29 April 2010

In the News...

Because you probably haven't heard (since the major news outlets aren't reporting it)...

Big Government.com reports:
Puerto Rican Statehood Today!
by James M. Simpson
Apparently there is to be a vote later today on a bill regarding Puerto Rican statehood. They are calling it “non-binding” but it is not non-binding! It is a trap. The bill makes eventual Puerto Rican statehood a virtual certainty. This is despite the fact that statehood has been voted down repeatedly. The Puerto Rican people don’t want it!
Read the full article here.
An interesting note. As of the writing of this post, a search of major news websites CNN.com and MSNBC.com and NPR finds absolutely no mention of this. FoxNews.com, on the contrary, has it posted as the leading story on their homepage. So for those of you who disagree with my choice of Fox News as a "trusted news source" this would be why I label them as such.

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following was posted earlier this week at The Daily Spurgeon and is from a sermon entitled "The Vital Force."
We may expect between this place and heaven a fair share of trouble. If we write down for ourselves pleasant things, it may probably happen that we have written other than the book of the divine purpose. Many trials will befall us between this and the fair haven; but there is no killing one in them all, for the just shall live through them all by his faith.

We may also reckon upon many temptations. Satan, however old he may be, has not yet come to years of decay. Our old evil nature, too, though it may have lost some of its strength, yet is capable of wonderful outbursts of power, and the world outside of us is full of grief. We must expect to be tempted in many fresh ways between here and the celestial city; but there is no lulling temptation in them all, for the just shall live by his faith. Empty thy quiver, O enemy of souls, but this divine shield shall catch every arrow and quench its fire, and blunt those points, and save and deliver us from them all.

27 April 2010

The Driscoll Downward Spiral

Mark Driscoll can preach a great message overflowing with the conviction of the law and then present you with the glorious truth of the Gospel for redemption. I admit, I used to listen to his sermons weekly. That is, until I began to feel as though the person of Jesus Christ and His Word were being treated too irreverently for comfort. I have to say his "Peasant Princess" sermon series about the Song of Solomon basically ruined this biblical book for me with his rather graphic interpretation.  Lately, Driscoll has been cavorting with Rick Warren and the seeker-driven crowd at Warren's December conference, Radicalis, perhaps in a slow return back to his Emergent roots. His ministry website, The Resurgence, posted an article a few months ago about the benefits of and how to practice meditative prayer (the fact that this article is still obtainable tells me this is something Driscoll and his ministry continue to teach and encourage). So I think it's fair to say that Mark Driscoll is doing a fine job of assimilating to the culture and in aiding some of the deceptions that are silently and subtly infiltrating the Christian churches. And now, last week, Crosstalk Blog reported the following:
Mark Driscoll Church Plant Works with Hamas Front Group
Click here to listen to the prayer at Harambee Church in Renton, Washington back in March. The sound of the Islamic call to prayer echoed through this Mark Driscoll, Acts 29 Network church at an Interfaith event where participants dialogued about “Jesus.” Harambee Church was so proud of that Muslim call to prayer in their facilities that they posted it on their website. Both Islamic and Christian sides declared the event a “tremendous success.”
The event was coordinated with CAIR, a Hamas front group that has so many links to terrorist individuals, groups and countries that even the FBI will no longer work with them. See here.
So today we have so-called Christian churches working with terrorist-backed groups, allowing pagans to pray in their facilities and sitting around sharing about who THEY think Jesus is.
Mark Driscoll has been repeatedly warned about at this site and on the websites of other discernment ministries. The full fruit of his “ministry” is now showing.
Here is one more example why Christians must be seeking to hone their discernment skills through the study of God's Word and through prayer. With some of the decisions of trusted pastors of late, we are seeing why it is so crucial that each one of us be "testing the spirits" for ourselves, and not trusting our so-called "shepherds" to do it for us.

26 April 2010

Monday Musings with Patricia King

It's Monday. And there's no better way to start the week than with a few, ahem...interesting...thoughts from Patricia King!
Um.............HUH???!!! All I can say is, if "Daddy God" ever comes "into my midst" and says, "play with me for awhile," I'm going to run in the other direction and start praying the name of Jesus!

25 April 2010

In the News...

Pay special attention to the last paragraph quoted below. New American reports:
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is teaming up with the Obama administration to legalize illegal immigrants and require biometric national ID cards for every American worker, prompting a swift and bipartisan backlash across the nation. The proposal would unconstitutionally force nearly all Americans to obtain the new “tamper proof” Social Security cards while purporting to require that all employers purchase new $800 ID scanners. It would also provide a “path to citizenship” for the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants currently living in America.

Led by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, pro-amnesty and national ID legislators have already started the public relations campaign to build support for the “new and improved” version of “comprehensive immigration reform.” In a column published by the Washington Post entitled “The right way to mend immigration,” the two architects provided a superficial glimpse at their agenda. And though the piece is lacking in details, it reveals a dangerous agenda that Americans must oppose in order to maintain freedom.

“Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here,” wrote Graham and Schumer. “We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card.”

The national ID cards would include a "unique biometric identifier," according to Graham and Schumer. Some of the likely candidates include finger prints, retinal scans, or even the layout of a person’s veins in the top of their hand. Employers who refuse to "swipe the card" would face "stiff fines" and "prison sentences," the Senators noted. “Our blueprint also creates a rational system for admitting lower-skilled workers,” they added.
Read the article here.
And it [the second beast] was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. Revelation 13:15-17

Sunday Morning Praise

I'm going to take a break from the hymns today. After watching these videos, I don't think anyone will mind! May God bless you this day!



O Lord Our Lord

(Psalm 8; Hebrews 2)

When I consider Your Heavens

The work of Your fingers

The moon and the stars which You ordain

What is man that You are mindful of him

And the son of man that You visit him?

(Chorus)

O Lord, our Lord

How excellent is Your Name in all of the earth

O Lord, how excellent is Your Name

(repeat)

And the avenger You still with the praises of singers

The infants and babes whom You ordain

What is man that You are mindful of him

And the son of man that You visit him?

(Chorus)

Your name given so freely for us to claim the name of Jesus

You came a little lower than the angels to humble yourself

Only to be exalted, exalted

(Chorus)

(Counter Medley)

Adonai, Adonenu

Yeshua, bless Your Holy name

We love Your name

 We've been studying the crucifixion the past couple of weeks in my Bible study. This next video fits in perfectly!
If you want to learn more about Marty Goetz and his beautiful Messianic music, you can visit his website. You can even watch an episode of David Reagan's Christ in Prophecy entitled, "The Life and Ministry of Marty Goetz."

22 April 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is from a sermon entitled "Contentment" delivered March 25, 1860:
"For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."—Philippians 4:11 
The Apostle Paul was a very learned man, but not the least among his manifold acquisitions in science was this—he had learned to be content. Such learning is far better than much that is acquired in the schools. Their learning may look studiously back on the past, but too often those who cull the relics of antiquity with enthusiasm, are thoughtless about the present, and neglect the practical duties of daily life. Their learning may open up dead languages to those who will never derive any living benefit from them. Far better the learning of the apostle. It was a thing of ever-present utility, and alike serviceable for all generations, one of the rarest, but one of the most desirable accomplishments. I put the senior wrangler, and the most learned of our Cambridge men in the lowest form, compared with this learned apostle; for this surely is the highest degree in humanities to which a man can possibly attain, to have learned in whatsoever state he is, to be content. You will see at once from reading the text, upon the very surface, that contentment in all states is not a natural propensity of man. Ill weeds grow apace; covetousness, discontent, and murmuring, are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. You have no need to sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth, upon which rests the curse; so you have no need to teach men to complain, they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener's care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated. It will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in it. Paul says, "I have learned to be content;" as much as to say he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. Frequently too, like boys at school, he had his knuckles rapped; frequently he found that it was not easy learning this task, and when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," he was an old grey-headed man upon the borders of the grave, a poor prisoner shut up in Nero's dungeon at Rome.
[...]
And surely, my dear brethren, if I need to add another argument why you should be content, it were this: whatever your trouble, it is not for long [...]
Yet a little while, the painful conflict will be over. [...] You are not so poor after all, as they are who have no hope; though you may seem poor, you are rich. Do not let your poor neighbours see you disconsolate, but let them see in you that holy calmness, that sweet resignation, that gracious submission, which makes the poor man more glorious than he that wears a coronet, and lifts the son of the soil up from his rustic habitation, and sets him among the princes of the blood-royal of heaven. Be happy, brethren, be satisfied and content. God will have you to learn, in whatever state you may be, therewith to be content.
[...]
Besides, remember that all these sufferings are less than his sufferings. "Canst thou not watch with thy Lord one hour?" He hangs upon the tree with a world's miseries in his bowels; cannot you bear these lesser miseries that fall on you? Remember that all these chastenings work for your good; they are all making you ready; every stroke of your Father's rod is bringing you nearer to perfection. [...] This hard heart of ours, when it is undisturbed, waxes gross. When the strings of our harp are all unstrung, they make better music than when they are best wound up. There are some heaven-notes that never come to us but when we are shut up in the darkened chamber. Grapes must be pressed before the wine can be distilled. Furnace work is necessary to make us of any use in the world. We should be just the poorest things that can be, if we did not sometimes get sick. Perhaps, you that are frequently tried and frequently pained, would have been scarcely worth anything in the vineyard of Christ, if it had not been for this trial of your faith. You have a sharp filling, but if you had not been well filed, you would not have been an instrument fit for the Master's use, you would have grown so rusty. If he had kept you always free from suffering, you would have been often lacking those sweet cordials which the Physician of souls administers to his fainting patients.
[...]
Before I dismiss you there is this one other sentence. You that love not Christ, recollect that you are the most miserable people in the world. Though you may think yourselves happy, there is no one of us that would change places with the best of you. When we are very sick, very poor, and on the borders of the grave, if you were to step in and say to us "Come, I will change places with you; you shall have my gold, and my silver, my riches, and my health," and the like, there is not one living Christian that would change places with you. We would not stop to deliberate, we would give you at once our answer—"No, go your way, and delight in what you have; but all your treasures are transient, they will soon pass away. We will keep our sufferings, and you shall keep your gaudy toys." Saints have no hell but what they suffer here on earth; sinners will have no heaven but what they have here in his poor troublesome world. We have our sufferings here and our glory afterwards; you may have your glory here, but you will have your sufferings for ever and ever. God grant you new hearts, and right spirits, a living faith in a living Jesus, and then I would say to you as I have said to the rest—man, in whatsoever state you are, be content.

21 April 2010

Blessed "Mother" Earth?

Tonight I learned that Northland Church, of which Joel Hunter is senior pastor, is celebrating Earth Day by broadcasting the "Blessed Earth" simulcast. If you recall, Northland Church in Orlando, Florida last year hosted the National Alpha Conference for the not-as-Christian-as-it-would-appear Alpha Course. Pastor Joel Hunter is a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is also involved in the interfaith movement toward a one-world religion. Gee, and he also advocates worshiping "Mother Earth" with the rest of the misguided people who laud what has come to be known as "Earth Day." Now there's a shocker.

From the "Blessed Earth" website (bold emphasis is mine):
On the eve of Earth Day 2010, a huge group of churches - across the United States, and as far afield as Uruguay, South Africa and the UK - will be linking up for a simulcast by the Blessed Earth organization. This non-profit is headed up by Matthew and Nancy Sleeth, who have radically downsized – Matthew giving up a doctor’s salary – to fully live the green message. This event is a launch of their new films (from the makers of Rob Bell’s popular NOOMA series) called Blessed Earth. Separated into two six-film discs, (“Hope for Creation,” and “Hope for Humanity”) the films are mainly intended as an encouragement to get the less-connected among the Christian faithful more motivated, more committed, more energized to do something on Earth Day.
It will be hosted at the Northland megachurch in Orlando, which regularly has ten thousand people at its services. The church’s pastor, Dr. Joel Hunter, has been a great Creation Care advocate for a good while, and has thrown his not inconsiderable weight of personnel and influence behind it. But the evening is attempting to be as broadly appealing as it can be, incorporating as it does video statements from Christian and secular leaders, music, Nancy Sleeth’s personal account of their own green journey and  - after sampling one of the films - a live questions and answers session with Matthew Sleeth taking questions from the audience and the web.
Why is all of this such a big deal? Well, whether you are Christian or not, the lack of involvement by the churches – and their road-to-Damascus conversion to environmental protection (if you will forgive the pun) – really matters. We are talking an army of tens of millions, working to save the planet…if they can unite.
Well, doesn't that last sentence just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Newsflash: People cannot "save the planet." This planet is God's to save or destroy and His plan is already laid out for us in the book of Revelation. Any Bible-reading, Bible-believing Christian should know that it is not our responsibility to "save the planet." Should we be good stewards of the earth that God has given us? Absolutely. But worshiping the creation over the Creator is nothing short of evil. Our responsibility lies in the words of Jesus Christ, "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).

For more on Joel Hunter:
The Web of Deception
Alpha Exposed: Part 2b
Alpha Exposed: Part 3

Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries has written a thorough article, Avoid this Observance!, on the dangers of this absurd day we call "Earth Day."
All movements and campaigns have their own "bible." For the Earth Day crowd the 1970 book The Environmental Handbook, is their guide. The book states that each tree and stream has its own guardian spirit. And Christianity is hugely at fault for environmental woes. They think we believe that it is God's will to exploit nature (p. 20-21). Thanks to Christianity, we will see a worsening ecological crisis (p. 25). The book also says, "No technical solution can rescue us from the misery of overpopulation. Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all. The only way we can preserve more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed." (p.49, Garrett Hardin). That's called population control. Just like the global warming crowd, they want a whole lot of us to go away.

On page 324, the book promotes polygamy and group marriage. It pushes for a "revolution of consciousness" and enlightenment while praising Gnostics, hip Marxists, Teilhard de Chardin Catholics, druids, Taoists, witches, Yogins, Bhikkus, Quakers, Sufis, Tibetans, Zens, Shamans, Bushmen, American Indians, Polynesians, anarchists, and alchemists. (p. 331).

But here's the worst news. Take a look at the sacred earth prayer found in this book:
"Mother, Father, God, Universal Power - remind us daily of the sanctity of all life. Touch our hearts with the glorious oneness of all creation as we strive to respect all the living beings on this planet. Penetrate our souls with the beauty of this earth, as we attune ourselves to the rhythm and flow of the seasons. Awaken our minds with the knowledge to achieve a world in perfect harmony and grant us the wisdom to realize that we can have heaven on earth."
So why are evangelicals lured into this? The direct reference to "Mother Earth," "Heaven on earth," and prayer to a "Universal Power," should be huge red flags that "Earth Day" and some related ecology events are pagan events to be shunned. Instead, we have Web sites representing evangelicals who are promoting this big time. One is "Blessed Earth: Serving God and Saving the Planet." According to the Bible, we are to be good stewards of the Earth, but we cannot save it. Only God can.

Read the entire article here.

In the News...

Well, as of the writing of this post, this was nowhere to be found in any US news sources. Gee, I wonder why?

Israel National News reports:

Israel, Other Countries Write to Google With Privacy Concerns

by Malkah Fleisher

Israel is among ten countries whose privacy, security, and information-protection officials have contacted internet empire Google with a request to change a couple of their programs.
Israel, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany all signed a letter Monday to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, to complain about two Google products which they say create major privacy and security problems, according to the Associated Press.

Google Buzz, which was launched in February, attempted to piggyback on the success of social networking by automatically creating 'friends' for users chosen based on who the user contacts most. Changes have already been made to the program following complaints, yet the countries said they were disturbed that Buzz was created in the first place.
Another program similar to the popular Google Maps application, Google Street View, provides map users with detailed street-level pictures of locations provided by cars which periodically drive through neighborhoods with cameras. In a random search of a location, details of the home included the most minute details, such as potted plants, and even the car which was parked out in front at the time the picture was taken.
In Israel, concerns may include the use of such detailed photos by Arabs to conduct terror attacks in the country.
According to the AP, Google replied by saying the issues the nations addressed had been discussed before, but that the company has worked quickly to remedy problems in the past. (IsraelNationalNews.com)
You'll notice that the US isn't on the list of concerned nations. Let me just offer you a personal application and some thoughts. Even though I opted out of Google Buzz, when I run a Google search from my home computer, my location is displayed. Google is tracking where I am searching from (and most definitely what I am searching on). I think I finally figured out how to dismantle this feature, but in the end, I don't think it matters! Essentially, I am going to assume that my location is available to anyone who knows how to properly monitor Google. And it's not just the Google search engine. In case you aren't aware, Google owns pretty much everything. They own YouTube, so if you keep an account there, even just to subscribe to your favorite pastor's videos, it's being tracked. They own Picasa, so all of those adorable pictures of your children that you think everyone just has to see, those are all available across the Internet. Yes, you can select your privacy options, but if you're working in Google, it's nevertheless all being collected. Google owns Blogger, so everything I write here is also being maintained in some large database. If you use Google Chat with your GMail, all of those chats are being recorded unless you specifically change your settings so that they are not. But even if my account isn't recording the conversation, the other person likely hasn't turned on this privacy setting. This is why I shy away from chatting through any Instant Messenger tool. Unless you choose to disable it, Google is collecting your browsing, search, and web history. Did you know all of this? I knew it, but it wasn't until I discovered that all of this was available at my fingertips that it really hit home for me. Looking at my "Google Dashboard" (which I only just recently realized existed) I can see my computer life in a glance. And unless I specifically choose to turn certain features off, all of this is part of my public profile. So be wary of how you use the Internet. And parents, tell your kids and teenagers about this. So many kids are on Facebook and Twitter, posting pictures and revealing their location and detailing every moment of their lives for anyone to see and to track. And if they decide to remove something tomorrow it doesn't matter, someone somewhere still has access to it. Once it's out there, it's out there and there's no getting it back.

There are a lot of implications and dangers to all of this data being recorded and stored. I'm sure I don't have to spell that out for you. Be praying. And keep looking UP!

20 April 2010

Happy Birthday, Israel!

The nation of Israel turned 62 yesterday! Let us continue to pray for Israel as the nations of this world continue to turn against her, the apple of God's eye.

Israel National News reports:
"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu kicked off Israel’s 62nd birthday as a modern state with a clear message to the world that the united city of Jerusalem is not up for grabs."
[...]
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released [a] statement that referred to the capital, stating that “We are here because this is our land. We've returned to our land, to our city - Jerusalem - because this is our land; this is our city.”
[Continue to full article.]
We stand with you, Mr. Netanyahu.

Painting the Resurrection

Thanks to my Mom for passing this along!

18 April 2010

Sunday Morning Praise

Happy Sunday! I wanted an uplifting song of praise this morning because God is SO worthy! Unfortunately, this version of "Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above" leaves out the final verse, but I will post it anyway! Enjoy!
Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
Sing praise to God Who reigns above, the God of all creation,
The God of power, the God of love, the God of our salvation.
With healing balm my soul is filled and every faithless murmur stilled:
To God all praise and glory.
What God’s almighty power hath made His gracious mercy keepeth,
By morning glow or evening shade His watchful eye ne’er sleepeth;
Within the kingdom of His might, Lo! all is just and all is right:
To God all praise and glory.
The Lord is never far away, but through all grief distressing,
An ever present help and stay, our peace and joy and blessing.
As with a mother’s tender hand, God gently leads the chosen band:
To God all praise and glory.
Thus, all my toilsome way along, I sing aloud Thy praises,
That earth may hear the grateful song my voice unwearied raises.
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart, both soul and body bear your part:
To God all praise and glory.
Let all who name Christ’s holy Name give God all praise and glory;
Let all who own His power proclaim aloud the wondrous story!
Cast each false idol from its throne, for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone:
To God all praise and glory.

I Can Hardly Wait!

This morning, I read the following article over at Hedi Swander's blog, Until Jesus Comes. Since I wholeheartedly agree with what Heidi has written and couldn't say it any better, I decided to just share her post here with you!

I Can Hardly Wait!

by Heidi Swander

I went out to dinner with a couple of girlfriends a while back and the conversation easily slipped into world events and how dire the forecast looks economically, socially, politically, etc.  Finally I burst out excitedly: “Goin’ Home!”  (This has become a trademark of mine.  When I see the rapid decline of so much in our world, the increase of earthquakes, the decline of the church, the rapid descent into socialism – it reminds me that the hour is late, and that reminds me that Jesus promised to come and get me!).  In response, one of my girlfriends smiled wryly.  I said, “Jesus could come back and get us tonight!” to which she replied, “Oh, Jesus could come back tonight, but I doubt it.”
My heart wrenched. It wasn’t that I believed it any less.  It was grief I felt that she, for all her lip service to the imminence of the Lord’s return for His bride, very obviously wasn’t anticipating Him, let alone waiting with baited breath.  And I wondered: how many does she represent in Christendom?  How many Christians say they are waiting for Jesus to rapture us out of this world and take us Home, but in practice they evidence a lack of belief because they don’t anticipate it moment-by-moment?  And their lack of joy reflects it.
Get all excited!
In speaking to the Philippians of our heavenly citizenship, Paul took it for granted that his Christian readers would all be greatly anticipating the return of Jesus Christ.  He said, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Phil. 3:20).  Did you get that?  Eagerly wait – that’s what he said.  Of this verb, John MacArthur in his study Bible says, “The Greek verb . . . expresses the idea of waiting patiently, but with great expectation.”
Paul used this same Greek verb in I Cor. 1:7 when he wrote to the Corinthian church, “So that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  In this context the whole scope of the second coming – from the rapture through His second coming just prior to the set up of His millennial kingdom — appears to be in view.
And then there’s Paul’s letter to the church at Rome.  In chapter 8 Paul discusses how all of creation is groaning in anticipation of its transformation back into what God originally intended.  And in that context he says, “. . . we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body [the rapture] (8:23). Yep, he used the same word Greek word again.

But Paul isn’t the only one who addresses this.  When writing to “the saints scattered abroad” in II Peter, the Apostle Peter admonished the believers that their conduct should be holy and they should be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,” (II Peter 3:11-12).  Of this verb – “hastening”, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible says, “. . . by implication, to await eagerly.”
So you see, God expects us – as a matter of course – to eagerly anticipate our Home-going.  I looked up the word, “eager” in my American Heritage Dictionary and here’s what it said: “Intensely desirous of something; impatiently expectant.”  Reality check:  Are you intensely desirous and patiently (or impatiently) expectant for Jesus Christ to return to take you Home?
Do you love it?
As Paul was preparing to be martyred for Jesus, he eloquently spoke of looking back to a life lived in obedience to God and looking forward to his Home-going.  He specifically said that not only he, but all those who “love” Christ’s appearing, would receive a crown of righteousness.  The word “love” used here connotes passion.  And my faithful dictionary gives a description that seems to match the context very well: “A strong enthusiasm.  To like or desire enthusiastically.”  Reality check:  Do you enthusiastically, passionately desire for the Lord to come back and take us Home?
Another perspective
Let’s look at this from a different perspective: a wedding — specifically, a Jewish wedding.  In John 14:2-3, Jesus alluded to a Jewish wedding when He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
In his article, “Pattern is Prologue: The Rapture, Part 2”, Chuck Missler does a wonderful job of outlining a Jewish wedding, upon which Jesus’ promise to us was predicated.  The analogies between the stages of a Jewish wedding and Jesus returning for His church are so numerous that I get excited!  I hope you’ll read Chuck’s article, but let me quote just a portion of it here so you can see what I mean:
Once the bridegroom paid the purchase price, the marriage covenant was established, and the young man and woman were regarded as husband and wife.  From that moment on, the bride was declared to be consecrated or sanctified – set apart – exclusively for her bridegroom. As a symbol of the covenant relationship that had been established, the groom and bride drank from a cup of wine over which the betrothal had been pronounced.
After the marriage covenant was established, the groom left his bride at her home and returned to his father’s house, where he remained separated from his bride for approximately 12 months. This afforded the bride time to gather her trousseau and prepare for married life.
During this period of separation, the groom prepared a dwelling place in his father’s house to which he would later bring his bride. At the end of the period of separation, the bridegroom came – usually at night – to take his bride to live with him. The groom, the best man, and other male escorts left the father’s house and conducted a torch-light procession to the home of the bride. Although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the time of his coming. As a result, the groom’s arrival was preceded by a shout, which announced her imminent departure to be gathered with him.
Can you imagine the anticipation of the bride as she waited for her groom to return? We in the Western world look forward with excitement to our wedding day — and we know when that wedding day is.  Imagine not knowing.  Imagine that you get engaged and then your fiancé (groom) goes off and you don’t even see him for 12 months or so while he’s building a house!  No dates. No letters.  No phone calls.  No emails. You just wait, and you wait with joy, anticipation and excitement imagining the new life you will live together!
That is the enthusiasm with which God wants us to await the return of His Son for us.  Reality check: Does this picture you and your eagerness as you wait for Jesus to return to take us Home?
What we’re anticipating
It’s tough to look forward to something when you have no idea what you’re anticipating.  I’m sure our Jewish bride had at least an inkling of the future, basis family and societal tradition – and she had personally met her groom face-to-face.  So I thought I’d give you a little taste from Scripture of what it is we’re in for when our Bridegroom comes to get us:
  1. We will be changed. Remember that “redemption of the body” I referred to earlier?  Paul covers that in great detail in I Cor. 15:35-55.  And John mentions it in I John 3:2 – we will be like Jesus!  Let’s cover a few things this means for us:
    1. An incorruptible body – it won’t get sick and it will never age or decay
    2. Immortality – we will never, ever die
    3. No more sin nature – not only will we not sin; we won’t even be tempted to sin
    4. Not limited to the space/time continuum – there many more dimensions than the three or four we are familiar with
    5. We will be like Jesus – we will have His nature and a body that functions like His resurrected body
    6. We have an inheritance already prepared for us and we will receive it (I Peter 1:4)!  We don’t know all this entails, but some of things in our inheritance include: Eternal life (Mark 10:17); the Earth (Matt. 5:5); a kingdom (Matt. 25:34); a blessing (I Peter 3:9); a dwelling place of our own (John 14:1-3); and a beautiful, breathtaking city (Heb. 11:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5)
    7. We will reign with Jesus. This encompasses both the millennium and eternity (Rev. 5:10; Rev. 22:3-5).  Reign. Let that word sink in. Beloved, we will be the government under the auspices of Jesus Christ Himself who will reign supremely from Jerusalem!
Are you excited yet?
Present benefits
Yeah, Heidi.  I see your point . . . I’m getting excited.  But what good does it do me to get so excited about His return?  Answer:  It sanctifies you.
As I mentioned earlier, the Apostle John wrote of the wonderful truth that when Jesus is revealed – when He comes for us – we will become like Him in nature.  Then John says, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure,” (I John 3:3).  If we think He may show up at any minute, it behooves us to live every day in a way that will please Him – in case today is the day!
Here’s what John MacArthur says in his study notes to this verse: “Living in the reality of Christ’s return makes a difference in a Christian’s behavior.  Since Christians someday will be like Him, a desire should grow within the Christian to become like Him now.”
And here’s something else it does in the here-and-now according to that same verse:  It gives us hope.  Hope that no matter what crummy situation we find ourselves in here on Earth, there’s a better day coming!  We can endure anything if we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our future – our eternal future – is everlastingly bright!
Hope.  That’s a topic for another day, because when the Bible uses the word “hope” it’s a sure thing.  Just like the fact that Jesus will come to take us Home – God willing in the very near future.  I can hardly wait!  Can you?

16 April 2010

...do not be anxious about your life...

God is so good. And so creative. If He can continually surprise me with the everyday things of this fallen earth, I can only imagine what awaits us in Heaven! I wanted to share my encouragement with all of my readers because God has proven Himself to be so faithful! My life is extremely hectic and stressful right now and, in the midst of this and impending illness (don't worry, it's just a cold!), God found a most interesting way to lift my spirits! In fact, He seems to have had a theme running all this week. That theme? Birds.

I'm talking nature here, not those obnoxious smelly birds that you have to walk past in PetSmart just to get to the cat food (my apologies if there are any bird-lovers reading this, but I am not a fan of birds as pets!). It's been a fairly gorgeous week where I live. We've had warm, summery days and perfect evenings. (Well, this is what I'm told anyway. I've been locked in my cubicle during the day and trapped in front of schoolbooks each evening!) But one of my most favorite times of the day is the early morning. God was faithful to wake me early this week so I would have plenty of time to spend with Him before heading to work each day. The other morning, it was so beautiful already at 5:30 that I opened the patio doors to get some fresh air for the cats and for me. As I was studying God's Word, I heard one of my favorite sounds: birds chirping in the crisp morning air. As I faced a busy day, I had to thank God for this reminder that He is Lord and is in control.

This morning He greeted me again. As I was preparing breakfast I heard a familiar sound: that of a mourning dove. Yes, the most plain, ordinary, annoying bird flying in the skies brought me a smile today because I have always loved the pigeon's call. It takes me back to my childhood and the summers I used to spend visiting my grandparents in Wisconsin. I smiled. I thanked God. The dove kept calling and, looking, I saw that it was perched on the roof just outside my balcony. This roof doesn't allow for the most beautiful view, but it does allow my kitties to enjoy "chasing" the birds that occasionally perch there. This dove was no exception--my cats were mesmerized as he continued to sit and to sound his call.

Though I've failed to remember at all times this week, these episodes have reminded me of God's provision. They took me back to my favorite passage (one that I do not heed nearly enough!), Matthew 6:25-43, a passage that, "coincidentally" my school studies have taken me to several times this week also. I am so thankful for the reminder that God provides all things and that I need not be anxious for anything; not food, not clothing, not even time. With that, I pray you too would be reminded of His provision and His loving care for His children and seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. God is so good.
(Click here to hear the sound that made me smile this morning!)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34 (emphasis mine)

15 April 2010

In the News...

Be Still

The following was written by Pastor Larry DeBruyn and can be found over at Guarding His Flock Ministries:

Be Still

by Pastor Larry for Contemplative Spirituality

Contemplative, or Listening Prayer and Psalm 46:10.

"Be still, and know that I am God . . ." (Psalm 46:10). Those promoting contemplative or "listening" prayer refer to this Scripture as a biblical endorsement for pursuing this spiritual discipline. As a precondition for experiencing Soul-to-soul communication from God, contemplative Christians advocate cultivating quietude for the purpose of creating a spiritual tabula rasa (i.e., Latin for blank slate) in which personal communication from God can be received. Influential Christian leaders and spiritual directors encourage listening prayer (praying without words) as a means to experience "God's guidance in everyday life." At face value, Psalm 46 verse 10 appears to endorse this increasingly popular but ancient and mystical way to pray.
A major Christian magazine once devoted a full page advertisement promoting a DVD titled "Be Still."[1] The DVD case bears the inscription of Psalm 46:10 and a promotion which reads, "In Today's Fast-Paced, Hectic Life, Be Still Is an Important Tool that Keeps You in Touch with Yourself, Your Family and God."[2] The magazine's advertisement of the DVD stated:
BE STILL . . . demonstrates how contemplative, or 'listening,' prayer can be be a vital way to find peace in the midst of a frenzied, fast-paced, modern world. BE STILL examines the importance of silence and reflective prayer as a way to receive God's guidance in everyday life. BE STILL . . . features a useful 'how to' section that shows how contemplative prayer can be used to return to a more simple life and reaffirm that which is truly important.[3]
As advocated by some of today's most notable Christian communicators, what should Bible believers think about this DVD advocating contemplative prayer?
Bible Interpretation 101 teaches that every text without a context is pretext. Extracting Psalm 46:10 to be an endorsement of meditative-listening prayer is just such a pretext. Here's why.
First, the injunction to "Be still" must be understood in the milieu it was uttered. The Psalmist addressed a cosmos in crisis. The crisis imperiled the creation (vv. 1-3); threatened the city (vv. 4-7); and besieged the country (vv. 8-11). In the crisis with their world falling apart, the people were afraid (v. 2).
Second, the verb "Be still" (Hebrew, rapah) is used 46 times in the Old Testament with meanings everywhere from describing laziness to ordering relaxation. Though the majority of versions translate the injunction "Be still", other meanings are "Cease striving " (NASB), "Be quiet" (NCV), "Desist" (Young's), or "Calm down" (CEV). In no biblical usage or context does the Hebrew verb enjoin God's people to meditate or contemplate. Rather, believers are to rest and trust in God.
Third, verse 10 contains two co-ordinate imperatives, with the emphasis being on the second command, to "know that I am God," not the first, to "Be still." With the first imperative functioning as an adverb, the verse might read, "Calmly (or quietly) know that I am God . . ." [4] Thus by their focusing upon the initial command, to Be still, comtemplative spiritualists ignore the greater command, and that is, to know that I am God.
The command "know" primarliy means, "to know by observing and reflecting (thinking) . . ."[5] As such, believers are encouraged to find comfort of soul by reflecting upon the saving works that God has both performed and promised. The meditation the psalm envisions is therefore objective, not subjective. "Be still" does not call persons to induce within their consciousness a wordless void or incubator in which state a mystical experience or word can be hatched. The cognitive command to "know" cancels that notion. In the light of God's mighty works and providence, the psalm exhorts believers to reverence Him. As the prophet Habakkuk wrote, " . . . the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him" (Habakkuk 2:20).
Fourth, the command to "Be still" (v. 10) is specifically addressed to the survivors of a war torn nation, people that on all sides continued to feel threatened. To those scared to death by what was going on all around them (v. 2), the sovereign Lord encourages them to stop their trembling. As one commentator observed, "In this explosive context, 'be still' is not an invitation to tranquil meditation but a command to allow God to be God, to do his work of abolishing the weapons of war."[6]
And finally, in the third section the Psalmist looks forward to a new order when God will impose his peace plan upon the world (See Isaiah 2:4.). As He will have ended conflicts and destroyed the weapons of war (vv. 8-9), the Lord affirms that in the coming kingdom age he "will be exalted among the nations" (v. 10). In view of this prospect, the sovereign Lord encourages his covenant people to, "Be still, and know that I am God . . .." In the end, the sovereign God will defeat war and end terrorism.
There resides a potential danger in mystical practices. It is this: In their journey into the "higher consciousness," contemplator/meditators may forget that God is the object and they are the subjects. As the theologian Warfield noted almost a century ago, "The history of mysticism only too clearly shows that he who begins by seeking God within himself may end by confusing himself with God."[7] Thus by fixating upon the secondary imperative "Be still", contemplators may like eastern mystics and New Age devotees, forget they are not God!
A friend of mine, devoted to the pursuit and practice of alternative spirituality for some of his adult life, related how one New Age class adapted this verse for use. At each session's beginning, participants were told to relax and say to themselves, "Be still and know (pause) . . . I am God." Thus by using the psalmist's words to affirm their own divinity, New Age practitioners turned God's word outside in and upside down!
To those who misuse Psalm 46:10 to endorse contemplative spirituality I say, "Nice try!" In no sense does "Be still" call believers to meditate. One study Bible states, "This is not a call for 'silent' worship."[8] Rather, in light of the prospect that the sovereign God will one day institute and enforce his peace plan in the world, the psalm calls believers to serenity of heart and to "know" when that peace comes, then God "will be exalted among the nations."
____________________
ENDNOTES
[1] Advertisement, Christianity Today, April 2006, p.5.
[2] Be Still (DVD © 2006 Twentieth Fox Home Entertainment LLC).
[3] Op. cit.
[4] Of this type of contruction (imperative waw imperative, "Be still and know") one grammar remarks that, "the second verb usually expresses the principal idea, while the first indicates the manner, and may conveniently be rendered in the translation by the use of an adverb." See Ronald J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax: An Outline (Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1969) 43.
[5] Merrill F. Unger and William White, Jr., eds., Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1980) 212.
[6] Craig C. Broyles, Psalms (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1999) 210.
[7] Benjamin B. Warfield, "Mysticism and Christianity," The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 9 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company, 2003) 661.
[8] New Spirit Filled Life Bible, Jack Hayford, Executive Editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2002) 724.

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is excerpted from "An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students."
Brethren, we shall not adjust our Bible to the age; but before we have done with it, by God's grace, we shall adjust the age to the Bible. 
[...]
How often have we heard an excuse for heresy made out of the desire to impress "thoughtful young men"! Young men, whether thoughtful or otherwise, are best impressed by the gospel, and it is folly to dream that any preaching which leaves out the truth is suitable to men, either old or young. We shall not quit the Word to please the young men, nor even the young women. This truckling to young men is a mere pretence; young men are no more fond of false doctrine than are the middle-aged; and if they are, there is so much the more necessity to teach them better. Young men are more impressed by the old gospel than by ephemeral speculations. If any of you wish to preach a gospel that will be pleasing to the times, preach it in the power of the devil, and I have no doubt that he will willingly do his best for you. It is not to such servants of men that I desire to speak just now. I trust that, if ever any of you should err from the faith, and take up with the new theology, you will be too honest to pray for power from God with which to preach that mischievous delusion if you should do so, you will be guilty of constructive blasphemy. No, brethren, it is not our object to please men, but our design is far nobler.

13 April 2010

Exegesis, Eisegesis

Because people rarely know what I'm talking about when I use these two terms, "Terminology Tuesday" over at the Apologetics 315 blog couldn't be more timely:
Terminology Tuesday: Exegesis, Eisegesis
Exegesis, Eisegesis: Literally, "drawing meaning out of" and "reading meaning into," respectively. Exegesis is the process of seeking to understand what a text means or communicates on its own. Eisegesis is generally a derogatory term used to designate the practice of imposing a preconceived or foreign meaning onto a text, even if that meaning could not have been originally intended at the time of its writing..1

Highly recommended book on reading the Bible: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart.

1. Stanley J. Grantz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 49.
I'll let you decide which one should be used for preaching God's Word.

Should a Christian Practice Yoga?

Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a brick wall. Or just slamming my head against it. I know I'm not alone in this feeling, but it's frustrating nonetheless. I continue to come across Christians who think it is okay to practice yoga "just for the exercise." Yes, I'm sighing right now. I'll try to keep this brief because I and others have already addressed the issue of "Christian" yoga and the fact that there is no such thing. So here are just two of numerous arguments against a Christian practicing yoga whether it is it called "Christian" yoga or not. These two arguments are enough for me to stay far, far away from this pagan practice. I don't care if spending an hour a day for 3 days a week doing unnatural yoga poses would turn me into Wonder Woman, I still wouldn't go near it for the following reasons:
1. Yoga is Hinduism. Hinduism is a pagan religion. All pagan religions ultimately worship Satan, regardless of what their god is called. Thus, even if I am not consciously engaging in the meditation aspects of the "exercise" nevertheless, Satan is present and is being worshiped in that room by most if not all of the other participants. The positions they are requiring you to twist your body in are positions worshiping various pagan gods. The meditation, silence, and centering are there to help you empty your mind so that you can become "one" with your inner god-consciousness (so-called "Christian" yoga classes will tell you that you are uniting with God. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit already lives inside of you and you do not need to "empty yourself" in attempts to "become one with" God. The Holy Spirit indwells and empowers believers, but there is only ONE God and He is distinctly separate from His creation). Knowing that Satan is being worshiped in my presence is not a relaxing feeling, thereby negating any physical benefit I am supposedly obtaining by twisting and contorting my body.

We should not be "emptying" ourselves or seeking to, especially if we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And for those who do not possess the Holy Spirit, an empty house is a breeding ground for demons.
"Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:44-45
2. For the sake of argument, let's suppose that you, a strong, grounded Christian is able to attend a yoga class and disengage from the pagan, meditative aspects of the exercise. Then let's suppose that a younger, less mature Christian is watching you, learning from your behavior and aspects what it means to walk with Christ. Let us suppose that this young, immature Christian sees that you attend a yoga class. Thinking that this must be safe, the young Christian enrolls in a yoga class herself and, not yet being grounded in Scripture and Truth, she is swept to and fro like the wind by these doctrines of demons. You have caused another believer to stumble. 
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." Mark 9:42
For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 1 Corinthians 8:10-12
Like it or not, as a Christian, you are being watched. You are being watched by unbelievers and by other Christians who are in various places in their walks with Christ. Will you always be perfect and make the right decisions? No, of course not. But should you willingly engage in a pagan practice, whether it be labeled (and that's all it is, a label) "Christian" or not? No. 
These are perhaps the two most basic arguments as to why I would run from any suggestion of practicing yoga, secular or "Christian." Of course, the choice is left to each individual believer. It would be my prayer that you would remain separate from these things that promote pagan, satanic religion. Yoga may be the "thing to do" but that doesn't mean that we should do it. If you want to stretch, stretch! Do you really need a yoga "guru" to help you do that? If you want to exercise, exercise! But do you really need to resort to ancient idol worship in order to become physically fit? And here I would love to get into the truth of the differences between Biblical meditation and Eastern mystical meditation (and how Eastern meditation is now masquerading as Christian) but I will have to save that for another post and another time. I realize that many will call me a prude, they will say I'm overreacting and that I've taken this too far. That's fine, it's been said many times before about much less detrimental practices! I strongly believe this is one more of Satan's deceptions of even the elect. "Just that little bit won't hurt." Or will it?

See also:
No Such Thing as "Christian" Yoga
Can Yoga Be Christian?
Spiritual Discipline or Spiritual Deception?
New Age Infiltrates Workplace
Universalism: The Gospel Message of Emergent and New Age Spirtuality
Breaking the Spell: Emotionally-Driven Trances or Spirit-led?
Mysticism and Medicine: A Dangerous Prescription

12 April 2010

The Way is Narrow

I plead with you to take some time to listen to this message from Paul Washer.
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14.
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." 1 John 1:5-6

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" 2 Corinthians 13:5
Visit and find out more about Paul Washer's ministry, Heartcry Missionary Society.

11 April 2010

Sunday Morning Praise



The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

Refrain

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

Refrain

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Refrain

10 April 2010

Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice

This is the best illustration of social justice vs. biblical justice that I've seen. Short, simple, and to the point. And a solid, complete presentation of the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ tossed in for extra clarity.

08 April 2010

Reverend Barbie?

rev. barbieVery little surprises me anymore, but this news did. I was surprised that this didn't happen sooner! I first have to comment that I am at least glad that this isn't an official Barbie doll. Although, now that it's made headlines it may not take long for Mattel to start a whole new line of Religious Leader Barbies.

The Washington Post reports:
She's been a princess, a firefighter, a Marine and a ballerina. After years of soul-searching, Barbie has finally found her true vocation. Meet Rev. Barbie, a plastic Episcopal Priest.
Rev. Barbie, the creation of Rev. Julie Blake Fisher, an Episcopal priest in Kent, Ohio, has her own Facebook page and comes dressed in the latest trends in clergy-wear.
Rev. Barbie's timing, like her fashion sense, is impeccable. Lisa Miller's Newsweek cover story this week asks "What Would Mary Do?" and explores the current Catholic sex abuse scandal through the perspective of women. The article concludes that greater female involvement in the upper-echelons of the church could have led to a child-first response to the abuse.
What would Rev. Barbie do? And how would the church be different if real women could rule? (Read complete article here).
Well to answer that last question all one has to do is look at the state of any church that has dared to ordain a woman as its "pastor." By my unscientific and unofficial observations, churches who place women at the helm are deeply entrenched in a sinful, liberal, unBiblical gospel. You will rarely hear the true Christ of the Bible preached by a female "pastor." Instead you will hear a social gospel of love, unity, acceptance, tolerance, and peace. No mention of sin, of course, because that would be offensive. To hear what God has to say about women in the pulpit, one need only look at Paul's description of the qualifications of elders in his letter to Titus or of his words in 1 Timothy 2:12. These passages make it clear that women should not be ordained as pastors. While we cannot deny the important role of women in the church and in the Kingdom, even as teachers or proclaimers of the Truth, we also cannot deny that women were simply not chosen to be the heads of the churches.

So it seems that, even with more covering than her traditional Barbie counterparts, Episcopalian priest Barbie will continue to oppress young girls in sin just as many of Barbie's previous identities have done throughout the years.

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is excerpted from Spurgeon's A Defense of Calvinism:
I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit. Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun, but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life—no, I rather kicked, and struggled against the things of the Spirit: when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him: there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me—warnings were cast to the wind—thunders were despised; and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, sure I am, I can say now, speaking on behalf of myself, "He only is my salvation." It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him. I can in very deed, say with Doddridge and Toplady—

"Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o'erflow;"

and coming to this moment, I can add—


"'Tis grace has kept me to this day,
And will not let me go."
[...]
The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.
Read this in its entirety here.

07 April 2010

Interfaith Movement Gains New Strength

Have you heard? We're rapidly moving toward the prophesied One-World Religion of Revelation. I'm not just talking about Tony Blair and Rick Warren. Religious leaders worldwide are becoming more eager to engage in "interfaith dialogue." I imagine the initial impetus of this movement stems from the fact that all faiths except true Christianity are works-based, and so these various religions believe that bringing about global religious "peace" will help bring them one step closer to their version of God. This week the Washington Times ran a 3-part series about this interfaith movement. Some interesting excerpts follow:
Interfaith Movement Gains New Strength
In a world in which sectarian divisions fuel some of the most violent and dangerous confrontations, the interfaith movement — once thought as irrelevant — has emerged as a force in American religion like never before.
It involves unlikely alliances, such as when one of the most conservative Christian pro-life groups staged a news conference on Capitol Hill in September applauding a Muslim prayer service on the Mall.
It involves unlikely allies, such as leading Christian "emergent" leader Brian McLaren, who was roundly criticized during Ramadan last year when he fasted the entire month out of solidarity with Muslims.
It involves unlikely support, such as that offered by the Obama White House, which has identified interfaith work as a public policy goal.
It benefits from some unlikely backing. Some of the biggest movers and shakers in the interfaith movement are governments in Muslim states: Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan.
Read the rest of this article here.
 United States Offers Europe Interfaith Model
"It's so good to see my friends on both sides of the religious aisle, if you will," he said. "The real world changers and leaders are in this room. You have influence over the hearts, minds and spiritual direction of most of the people on this earth." 
But many religious scholars say a seminal event in the U.S. interfaith experience was the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago.
The best-remembered incident from the gathering was a speech given by [Swami Vivekananda]. He identified Judaism, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism as the world's oldest religions before giving a summary of his faith and congratulating the Americans for the conference.
He said, "May He who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura-Mazda of the Zoroastrians, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heaven of the Christians give strength to you to carry out your noble idea."
Read the rest of this article here.
Bridging Religions: 'Challenge of the 21st Century"
 "The challenge of the 21st century," he [Rabbi Marc Schneier] said in an interview, "is to narrow the chasm between Judaism and Islam."
What's in this for the Saudis?
"The future of Islam," the rabbi responded. "They have this internal struggle between moderates and radicals. I believe the moderates will win out, but we've got to help them take back their religion from the cadre of extremists who've hijacked it."
But what if the Saudis have the ulterior goal of converting the world to their religion?
"I'm not questioning their motives," the rabbi said. "I am focused on the ultimate result." Jews and Muslims are likewise invested in the need for world peace, he added, saying that "not only do we share a common faith, but a common fate."
"So many people focus on what's going on with [megachurch pastor] Rick Warren or organizations like Focus on the Family, while this whole other thing is going on under the radar," he said. "It is absolutely fascinating. It's happening all over. It really is a movement."
Read the rest of this article here.
The emphasis in those final two quotes is mine. I find it difficult to grasp the concept that Muslims and Jews share a common faith but then, neither acknowledges or worships Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So the comment that they share a "common fate" is true. If neither group turns in faith and repentance to Jesus Christ then both will share the eternal fate of damnation in the Lake of Fire.

As for the very final quote, "...this whole other thing is going on under the radar [.] It is absolutely fascinating. It's happening all over. It really is a movement." Nothing could be more true. This push for a global religion is everywhere--both outside and inside the churches. Sadly, most Christians are unaware of this "dialogue" that is occurring. Or, if they are aware, they have been duped into believing that it is the equivalent of Christian outreach and Gospel proclamation. But the "Christians" who are involved in the interfaith movement are not Christians by God's standard. If they were, they could never compromise the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in favor of a shallow, worldly definition of peace. So wake up, be aware of what is happening outside of your own personal world. This is one more sign that Jesus Christ is returning SOON for His church. What are you doing with your remaining time on this earth? Are you sharing and proclaiming the Gospel? Or are you worried about your weekend plans? Christian, it's time to WAKE UP and LOOK UP lest we be found asleep when our Lord comes for us.

Maranatha!

Breaking the Spell: Emotionally-driven trances or Spirit-led?

An excellent post over at Sola Sisters:
Breaking the Spell: Emotionally-driven trances or Spirit-led?
There is a theological collapse at the heart of many churches catapulted by a serious complacency when it comes to discernment. What stinks is that if you genuinely call to question ANYTHING these days you are quickly labeled hyper-critical and dismissed with the flick of a finger. Why?

Perhaps it is just easier to what? Bury my head in the sand so as not to ruffle feathers and possibly cause anyone to... think.



Think? Why think when it is much easier to empty my mind? You know, the newest evangelical craze calls us to "empty our minds" so that we can meditate.
Here's the problem. This type of meditation that calls Christians to "empty their minds" is based on Eastern mysticism and not on Scripture. Yes, God calls for us to mediate on His word with our minds fully engaged.
Unless our minds are renewed by God's Word, then we will most assuredly worry, fear, doubt, be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, etc. Biblical meditation is not a matter of emptying the mind, but of renewing it with God's Holy Word of Truth.

Here are Scriptures found with the key word search "meditate" and "meditation"
  1. Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. ...
  2. Psalm 1:2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD,and on his law he meditates day and night.
  3. Psalm 77:12 I will ponder all your work,and meditate on your mighty deeds.
  4. Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
  5. Psalm 119:23 Even though princes sit plotting against me,your servant will meditate on your statutes.
  6. Psalm 119:27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
  7. Psalm 119:48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,and I will meditate on your statutes.
  8. Psalm 119:78 ... I will meditate on your precepts.
  9. Psalm 119:148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,that I may meditate on your promise.
  10. Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done;I ponder the work of your hands.
  11. Psalm 145:5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
  12. Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heartbe acceptable in your sight,O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
  13. Psalm 49:3 My mouth shall speak wisdom;the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
  14. Psalm 119:97 Oh how I love your law!It is my meditation all the day.
  15. Psalm 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,for your testimonies are my meditation.

Let's look at some Scripture that tells us to empty our minds. I will start with a search in the Bible with the key word "empty" in relation to thinking or speaking. Here is what I found:
  1. Matthew 6:7 " And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
  2. Matthew 12:44 Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation."
  3. Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
  4. Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
  5. Titus 1:9-10 ...holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers...

Here is a key word search in the Scriptures of the word "mind"
  1. Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
  2. Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
  3. Romans 1:28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
  4. Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
  5. Romans 8:5-7 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
  6. Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
  7. 1 Corinthians 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
  8. 1 Corinthians 14:19
    Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
  9. 2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.
  10. 2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
  11. Ephesians 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
    Ephesians 4:17 [ The New Life ] Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
  12. Ephesians 4:23
    and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
  13. Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
  14. Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
  15. Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
  16. 1 Timothy 6:5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
  17. Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
  18. Titus 2:2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
  19. 1 Peter 1:13 [ Called to Be Holy ] Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  20. 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
  21. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

And when I did a key phrase search "empty your mind" in every translation I could find, including "The Message" and "The Amplified Bible" I came up... empty.

Please, show me how this can be so popular among Christians? But, show me using Scripture in context. I don't want your opinion or your experiences. I want the Truth.

“tell us how to discern the truth.” :You may judge of it by three things; by God, by Christ, and by man; that is, the truth which honours God, the truth which glorifies Christ, and the truth which humbles man. - Charles Spurgeon