Daily Archives: June 11, 2013

New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room Announcement

Zwinglius Redivivus

From NTTC on FB-

The New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NTVMR) from the Institute for New Testament Text Research (INTF) is a community portal for scholarly research of New Testament Greek manuscripts. For decades, the INTF (producers of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament) has housed the most comprehensive collection of manuscript resources for Greek New Testament studies, and now this resource is finally coming online for public access. Over 2.1 million pages have been cataloged with nearly half a million images published in cooperation with holding institutes around the world, including P45, P46, and P47 from The Chester Beatty Library and University of Michigan, The Freer Gospels from the Smithsonian Institute, and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus reordered from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

This is the first public invitation to join this portal, make use of these scholarly resources, and contribute to this public repository of New Testament manuscript research.

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27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send A Chill Up Your Spine

Would you be willing to give up what Edward Snowden has given up? He has given up his high paying job, his home, his girlfriend, his family, his future and his freedom just to expose the monolithic spy machinery that the U.S. government has been secretly building to the world. He says that he does not want to live in a world where there isn’t any privacy. He says that he does not want to live in a world where everything that he says and does is recorded. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the U.S. government has been spying on us to a degree that most people would have never even dared to imagine. Up until now, the general public has known very little about the U.S. government spy grid that knows almost everything about us. But making this information public is going to cost Edward Snowden everything. Essentially, his previous life is now totally over. And if the U.S. government gets their hands on him, he will be very fortunate if he only has to spend the next several decades rotting in some horrible prison somewhere. There is a reason why government whistleblowers are so rare. And most Americans are so apathetic that they wouldn’t even give up watching their favorite television show for a single evening to do something good for society. Most Americans never even try to make a difference because they do not believe that it will benefit them personally. Meanwhile, our society continues to fall apart all around us. Hopefully the great sacrifice that Edward Snowden has made will not be in vain. Hopefully people will carefully consider what he has tried to share with the world. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should send a chill up your spine… (Read More….)

Questions about Prayer: How can I be sure I am praying according to the will of God?

Man’s highest aim should be to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and this includes praying according to His will. First, we must ask for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). In asking for wisdom, we must also trust that God is gracious and willing to answer our prayers: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt” (James 1:6; see also Mark 11:24). So, praying according to the will of God includes asking for wisdom (to know the will of God) and asking in faith (to trust the will of God).

Here are seven biblical instructions that will guide the believer in praying according to God’s will:

1) Pray for the things for which the Bible commands prayer. We are told to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44); for God to send missionaries (Luke 10:2); that we do not enter temptation (Matthew 26:41); for ministers of the Word (Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1); for government authorities (1 Timothy 2:1–3); for relief from affliction (James 5:13); and for the healing of fellow believers (James 5:16). Where God commands prayer, we can pray with confidence that we are praying according to His will.

2) Follow the example of godly characters in Scripture. Paul prayed for the salvation of Israel (Romans 10:1). David prayed for mercy and forgiveness when he sinned (Psalm 51:1–2). The early church prayed for boldness to witness (Acts 4:29). These prayers were according to the will of God, and similar prayers today can be as well. As with Paul and the early church, we should always be praying for the salvation of others. For ourselves, we should pray as David prayed, always aware of our sin and bringing it before God before it hinders our relationship with Him and thwarts our prayers.

3) Pray with the right motivation. Selfish motives will not be blessed by God. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). We should also pray, not so our lofty words can be heard and we may be seen by others as “spiritual,” but mostly in private and in secret, so that our heavenly Father will hear in private and reward us openly (Matthew 6:5–6).

4) Pray with a spirit of forgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25). A spirit of bitterness, anger, revenge or hatred toward others will prevent our hearts from praying in total submission to God. Just as we are told not to give offerings to God while there is conflict between ourselves and another Christian (Matthew 5:23–24), in the same way God does not want the offering of our prayers until we have reconciled with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

5) Pray with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2; Philippians 4:6–7). We can always find something to be thankful for, no matter how burdened we are by our wants or needs. The greatest sufferer that lives in this world of redeeming love, and who has the offer of heaven before him, has reason to be grateful to God.

6) Pray with persistence (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). We should persevere in prayer and not quit or be dejected because we have not received an immediate answer. Part of praying in God’s will is believing that, whether His answer is “yes,” “no,” or “wait,” we accept His judgment, submit to His will, and continue to pray.

7) Rely on the Spirit of God in prayer. This is a wonderful truth: “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26–27). We have the Spirit’s help in praying. At the times of our deepest depression or sorrow, those times when we feel that we “just cannot pray,” we have the comfort of knowing that the Holy Spirit is actually praying for us! What an amazing God we have!

What assurance we have when we seek to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh! Then we can have confidence that the Holy Spirit will accomplish His work in presenting our prayers to the Father according to His perfect will and timing, and we can rest in the knowledge that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).[1]

 


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

Questions about Marriage: Does marriage hinder your relationship with God?

The issue that marriage might hinder one’s relationship with God was of concern to Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. Because of this, he stated that it is best for a single person to remain as he was—single. But he understood that the ability to handle a single life without “burning” with passion was not a gift given to everyone (verses 7–9). He states in verses 32–35 that the unmarried people are able to serve the Lord in an “unhindered” fashion because they do not need to focus a part of their lives on pleasing their spouses. But he also stated that whether married or not, we should be focusing on serving Christ (verses 28–31).

But the fact that Jesus did not call just single men—and even selected Peter, a married man (Matthew 8:14), as one of the three closest disciples—indicates that marriage need not hinder one’s intimacy with Christ. Likewise, in the Old Testament there are two individuals (among others) who were intimate with God. One was Daniel; another was Moses. One was single; one was married. Thus, marriage was not a factor in determining intimacy with God. Christian biographies of such men as Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, and Jim Elliot would also indicate that one’s intimacy with Christ need not diminish with marriage.

The key to marriage not putting a damper upon one’s intimacy with Christ is to be sure to marry “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39) or, to put it another way, not to become unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14) by marrying either an unbeliever or a believer who does not have the same doctrinal foundation or the same desire to serve Christ with a whole heart. Rather, if one marries “in the Lord,” the statements of Scripture concerning the benefits of a good companion become true (Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9–12), and the spouse becomes an aid and encouragement in one’s walk with Christ.[1]

 


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

Questions about Relationships: How can I know if I am in love?

Love is a very powerful emotion. It motivates much of our lives. We make many important decisions based on this emotion, and even get married because we feel that we are “in love.” This may be the reason about half of all first marriages end in divorce. The Bible teaches us that true love is not an emotion that can come or go, but a decision. We are not just to love those who love us; we should even love those who hate us, the same way that Christ loves the unlovable (Luke 6:35). “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).

It can be very easy to “fall in love” with someone, but there are some questions to ask before deciding if what we are feeling is true love. First, is this person a Christian, meaning has he given his life to Christ? Is he/she trusting Christ alone for salvation? Also, if you are considering giving your heart and emotions to one person, you should ask yourself if you are willing to put that person above all other people and to put your relationship second only to God. The Bible tells us that when two people get married, they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5).

Another thing to consider is whether or not the loved one is a good candidate for being a mate. Has he/she already put God first and foremost in his/her life? Is he/she able to give his/her time and energy to building the relationship into a marriage that will last a lifetime? There is no measuring stick to determine when we are truly in love with someone, but it is important to discern whether we are following our emotions or following God’s will for our lives. True love is a decision, not just an emotion. True biblical love is loving someone all of the time, not just when you feel “in love.”[1]

 


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

Iran “very close” to red line, could soon produce 30 nuclear bombs a year, says Israeli intelligence minister

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(Ottawa, Canada) — For the last two days, I’ve been in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, and the invitation of various Members of Parliament and Cabinet Members in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. I’ve come to thank these leaders for Canada’s extraordinary international support for the State of Israel — I have long argued that PM Harper is the most pro-Israel leader in the world — and to discuss with them the dangers ahead with regards to Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and most serious Iran and its nuclear weapons program. More on that in a few days when my meetings are complete.

For now we have new developments to process — namely that Israel’s Minister for Intelligence and Strategic Affairs is publicly saying that Iran is “very close” to crossing the red line, and is preparing to build 30 nuclear warheads a year. Such analysis undoubtedly reflects the view of Israeli Prime Minister…

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Review: Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality by William Edgar

The Domain for Truth

Schaeffer on the Christian Life

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Over the years there have been various books written on Francis Schaeffer, ranging from books reflecting on his life, discussion of his legacy to the critical evaluation of his apologetics. So why read another book on Francis Schaeffer, and particularly this book? What makes this work stand out among other books? What is unique about this book, is the author’s focus on the spiritual life of Francis Schaeffer, something the author argues was Schaeffer’s “most significant raison d’ete” that could be more thoroughly examined (Page 13). This work is not just a simple chronological presentation of historical facts from Schaeffer’s life; though Part one discusses the necessary biographical information of “the man and his times.” Rather the meat of the book is divided into two parts: (1) True Spirituality and (2) Trusting God for all of life. I enjoyed how the book captures Schaeffer’s spiritual life…

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God’s Divine revelation came through fallible men, yet without error

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Arthur PinkIn all of God’s works and ways we may discern a meeting together of seemingly conflicting elements—the centrifugal and the centripetal forces which are ever at work in the material realm illustrate this principle. So it is in connection with the operations of Divine providence: there is a constant interpenetrating of the natural and supernatural. So too in the giving of the sacred Scriptures: they are the product both of God’s and man’s agency: they are a Divine revelation, yet couched in human language, and communicated through human media; they are inerrantly true, yet written by fallible men. They are Divinely inspired in every jot and tittle, yet the superintending control of the Spirit over the penmen did not exclude nor interfere with the natural exercise of their faculties. Thus it is also in all of God’s dealings with mankind: though He exercises His high sovereignty, yet He treats with…

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What’s the Christian life about?

By the number of books you find under the subject-header “Christian Living,” we can either assume that there’s a lot to say on the topic or that Christians still have no idea what their life is really all about. This confusion is nothing new. Many Christians in the 3rd and 4th centuries thought that moving to monasteries in the desert was a step forward in the Christian life and ministry. But what would today’s evangelicals say is the the point of the Christian life?

 

Confusion on Christian Life and Ministry

Some would say the Christian life is about spiritual disciplines. Read your Bible daily and through the year, subscribe to a devotional magazine, keep a current prayer journal, and ensure that it’s all consistent and organized. You observe this among Christians who measure spiritual maturity by the consistency of their “quiet time” and who’ll address any sin or spiritual malady with “You need to read your Bible more.” Often, you’ll notice a discrete ambivalence to the public services of the local church – even forsaking it for “quiet time.”

Other Christians will tell you it’s about growing in doctrinal knowledge. You have 66 inspired and inexhaustible books, as well as two millennia of doctrinal confessions and controversy to understand, so time to break out the pen and paper! You see this among Christians who never miss a class or Bible study or conference or radio broadcast, but whom you’ll be hard pressed to get do anything else! The local church will inevitably become a preaching center with Christian growth equated with the personal endeavor of filling a notebook (or three) with outlines.

Conversely, many will tell you it’s about serving in “ministries.” If the church doors are open, they’re there. And so these Christians are continuously fought-over by a church’s ministry directors, because they always say “Yes!” For them, the local church is an obligation to bear and duty to fulfill. Not too infrequently, they crash and totally burn-out, so their life then becomes about spiritual disciplines or doctrinal knowledge while they “recharge.”

Finally, many Christians insist that the Christian life is mainly about abstaining from worldly activities. They’re like the football coach who summarized his game plan to his players by shouting: “Just don’t commit any penalties!” So these Christians don’t smoke, drink, or chew – or go easy on people who do. Usually, they measure spiritual growth by how many sins over which they’ve been given “victory” and their conformity to moral majorities. For them, the local church is often the members of their “accountability group,” where “real” growth and change takes place.

I recognize that no single Christian perfectly fits any one of these caricatures, but after 20 years as a Christian in more than 5 churches I think they accurately describe how American evangelicals have reduced the Christian life. And they are reductions, missing the point of Christian life and ministry almost entirely.

God’s Description of the Christian Life

So what is the Christian life all about? We’re probably well-advised to ask the One who conceived of it in the first place. When we ask God, we find that it’s not mainly about spiritual disciplines, doctrinal knowledge, “ministry” activity, nor abstaining from worldliness. It’s actually far simpler and can even be alliterated with “P”! The Christian life is…

Read More Here: http://thecripplegate.com/whats-the-christian-life-about/

What is Biblical Humility?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

3 μηδεν κατ εριθειαν μηδε κατα κενοδοξιαν αλλα τη ταπεινοφροσυνη αλληλουσ ηγουμενοι υπερεχοντασ εαυτων (Phlippians 2:3 NA28)

3 Do nothing according to rivalry nor empty conceit, but in humility esteem others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

One of the main contentions of the Emergents is that it is an arrogant thing to teach from the Bible as if it is absolute truth. They say that the truly humble are those who confess to know nothing precisely, but only in a nebulous sort of way. This is primarily an attempt to appear humble to the world by seeking common ground with everyone, which is only possible if truth is held loosely so there is room for compromise. In the world’s eyes this does appear to be humble, but is this biblical humility? Carefully read the following passage (John 8:30-32) and pay…

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“Practicing the Presence of God” a growing contemplative trend

Today we are seeing the mystical type of contemplative practices that date back to the eastern practices of Buddhists and Hindus, including a type of mantra-style breath prayer that many say can bring us to a higher consciousness to experience God.

Rick Warren, as evidenced by his Tweet today about this practice, is a proponent and teacher of breath-prayers to reach this level of consciousness.

Brother lawrenceThe contemplative practice of “practicing the presence” of God dates back to the late 1600s, when Catholic monk Brother Lawrence wrote the book, “The Practice of the Presence of God. Rick Warren was greatly influenced by Brother Lawrence and wrote about him in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, in which he shares six secrets to become God’s friends. One of those is “practicing God’s presence” by being in “constant conversation” with Him.

After quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (“pray without ceasing”), Warren asks how a Christian can practice unceasing prayer to which he answers, “One way is to use ‘breath prayers’ throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated in one breath.” Then after providing ten examples of prayers, short biblical phrases that could work as breath prayers, Warren advises “Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted deep in your heart.” In this context Warren also cites the book of Catholic Monk Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, who advocated experiencing the presence of God in the most menial of circumstances, by praying short conversational prayers throughout the day. The Roman Catholic practice of praying the rosary is also akin to breath prayers.

Contemplative Youth MinistryThe popular practice is now encouraged in youth groups in the seeker-emergent churches around the nation and the world.

Other Evangelicals who use breath prayers to practice the presence:

Richard Foster teaches that we can bring Jesus into our presence by the use of the imagination: “You can actually encounter the living Christ in the event, be addressed by his voice and be touched by his healing power. It can be more than an exercise of the imagination; it can be a genuine confrontation., Jesus Christ will actually come to you.”

Nancy Ortberg: “I started slowly to turn my worries into ‘breath prayers to help practice the presence of God.

Beth Moore, in her book, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things states: “I have picked up on the terminology of Brother Lawrence, who called praying unceasingly practicing God’s presence. In fact, practicing God’s presence has been my number one goal for the last year.”

http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/06/practicing-the-presence-of-god-a-growing-contemplative-trend-2/

Strange Fire Conference gets Rodney Horward Browne hot under the collar

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

20130610-211730.jpg

Somebody isn’t laughing now

Rodney Howard-Browne, self-styled “Holy Ghost Bartender,” has taken notice of the Strange Fire conference sponsored by Grace to You (October 16-18, 2013). He seems unnerved by the prospect that twenty-first-century charismatic phenomena are going to be examined in light of Scripture. Howard-Browne’s trademark giddiness has gone missing. Recently, he wrote this stream-of-consciousness rant on his Facebook page:

“There is coming a massive attack on the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement by a group of individuals that don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit today – these men do not believe in speaking in tongues or the gifts of the spirit – they think that because of excesses in the church that they have a right to write off the fastest growing sector of Christianity – over 800 million in the earth today – that would be as bad as writing Jesus off because of one…

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U.S. Suffers Biggest Pay Drop On Record, As Workers Squeezed Tighter

The economic “recovery” just keeps getting worse for the average worker: U.S. employers squeezed their employees even harder than usual in the first quarter, leading to the biggest drop in hourly pay on record.

Hourly pay for nonfarm workers fell at a 3.8 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday. This was the biggest quarterly decline since the BLS started keeping track in 1947. Some of the drop was payback for a 9.9 percent surge in hourly pay in the fourth quarter of 2012, as employers shoveled money out the door to avoid tax changes they expected to take place in 2013.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/us-pay-drop_n_3391664.html

AP Turns On Obama: 2nd Term On Verge Of Imploding

Liz Sidoti, the national politics editor for The Associated Press, takes a look at the Obama Administration’s mounting scandals, the president’s promises, and the polls. Her conclusion is that Obama’s second term is on the verge of imploding. Oh, and on top of the scandals, Obama has one more problem — ObamaCare.

http://beforeitsnews.com/u-s-politics/2013/06/ap-turns-on-obama-2nd-term-on-verge-of-imploding-2447138.html

The reason that liberals hate Christianity, but ignore Islam

Today, I read one thing and wrote another, both of which address Leftist hatred for Christianity, even though modern Christianity and genuine Judaism (as opposed to the hard Leftism that masquerades as “reform Judaism”) are the most humane, civilizing forces the world has ever seen. With their focus on justice and grace, they rid the world of slavery, ended child labor, advanced women’s status and, in Israel’s case, fought a 60-year war without sinking to the level of her enemies. But the Left truly hates them and seeks to undermine them at every turn.

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The Totalitarianism at the Heart of the Obama Scandals

The Obama administration’s legs are wobbling under the weight of so many scandals lately that whole chunks of the edifice – the IRS, the NSA, the DOJ – are threatening to implode, particularly without support from the normally adoring media. Even the New York Times – the New York Times! – is no longer willing to bolster an administration whose totalitarian urges have been exposed to the light.

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A Broken & Crumbling World

World money systems are becoming increasingly dysfunctional and broken. Most concerning of all is the continuing slide into monetary immorality. This term, of course, has no traction amongst most policymakers and in spheres of monetary economics. No matter…regular readers of this newsletter will still adhere to the ideas of absolute truth and a difference between right and wrong, not the “end justifies the means” nor the supremacy of expediency.

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Ramblings of a Zionist Heretic

Our amillennialist friends tell us there’s no future millennium because we’re already experiencing it. Please allow me to indulge in a bit of friendly sarcasm.

If this is the millennium then it’s not what I expected – especially after two thousand years. Perhaps I spend too much time looking at the bad stuff going on in the world, glass-half-empty person that I am. I should spend less time being critical and more time enjoying it. We might need to get that same message across to our Christian friends in China and the Middle East who gripe about persecution and martyrdom.

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Soldier Who Read Conservative Books Now Faces Charges

A member of the U.S. Army Band who said he was reprimanded for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car, serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors like Sean Hannity is now facing Article 15 charges – which cropped up shortly after he went public with his complaints.

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