Daily Archives: June 5, 2013

No-Lordship Folk Still Misunderstand What “Grace Alone” Means

QUESTION from person who embraces a no-Lordship/easy believism position: Do you believe you are saved by faith alone or must you also turn from sin and commit some or all of your life to serving, BEFORE Christ will save you. Can we stay on the subject of salvation and how to receive it,and not jump to how we are going to live if we are truly saved.

RESPONSE: Neither … Both faith AND a self-renouncing commitment to Christ are the result of the saving grace of Christ, not the cause of grace. So the answer to your second question is a resounding “No” you don’t need to turn from sin and commit your life BEFORE Christ will save you. This is impossible supposition for an unregenerate man who will not believe or obey … but we still command him to do so for in seeing his utter failure in the face of God’s perfect law, he despairs of all hope in himself. God shows him his spiritual bankruptcy and then, by grace, saves him UNTO faith and obedience to the law. Therefore the Bible repudiates both easy belivism and any other semi-pelagian ideas such as these. The confusion comes, I believe, when one fails to differentiate regeneration and justification. Both are aspects of the work of Christ in salvation and he regenerates believers (i.e. saves them) i.e gives them a new new heart (regeneration) that believes (unto justification) and desires to obey Christ. Faith and obedience to the law are equally impossible to the unregenerate sinner apart from regenerating grace.

The no lordship position is a perfect example of evangelicals who, while they fully embrace justification by faith alone yet have jettisoned the sola gratia (grace alone) that under girds it.

http://www.reformationtheology.com/2013/06/nolordship_folk_still_misunder.php

GodLife: You are a Full-Time Minister of God

Scripture: “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the Church, the Body of Christ.” ( Ephesians 4:11-12)

What work do you do to provide food, clothing, and shelter for yourself (and your family)? The Apostle Paul did work as a tentmaker (some translations say “leatherworker”); however, he tirelessly preached Christ’s message, evangelizing to everyone he could and teaching new Christians. Today, sometimes, people say they are employed “full time” or “part time” in this or that job or career; as Christians, we could consider that earthly work as how we make our living. But because we are “living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests” ( 1 Peter 2:5), we can consider ministering for God our full-time work!

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Just for You

Praising God, serving others, and learning more about Christian life are just some of the neat things that happen within a body of Believers (or a church group). Click the link to learn more about being involved in our New Believer’s Guide.

Personal Help

Do you need help learning how to God has called you to minister to or serve others? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
• You will thank God for providing Church leaders
• God will bless our Church leaders with His wisdom so they can help fellow Christians do God’s work
• God will help us understand how He has called us to love, minister to, and serve others
• We will keep our focus on the Lord, even during the distractions of life
• God will use us to serve others and build up the Body of Christ

GodLife Family

Where can you go online to talk about friendship in Christ and pray for friends who need His salvation? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!

 

Topical Bible Questions: What does the Bible say about beauty?

To define what is beautiful is difficult because beauty is, as the old saying goes, in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful to us may be ugly to another. To regard something as beautiful it must meet our own definition and concept of beauty. The fact that beauty is an individual concept is understood clearly by all. However, many don’t realize that God’s concept of beauty also is His own. No one defines for God His concept of beauty. If a person is beautiful to God, he fits God’s concept of beauty.

For example, God never uses one’s outward physical appearance to determine beauty. When the prophet Samuel examined Jesse’s sons in search of the next king of Israel, he was impressed with Eliab’s appearance. God told Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Nothing in a person’s outward appearance impresses God. God looks upon the inner beauty, the beauty of one’s heart.

God never uses the origin or culture of a person as the criteria of beauty. People of one culture seldom see beauty in people of a different culture. Only a divine revelation could convince Peter to enter a Gentile’s house and preach the gospel to him (Acts 10). It took an angel to get Peter the Jew and Cornelius the Gentile together. Only a divine sign convinced the Jewish witnesses that Gentiles unquestionably had the right to be God’s children. When Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34), he was saying, “At last, I understand.” Peter realized that God is unconcerned about a person’s origin or culture. God gladly accepts those who revere and obey Him. His concept of beauty is uniquely different because He ignores cultural preferences and prejudices.

While our opinions are strongly influenced by a one’s address, occupation, and social role, God never determines beauty by social rank or life circumstances. When we speak of the so-called “beautiful people,” rarely do we mean those who are struggling to survive, who make their living by menial jobs, or who come from “backward” areas. In contrast, God never notices those things when He considers beauty in people. Paul wrote, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26–28).

What is beautiful in God’s eyes? Recognizing the qualities God has cherished in the lives of other people is one way to determine His concept of beauty. Noah’s implicit trust in God led him to construct a gigantic boat miles from water. Abraham trusted God’s promise so implicitly that he would have sacrificed his son of promise without hesitation. Moses yielded total control of his life to God and became the man of meekness. David gave his whole being to doing the will of God. No consequence or shameful treatment could keep Daniel from reverencing his God. Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy were ruled by God in every consideration and decision. They were totally focused upon Jesus’ will as they shared the gospel with all. In all these qualities God saw great beauty.

While all these people were beautiful to God, virtually nothing is known about their physical appearance. It was not their physique or stateliness but their faith and service that made them beautiful. The same was true of God’s beautiful women: Rahab, Hannah, Ruth, Deborah, and Mary of Bethany. Those noted for physical beauty were often great spiritual disappointments. Sarah, the beautiful wife of Abraham, did not have his kind of faith. Saul was a man of physical beauty, but he was not the godly king God wanted.

The qualities God wants in His people further reveals His concept of beauty. The beatitudes reveal some of God’s standards of beauty. An awareness of one’s spiritual poverty, sorrow for wickedness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, and being a peacemaker are all qualities of beauty. The epistles also stress attributes valued by God: keeping a living faith while enduring physical hardships, controlling the tongue, enduring personal harm to protect the church’s influence, making sacrifices for the good of others, and living by Christian convictions in the face of ridicule. All these are beautiful to God.

However, just as a beautiful appearance can become ugly through neglect, a beautiful life of righteousness can become ugly through neglect. Spiritual beauty must never be taken for granted or be neglected. We must remember that just as it is possible to be one of society’s most impressive people and be ugly in the eyes of God, it is also possible to be an unknown in society and to be radiantly beautiful in His eyes.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Cults and Religions: How can I recognize a false teacher / false prophet?

Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect (Matthew 24:23–27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17–18). The best way to guard yourself against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine. For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16–17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity. Therefore, step one is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says.

Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:

1) What does this teacher say about Jesus? In Matthew 16:15–16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity. First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”

2) Does this teacher preach the gospel? The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1–4). As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy” are not the complete message of the gospel. As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” No one, not even a great preacher, has the right to change the message that God gave us. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).

3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord? Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11 says, “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” In other words, a false teacher can be known by his pride (Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses). Jesus said to beware of such people and that we would know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15–20).

For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church: Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Only by being thoroughly familiar with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the End Times: What is the Preterist view of the end times?

The preterist interpretation of Scripture regards the book of Revelation as a symbolic picture of early church conflicts, not a description of what will occur in the end times. Preterism denies the future prophetic quality of most of the book of Revelation. In varying degrees, preterism combines the allegorical and symbolic interpretation with the concept that Revelation does not deal with specific future events. The preterist movement essentially teaches that all the end-times prophecies of the New Testament were fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Romans attacked and destroyed Jerusalem and Israel.

The letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 were written to real churches in the first century, and they have practical applications for churches today. But chapters 6–22, if interpreted in the same way as the rest of Bible prophecy, were written about events that are yet future. There is no reason to interpret the prophecies of Revelation allegorically. Previously fulfilled prophecies were fulfilled literally. For example, all of the Old Testament verses predicting the first coming of Christ were fulfilled literally in Jesus. Christ came at the time that He was predicted to come (Daniel 9:25–26). Christ was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). He suffered and died for our sins (Isaiah 53:5–9). These are but a few examples of the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies God gave to the prophets that are recorded in Scripture and that were fulfilled literally. It simply does not make sense to try to allegorize unfulfilled prophecy or understand unfulfilled prophecy in any other way than by a normal reading.

Furthermore, preterism is entirely inconsistent in its interpretation of the book of Revelation. According to the preterist view of the end times, chapters 6–18 of Revelation are symbolic and allegorical, not describing literal events. However, chapter 19, according to preterists, is to be understood literally. Jesus Christ will literally and physically return. Then, chapter 20 is again interpreted allegorically by preterists, while chapters 21–22 are understood literally, at least in part, in that there will truly be a new heaven and new earth. No one denies that Revelation contains amazing and sometimes confusing visions. No one denies that Revelation describes some things figuratively. However, to arbitrarily deny the literal nature of select portions of Revelation is to destroy the basis of interpreting any of the book literally. If the seals, trumpets, bowls, witnesses, 144000, beast, false prophet, millennial kingdom, etc., are allegorical or symbolic, on what basis do we claim that the second coming of Christ and the new earth are literal? That is the failure of preterism—it leaves the interpretation of Revelation to the opinions of the interpreter. Instead, we are to read it, believe it, and obey it—literally and exactly.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

The Missing Purpose of Church

The lament we hear from many sectors in American Christendom is over the increasing number of people who shun church.

While the numbers seem to bolster this observation, no one can agree as to why the exodus is happening. Some say those who have gone missing have left the Faith entirely. Others point to a form of Christianity that has simply decided it doesn’t need the institutional aspect of “churchianity” to be vital.

I think part of the source of the problem is that the American Church can’t define what its purpose is. Many people are showing up on Sunday and asking themselves why they are sitting in that pew acting like nothing more than a flesh seat cushion, and the Church isn’t answering their question. After a while, with the point gone missing, people decide they could spend their time more effectively doing something else.

Turning church into another form of entertainment created some of this malaise. I think another piece comes from the American Church’s inability to answer in a practical way the tougher questions and needs of people today.

It’s not that the answers don’t exist. I believe only Christianity has those answers. But the Church here seems stuck on its image and not on its mission. It keeps trying to be hip and can’t seem to be relevant, no matter how much it claims it be (or is trying to be). And in those rare cases when it is relevant, it’s only so for the individual and not for something bigger. No matter what anyone contends, people really do need to be part of something larger than themselves.

People are not seeing the purpose. And until they do, the hemorrhaging of people from our churches will continue.

I think every church needs to have its leaders stand up each quarter of the year and reiterate the mission of that church, exactly how they are working to meet that mission, and exactly what they expect of everyone sitting in the pews to make that mission a success. You can talk about being missional all you want, but unless it is understood and owned, missional remains a buzzword only.

I also think church leaders need to get off their mania with programming fads and get back to something they stopped doing a long time ago: identifying the personal spiritual gifts of the people in their charge and helping those people put those gifts into play. I know too many gifted people who left a church because they had a gift to bring and that gift went unwanted.

Here’s a clue for church leaders: The gifts God has given the people in your church are a clue to what your mission needs to be. If you’re not aware of your people’s giftings, then you won’t see what your mission is. And if you don’t work to enable the fullest use of those people’s gifts, then your church will never be successful in anything it does.

There is purpose. Each church should know its purpose. Each person in that church should know his or her purpose. If that’s not happening, then it’s no wonder people question why they are sitting in that pew one Sunday after another.

http://ceruleansanctum.com/2013/06/the-missing-purpose-of-church.html

How Big Institutional Money Distorts Housing Prices

The problem is, a good portion of the rebound in house prices in many markets has less to do with renewed optimism, new jobs, and rising wages, and more to do with big money investors fueled by the ultra-cheap money policies of the Fed.

On my recent trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, after presenting to a bi-partisan audience in the Capitol building, a gentleman came up to me and introduced himself as a real estate agent. He explained that he’d been seeing something very strange over the past six months, where very well capitalized, out-of-state private equity funds had been buying up huge swaths of residential real estate with cash. He wanted to know if I knew anything about this.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-04/guest-post-housing-prices-are-being-dangerously-distorted-big-institutional-money

Housing Bubble Pop Alert:

That’s right – the oldest economic joke in the book is also the best way to approximate real marginal demand, especially by those whom even the NYT earlier today identified as the primary beneficiary of cheap credit which they have subsequently transformed into an ubiquitous landlord industry, buying up homes by the tens of thousands with the intention of quickly converting them to rentals.

So if, indeed, it is the smart money that defines the marginal price, and since said money is “smart” and realizes that either the US consumer is tapped out and unable to satisfy a priori modeled cash flow demands or it anticipates a rise in interest rates (not due to a pick up in the economy but due to a tapering of Fed purchases – two very, very different things: note the pick up in yields at the end of QE1 and QE2 which signaled not an economic recovery but simply more QE a few months down the line) which contrary to the propaganda on TV would have a devastating impact on the housing market and also the economy, then we would promptly see the imminent pop of the second coming of the housing bubble.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-04/housing-bubble-pop-alert-colony-pulls-ipo-market-conditions-blue-mountain-rushes-cas

Kerry says US will sign UN treaty on arms regulation despite lawmaker opposition

John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration would sign a controversial U.N. treaty on arms regulation, despite bipartisan resistance in Congress from members concerned it could lead to new gun control measures in the U.S.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/03/lawmakers-urge-obama-to-reject-un-arms-treaty-as-it-opens-for-signature/

Global shock as manufacturing contracts in US and China

Manufacturing has begun to contract in the US and China for the first time since the Lehman crisis, raising fears of a synchronized downturn in the world’s two largest economies. The closely-watched ISM index of US factories tumbled through the “boom-bust line” of 50 to 49, far below expectations. It is the lowest since the depths of the crisis in mid-2009 and a clear sign that US budget cuts are starting to squeeze the economy. New orders plunged 3.5 to 48.8 on weak foreign demand and reduced federal contracts.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10096951/Global-shock-as-manufacturing-contracts-in-US-and-China.html

Poll: 56% Believe Feds Threaten Individual Rights

A wide majority of Americans – 56 percent – said they see the government as a threat to individual rights, while only 30 percent see the federal government as a protector of individual rights. Overall, 70 percent of Americans say they have followed reports about the DOJ either very or somewhat closely.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/06/04/Poll-majority-think-gov-threatens-rights

PA Arabs Fete ‘New Mahdi,” Establishment of Calpihate

Thousands of PA Arabs participated in a mass rally in Ramallah earlier this week calling for the establishment of the Muslim Caliphate – the worldwide Islamist government that will “bring the coming of the Mahdi.” the Muslim messiah. The Caliphate is essentially a union of Muslim countries under the spiritual and political leadership of a single individual, the Caliph.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/168639

‘Not Fit To Lead’: GOP Rep. Rails Against Obama’s ‘Vengefulness And Lack Of Moral Compass’

On the House floor on Monday, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) spoke only for a minute but squeezed in some harsh criticism of both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — whom he deemed “unfit” to lead. Decrying Obama’s incompetence and “lack of moral compass,” Bridenstine lamented that Biden was even worse.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/not-fit-to-lead-gop-rep-rails-against-obamas-vengefulness-and-lack-of-moral-compass/

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

…the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve.

http://thenewamerican.com/economy/economics/item/15473-world-bank-insider-blows-whistle-on-corruption-federal-reserve

Yes, Christian, There is a Devil: Evil Behind the Headlines

The list goes on. Government scandals proliferate. Marriage and family are being redefined. And these are just the recent headlines. We’ve grown to expect a new sign of cultural decline almost every day.

But is this cultural decline purely of our own making, or is something more sinister going on?

View Article

Why Does God Allow the Innocent to Suffer?

A child has a terminal disease, they are going to die soon, who is at fault? NOT God! Humans asked for the “knowledge of good and evil” remember, to be like God, remember? WE humans commited that SIN and we humans, whether young or old, will suffer death…because of that SIN. WE humans asked for this, we sought it out, we chose it in our hearts, we chose SIN above righteousness! It is the Original SIN…of wanting to be LIKE GOD…instead of being who we are, the “CREATED”. Now you have your answer in a nutshell…although it is all found in the Bible─Gods Holy Word to YOU and me.

View Article

Study Finds Parents Clueless About Kids’ Online Behavior

Your teens and tweens engage in a lot more risky behavior online than you think, according to a new survey by the online security firm McAfee.

McAfee’s 2013 “Digital Deception: Exploring the Online Disconnect between Parents and Kids” examined the behavior of tweens, teens and college-age kids and contrasted that with what their parents knew about kids’ online experiences.

The sad answer is not much.

• 88 percent of tweens and teens said their parents trust them to be safe online, but most acknowledged abusing that trust by posting intimate details about themselves (including phone numbers, email addresses, the name of their schools and home addresses). Risky behavior starts in the tween years but picks up significantly as kids get older, McAfee found.

•Kids often seek online information about topics they hesitate to talk to parents about. Close to 70 percent of those 18 to 24 have looked up information about sex, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. About 30 percent of teens and young adults sought out information on depression, but only 6 percent of their parents were aware of it. A quarter looked up information on drugs without their parents’ knowledge. About 15 percent of kids looked up information about suicide or eating disorders, but less than three percent of their parents knew.

• Nearly half of kids said they’d seen sexual content online that disturbed them or made them feel uncomfortable, but less than 20 percent of parents knew about it. Almost 40 percent of kids intentionally looked up simulated or real-life violence online and almost a quarter sought out sex or pornography sites. About 10 percent had shared intimate photos or videos of themselves.

• A quarter of the young people surveyed said they’d witnessed cruel behavior online, mostly on Facebook. Nearly 13 percent said they’d been victims of cruelty online. In either case, parents rarely knew.

Most parents feel overwhelmed by technological hurdles, ignorance their tech-savvy kids use to their own advantage, McAfee found in online interviews with parents and teens conducted in the first two weeks of April.

Most tweens, teens and young adults said they hid their online activities from parents. Kids cleared browser histories, hid or deleted videos, or created email or social media accounts their parents know nothing about. About 11 percent of tweens and 17 percent of teens had downloaded and used a different browser than their parents to cover their tracks.

 

No wonder so many parents reported feeling outflanked.

More than 70 percent of parents surveyed said they don’t have the time or energy to keep up with their kids’ online activities. Nor do they know how to monitor them.

 

Parents of tweens were the most likely to say they feel so overwhelmed by technology that they just hope for the best when their kids are online.

McAfee’s advice? Buck up.

Parents should try to monitor kids’ activities to keep them safe.

But because kids are adept at learning how to bypass controls, parents need also must engage in regular, ongoing conversations with kids about online safety and the consequences of risky behavior, McAfee said.

Start talking when kids are tweens, the security firm said, and step up conversations as kids move into their teen years, when they’re most likely to engage in risky and deceptive behavior.

Although McAfee doesn’t say so, parents also can leverage kids’ love of technology to find a fitting consequence for risky behavior.

Close to 87 percent of kids check their social media accounts daily.

Take away their technology for a while and, chances are, they’ll pay attention.

http://www.cleveland.com/consumeraffairs/index.ssf/2013/06/study_finds_parents_clueless_a.html