of braided daisies and never the Crown of many diadems. Here is where the rest of the Revelation 19:11 verse takes us. To verses 12 and 13:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

The picture of Jesus than the one where He is smilingly depicted as sitting among the disciples among a field of, um, daisies is the one that social media and immature Christians exclusively present. The picture of Jesus as a bloody, judging, sin-avenger? Not so much.

Both pictures are true. Always tweeting, showing, describing, or even living, one picture of Jesus exclusively and not the entirety presents a false God.

John MacArthur's sermon "Why the World Hates Christians, Part 1" also urges us Christians to speak of Jesus and His holy attributes of wrath, sin, judgment etc. It's important. Don't neglect putting them out into the world, he said, because it's sin if we don't. Here is Pastor MacArthur:
The world will hate you if you “start identifying evil as evil. We don’t want to do that. Let me help you. The Pope is evil. He is from the Kingdom of Darkness. He is anti-christ. Anyone who would say atheists are going to heaven, is anti-christ. Jesus said you will die in your sins and where I go you’ll never come because you believe not on Me. Not only do you need to believe on god but on Jesus Christ.

Homosexuality is evil. Gender identity tampering is evil. Adultery is evil. Fornication is evil. Lying is evil. Pride is evil. Self-centeredness is evil. Self-righteousness is evil. That’s why they killed Jesus, because He said their religion was evil. … 
John 7:7 says that the world hated Me before they hated you, because I testify of the world that its deeds are evil. If we don’t SAY that, we’re sinning. You can say it in love, but it has to be said.
Call evil what it is: evil.

We must love and talk of the attributes of God that the world hates to hear about, such as judgment, hell, wrath, and sin. If we don't, who will?


"And they crossed on dry ground...

We know about Moses. We love him. We know of his his foibles, his sins, and his great faith. Moses is in the Hebrews Hall of Fame Faith and...