Daily Archives: October 1, 2013

In Netanyahu’s address to UN, he cites Scriptures & Hebrew prophet Amos. Also vows: “Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.” Full text of speech. Video of full speech.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

>> Iran responds to Netanyahu: Don’t even think about attacking us

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finished addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York City just before 1:00pm eastern time.

“Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons,” the PM said in what was one of the most important lines of the speech. “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet in standing alone Israel will know that we are defending many, many others.”

Several times in his remarks, Netanyahu cited the Scriptures.

“The Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it,” Netanyahu told the gathered world leaders. “Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction. But I want you to know…

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Dangerous Soaking Prayer gains momentum

We’ve been reporting about the dangers of something called “Soaking Prayer.” While it sounds like something Christians can practice safely, it is anything but safe. In fact, the Soaking Prayer practice contains spiritual elements that are not only not found in Scripture, but God’s Word warns us to avoid doing these things.

Read More Here: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/10/dangerous-soaking-prayer-gains-momentum/

Why Should I Believe in Hell?

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2 NIV).

The horrors of hell are such that they cause us instinctively to recoil in disbelief and doubt; yet, there are compelling reasons that should cause us to erase such doubt from our minds. First, Christ, the Creator of the cosmos, clearly communicated hell’s irrevocable reality. In fact, He spent more time talking about hell than He did about heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7), He explicitly warned His followers more than a half-dozen times about the dangers that lead to hell. In the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24–25), He repeatedly told His followers of the judgment to come. In His famous story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16), He graphically portrayed the finality of eternal torment in hell.

Read More Here: http://www.christianity.com/blogs/hank-hanegraaff/why-should-i-believe-in-hell.html

Cumulative Evidence and the Case for God’s Existence (Free Bible Insert) – J. Warner Wallace

My cold cases are typically built on circumstantial evidence. Cumulative circumstantial cases are incredibly powerful when considered in their totality; the more diverse the forms of evidence (and the more abundant their existence), the more reasonable the conclusion. As jurors consider these large collections of evidence implicating a particular suspect, they must ask themselves a simple question: “Could this guy just be incredibly unlucky, or is he the cause of all this evidence because he is truly guilty?” The more the evidence repeatedly points to the defendant, the less likely it is merely a matter of coincidence. The cumulative case for God’s existence is similarly powerful. There are a number of circumstantial lines of evidence pointing to the existence of God, and the diverse, collective nature of this evidence is most reasonably explained by the existence of a Creator. This month, we’re featuring a free downloadable Bible insert summarizing a brief cumulative case for God’s existence, built on just five lines of circumstantial evidence:

Read More Here: http://www.christianity.com/blogs/j-warner-wallace/cumulative-evidence-and-the-case-for-gods-existence-free-bible-insert.html

TGC: 9 Things You Should Know about Casinos and Gambling

This week the Council on Casinos, a group dedicated to fighting the spread of gambling in America, released a report on “Why Casinos Matter.” Here are nine things from the report on casinos and gambling that you should know.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/10/01/9-things-you-should-know-about-casinos-and-gambling/

Is Public School an Option?

The growing chaos in society is forcing Christians to rethink even their most cherished assumptions about their relationship with government institutions. For example, is public education even an option anymore?

Should Christian parents send their children to the public schools? That question has emerged as one of the most controversial debates of our times. And yet, every family must come to terms with the issues involved in the public school debate—and fast.

Read More Here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v8/n4/is-public-school-option

One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian

Tullian Tchividjian’s a troublemaker—but that’s not a bad thing.

He’s taken a lot of heat for the radical picture of grace he paints Jesus + Nothing = Everything and Glorious Ruin. He’s been accused of blurring the lines of justification (our position before God) and sanctification (the process of growing in holiness). It’s even been suggested that the kind of grace he preaches is the kind that leads to license…

Wherever you land on Tchividjian’s teaching, you can’t deny one thing: he is totally captivated by the grace of God, and he wants you to be, too. If that’s what you take away from his new book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World, then you’ll be in good shape because, clearly, we’ve got a problem getting a grip on grace.

Grace: the cure to performancism

Too many Christians are running themselves ragged trying to please God—as if our faith is primarily concerned with our behavior modification rather than the good news of what’s already been done for us. And so we work ourselves silly, seemingly in an attempt to pay God back for saving us (even if we don’t realize it). “We conclude that it was God’s blood, sweat, and tears that got us in, but it’s our blood, sweat, and tears that keep us in” (24). We burn ourselves out and then wonder why Christianity isn’t “working” for us.

This is what Tchividjian combats in One Way Love, the idol of performancism; he wants to kill that cruel mistress dead as he reminds readers again and again that, “grace is a gift, pure and simple. We might insist on try on to pay, but the balance has been settled (and our money’s no good!).” (29)

Read More Here: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2013/10/01/one-way-love-by-tullian-tchividjian/

Ligonier Blog: Columns from Tabletalk Magazine, October 2013

The October edition of Tabletalk is out. This issue features articles examining our fears. We are afraid of dying. We are afraid our spouses or our children will die. We are afraid of losing our faith. We are generally afraid of everything and everyone except God. And we have forgotten what Paul said: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7). This issue will address our fears and how they are overcome in Christ.

Contributors include R.C. Sproul along with David Powlison, Jonathan Leeman, Nick Batzig, Kris Lundgaard, Richard Pratt, Thomas Schreiner, Edward Welch, Kim Riddlebarger, Ray Ortlund, R.C. Sproul Jr, Kelly Kapic, Harry Reeder, Tony Reinke, and Paul Washer.

We do not post all of the feature articles or the daily devotionals from the issue, so you’ll have to subscribe to get those. But for now, here are links to several free columns and articles from this month:

Read More Here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/columns-tabletalk-magazine-october-2013/

Albert Mohler Blog: “George and Barbara Witness a Wedding—When a Private Act Sends a Public Message”

In his latest Blog Essay, “George and Barbara Witness a Wedding—When a Private Act Sends a Public Message,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. discusses the recent attendance of former President George H. W. Bush and the former First Lady Barbara Bush at a lesbian wedding in Maine. But the former president did not just attend, he officially witnessed the wedding and signed legal documents to that effect.

What does your presence at a wedding mean? Can you attend a wedding without affirming and celebrating the union? What if friends ask you to attend their same-sex wedding?

Read the full essay to know why Dr. Mohler says this is one question “that Christians had better think through fast,” and to read his clear exhortation to balance truth and love in the perplexities brought by same-sex marriage in America.

Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage

This post is dedicated to the women I’ve met who have inspired me by their faith and strength in the midst of painful marriages.

I’ve seen marriages that reflect Christ and the Church: husbands lovingly leading their homes and wives lovingly submitting to their husbands. How good (and hope-filled!) it is to see real life examples, especially at a time when marriages are being attacked from pornography, homosexuality, and cohabitation. I’ve also seen broken marriages and emotionally abusive relationships, which has taught me a lot about faith.

The women I’ve met believed in submitting to their husbands and tried to do so. At some point, however, they began to change negatively without knowing it. They isolated themselves. They questioned themselves. They started to make excuses for their husbands’ sins.

What do you do when your husband emotionally abuses you? Some might say that you should continue to submit to his leadership, pray for him, and trust God. Is it acceptable to seek help and possibly even separate, if necessary? When I think of marriage, “protection” is one of the concepts that comes to mind. Perhaps that’s why emotional abuse, or any kind of abuse for that matter, in marriage saddens me in a different way.

My desire is that God might use this blog post to encourage those who are weary, to challenge those who are not trusting God or seeking counsel, and to provide some help to those who are not sure how to help women in emotionally abusive relationships. I’ve also met men who have been abused by their wives, so I certainly do not believe that only women are abused.

Read More Here: http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/blogs/2013/10/01/responding-to-emotional-abuse-in-marriage/

GTY: Steve Lawson on the Fundamental Flaw of the Charismatic Movement

The charismatic movement is hard to define. It represents a vast, diverse array of teaching and practice. On the charismatic spectrum, you’ll find extravagant prosperity teachers, ecstatic speaking in tongues, strange “spiritual” manifestations, as well as legitimate ministries where the gospel is faithfully preached. However, regardless of where charismatic groups might land on that spectrum, they are all tainted with the same dangerous defect.

In the following video, Steve Lawson elaborates on that defect—the fundamental flaw of the charismatic movement:

All of the speakers at the upcoming Strange Fire conference are committed to the sufficiency of Scripture. They realize that any addition to God’s written revelation is not only a diversion from Scripture but also a dilution of Scripture. Out of zeal for the truth and love for the Body of Christ, we are compelled to speak to that issue at this point in church history. For more information, please visit our conference website.

GTY Staff


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131001     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

I have decided to follow Jesus…maybe

As a former youth pastor, I was asked regularly why so many of young people eventually leave the church. Why is it that so many of the teenagers who came to sunday school and youth group, who professed to know Christ, would abandon the faith when they went off to college? Why is it that so many young people who would come to a youth camp and make a decision around a campfire would not be serving Jesus Christ years down the road? Furthermore, why is it that this “falling away” (see Matt 13:20-21) is not limited to youth but extends to many who profess to have made a response at a jail ministry, nursing home outreach or other evangelistic encounter?

Read More Here: http://thecripplegate.com/i-have-decided-to-follow-jesus-maybe/

TGC: When You’re Too Busy to Be Godly

Are you a little bored, undercommitted, struggling to find stuff to do? Yeah, me neither.

In a less awkward interview than with Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung sat down with Mark Mellinger to discuss the perennially relevant topic of his new book, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem (Crossway).

So how do we know when we’re too busy? One telling sign, DeYoung suggests, is when we no longer carve out unhurried time to do the one thing for which Jesus commends Mary—resting at his feet (Luke 10:42). To be sure, the pastor of University Reformed Church admits, life is packed with responsibilities, and the antidote to busyness certainly isn’t laziness. But how often do we cross the line from owning our time to our time owning us, without even realizing it?

Without a lucid sense of our priorities, we’ll repeatedly sacrifice what is best on the altar of what is good. As DeYoung puts it, “Until we know the things we won’t do, we won’t actually do the things we say we should do.”

The threat of busyness is no light thing, DeYoung warns, for such a lifestyle can lead to spiritual damage. Not only do we cease caring for our soul, we forget we even have a soul. In fact, he suspects, “Busyness has killed more Christians than bullets have.”

Watch the nine-minute video to hear DeYoung discuss the snare of screen addiction, the labor to rest, blended and blurred boundaries, and more.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/10/01/when-youre-too-busy-to-be-godly/

TGC: How to Get Real, Honest Community

What is the single most important component of any healthy relationship?

Maybe your initial answer to this question is something like love, trust, or selflessness. But let us suggest an answer that is even deeper and more foundational than any of those: truth.

Dinner-Friends_6-25-378x276Relationships simply cannot exist without honesty. As soon as I’m dishonest—untruthful—with you, I begin to unravel the sacred bonds of relationship. The starkest examples of mistrust are painfully clear to us: a cheating spouse, an embezzling CEO, a friend who betrays a confidence.

In comparison to these dire examples, we often convince ourselves that we’re pretty truthful. But in reality, the fall has made us all liars. We don’t want people to know us as we really are. We want to appear a certain way—to be known as a certain kind of person. So we put forth an image, a public face. Author Brennan Manning refers to this image as “the Impostor”:

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/10/01/how-to-get-real-honest-community/

What Would Jesus Drink?

If you were hoping to read a post about the temperance movement, wineries, micro-brews or an illegitimate use of the Bible to fuel the health food revolution (or perhaps I should have said, “health food religion”) then you could very well be disappointed. If, however, you are looking for an explanation about what the Scriptures tell us that Jesus drank when He spoke of “this cup” (Matt. 26:39) then my hope is that you’ll find this to be one of the richest subjects for the well being of your soul. So how are we to know what Jesus meant when He spoke of “the cup” that He had to drink? When he entered the Garden of Gethsemane, He went away by Himself and prayed to His Father, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matt. 26:39). As He left the Garden to head to the cross our Lord said to His disciples, “Shall I not drink the cup that My Father has given me” (John 18:11)? Simply put, “the cup” was nothing less than the full outpouring of the wrath of God against the sin of His people. We understand this both from what the Old Testament prophets foretold about that cup, and from the impact that it had on the soul of our Lord when He made mention of it.

Read More Here: http://info.alliancenet.org/christward/what-would-jesus-drink

Questions about the Holy Spirit: What Is the Spiritual Gift of Teaching?

The spiritual gift of teaching is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:1–12). It is a gift given by the Holy Spirit, enabling one to effectively communicate the truths of Bible to others. It is most often, but not always, used in the context of the local church. The gift of teaching involves the analysis and proclamation of the Word of God, explaining the meaning, context and application to the hearer’s life. The gifted teacher is one who has the unique ability to clearly instruct and communicate knowledge, specifically the doctrines of the faith and truths of the Bible.

God gave spiritual gifts to edify His church. Paul instructed the church at Corinth to seek to edify and build up Christ’s church, telling them that since they were “eager” to have spiritual gifts, they should “try to excel in gifts that build up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). A spiritual gift (charismata in Greek) is a supernatural, God-given ability to perform a ministry for the building up of the body of Christ. It is given graciously by God and cannot be earned. While a spiritual gift can be developed, it does require a supernatural ability to exercise it. One of these gifts is teaching.

The Greek word for teacher is didaskalos, which means to teach or instruct. We see examples all through the Bible of teaching. Jesus Himself was the Great Teacher, and Jesus commanded His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). Jesus commanded His disciples to teach new disciples everything He had commanded, instructing them in both doctrine and holy living. Christ’s ministers are not to teach the commandments of men or anything that is of their own, or other men’s devising, but only that which is ordered by Christ.

There are several contexts in which the gift of teaching can be used: Sunday school classes, Bible schools and colleges, seminaries, and home Bible studies. The one with the gift can teach either individuals or groups. A person with the natural talent to teach can teach just about anything, but a person with the spiritual gift of teaching teaches the content of the Bible. He can teach the message of a book, as a whole book, or break it down to individual paragraphs or verses. No new material originates from one with the gift of teaching. The teacher simply explains or expounds the meaning of the Bible text.

It is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. One without this gift can understand the Bible as he hears/reads it, but he cannot explain it as one with the gift can. Although it can be developed, the spiritual gift of teaching is not something that can be learned or acquired, as with a college degree. A person with a PhD but without the gift of teaching will not be able to expound the Bible as one without a degree but having the gift of teaching does.

In Ephesians 4:11–12, Paul lists foundational gifts for the building up of the local church. The gifts are given for the building up of the body of Christ. In verse 11 teachers are linked with pastors. This does not necessarily suggest one gift, but it does seem to imply that the pastor is also a teacher. The Greek word for pastor is poiemen which means “shepherd.” A pastor is one who cares for his people in the same way a shepherd cares for his sheep. Just as a shepherd feeds his sheep, the pastor also has the responsibility to teach his people the spiritual food of the Word of God.

The church is edified through use of the gift of teaching as people listen to the Word of God, what it means, and how to apply it to their own lives. God has raised up many with this gift to build people up in their faith and enable them to grow in all wisdom and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).

How can Christians know if they have the gift? They should begin by asking God for opportunities to teach a Sunday school class or Bible study, under the authority and guidance of a gifted teacher. If they find they can explain the meaning of the Bible and others respond favorably, they probably have the gift and should ask God for further opportunities to use and develop their gift.[1]

 


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

Characters in the Bible: What Should We Learn from What the Bible Says about Tamar?

There are two women named Tamar mentioned in Scripture. Both are tragic figures, women who were ruined by the neglect and abuse of close family members. Their stories seem to be included in Scripture for the purpose of providing historical and spiritual information about the Messianic line.

Jacob’s son Judah (patriarch of the line of Judah) had three sons: Er, Onan and Shelah. A woman named Tamar married Er, but then Er died, leaving her a widow. Since it was required that the next of kin care for a brother’s widow, Tamar was given to Onan, but he also died. Shelah was still a boy and could not marry Tamar, so Judah asked her to return to her father’s house and wait until Shelah was grown up. However, once Shelah was old enough, Judah did not honor his promise. Tamar then went into town disguised as a prostitute, tricked Judah, and got him to sleep with her. She then became pregnant and bore twin sons named Perez and Zerah.

The other Tamar was King David’s daughter. She had a brother, Absalom, and a half-brother, Amnon. Amnon had an obsessive desire for his half-sister Tamar, and one day he pretended to be sick and called for her to come to him in his bedroom to help him. When she was there alone with him, he raped her. Unfortunately, though David was angry, he did not punish Amnon or require him to marry Tamar, so Absalom took it upon himself to murder Amnon in revenge (2 Sam. 13:1–22). Absalom’s anger and bitterness towards his father because of these events eventually led to his attempt to usurp his throne and to disgrace David by committing public immorality with his father’s concubines.

We would expect the twin sons of Judah’s incestuous union with his daughter-in-law to be outcasts, hidden away, or perhaps not even mentioned. However, surprisingly, the Messianic line continues through Tamar’s son Perez. God did not provide a “cleaner” way to continue the line that would eventually include His Son. Perez was the ancestor of Jesus of Nazereth.

It is the same with King David. Absalom’s anger and rejection of his father’s rule seems to have been born out of a festering bitterness towards David. Though Absalom was clearly in the wrong for the murder of Amnon, we sympathize with him, and we sympathize with his disgraced sister. Considering David’s own immorality and the murder he committed, it is easy to see why Absalom thought himself the better man. But despite David’s faults, God still chose to continue the line of the Messiah through David rather than through Absalom.

Why are these unpleasant stories included in Scripture, and why are the people involved—people who hurt others, even their own family members—granted the privilege of being included in the Messianic line? It may be simply to show us that God’s purpose is accomplished despite man’s unrighteousness. In Hebrews 11 there is a long list of Old Testament people who are commended for their faith, and among them are many sinful people who did dreadful things. But because they believed God, their faith was credited to them as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).[1]

 


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

Questions about the Christian Life: Should a Christian Tithe off Miscellaneous Income, E.G. Inheritance, Gifts, Winnings, Tax Refunds, Legal Settlements, Etc.?

Whether or not a Christian should give a percentage of an inheritance—or for that matter any source of income—to the church or other Christian ministry is the subject of debate within the Christian community. There is also the question of whether or not an inheritance can even be considered income. As for the amount of our giving, some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. Some say give on what you make before taxes (gross income), and others say give on what is left over after taxes and deductions (net income). Much debate and argument on the details of tithing and giving have needlessly occurred, sometimes even splitting churches and dividing Christians from one another.

It should be remembered that the tithe was a requirement of the Mosaic Law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent, not the 10 percent which is generally considered the tithe amount today. But the Bible is clear that tithing was part of the Mosaic Law for the nation of Israel, not for all mankind. Just as Christians are not required to sacrifice animals or observe the ceremonial laws regarding washing and other rituals, neither are we required to give a set percentage of our income, regardless of how it is acquired.

The New Testament references giving in 1 Corinthians 16:1–2, and there we find the principle for giving for Christians. Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to set money aside “for God’s people,” to do it on the first day of the week, and to save it and set it aside in keeping with the income of the giver. “Income” is not defined, except that in the King James Version, the word is translated “as God has prospered him.” From this we can say that inheritance, gifts, winnings, tax refunds, legal settlements, etc., are part of being prospered by God and should be included in income. But, again, the amount of the inheritance to be offered is not defined. Another principle for offerings is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6–7 where Paul again exhorts the Corinthian believers to give generously from their hearts, each one deciding before God what to give. Paul explains that it is not the amount or the percentage or the source of the income, but the attitude of the heart that is important to God. Each should give “cheerfully,” not as one under the compulsion of a legalistic mindset or the requirements set down by others. We should never give to get, never give to be noticed, and never give to be spiritually rewarded. If we are in fellowship with God and at peace with our giving, then all is well. As with all things, wisdom should be sought from God, who has promised to give it generously (James 1:5), just as we are to generously and cheerfully give back to Him.[1]

 


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

Albert Mohler Blog: “The Cultural Revolution on the College Campus—Why it Matters to You”

In his latest Marked Urgent post, “The Cultural Revolution on the College Campus—Why it Matters to You,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. discusses the radical secularization of America’s college campuses. Should this matter to you?

Click here to read the full post and read Dr. Mohler’s reminder that “the future direction of the culture is set by the current culture of the elite colleges and universities.”