Daily Archives: October 8, 2013

Music Video: This Time – John Elefante

One of the most important and moving videos you’ll ever see

The song, inspired by John Elefante’s adopted daughter, Sami, tells the story of a young girl in an abortion clinic who starts to imagine what her unborn child’s life might be like as she begins to have second thoughts on what she is about to do.

Lyrics

She sat cold in a waiting room,
frightened and all alone
Watched the clock tick down,
knowing that her baby would soon be gone
Her head slung low, so embarrassed
She was 13 years old
She felt a kick inside as a reminder
of a life she couldn’t show
Then she heard a voice inside say “Run away!
It was a mistake, but don’t throw your child away!”

Then she fell into a light sleep,
had a dream about a little girl
There was a birthday cake and three candles
She was living in another world
She saw the little girl become a woman,
living in a happy home
Then she was suddenly awakened
by a voice that called her name
They said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.
You’re still young, we see this all the time.”

Right then the Lord began to speak:
“You’re not taking this one! She’s Mine!
She’ll grow up and seek My name.
You’re not taking her! She’s Mine!
And you’re not taking her this time.
No, you’re not taking her this time.”

She laid flat on the table
She asked “Please, can I talk to someone?”
But a headstrong woman with a blank stare
said “We’ve gotta get this done.”
Then she cried out, “Lord, please help me!
I’ve got to get to a phone!
I need to call my mother
to help me find my baby a home!”
They said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.
You’re still young, we see this all the time.”

Right then the Lord began to speak:
“You’re not taking this one! She’s Mine!
She’ll grow up to seek My name.
You’re not taking her this time.
I started before time began.
Her name is written in the Book.
They didn’t have the power to take her life.
They’re not taking her – she’s Mine!
You’re not taking her this time.
No, you’re not taking her this time.”

This time
No, you’re not taking her this time

Music Video: Hello, My Name Is – Matthew West

Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget
Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief
These are the voices, these are the lies
And I have believed them, for the very last time
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am
no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King

Tweeting the Gospel for Sin and Suffering

What difference does the gospel make as we face sin and respond to suffering? In addressing that question, biblical counselors often ponder a vitally important follow-up question:

“How do people change?”

However, theologically and practically, we must ask that question differently, like this:

“How does God change people?”

Evangelical theologians and biblical counselors typically answer that question with, “Justification!” That’s a biblical answer, but not comprehensively biblical.

Read More Here: http://www.rpmministries.org/2013/09/tweeting-the-gospel-for-sin-and-suffering/

‘Preachers of L.A.’ Is Powerful . . . a Powerful Insult to the Church

Do Not Be Surprised first commented in July on the Oxygen Network’s upcoming, new series, ‘Preachers of L.A.’ In the post, “‘Preachers of L.A.’ Sure to Be an Insult to Both Television and the Church” it was concluded that,

Ultimately, what the Christian must consider is this: What should one think about the shepherd of God’s flock who would agree to appear on a “reality” TV show? Reality TV exists to elevate men and to feed their ego and vanity. Even if one were to proclaim the gospel on camera, it would be extremely surprising if such a proclamation actually made it past the editing room. Television networks such as Oxygen primarily celebrate one thing: the world. Any pastor participating in such a thing, then, has at best made a naïve decision, and most certainly has made an unwise one.

“Preachers of L.A.” may demonstrate that pastors are sinners, too, but it sadly will not reveal to the viewer what are the true qualifications of an elder as set forth by God Himself.

Yet Oxygen continues to promote this certain television aberration, which finally will premiere tomorrow, 9 October. The latest commercial for this show appeals to quotes from the media, both in support of and in opposition to the reality series:

Read More Here

Christian Persecution Update 10/8/2013

Church leaders attacked and Christians killed as CAR mired in chaos

Two church leaders were tied up and robbed by armed men in the latest assault on Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has descended into lawlessness and brutal violence at the hands of Islamist militants.

http://www.barnabasfund.org/US/News-analysis/Church-leaders-attacked-and-Christians-killed-as-CAR-mired-in-chaos.html

Run-Up to National Elections Leads to Increase in Christian Persecution in India

ICC Note:

Christians in India have found themselves increasingly under attack as national elections loom in the near future. The Hindu nationalist party, BJP, has a political platform stating that India is for Hindus and not for anyone of any other religion.

http://www.persecution.org/2013/10/08/run-up-to-national-elections-leads-to-increase-in-christian-persecution-in-india/

‘Travesty of Justice’ 7 Christians in India Sentenced to Life in Prison

ICC Note:

Seven Christian men in Kandhamal, India has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of the murder of a Hindu extremist group leader, Laxmananda Saraswati.

http://www.persecution.org/2013/10/08/travesty-of-justice-7-christians-in-india-sentenced-to-life-in-prison/

Egyptian Nationalism Unites Christians And Muslims As Turmoil Continues

ICC Note: The political unrest in Egypt has opened the door for a unification of many Egyptians, both Christian and Muslim, under the same flag. For a true political solution to the violence plaguing Egypt there will have to be a sense of national identity that allows for people of all faiths to take part.

http://www.persecution.org/2013/10/08/egyptian-nationalism-unites-christians-and-muslims-as-political-turmoil-continues/

Islamic Extremism Continues to Rise in Bangladesh

Blast in Qur’anic school reveals bomb and weapon factory

by Sumon Corraya

ICC Note:

Police in Bangladesh recently discovered that a Madrassa in the Chittagong area was used to manufacture bombs.

http://www.persecution.org/2013/10/08/islamic-extremism-continues-to-rise-in-bangladesh-2/

 

The Historical Roots of the Reformation

What’s the history of infant baptism? How does Irenaeus compare – and contrast – with Roman Catholicism? What really did the early church think about “Apostolic Succession”? What did “Clement of Rome” think about Purgatory?

“Reformation Season” is upon us – it’s October, and it’s been 496 years since Martin Luther posted his famous 95 theses, sparking the movement that became known as the Reformation.

Jason Engwer’s Historical Roots of the Reformation and Evangelicalism is a great resource, providing dozens of links to sources for understanding early church history, and just how different and distant the “Roman Catholic Church” was from the earliest historical Christianity.

If It Be Your Will – R.C. Sproul

When we come before God, we must remember two simple facts—who He is and who we are. We must remember that we’re talking to the King, the Sovereign One, the Creator, but we are only creatures. If we will keep those facts in mind, we will pray politely. We will say, “By Your leave,” “As You wish,” “If You please,” and so on. That’s the way we go before God. To say that it is a manifestation of unbelief or a weakness of faith to say to God “if it be Your will” is to slander the very Lord of the Lord’s Prayer.

Read More Here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/if-it-be-your-will/

Strange Fire: R.C. Sproul on the Cessationist Convictions of the Reformers

The sufficiency of Scripture is a hill Christians need to be prepared to die on. Embracing additional revelation portrays the Bible as insufficient, dilutes biblical authority, and often supplants Scripture altogether.

In stark contrast, the Reformational call for Sola Scriptura was a line in the sand concerning biblical sufficiency and authority. In the following video, R.C. Sproul explains the Reformers’ allegiance to Scripture alone:

The Bible is not a work in progress. God has finished it and preserved it—infallible and sufficient—for His church. And it’s that all-sufficient Word that serves as the foundation of what will be presented at next week’s Strange Fire conference. Plan to enjoy the conference via live stream. Learn more at our conference website.

GTY Staff


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131008     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

Bible Summary / Survey: Book of Deuteronomy

Author: Moses wrote the Book of Deuteronomy, which is in fact a collection of his sermons to Israel just before they crossed the Jordan. “These are the words which Moses spoke” (1:1). Someone else (Joshua, perhaps) may have written the last chapter.

Date of Writing: These sermons were given during the 40-day period prior to Israel’s entering the Promised Land. The first sermon was delivered on the 1st day of the 11th month (1:3), and the Israelites crossed the Jordan 70 days later, on the 10th day of the 1st month (Joshua 4:19). Subtract 30 days of mourning after Moses’ death (Deuteronomy 34:8), and we’re left with 40 days. The year was 1410 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: A new generation of Israelites was about to enter the Promised Land. This multitude had not experienced the miracle at the Red Sea or heard the law given at Sinai, and they were about to enter a new land with many dangers and temptations. The book of Deuteronomy was given to remind them of God’s law and God’s power.

Key Verses: “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–7)

“He said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:46–47)

Brief Summary: The Israelites are commanded to remember four things: God’s faithfulness, God’s holiness, God’s blessings, and God’s warnings. The first three chapters recap the trip from Egypt to their current location, Moab. Chapter 4 is a call to obedience, to be faithful to the God Who was faithful to them.

Chapters 5 through 26 are a repetition of the law. The Ten Commandments, the laws concerning sacrifices and specials days, and the rest of the law are given to the new generation. Blessings are promised to those who obey (5:29; 6:17–19; 11:13–15), and famine is promised to those who break the law (11:16–17).

The theme of blessing and cursing is continued in chapters 27–30. This portion of the book ends with a clear choice set before Israel: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.” God’s desire for His people is found in what He recommends: “choose life” (30:19).

In the final chapters, Moses encourages the people; commissions his replacement, Joshua; records a song; and gives a final blessing to each of the tribes of Israel. Chapter 34 relates the circumstances of Moses’ death. He climbed Mt. Pisgah, where the Lord showed him the Promised Land that he could not enter. At 120 years old, but still with good eyesight and the strength of youth, Moses died in the presence of the Lord. The book of Deuteronomy ends with a short obituary on this great prophet.

Foreshadowings: Many New Testament themes are present in the Book of Deuteronomy. The foremost among them is the necessity of keeping perfectly the Mosaic Law and the impossibility of doing so. The endless sacrifices necessary to atone for the sins of the people—who continually transgressed the Law—would find their fulfillment in the final “once for all” sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 10:10). Because of His atoning work on the cross, we would need no further sacrifices for sin.

God’s choosing of the Israelites as His special people foreshadows His choosing of those who would believe in Christ (1 Peter 2:9). In Deuteronomy 18:15–19, Moses prophesies of another prophet—the ultimate Prophet to come who is the Messiah. Like Moses, He would receive and preach divine revelation and He would lead His people (John 6:14; 7:40).

Practical Application: The book of Deuteronomy underscores the importance of God’s Word. It is a vital part of our lives. Although we are no longer under the Old Testament law, we are still responsible to submit to the will of God in our lives. Simple obedience brings blessing, and sin has its own consequences.

None of us is “above the law.” Even Moses, the leader and prophet chosen by God, was required to obey. The reason that he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land was that he disobeyed the Lord’s clear command (Numbers 20:13).

During the time of His testing in the wilderness, Jesus quoted from the book of Deuteronomy three times (Matthew 4). In so doing, Jesus illustrated for us the necessity of hiding God’s Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

As Israel remembered God’s faithfulness, so should we. The crossing of the Red Sea, the holy presence at Sinai, and the blessing of manna in the desert should be an encouragement to us as well. A great way to keep going forward is to take some time to look back and see what God has done.

We also have a beautiful picture in Deuteronomy of a loving God Who desires a relationship with His children. The Lord names love as the reason that He brought Israel out of Egypt “with a mighty hand” and redeemed them (Deuteronomy 7:7–9). What a wonderful thing to be free from the bondage of sin and loved by an all-powerful God![1]

 


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: Were the Salem Witch Trials Biblical?

A very dark period in the history of the United States, the Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex, Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Hundreds of people were arrested, imprisoned and tried for the crime of witchcraft and nineteen of them were hanged. One was crushed under heavy stones and at least five more died in prison. Numerous social, religious, psychological, and political reasons have been put forth as contributing factors to the bizarre events, but one thing is certain: the Salem Witch Trials were not biblical from a number of perspectives.

Some proponents of this kind of action have pointed to Old Testament commands like Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” or Leviticus 20:27, “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or is a wizard, shall surely be put to death” as justification for the trials. They would say that since God commanded death for anyone found guilty, then we are obligated to carry out those commands today. If that were the case, then we would have difficulty understanding what happened in Acts 19:19. As Paul ministered in Ephesus, many who had practiced witchcraft brought their books and burned them, confessing their sinful deeds. Instead of stoning these people, Paul welcomed them when they confessed and repented of their sins. Likewise, Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:9 was not stoned, but was rebuked by Peter.

Why didn’t Peter and Paul obey God’s commands from the Old Testament? First of all, the Law was given to the nation of Israel as the basis of a theocracy. Israel was the only nation in all of history to legally and politically come under the direct authority of God. He did not originally establish a king to rule over them, but declared Himself to be their only true king (1 Samuel 10:19). By the time of Jesus and the apostles, Israel was no longer a sovereign nation, and could no longer carry out all of the laws God had given them. When Jesus was presented for crucifixion before Pilate, the Jewish leaders had to get permission from the Roman governor to carry out their plans. Secondly, in this church age, we are no longer under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). This doesn’t give an excuse to sin, but does open the door of mercy to anyone who will confess and forsake their sin, no matter how grievous that sin is.

Another reason the witch trials were unbiblical was the manner in which they were carried out. The historical accounts of the trials make it pretty clear that most of the accused were really the victims of mass hysteria, petty jealousy, or gossip. Little evidence was produced to verify the charges leveled, and that which was produced was hearsay or circumstantial. In most cases it was one person’s word against another, and once the charge was made, the victim’s word was rejected. Those responsible for the trials were in most cases probably guiltier of sin than those who were accused. Lies, gossip, and slander were the rule of the day, and God was certainly not honored in anything that was done there. First Corinthians 13:4–7 stands as an indictment on those who carried out the witch trials, showing that they did not have the love of God within them.[1]

 


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

Questions about the End Times: Is the War in Heaven in Revelation 12 Describing Satan’s Original Fall or an End Times Angelic Battle?

The last great angelic battle and Satan’s ultimate expulsion from heaven is described in Revelation 12:7–12. In this passage, John sees a great war between Michael and the angels of God and the dragon (Satan) and his fallen angels or demons that will take place in the end times. Satan, in his great pride and delusion that he can be like God, will lead a final rebellion against God. It will be a cosmic mismatch. Thus, the dragon and his demons will lose the battle and be thrown out of Heaven forever.

A common misconception is that Satan and his demons were locked away in hell after the fall of Satan. It is clear from many Bible passages that Satan was not barred from heaven or the earth after his first rebellion, which predated the creation. In Job 1:1–2:8, he appears before God to accuse Job of ulterior motives in his worship of God. In Zechariah 3, he again appears before God to accuse Joshua, the High Priest. Indeed, the name Satan means accuser. In Genesis, he visited the Garden of Eden and tempted Eve. He tempted Jesus in the wilderness before Jesus began His ministry, which is recorded in Matthew 4:1–11. The question arises that if Satan had already rebelled and been cast from heaven before the world was created, why is he free to be in heaven and on earth?

In 2 Corinthians 12:2–3, the apostle Paul provides a major revelation that there are three heavens. In this passage, he seemingly talks about himself being taken up to the “third heaven” where God the Father and Jesus dwell. The second heaven is the universe, outer space, and our atmosphere or air. The Bible indicates that Satan and some of his demons are allowed to move in this space (Ephesians 2:1–2, 6:12).

In this age, Satan and his highest ranking angels can still oppose the work of God and hinder the angels of God (Daniel 10:10–14) within the boundaries of the middle or second heaven. The battle recorded in Revelation 12 removes Satan and his minions from this realm.

When Satan is expelled from the middle heaven, there will be great rejoicing in heaven, since the age-old accuser will be forever banned from his mission of accusation and slander against the elect. Satan’s power and freedom will be seriously curtailed. However, the inhabitants of the earth will suffer terribly after this event, because Satan will be enraged. He will also be aware that he only has three and a half more years until he is bound and cast into the bottomless pit. This will usher in a period of intensified suffering on earth (Great Tribulation) during which the Antichrist violates his peace treaty with Israel, desecrates their temple, declares himself as god, and begins to systematically murder all those who refuse to worship him.[1]

 


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

12 Very Ominous Warnings About What A U.S. Debt Default Would Mean For The Global Economy

A U.S. debt default that lasts for more than a couple of days could potentially cause a financial crash unlike anything that the world has ever seen before. If the U.S. government purposely wanted to damage the global financial system, the best way that they could do that would be to default on U.S. debt obligations. A U.S. debt default would cause stocks to crash, would cause bonds to crash, would cause interest rates to soar wildly out of control, would cause a massive credit crunch, and would cause a derivatives panic that would be absolutely unprecedented. And that would just be for starters. But don’t just take my word for it. These are the things that top financial experts all over the planet are saying will happen if there is an extended U.S. debt default. (Read More….)

Israel’s Final Warning On Iran

The coming weeks probably represent the last opportunity for Iran and the international community to reach an enforceable deal that will dismantle Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, before Israel concludes that time has run out, that Iran has gotten too close to creating its first atomic bombs, and that the time for a military strike has arrived.

Despite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s well-planned and deceptive charm offensive at the United Nations last week, so far not a single uranium-enriching centrifuge has stopped spinning in the underground nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom. The heavy water plutonium facility at Arak is moving forward, and Iran has already amassed enough low-enriched uranium for the production of seven to nine atomic bombs.

The speech given by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the United Nations last week, in which he warned that Israel would act alone against Iran if it needed to, is an authentic warning, and serves a dual purpose.

Read More Here

A Conversation on the Life of the Mind, Part 1

Reflections

The motto of the United Negro College Fund is “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This is an excellent observation, but according to Christian theism the stakes are actually higher. According to Scripture, human beings, including their mind, are created in the image of an infinite, eternal, and Triune God. Therefore, the mind takes on an eternal dimension and we have an obligation to use our mind to the glory of our Creator.

As any regular reader of Reflections knows, I am passionate about the life of the mind. Over the next few weeks, I will unpack this concept and what it means for the average Christian via a conversation with Reasons to Believe editor Maureen Moser. This discussion will appear in four installments on Reflections.

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Geoffrey Thomas: What then is the Heart of Gospel Proclamation?

Samuel at Gilgal

Geoffrey ThomasGeoffrey Thomas:

What then is the heart of gospel proclamation? What are we asking men when we preach to them faith in Jesus Christ? . . . It is, first, to show men their need of Jesus Christ. The preacher’s task is to make a person aware of the seriousness of sin. It is not to create false guilt feelings, but it is to show men that the Creator has given laws to those who inhabit His creation, who live and move and have their being in Him, and who must answer to Him for their conduct. There is great power in preaching that addresses the conscience because there is an immediate echo of approval for what is said from within the very being of the hearer. Since men are made in the image of the lawgiver, the things of His law are written in their hearts. Therefore, men’s…

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Charismatic Primer 12 – Global Megachurches By Continent – Africa

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

Although I’ve spent a majority of my posts looking at the megachurches in the United States, there are a whole lot of significant churches outside of the United States and there’s an alarming trend among them.  I’m going to take a look at a few of the largest, most influential churches in all of Africa, based on the list I’ve found here and personal research (and attendance numbers that don’t have a link are taken from the aforementioned list).  Here’s the top 10 largest churches in Africa:

1. Deeper Life Christian Ministry – Lagos, Nigeria – pastored by W.F. Kumuyi

1a, Claimed attendance of 120,000 and largest church on the continent (and 3rd largest in the world).  Also, that pages shows that their pastor is friends with notable false teacher C. Peter Wagner, and they apparently are involved with a network of over 500 churches in the city of Lagos…

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Those Who Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

[50] I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50 ESV)

There are only two religions in the entire world. There is genuine Orthodox Christianity and then every other form of religiosity including humanism. The latter are all opposed to the truth and are part of the rebellion against the sovereignty of God. Genuine Orthodox Christianity is made up of those who have been redeemed from the slave market of iniquity. This slave market preys on people and keeps them in bondage to the flesh. On the other hand, Genuine Orthodox Christianity, which is the Church, is spiritual. Those in it are adopted into the family of God. Those spiritually alive right now await the completion of their redemption. Those who have already died are with the Lord now. Those who remain are in…

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