You’re invited to join a free online class from Ligonier Connect studying God’s sovereignty over our suffering, personally moderated by Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. Whether you’ve recently experienced hardship in your life or would like to be better prepared for when it comes, this course will help you better understand God’s purpose in our pain and suffering. This special class opens today and is free for anyone to join. Each week, you’ll watch a video lecture, read Scripture, and optionally participate in discussion questions with other Christians from around the world. At the conclusion of each week’s lesson, Dr. Sproul Jr. will record an exclusive audio interview in which he will overview what has been learned that week and answer student questions from those in the online class. Read More Here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/free-online-class-rc-sproul-jr-gods-sovereignty-suffering/
Everybody is tempted. As long as you’re in the body, temptation can reach you. The impulse to sin has a landing place in your life.
Jesus doesn’t say, “Watch and pray, so you won’t be tempted.” There’s no way you can get to a place in the Christian life where you’re no longer tempted but, “Watch and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). Literally it says, “so that you will not enter into temptation.”
John Owen is helpful here.
Entering into temptation, he says, has two distinctive features:
In all the StrangeFire stink, there’s been precious little positive offerings of this blog (as has been pointed out). While I should be napping (since my children are down for 45 minutes or however long they’re down), I’ll instead blast out a infinitesimally small outline of my case for cessationism. Here’s my Biblical case for cessationism in a tiny-nutshell:
1. The pattern of frequency of signs and wonders (in general) was that of extreme scarcity. Only a handful of miraculous events occurred outside of the 70 year time frames of Moses/Joshua, Elijah/Elisha, and Jesus and the Apostles. Of all creation history, only around 200 years were marked by frequent signs and wonders.
2. The Biblical Purpose for signs and wonders (in general) was clear and consistent throughout scripture (validation of the agent of divine action/revelation). (i.e. Ex. 3-4, 1 Kings 17, etc.)
2. The Biblical Definition…
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This guest post by Luke Gilkerson, general editor of Covenant Eyes’ Breaking Free Blog, addresses some of the keys to Internet purity. Gilkerson is also the author of several books on Internet purity.
Somewhere in the world right now, a mother is discovering that her 14-year-old son has been looking at porn online for three years, and she was totally unaware up until now.
Somewhere else a man sits quietly in his home, engaging in a three-hour porn binge while his family is sleeping.
In another place, a single 25-year-old woman is clicking back and forth between porn videos and anonymous erotic chat sessions.
Next door, a pastor is sitting up late with his laptop, with his mouse arrow hovering over the words “I am at least 18 years old,” praying to God he will have the strength to resist the urge.
These are the kinds of stories I hear every day where I work at Covenant Eyes. Men and women call us day in and day out asking the same question: how can I resist temptation online?
I have come up with what I believe are three keys to success.
Public prayer is an issue that many Christians struggle with. Since many believers were known to pray in public in the Bible, as did Jesus Himself, there is nothing wrong with public prayer. Many Old Testament leaders prayed publicly for the nation. Solomon prayed in front of the entire nation for them and for himself. There is nothing to indicate that this prayer was not acceptable to the Lord (1 Kings 8:22–23). After the return of the Israelites from the Babylonian captivity, Ezra was so overwhelmed by the knowledge that the Israelites had left the worship of the true God that he prayed and wept bitterly before the house of the Lord. So fervent was his prayer that it prompted “a very large assembly of men, women, and children” to gather with him and weep bitterly (Ezra 10:1).
However, the examples of Hannah and Daniel illustrate that it is possible to be misunderstood or even persecuted for praying publicly. As with all prayer, public prayer should be offered with the correct attitude and motive. From several scriptural examples comes a clear picture of acceptable and God-honoring public prayer.
Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, was childless for years, enduring the shame and persecution that childlessness brought to women in Bible times (1 Samuel 1:1–6). She went regularly to the Temple to beseech God to provide her with a child, praying fervently out of “great anguish and grief.” So heartfelt was her prayer that Eli, the priest, perceived her as being drunk (1 Samuel 1:10–16).
Here is an example of public prayer being misinterpreted. Hannah’s prayer was righteous, and her heart was in the right place. She was not trying to draw attention to herself, but was simply distraught and overwhelmed with the need to pray. Eli thought she was drunk, but that was his mistake, not her sin.
Daniel’s public prayer was an occasion for his enemies to persecute him and attempt to have him killed. Daniel excelled in his duties as one of the administrators under King Darius to such a degree that the King was contemplating making him head over all the kingdom (Daniel 6:1–3). This infuriated the other administrators so much that they looked for a way to bring Daniel down. They encouraged Darius to issue a decree forbidding his subjects from praying to anyone other than the King for the next thirty days. The penalty for disobeying was to be thrown into a den of lions. Daniel, however, continued to pray so openly to God that he could be seen at his bedroom window doing so. Daniel prayed in a way that not only was visible to others, but exposed him to his enemies. However, he clearly knew that God was honored by his prayer, so he didn’t give up his custom. He didn’t put the opinions and even the threats of men above his desire to obey the Lord.
In Matthew 6:5–7, Jesus gives two ways to ensure that our prayers are righteous. First, prayers should not be for the purpose of being seen by others as righteous or “spiritual.” Secondly, prayers should be authentic, as from the heart, and not just vain repetition or “empty phrases.” However, when compared with other Scriptures that show people praying in public, we know that this is not an exhortation to always pray alone. The issue is to avoid sin. Those who struggle with the desire to be seen as righteous and who notice that temptation creeping in during public prayer would do well to heed Jesus’ prescription to get alone and pray just to the Father who will reward in secret. Jesus knew that the Pharisees’ desire was to be seen by men as righteous, not really to talk to God. This statement about prayer was meant to convict, and is instructive for all Christians, but it does not mean that all prayer must be secret.
Public prayer should be God-honoring, selfless, and flow out of a true desire to speak to God and not to men. If we can pray publicly without violating these principles, we do well to pray publicly. If, however, our conscience forbids it, there is nothing less effective about a prayer offered in secret.
When a man and a woman marry, they begin a new existence as a unit, and this concept finds its origin in the Bible with the first man and woman. The God who created mankind also created marriage, and it is to Him we must look for guiding principles in our wedding vows. While the traditional wedding/marriage vows are not specifically found in the Bible, they are based on solid biblical principles. A marriage is, by definition, a joining of two into one (Genesis 2:4). And that joining involves union, love, honor, and submission. Christian wedding/marriage vows should first reflect these biblical principles.
Genesis 2:24 gives the very first principle—union. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” This union was designed to be for life, and Jesus said no man is to separate what God joined (Mark 10:9). Despite any cultural trends to the contrary, God’s plan is for one man and one woman to be joined in marriage until death separates them (Romans 7:2). Some people may see this as a life sentence, but it need not be so if the other principles are included.
The second principle is love. While Western cultures usually see love as the foundation and purpose of marriage, the Bible takes a different approach. Ephesians 5:25 commands “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This is not the emotional, romantic love that we usually associate with marriage, but a self-sacrificing, giving love that seeks the protection and best interests of someone else. When a man loves his wife in this way, she will be delighted to stay with him for the rest of her life.
The third principle, honor, is also directed at husbands. “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7). This honor is closely related to the love we just spoke of. When the husband sees his wife as a precious treasure that should be carefully protected, he will give her the honor she needs.
The fourth principle is directed primarily at wives. Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” This submission is in response to the love and honor that the husband shows to his wife, and recognizes that God has set up the man to be the head of the home (Ephesians 5:23). Just as the wife is to submit to her husband, he is to submit to God (1 Corinthians 11:2).
There are other things that can be inserted into wedding vows, but these four foundations on which a godly marriage should be built—union, love, honor submission—should be the basis for biblical wedding vow. Those who take these vows acknowledge God as sovereign in the lives of His people, and submission to His plan as being the way for blessing and success. The traditional forms of wedding vows address each of these principles, and can serve as good guides in making personal vows. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32), and when the vows address both the physical and spiritual dimensions, God can be glorified in the ceremony.
God gave man and woman the joy and pleasure of sexual relations within the bounds of marriage, and the Bible is clear about the importance of maintaining sexual purity within the boundaries of that union between man and wife (Ephesians 5:31). Humans are well aware of the pleasing effect of this gift from God but have expanded it well beyond marriage and into virtually any circumstance. The secular world’s philosophy of “if it feels good, do it” pervades cultures, especially in the West, to the point where sexual purity is seen as archaic and unnecessary.
Yet look at what God says about sexual purity. “You should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5, 7). This passage outlines God’s reasons for calling for sexual purity in the lives of His children.
First, we are “sanctified” and for that reason, we are to avoid sexual immorality. The Greek word translated “sanctified” means literally “purified, made holy, consecrated [unto God].” As Christians, we are to live a purified life because we have been made holy by the exchange of our sin for the righteousness of Christ on the cross and have been made completely new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17–21). Our old natures, with all their impurities, sexual and otherwise, have died and now the life we live, we live by faith in the One who died for us (Galatians 2:20). To continue in sexual impurity (fornication) is to deny that and doing so is, in fact, a legitimate reason to question whether we have ever truly been born again. Sanctification, the process by which we become more and more Christlike, is an essential evidence of the reality of our salvation.
We also see in 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5 the necessity of controlling our bodies. When we give in to sexual immorality, we give evidence that the Holy Spirit is not indwelling us because we do not possess one of the fruits of the Spirit—self-control. All believers display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) to a greater or lesser degree depending on the length of time they have walked with God. Uncontrolled “passionate lust” is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19), not of the Spirit. So controlling our lusts and living sexually pure lives is essential to anyone who professes to know Christ. In doing so, we honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18–20).
We know God’s rules and discipline reflect His love for us. Following what He says can only help us during our time on earth. By maintaining sexual purity before marriage, we avoid past emotional entanglements that may negatively affect present relationships and marriages. Further by keeping the marriage bed pure (Hebrews 13:4), we can experience unreserved love for our mates, which is surpassed only by God’s enormous love for us.
Did you know that 40 percent of all American workers make less than $20,000 a year before taxes? And 65 percent of all American workers make less than $40,000 a year before taxes. If you work on Wall Street, or have a cushy job with the federal government, or work for a big tech firm out on the west coast, life is probably pretty good for you right now. But the truth is that most Americans are not living the high life. In fact, most Americans are just trying to figure out how to survive from month to month. For many Americans, making a choice between buying food for your family and paying the light bill is a common occurrence. But if you don’t live in that America, hearing that people actually live like that may sound very strange to you. After all, if everyone around you has expensive cars, the latest electronic gadgets and million dollar homes, the notion that America is in the midst of a very serious “economic decline” may seem very bizarre to you. (Read More….)
The Founders of America said that our system of government was based on a well-informed and educated populace. Such people could not be easily led by less-than-honest politicians or by a press with an agenda that was politically biased. There was a time in America when basic knowledge and education were highly valued…
In order to be a well-informed, people must be more concerned about their personal finances and the national debt than they are about whether their favorite football team prevailed or who is featured on “Dancing with the Stars.” I have nothing against sports and entertainment, but first things first. Prior to the destruction of many pinnacle nations that preceded us, there was excessive preoccupation with mundane things as well as the loss of values and national identity.
But according to one of President Obama’s former body guards it’s much worse than we can even imagine.
Dan Bongino has protected numerous Presidents over his career, including President Obama. He has been within ear-shot of many a discussion in the Oval Office, but up until this administration has stayed out of the lime light. Apparently, however, the activities of this administration are so abhorrent that he could no longer keep quiet.
Bongino is so upset with what he witnessed that he is now running for Congress because he feels it’s the only way to take America back from the sycophants who have made every effort to enrich themselves with money and power at the expense of the American people.
How bad is it?
“Population control. There’s too many god—- people on the planet!” responded Savage as the audience applauded. “And I don’t know if that’s a – you know, I’m pro-choice. I believe that women should have the right to control their bodies. Sometimes in my darker moments I’m anti-choice.”
The family unit-spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence-will be abolished.The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated. Perfect boys will be conceived and grown in the genetic laboratory. They will be bonded together in a communal setting, under the control and instruction of homosexual savants.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted Wednesday that it was possible convicted felons could be hired as ObamaCare ‘navigators,’ giving them access to personal information like Social Security numbers and addresses of anyone signing up for the program.
Brunner is, in fact, only the best known of a number of Nazi officials who participated in the construction of of the Islamic regimes and who died in those lands after converting to Islam.
This alliance between the Nazi swastika and the Islamic Koran is well explained in a 1942 article written by Johann von Leers, the best known of Nazi converts to Islam. Published in the newspaper “Die Judenfrage”, the article presented Judaism and Islam in terms of Hegel’s thesis and antithesis: “The hostility of Muhammad towards the Jews had a consequence: the Oriental Jews were totally paralyzed. If the rest of the world had adopted a similar policy, we would not have the ‘Jewish question’. Islam has made an eternal service to the world by preventing the conquest of Arabia by the Jews”.
Over the past few weeks Dr. Joel Beeke and I have been teaming up to work our way through a portion of his massive new work A Puritan Theology. We have not been reading the whole book, but just the final eight chapters which deal with practical theology, the “so what?” of systematic theology.
This week, the last week of the program, we read chapter 59 which discusses practical lessons from Puritan theology today. I asked Dr. Beeke a few questions related to the Puritans and some of the lessons we ought to allow them to teach us.
1. Assume that more education is the answer. We are children of the Enlightenment whose sacrament is education. But the Bible suggests that the problem is not that we are ignorant, but that we are wicked.
2. Assume that we can take fire to our bosom and not get burned. The world has set the bar of sexual morality so low that we think we stand tall, only to see ourselves fall. Whether it is in the media we consume, or how we interact with those around us, we are always just a small step from seduction by the immoral woman of Proverbs. Her pathway leads to death and her guests are in hell.
3. Assume that we are owed a living. While those on the left might presume upon the state for provision, those on the right are tempted to believe their employer, or even the market, owes them a living, and a living they are happy with. When the market fails to provide what we think we are owed, we grumble at best, use the state to our advantage at worst.
In his latest Blog Essay, “Render unto Caesar or unto God? Government Funding and the Crisis of Conscience,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. discusses the choice facing many religious charities who receive government funding: get smaller or get secular.
As has already happened in Britain and with Catholic Charities, religious organizations in America will likely soon learn that “the instant an organization takes government money it is transformed into an instrument of the state.” The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is expected to pass in the U.S. Senate in coming days. With such antidiscrimination laws comes the government’s ability to withhold its funding unless religious charities comply, including compliance that would tear out their religious roots.
Go to Dr. Mohler’s fulll essay to read why he says “a hard choice will have to be made, and we will soon see who will stand on conviction and who will act to save their funding.”
God has made an amazing universe. We read that “the Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. … When He spoke, the world began! It appeared at His command” (Psalm 33:6, 9). In His account of the Good News, Jesus’ friend John declared, “In the beginning, the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone” (John 1:1-4). Jesus was no ordinary man, but actually took part in creating the universe.
Do you ever wonder about God’s Word — its power, its history, its impact on daily life? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.
Will you pray this week:
• To thank the Lord for His Holy Word
• To praise the Lord for His power
• That God will help you explain the Bible clearly to people.
• For everyone to obtain the Bible in written or oral form in their own language
• That God will bless all the organizations working on Bible translation
Where can you go online to get daily encouragement and inspiration, and to discuss the Word of God? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!
A. The second commandment is, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism