We saw last time that Paul affirmed the Bible as the only reliable criterion by which believers in this age can evaluate messages claiming to be truth from God. That testing of truth Paul calls for is not merely an academic exercise. It demands an active, twofold response.

First there is a positive response to whatever is good: “Hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This is an echo of Romans 12:9: “Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” The expressions “hold fast” and “cling to” speak of jealously safeguarding the truth.

Paul is calling for the same careful watchfulness he demanded of Timothy every time he wrote him: “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you” (1 Timothy 6:20); and “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me. . . . Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13–14).

In other words, the truth is given to our custody, and we are charged with guarding it against every possible threat. It’s a militant, defensive, protective stance against anything that undermines the truth or does violence to it in any way. We must hold the truth securely, defend it zealously, and preserve it from all threats. To placate the enemies of truth or lower our guard is to violate this command.

Paul’s exhortation to “hold fast” also carries the idea of embracing something. It goes beyond basic assent to “that which is good” and speaks of loving the truth wholeheartedly. Those who are truly discerning are passionately committed to sound doctrine, to truth, and to all that is inspired by God.

Every true Christian has this quality to some degree. Paul even defined salvation as “the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10), and he told the Corinthians they proved their salvation by holding fast to the gospel he had delivered (1 Corinthians 15:2). Those who utterly fail to hold fast to the saving message are those who have “believed in vain”; that is, their faith was empty to begin with. The apostle John said something similar: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). All true believers hold fast to the gospel.

Paul was urging the Thessalonians to nurture and cultivate their love for truth, to let it rule their thinking. He wanted them to foster a conscious commitment to all truth; a faithfulness to sound doctrine; a pattern of holding fast to all that is good.

The attitude Paul calls for is incompatible with the suggestion that we should lay doctrine aside for the sake of unity. It cannot be reconciled with the opinion that hard truths should be downplayed to make God’s Word more palatable for unbelievers. It is contrary to the notion that personal experience takes precedence over objective truth. God has given us His truth objectively in His Word. It is a treasure that we should protect at all costs.

This is the opposite of reckless faith. Paul leaves no room for rote tradition. He makes no place for a blind, irrational faith that refuses to consider the authenticity of its object and just accepts at face value everything that claims to be true. He rules out the kind of “faith” that is driven by feelings, emotion, and the human imagination. Instead, we are to identify “that which is good” by examining everything carefully, objectively, rationally—using Scripture as our standard.

No human teacher, no personal experience, no strong feeling is exempt from this objective test. Jay Adams writes, “If inspired prophecies in the apostolic age had to be subjected to testing. . . then surely the teachings of men today should also be put to the test.” Indeed, if the words of prophets in apostolic times needed to be examined and evaluated, then surely we ought to subject the words of self-proclaimed “prophets” and preachers today to even more intense scrutiny in the bright light of the completed New Testament. The same is true of every subjective experience and every emotion. Experience and feelings—no matter how powerful—do not determine what is true. Rather, those things themselves must be subjected to the test.

“That which is good” is truth that accords with God’s Word. The word “good” is kalos, meaning something that is inherently good. It isn’t just something that is fair to look at, lovely or beautiful in appearance. This speaks of something good in itself—genuine, true, noble, right, and good. In other words, “that which is good” does not refer to that which is entertaining. It does not refer to that which garners accolades from the world. It does not refer to that which is satisfying to the flesh. It refers to that which is good, true, accurate, authentic, dependable—that which is in agreement with the infallible Word of God.

When you find such truth, embrace it and guard it like a treasure.

 

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140423
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You

Originally posted on Wintery Knight:

My deist friend ECM sent me this shocking article from Church for Men blog. Please read, then read my comments below.

Excerpt:

When forced to choose their top priority in life, Christian women overwhelmingly pick family over faith, according to a survey from Barna Research. Five times more women chose “being a mother or parent” than chose “being a follower of Christ,” as their most important role in life.

These stunning survey results give us a clue as to why Christianity is so rapidly changing into a family-centered faith; why Christian culture is feminizing; and why the gender gap in many denominations continues to grow.

The researchers wrote:

[Women's] spiritual lives are rarely their most important source of identity. That role is taken up by the strong priority Christian women place on family.

The preeminence of family was most overt for Christian women when it came to naming the highest priority…

View original 1,162 more words

Read Part 1 
Read Part 2 
Read Part 3 
Read Part 4 
Read Part 5

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and IHOP serve together as the chief mouthpiece for the old Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God (MSOG) teachings. IHOP spreads the leaven via its broad scope of interrelated ministries and youth organizations, including an expanding outreach into the mainstream evangelical world. The NAR spreads its leaven throughout the charismatic world, and reaches a much broader audience via their many media outlets. Both movements teach virtually the same thing. IHOP and NAR both proclaim that it is the time for their followers to be armed, trained and ready for battle. This is about a holy war.
Read more

Originally posted on Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...:

Now that Fred Butler and I have finished our review of Authentic Fire by Dr. Michael Brown, we’re going to remaster the whole series and post it on the Cripplegate over the next 11 or so weeks. Due to this, as well as upcoming speaking engagements, I’ll have little time for blogging here over the next month or so.  I’ll try to toss out a post or two a week, but I’d suggest checking out the Cripplegate (new post every Thursday) as that will likely become quite an animated blog when some of our responses hit the web.  I’m guessing that more than a few people will be quite upset and a few unnamed folks will end up having a self-induced nosebleed by the time this is over.

Facepunch

Maybe some folks should stop hitting themselves, but I cannot force people to read what I write or make rational arguments or…

View original 344 more words

When a Guy Looks at Me, He Sees...

When I was writing my book Answering the Guy Questions, I interviewed many godly young men to get their perspective on young women today. One of my questions was, “How can girls help guys become the men God created them to be?” Without hesitation, each of the young men responded, “By dressing more modestly!”

A young woman who exudes true feminine beauty dresses in a way that reflects the joy and radiance that Christ has placed within her soul. Her goal is to point people’s eyes to Jesus and not to herself.

Christ-focused young men are praying for young women who will dress in a way that assists a man’s mental purity rather than tempts him to compromise. But as fashion trends become more and more sensual, many Christian girls feel they have no choice but to comply with the culture. It’s all too easy to justify dressing provocatively, simply because “it’s not as bad as what some girls are wearing!” But what is God’s standard for modesty?

Read more

Dr. John MacArthur

The gospel in vogue today holds forth a false hope to sinners. It promises them that they can have eternal life yet continue to live in rebellion against God. Indeed, it encourages people to claim Jesus as Savior yet defer until later the commitment to obey Him as Lord. It promises salvation from hell but not necessarily freedom from iniquity. It offers false security to people who revel in the sins of the flesh and spurn the way of holiness. By separating faith from faithfulness, it teaches that intellectual assent is as valid as wholehearted obedience to the truth.

Thus the good news of Christ has given way to the bad news of an insidious easy-believism that makes no moral demands on the lives of sinners. It is not the same message Jesus proclaimed.

This new gospel has spawned a generation of professing Christians whose behavior is indistinguishable from the rebellion of the unregenerate. . . .

Read more

Apprising Ministries has more detail.

Read more

A few weeks ago I set out on a series of articles through which I am scanning the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notable false teachers. Along the way we have visited such figures as Arius, Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White and Norman Vincent Peale. Today we turn to one of the most outrageous charlatans of our time, a man who claims to have healed countless people. His name is Benny Hinn.

Read more

Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

BLOOMBERG

More than half of U.S. states have larger 2014 general-fund balances than anticipated at the start of the year because of the strengthening economy, according to Standard & Poor’s.

President Obama’s trip to Asia this week will be dominated by a country he’s not even visiting: China. Each of the four nations on the president’s itinerary is involved in territorial disputes with an increasingly assertive China. And years of military spending gains have boosted the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army faster than many defense analysts expected, casting a shadow over relations between China and its neighbors and sparking doubts about long-term prospects for the U.S. presence in the Pacific.

The U.S. is resuming some of the military aid to Egypt it halted last year, including delivery of 10 helicopters, after certifying that the country is abiding by its peace treaty with Israel and combating terrorism.

Lower-income Americans, those living in households with less than $30,000 in annual income, are the most likely of all income groups to say gold is the best long-term investment choice, at 31%. Upper-income Americans are the least likely to name gold, at 18%.

Almost 60 percent of the groundwater at 4,778 sites monitored across China has been found to be of poor or extremely poor quality, contaminated with pollutants that exceed acceptable standards.

U.S. regulators are weighing whether to ban a device used for decades to shock children and adults with disabilities in an effort to stop dangerous or unwanted behavior.

AP Top Stories

President Obama confirmed that America’s mutual security treaty with Japan applies to the islands at the center of a territorial dispute between China and Japan.

According to Reuters, Obama administration officials have said that the troop count in Afghanistan could “drop well below 10,000″ a number which has been the America’s requested minimum in order to train security forces.

The townsfolk believed the mosque was safe. They crammed inside as rebel forces in South Sudan took control of the town from government troops. But it wasn’t safe. Robbers grabbed their cash and mobile phones. Then gunmen came and opened fire on everyone, young and old. The U.N. says hundreds of civilians were killed in the massacre last week in Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s oil-producing Unity state, a tragic reflection of longstanding ethnic hostilities in the world’s newest country.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest level in eight months in March, dealing a setback to the housing market recovery.

Expect plenty of discussion about their vapor-product strategies during earnings calls this week by investors excited about e-cigarette startup Njoy Inc.’s $1 billion valuation.

John Paulson is expected to expand his investment in Puerto Rico to $1 billion by the end of next year, as the hedge fund titan leads a growing brigade of wealthy U.S. business owners who are taking advantage of the languishing island’s efforts to transform itself into a tax haven.

The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to 2,800 employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to 1,150 workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday.

A product called “Palcohol” gained widespread attention online in recent days after it was reported that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the powdered alcohol, including vodka and rum varieties. But a representative for the federal bureau, Tom Hogue, said in an email to The Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued in error.

BBC

Russia will respond to any attack on its interests in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, drawing a parallel with the 2008 Georgia war.

Rival Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation deal, more than seven years after a violent split between them.

Australia vowed it will not abandon the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, if the current mini-sub search is unsuccessful.

Sherpa guides in Nepal were meeting climbers at Everest base camp to decide whether to continue ascents after an avalanche on Friday killed 16 of their colleagues.

Australia has approved the purchase of 58 new F-35 fighter jets worth $11.5bn. The new order will take Australia’s total F-35 tally to 72.

Islamist militants in Mali said French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal, who was kidnapped in 2012, is dead.

A UN committee has taken no action against the US refusal to grant a visa to Iran’s newly appointed permanent representative in New York.

WND

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that U.S. troops would be sent for exercises in Eastern Europe to reassure allies on Russia’s border, after Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of torturing and killing two people and shooting at one of its military planes.

Britain risks losing its competitive edge because a generation of children is no longer interested in winning on the sporting field, according to research. Figures show the majority of children are not bothered if the competitive element is removed from football, cricket, rugby and hockey fixtures, saying playing for fun or being with friends is more important.

Some student loan borrowers who had a parent or grandparent co-sign the note are finding that they must immediately pay the loan in full if the relative dies.

Former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., says an attack one year ago on a power plant in California was a “dry run” for something bigger, and American needs to be paying attention.

I am going to admit something here. Though I have educators all through my family and I have the greatest respect for teaching as a profession (in the sense that Socrates was a teacher) I have little respect for our public schooling system. Though I went through one of the “best” public school systems in the United States nearly my entire experience, with a few shining exceptions was of mediocrity of thought and effort from both the teachers and the students. School rewarded those filled in the circles and check the boxes. It was a machine. But I can say at least that I never had any completely inappropriate political rants from any teachers. There was some political correctness to be sure but I never remember any slavish homages to big government. But I guess I was one of the lucky ones. In California at a recent gathering the president of the California Federation of Teachers Joshua Pechthalt said;

Read More

Why is the federal government so obsessed with grabbing more land? After all, the federal government already owns more than 40 percent of the land in 9 different U.S. states. Why are federal bureaucrats so determined to grab even more? Well, the truth is that this all becomes much clearer once you understand that there is a very twisted philosophy behind what they are doing. It is commonly known as “Agenda 21″, although many names and labels are used for this particular philosophy. Basically, those that hold to this form of radical environmentalism believe that humanity is utterly destroying the planet, and therefore the goal should be to create a world where literally everything that we do is tightly monitored and controlled by control freak bureaucrats in the name of “sustainable development”. In their vision of the future, the human population will be greatly reduced and human activity will be limited to strictly regulated urban areas and travel corridors. The rest of the planet will be left to nature. To achieve this goal, a massive transfer of land from private landowners to the federal government will be (Read More…)

For most of Canada’s existence, it has been regarded as the weak neighbor to the north by most Americans. Well, that has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. Back in the year 2000, middle class Canadians were earning much less than middle class Americans, but since then there has been a dramatic shift. At this point, middle class Canadians are actually earning more than middle class Americans are. The Canadian economy has been booming thanks to a rapidly growing oil industry, and meanwhile the U.S. middle class has been steadily shrinking. If current trends continue, a whole bunch of other countries are going to start passing us too. The era of the “great U.S. middle class” is rapidly coming to a bitter end. (Read More….)

I have been saying this for a while: You can’t have a housing recovery unless actual home buyers are involved.

We are very far away from seeing the housing market reach its 2005 highs … and as time passes, it becomes clearer that this generation may never see them again.

How can I say that?

Read more

Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:

by Mike Ratliff

Therefore, when the LORD heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. (Psalms 78:21-22 ESV)

There are only two groups of people in the world. There are Christians, the elect, and everyone else, the non-elect. What separates them? What is the difference? It is not that different streams of faith, as new agers and the “emergents” say, which are all equal and going to the same place and color people in different ways. No, that is what universalists of every variety are selling, but that is most definitely not what God’s Word explicitly says. No, the difference between those in Christ and everyone else is that the former are possessors of faith, which is the Greek word πιστις, which is transliterated as pistes. It and…

View original 1,247 more words

20140423-032332.jpg

2:6 walk in Him. “Walk” is the familiar NT term denoting the believer’s daily conduct (1:10; 4:5; Ro 6:4; 8:1, 4; 13:13; 1Co 7:17; 2Co 5:7; 10:3; 12:18; Gal 5:16, 25; 6:16; Eph 2:10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15; Php 3:16–18; 1Th 2:12; 4:1, 12; 2Th 3:11; 1Jn 1:6, 7; 2:6; 2Jn 6; 3Jn 3, 4). To walk in Christ is to live a life patterned after His.

MacArthur Study Bible

Reading for Today:

Judges 11:1–12:15
Psalm 50:7-15
Proverbs 14:28
Luke 17:1-19

Notes:

Judges 11:31 I will offer it. Some interpreters reason that Jephthah offered his daughter as a living sacrifice in perpetual virginity. With this idea, v. 31 is made to mean “shall surely be the LORD’s” or “I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” The view sees only perpetual virginity in vv. 37–40 and rejects his offering a human sacrifice as being against God’s revealed will (Deut. 12:31). On the other hand, since he was 1) beyond the Jordan, 2) far from the tabernacle, 3) a hypocrite in religious devotion, 4) familiar with human sacrifice among other nations, 5) influenced by such superstition, and 6) wanting victory badly, he likely meant a burnt offering. The translation in v. 31 is “and,” not “or.” His act came in an era of bizarre things, even inconsistency by leaders whom God otherwise empowered (see Gideon in 8:27).

Psalm 50:8 I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices. The divine Judge’s condemnations are directed not at the act of sacrifice but at the people’s attitude in sacrificing (see 1 Sam. 15:22; Pss. 40:6-8; 51:17; 69:30; Is. 1:12; Jer. 7:21-26; Hos. 6:6; Mic. 6:6-8).

Psalm 50:9-13 will not take a bull from your house. God refuses mere ritual; it is an abomination to Him. He, unlike the pagan deities, needs nothing. He created everything and owns everything.

Luke 17:16 he was a Samaritan. Jesus’ sending the lepers to show themselves to the priest suggests that they were Jewish. This Samaritan had been permitted to associate with them when all were ceremonially unclean, but in their healing they did not share his deep gratitude.

DAY 23: Why does God make use of leaders who display such obvious weaknesses?

It is true that judges such as Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson exhibited gross failures, as well as successes. But as long as God chooses to use people at all, He will end up using people with obvious weaknesses. No one escapes that category. The point is that God uses people in His plans in spite of it.

This does not excuse the sins of a leader. Note for example that Moses forfeited his opportunity to enter the Promised Land because of an angry outburst (Num. 20:10; Deut. 3:24–27). Jephthah made a rash vow for which his daughter had to bear the primary consequence (Judg. 11:29–40). What probably ought to attract our attention to these servants of God is not so much their weaknesses, or even the great accomplishments, but the fact that they remained faithful to God despite their failures.

When we study the lives of the judges, we discover ourselves. The shared victories, defeats, mistakes, and right choices form a common link across the centuries and turn our attention to the God who worked in their lives. The invitation from the ancients remains silently compelling: If we are to live as boldly for God, surely we would discover each day that same kind of God’s immediate presence that was such a part of their experience.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.

Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, “You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.” But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. – Matthew 5:33–36

In the regular business of life, people use vows and oaths—at marriage ceremonies, in the courtroom, executive oaths of office. Because human nature is prone to lying and distrust, God has provided for proper use of oaths (cf. Heb. 6:16). In describing who may enter God’s presence, the psalmist says one requirement is that the person be one who “swears to his own hurt and does not change” (Ps. 15:4b; cf. vv. 2–3). Such a person’s word is more important than his or her welfare.

God Himself has issued oaths in the past (Gen. 22:16–17; cf. Pss. 89:3, 49; 110:4; Jer. 11:5; Luke 1:73). He did so to impress upon people the special importance or urgency of a promise. As Hebrews notes, “Since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself” (6:13). Christ often used the expression “truly” or “truly, truly” (e.g., Matt. 5:18, 26; 6:2, 5, 16; John 1:51; 3:3, 5; 5:19, 24). As with the Father’s oaths, the Son’s use of “truly” did not make those statements any more trustworthy than any other pronouncements. The “truly” teachings underscored the importance of certain teachings. Jesus even used an oath before the high priest Caiaphas that He was indeed God’s Son (Matt. 26:63–64).

In view of the special nature of divine oaths, we should “make no oath[s] at all”—in other words, no frivolous ones that would compromise our truthfulness and integrity (cf. Pss. 119:29, 163; 120:2).

Ask Yourself

Could your conversation be improved with less embellishment and exaggeration? Can your word stand on its own two feet?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.

 

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44

 

Jesus Christ is the One who introduces men and women to God. Those whom He ushers into the Father’s presence all have a loathing of their sin, a desire to be forgiven, and a longing to know God. Those attitudes are the work of God in drawing us to Christ. A response to the gospel message thus begins with a change in attitude toward sin and God.

Beyond that initial change in attitude is the transformation brought about in every believer at the instant of salvation. Christ didn’t die just to pay the penalty for sin: He died to transform us.

Deserted by most of His followers, Christ hung in darkness and agony on the cross, crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). Those were moments that Jesus felt incredible rejection and hostility. Yet out of those very circumstances Christ triumphed by atoning for sin and providing a way for men and women to be introduced to God and transformed. It was a triumph He Himself would soon proclaim (1 Pet. 3:19–20).[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 128). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

“And last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”

1 Corinthians 15:8

✧✧✧

The resurrection power of Christ transformed Paul into a preacher of the gospel.

Throughout history, reliable eyewitness testimony about a person or event has been one of the most accepted forms of courtroom evidence. The apostle Paul appeals to the eyewitness record as an important confirmation of the Resurrection’s reality. He cites the examples of Peter, the apostles (twice), 500 believers, and James (1 Cor. 15:5–7). And with today’s verse, Paul presents himself as a special eyewitness to the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

Paul’s case was unique. He was not among the original apostles, nor the 500 other believers, all of whom had opportunities to be with the Lord during His earthly ministry and/or see Him soon after He arose. Paul was not even a Christian during his early life and career but was rather the leader of those who persecuted the early church.

Furthermore, Paul’s situation was different because Christ’s appearance to him was not only post–resurrection but post–ascension. The Lord’s dramatic manifestation to the apostle was probably several years after the forty–day period of His many other appearings.

Paul genuinely viewed the timing of Jesus’ appearance to him as coming “to one untimely born.” We know he greatly rejoiced in his conversion, but if he had not seen the risen Savior then or some other time, Paul could not have become an apostle. In other words, by gracious, sovereign provision God chose Paul to be an apostle because “He [Jesus] appeared to me also.” The longtime opponent of the church was now like the Twelve—he had seen the risen Christ.

The power of the Resurrection is always strong enough to change a life. It transformed Paul’s life in three major ways. First, he recognized his sin and saw how far removed external religion was from internal godliness. Second, his character was revolutionized. He went from a self–righteous hatred of the things of Christ to a self–giving love for the truth. Finally, Paul’s personal energy and motivation were completely redirected. He went from being a zealous opponent of Christians to one who fervently served and supported the church.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to help your testimony always show forth the power of the risen Christ.

For Further Study: What common elements were present in Paul’s experiences in Acts 18:9–10; 23:11? Note some things that were more unusual about Paul’s experience in 2 Corinthians 12:1–7.[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

✧✧✧

Sin and falsehood hinder true peace.

Just as righteousness and truth are the noble companions of peace, so sin and falsehood are its great hindrances. The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately [evil]; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus said, “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts and fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23).

People with sinful hearts create a sinful society that resists true peace. Ironically, many who talk of peace will also pay huge sums of money to watch two men beat the daylights out of each other in a boxing ring! Our society’s heroes tend to be the macho, hard-nosed, tough guys. Our heroines tend to be free-spirited women who lead marches and stir up contention. Psychologists and psychiatrists tell us to stand up for our rights and get everything we can for ourselves. That breeds strife and conditions people to reject the peace of the gospel.

Furthermore, the unbelieving world has never tolerated God’s peacemakers. Christ Himself often met with violent resistance. His accusers said, “He stirs up the people” (Luke 23:5). Paul’s preaching frequently created conflict as well. He spent much time under house arrest and in filthy Roman prisons. On one occasion his enemies described him as “a real pest … who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world” (Acts 24:5).

All who proclaim the gospel will eventually meet with opposition because sin and falsehood have blinded people’s hearts to true peace. That’s why Paul warned us that all who desire to be godly will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). You can avoid strife by remaining silent about the Lord, but a faithful peacemaker is willing to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. Let that be true of you.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for Christ, who is the solution for the world’s problem of sin and falsehood. ✧ Follow Paul’s example by praying for boldness to proclaim God’s truth at every opportunity (Eph. 6:19).

For Further Study: Read Matthew 10:16–25, noting the kind of reception the disciples were to expect from unbelievers.[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 126). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 

scripture reading:

 

2 Corinthians 3:7–18

 

key verse:

 

Galatians 6:15

 

 

In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

English author and pastor John R. W. Stott explains the Spirit–controlled life in Basic Christianity:

The more we make a habit of denying the flesh (because of our co–crucifixion) and obeying the Spirit, the more our ugly works of the flesh will disappear and the lovely fruit of the Spirit will take their place.… It is by the Spirit of Christ that we can be transformed into the image of Christ as we look steadfastly towards Him. We, thus, have our part to play in repentance, faith, and discipline; but.… holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit.

William Temple used to illustrate the point this way:

It is not good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it; I can’t. And it is not good showing me the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it; I can’t.

But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like that. And if the Spirit of Jesus could come and live in me, then I could live a life like that. It is not that we should strive to be like Jesus, but that He by His Spirit should come and live in us.

I can’t do it on my own. Come and live in me, Holy Spirit. Empower me to live the life of Christ, to become like Him.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Psalm 146:5

The Holy Spirit helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply acceptable. Each day is full of decisions. Most of our decisions concern issues not clearly spelled out in the Scriptures. For example, where to attend school, whether to hire a particular applicant, how much to budget for vacation, and on it goes.

As you are barraged with the details of everyday living, the Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you that extra-on-the-spot sense of discernment you need to make both big and small decisions.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2004). God’s way day by day (p. 124). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Scripture reading: John 16:23–24

Key verse: Jeremiah 29:11

I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Some of the requirements to experiencing God’s best include the following:

An open and willing heart. Before you can experience the blessings of God, you must be open to His love and will for your life. He takes joy in blessing those who love Him. “Ask and you shall receive” were the words Jesus spoke to His disciples. Being open to God’s blessings does not mean just being open to receive something good from Him. It means being willing to receive whatever He sends your way. And in some cases, He may send something that you did not wish to receive. However, you can be sure that every gift is ultimately good and sent from a loving Father who has your best interests in mind.

Obedience. This is a key to receiving and enjoying the goodness of God. Many times the obedience that you exercise is not noticeable to others, but God knows. When you take a step forward in obedience, the Lord always sends His blessings your way.

The ability to dream. God wants you to look forward to His blessings. When you lose the ability to dream and think on the goodness of God, something inside dies. No matter how small your dream for the future appears, refuse to let go of it. Allow God to reshape it if necessary, but always believe in His loving ability to supply answers to your hopes and dreams.

Father, give me an open and willing heart. Make me obedient to Your Word. Give me the ability to dream.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 118). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Scripture Reading: John 8:1–11

Key Verse: Romans 8:34

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

In his book The Cross of Christ, John R. W. Stott explained how God’s love is consummately displayed in the death of His Son:

First, God gave His Son for us … In sending His own Son, eternally begotten from His own Being, He was not sending a creature, a third party, but giving Himself. The logic of this is inescapable. How could the Father’s love have been demonstrated if He had sent somebody else to us?

Secondly, God gave His Son to die for us … His was to give Himself to the uttermost, to the torture of crucifixion and to the horror of sin-bearing and God forsakenness … For the Sinless One to be made sin, for the Immortal One to die—we have no means of imagining the terror or the pain involved in such experiences.

Thirdly, God gave His Son to die for us, that is to say, for undeserving sinners like us … But God demonstrated His own righteousness for us—His unique love—in this, that He died for sinful, godless, rebellious, and helpless people like us (Romans 5:8).

Never doubt God’s love for you. The pierced hands and feet and speared side are His everlasting display of perfect love.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving Your Son to die for me. Give me a fresh glimpse of the pierced hands and feet, the speared side, that display Your everlasting love.[1]

 

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 118). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Blog Stats

  • 193,113 hits

Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 521 other followers

Blog Posting Archives

Blog Post Calendar

April 2014
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Twitter Posts

Truth2Freedom Blog Pages

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 521 other followers

%d bloggers like this: