Daily Archives: September 12, 2013

Music Video: Give Me Your Eyes – Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight

Touched down on the cold black tar
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos

All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity

Give me Your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach?
Give me Your heart for the one’s forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide whats underneath

Theres a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work, he’s buying time

All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity

Give me Your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach?
Give me Your heart for the one’s forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong

Well, I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way You see the people all alone

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity

Give me Your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach?
Give me Your heart for the one’s forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
That I keep missing

Give me Your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach?
Give me Your heart for the one’s forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Are You Quarrelsome?

A “quarrel” is a verbal fight.  Not all conflicts are quarrels, but a conflict becomes a quarrel when it’s sinfully combative or contentious.  I’ve been thinking about my own quarrelsomeness, and this is some of the fruit of my study. The Bible has quite a bit to say about quarreling:

Read More Here: http://blog.founders.org/2013/09/are-you-quarrelsome.html

Do American Christians Care About Persecuted Christians?

I found the recent article at Persecution Blog, “Do Americans Care About Persecuted Christians?” provoking and sadly accurate:

The Church is under fire. At that sentence, half the people who started reading this article just moved on to something more interesting. However, that response is troublesome. The plight of believers gets little attention on the global stage, leaving many Christians throughout North America unaware, and therefore, indifferent to what’s going on in the body of Christ. Mention persecution, and eyes glaze over.

The indifference of American Christians to the persecuted church around the world does seem conspicuous. For one example, I’ve observed that when a prayer meeting is devoted exclusively to interceding for persecuted Christians, it’ll likely be one of the most poorly attended.

The article quotes extensively from Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs, who explained that the average American Christian replies to persecution with “Man, that’s too bad.” In my reading, he gives 4 explanations as to why this seems to be the case:

Read More Here: http://www.affectedbytruth.com/do-american-christians-care-about-persecuted-christians/

What Are the Essentials of the Christian Faith?

Almost every Christian makes some distinction between essentials of the faith and non-essentials. The distinction itself is fairly uncontroversial. But what exactly are the essentials? That’s a bit tougher.

There are a number of ways to answer that question. We could look at church history and what God’s people have always believed. We could look at the ancient creeds and confessions of the church. We could look at the biggest themes of Scripture (e.g., covenant, love, glory, atonement) and the most important passages (e.g., Genesis 1, Exodus 20, Matthew 5-7, John 3, Romans 8). I want to take a little different route and consider what are the behaviors and beliefs without which Scripture say we are not saved. These are not requirement we must meet in order to save ourselves and earn God’s favor. Rather these are the essential beliefs and behaviors that will be manifest in the true Christian.

I don’t pretend that this is anywhere close to a comprehensive list from the Bible. But a list like this may be helpful in guarding against false teaching and examining our own lives.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/09/12/what-are-the-essentials-of-the-christian-faith/

Where Do I Go in Suffering?

Often in suffering we go to friends and family sharing our pain. We lean on those we love and trust to help us through the time of suffering. It may be parents or a close friend, a small study group, we want to tell our story to someone and gain sympathy and emotional support. We hope that if we share it with someone the burden will be lighter for us to carry and sometimes it is.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we share suffering with people we lean on it becomes overwhelming for them. At times those we counted on are not available, they are busy and we are alone, adding to our suffering abandonment.

Read More Here: http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/blogs/2013/09/12/where-do-i-go-in-suffering/

Was Jesus Always “Nice”? – John MacArthur

I never could believe in the Jesus Christ of some people, for the Christ in whom they believe is simply full of affectionateness and gentleness, whereas I believe there never was a more splendid specimen of manhood, even its sternness, than the Savior; and the very lips which declared that He would not break a bruised reed uttered the most terrible anathemas upon the Pharisses. –Charles Spurgeon

Modern writers, agnostic academics, and liberal theologians always stress the kindness and gentleness of Christ. Their Jesus—not the One found in Scripture, but the one concocted from their own imaginations and preferences—is effectively an ideological and theological pacifist. He preached only love and self-sacrifice, never judged or discriminated, and wasn’t dogmatic about the truth. In effect, the Jesus they’ve manufactured pleads “Can’t we all just get along?” with people of all faiths.

That perspective betrays a deep and dangerous ignorance of the truth about Christ, the exclusivity of the gospel He preached, and how He confronted religious error. Even the kindest, gentlest shepherd sometimes needs to throw rocks at the wolves who come in sheep’s clothing.

The Great Shepherd Himself was never far from open controversy with the most conspicuously religious inhabitants in all of Israel. Almost every chapter of the gospels makes some reference to His running battle with the chief hypocrites of His day, and He made no effort whatsoever to be winsome in His encounters with them. He did not invite them to dialogue or engage in a friendly exchange of ideas.

In fact, Jesus’ public ministry was barely underway when He invaded what they thought was their turf—the temple grounds in Jerusalem—and went on a righteous rampage against their mercenary control of Israel’s worship. He did the same thing again during the final week before His crucifixion, immediately after His triumphal entry into the city.

One of His last major public discourses was the solemn pronunciation of seven woes against the scribes and Pharisees. These were formal curses against them. That sermon was the furthest thing from a friendly dialogue. Matthew’s record of it fills an entire chapter (Matthew 23), and it is entirely devoid of any positive or encouraging word for the Pharisees and their followers.

Luke distills and summarizes the entire message in three short verses:

And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” (Luke 20:45-47)

That is a perfect summary of Jesus’ dealings with the Pharisees. It is a blistering denunciation—a candid diatribe about the seriousness of their error. There is no conversation, no collegiality, no dialogue, and no cooperation. Only confrontation, condemnation, and (as Matthew records) curses against them.

Jesus’ compassion is certainly evident in two facts that bracket this denunciation. First, Luke says that as He drew near the city and observed its full panorama for this final time, He paused and wept over it (Luke 19:41-44). And second, Matthew records a similar lament at the end of the seven woes (Matthew 23:37). So we can be absolutely certain that as Jesus delivered this diatribe, His heart was full of compassion.

Yet that compassion is directed at the victims of the false teaching, not the false teachers themselves. There is no hint of sympathy, no proposal of clemency, no trace of kindness, no effort on Jesus’ part to be “nice” toward the Pharisees. Indeed, with those words Jesus formally and resoundingly pronounced their doom and then held them up publicly as a warning to others.

This is the polar opposite of any invitation to dialogue. He doesn’t say: “They’re basically good guys. They have pious intentions. They have some valid spiritual insights. Let’s have a conversation with them.” Instead, He says: “Keep your distance. Be on guard against their lifestyle and their influence. Follow them, and you are headed for the same condemnation they are.”

Jesus’ approach would surely earn Him a resounding outpouring of disapproval from today’s postmodern culture. Exclusive truth, discriminating instruction, and confrontational teaching simply don’t fit the “good teacher” narrative the world promotes. In fact, by today’s standards, Jesus’ words about the Pharisees and His treatment of them are horrifyingly inappropriate.

Christ wasn’t an ideological pacifist. He knew which fights to fight, and He stood up for the truth with clarity and—when necessary—severity. But that kind of commitment to and love for the truth is totally foreign to modern society, so they either dismiss or ignore it.

More and more these days, people are talking about Jesus, but what they’re saying has no biblical basis. We need to do what we can to shatter the phony caricatures the world has developed, and bring people face to face with the Christ revealed in the pages of Scripture.

 

(Adapted from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130912     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

The Gospel in Church History (Part 1)

 

Luther_95_ThesesIt was just over 500 years ago, in the fall of 1510, that a desperate Roman Catholic monk made what he thought would be the spiritual pilgrimage of a lifetime.

He had become a monk five years earlier—much to the surprise and dismay of his father, who wanted him to become a lawyer. In fact, it was on his way home from law school, that this young man—then 21 years old—found himself in the midst of a severe thunderstorm. The lightning was so intense he thought for sure he was going to die. Fearing for his life, and relying on his Roman Catholic upbringing, he called out for help. “Saint Anne,” he cried, “Spare me and I will become a monk!” Fifteen days later, he left law school behind and entered an Augustinian monastery in Erfurt, Germany.

The fear of death had prompted him to become a monk. And it was the fear of God’s wrath that consumed him for the next five years—so much so, in fact, that he did everything within his power to placate his guilty conscience and earn God’s favor.

Read More Here: http://thecripplegate.com/the-gospel-in-church-history-part-1/

Questions about Prayer: Why Doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer Include Thanksgiving?

It does seem odd, given the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:17–18 to “pray without ceasing” and to “give thanks in all circumstances,” that the Lord’s Prayer does not include instructions for thanksgiving. Furthermore, it seems especially odd seeing that Jesus models thanksgiving in prayer all throughout the gospels—in particular when He gives thanks to God so many times and in so many circumstances as He models prayer.

Jesus thanks God for the meals that He provides, including the miraculous feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:16–21) and the 4000 (Matthew 15:35–38). He gave thanks for the cup and the bread eaten at the Last Supper (Acts 27:35). He thanked God for hearing His request to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41). He even thanked the Father from keeping the secrets of the kingdom from the wise and revealing them to the poor, the ignorant and the obscure (Matthew 11:25). Yet, He leaves thanksgiving out of the Lord’s Prayer.

Many of us were raised with the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication) as a model for prayer. In other words, before we pray to God for our needs, we ought to praise Him for what He has done, confess our sins before Him, and offer thanks for His grace and mercy. When we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we see the A, C and S, but no T.

If we examine the passage in which we find the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13), we first note why Jesus was teaching the disciples to pray a certain way. Jesus was critiquing the way the Pharisees prayed. They prayed out in the open where all could see and hear. This was a way to show the public how holy and pious they were. Jesus condemns this way of praying by saying that “they have their reward,” the reward of being seen by men. Jesus is not condemning public prayer, only the practice of praying with the goal of being “seen by men.” We also see Jesus critiquing the way the Gentiles prayed by constantly praying the same thing over and over again as if to make sure their god heard them, such as the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18.

Jesus’ corrective against these incorrect modes of prayer was to give His disciples a model prayer. Now, we don’t pray the Lord’s Prayer by simply reciting it as do the Roman Catholics and their rosary beads. This does not mean that corporate recital of the Lord’s Prayer is wrong. Jesus is, however, referring to private prayer, not corporate prayer.

It’s best to think of the Lord’s Prayer as a ‘blueprint’ for prayer—a means to shape and guide our prayer life. The prayer contains six petitions. The first three relate to God and the last three relate to us. After addressing God as “our Father in heaven,” we first pray that God’s name be made hallow (i.e., honored and glorified). Next we pray that God’s kingdom will come. There is a sense in which God’s kingdom is already present since the advent of Christ, but we pray for the kingdom to come in its fullness. Third, we pray for God’s will—His moral, or revealed, will—to be done here on earth, starting with us. After these three petitions which address God’s glory and majesty, we continue with the petitions that pertain to us—our daily provision, our forgiveness from sin and our deliverance from evil.

As for why we don’t find thanksgiving in the Lord’s Prayer, the best answer is that thanksgiving is the attitude and mindset in which we live, including when we pray to God. For those who are children of God, thanksgiving will fill our hearts and pour forth from our lips to God because we know, among other things, our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life through Jesus Christ. The more we contemplate what God has done for us, the more thankfulness just becomes a way of thinking in our relationship with God at all time, under all conditions and in all circumstances. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”[1]

 


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

Questions about Marriage: Is It Wrong for a Husband and Wife to Have Separate Bank Accounts?

Money is the number-one cause of problems in marriage, and because the issue of finances is the most common source of arguments in marriage, engaged couples would do well to take the time to decide how these things will be settled prior to entering into marriage. The Bible speaks very clearly about the joining of a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:25–33), and those verses all show that the two shall become one entity, with the man as the spiritual leader and the woman in submission to him. This is the principle which should be brought to bear upon the issue of finances in general and separate bank accounts in particular.

A couple who are truly “one” will be one in all areas of their marriage. Most importantly, they will be of one mind regarding spiritual matters. Men are called to be “priests” of their homes (1 Corinthians 11:3), which means that they are to be the spiritual leaders and to bring together the family to serve the Lord. Wives are to submit to their husbands’ leadership, helping to bring up children in the “training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In parenting, as in all things within a marriage, unity and harmony are essential.

This unity of spirit is to be present in temporal matters as well, where husband and wife are again to be of one mind and one heart. This means that money and possessions are seen as belonging to both partners equally. Just as there is no “your child and my child,” there should be no distinction between “my money and your money.” All is shared equally in a true partnership, and no partnership is more equal than two people united in Christ. Therefore, there is really no reason to have separate accounts. Usually this situation occurs where there is a severe issue with trust, and in such a case there are greater problems in the marriage than just where the money resides. Lack of trust is deadly to a marriage, and if it exists, prayer is crucial to seek the wisdom of the Lord (James 1:5) on how to resolve this. The Bible says that we are one with our spouses, and so we should be resolved to show this unity to our children, our friends, our church, and the watching world. Where conflict over money exists, there is an opportunity to grow in love and most importantly in trust to bring together the entire family for God’s purpose.[1]

 


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