Daily Archives: November 18, 2013

7 Things the Bible Says about Fools

Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom, and it also has a lot to say about foolishness. See if anything on this list surprises you:

  1. A fool starts fights. (Proverbs 18:6)
  2. A fool is easily upset. (Proverbs 12:16)
  3. A fool believes everything he reads. (Proverbs 14:15)
  4. A fool loves to talk, but hates to listen. (Proverbs 18:2)
  5. A fool is fiercely independent. (Proverbs 28:26)
  6. A fool makes light of sin. (Proverbs 10:23)
  7. A fool hates their mama. (Proverbs 15:20)

Source: http://blog.faithlife.com/blog/2013/11/7-things-the-bible-says-about-fools/

Faith Life Blog: The Importance of Daily Devotions

Today we welcome guest bloggers Drs. Nick and Leona Venditti. Authors of Daily Treasures from the Word of God, the Vendittis have been serving together at INSTE Bible College for many years.

“Why daily devotions?” One of the best responses comes from Psalm 1. It sets the tone for the other 149 psalms. The psalmist compares the lives and fruit of the righteous and unrighteous. The key is in the second verse: “but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Let’s ask our text two questions. First, what does the righteous person delight in and meditate on? And second, when does the righteous person delight and meditate? The answer to the first question is the Law. Some think of the Law as a list of dos and don’ts. Others think that Old Testament Law is not applicable because as New Testament believers, we are not under the Law. But these are inaccurate views of this verse. The word “law” (תּוֹרָה tôrāh) can be understood as instruction that comes from God. A Messianic-rabbi friend of ours says the Torah is God’s love letter to humanity. So we can say that it is our daily roadmap in life. The Law shows us what, where, and how to get to the destination God has for us.

When, then, are we to enjoy and reflect on God’s Word? The psalmist answers the question with a word picture. He says we are to do so day and night; in other words, all the time. That’s what Ezra did as we see in Ezra 7:10. When we have our time with God in His word every day, the Holy Spirit that inspires God’s written Word brings it to life in us. That is why we can delight in Him and His Word.

In conclusion, we end with a quote from a daily devotional about the Word of God: “Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure” (Kenneth Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions). Make a daily devotional an important part of your spiritual journey.

The Vendittis’ book, Daily Treasures from the Word of God, is available for free on Logos.com with coupon code NVDEVO all week. Download and enjoy it today on your Faithlife Study Bible app.

Source: http://blog.faithlife.com/blog/2013/11/the-importance-of-daily-devotions/

Thanksgiving Day Devotional: “Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Say So”

Settled In Heaven Blog

SIH STSTA ICON“Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Say So”

(A Thanksgiving Day Devotional 2013)

 

 

1) O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
2) Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3) And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4) They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
5) Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6) Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses.
7) And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8) Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his…

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Grace To You Blog: The Apostles Who Don’t Do Anything

by Cameron Buettel and Jeremiah Johnson

It is not new, it is not apostolic, and it is not a reformation. – John MacArthur on the New Apostolic Reformation

What should we think of self-styled apostles who meet none of the biblical standards for apostleship? They make much of the gift of prophecy but lack the prophetic ability to identify charlatans and phonies in their own midst. They can’t perform apostolic-quality miracles and healings, and their message sounds nothing like what the original apostles preached. The truth is that they don’t do anything that would qualify as “apostolic” by any biblical standard.

Who are these apostles?

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a movement pioneered by C. Peter Wagner. This is what charismatic and continuationist doctrine looks like when taken to its logical conclusion. The NAR claims that not only the gifts, but also the office of apostleship still continues today. And as apostles, they pretend to speak for God and wield His divine authority—but it is all merely a pretense.

What is the rationale behind this movement? According to Wagner, God’s people can only ever return to pure Christianity, as seen in the early church, if they “recognize, accept, receive, and minister in all the spiritual gifts, including the gift of apostle.” [1](David Cannistraci Apostles and the Emerging Apostolic Movement (Ventura, CA: Renew Books, 1996], p. 12.).

Why do we suggest their apostleship is a sham? According to the New Testament, an apostle had to be:

  • A physical eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7–8).
  • Appointed by the Lord (Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2; 10:41; Galatians 1:1).
  • Able to authenticate his apostleship with miraculous signs (Matthew 10:1; Acts 2:43; 5:12; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3­–4).

Undaunted by those biblical requirements, Wagner’s own apostleship was confirmed under somewhat different circumstances. In 1995 two women prophesied that he had received an apostolic anointing. A second prophecy was given in Dallas in 1998 during a bizarre ceremony that Wagner now considers his ordination. [2](John MacArthur, Strange Fire [Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2013], p. 86–87)

But the “proof” of Wagner’s apostleship came in 2001, in the form of an apostolic decree that God supposedly gave him to pronounce the end of mad cow disease in Europe. [3](C. Peter Wagner, Wrestling with Alligators, Prophets, and Theologians [Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2010], p. 243) Never mind that nearly ten years later, doctors and veterinarians were still diagnosing the disease in people and animals throughout Europe.

Wagner is unperturbed by those failures and shortcomings. Instead, he sees his ordination as the dawning of a new apostolic age. In the foreword of Ted Haggard’s The Life-Giving Church, Wagner wrote:

The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of God that began at the close of the twentieth century and continues on. It is, to a significant extent, changing the shape of the Protestant world. [4](Ted Haggard, The Life-Giving Church [Ventura CA: Regal Books, 2001], p. 14).

Wagner even goes so far as to describe this era as “The Second Apostolic Age.” His “studies indicate that it began around the year 2001,” although he doesn’t bother to  explain or define what those studies were. [5](C. Peter Wagner, Apostles Today [Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2006], p. 6).

In this new age of apostles, several apostolic networks have been established. Wagner’s is called the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA). Its website contains a global map to help locate the apostles in your part of the world. According to the network, there are more than 150 apostles in the U.S. alone.

ICA claims the NAR is “heralding the most radical change in the way church is done since the Protestant Reformation.” On the same webpage Wagner defines an apostle as a

Christian leader who is gifted, taught, and commissioned by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the Church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

But who determines when God has commissioned someone? How does one become an apostle?

Actually, it’s not too different from joining a country club. According to the ICA website, the aspiring apostle must be nominated by two existing apostles who can show that he meets the ICA’s criteria. There are some fees, too.

The pricing table for apostleship is curious. The ICA charges an annual $450 fee to be an apostle. However, Native Americans receive a $100 discount. There’s also a couple’s rate of $650, just in case your wife also happens to be an apostle. And you want to stay on top of your dues, because failure to renew your membership on time results in a “deactivated” apostleship—it’s not clear if that includes the deactivation of any spiritual gifts as well. All is not lost, however—a deactivated apostle can be reactivated for an extra $50.

Put simply, becoming an apostle with the ICA is only slightly more difficult (and expensive) than purchasing a season pass to Disneyland.

That’s a staggeringly low bar for apostolic authority—particularly when that authority includes speaking on behalf of Almighty God. People believe in Wagner’s apostleship simply because he had the temerity to claim it. But you won’t find delusions of grandeur and audacious whimsy in the list of biblical requirements for apostles.

What is truly frightening is that Wagner is not an anomaly. The charismatic movement is overrun with modern apostles like Wagner. Some of its most influential leaders have claimed similar apostolic authority for themselves, dismissing the biblical standards and usurping authority the Lord exclusively bestowed on the founders of the church. Just a simple reading of the book of Acts is enough to illustrate how impotent and unfit these modern apostles are, and how their fanciful assertions have perverted and distorted the office of apostle beyond recognition.

And they are impotent. As we’ll see next time, these modern apostles fall far short of the ministries of the New Testament apostles. Forget signs and wonders—these guys aren’t even capable of basic discernment.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131118     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

Obamacare: The Final Nail In The Coffin For The Middle Class

If there were any shreds of hope left that the stunning decline of the middle class could be turned around, Obamacare has absolutely destroyed them. Over the past decade or so, the middle class in the United States has been absolutely eviscerated. The number of working age Americans without a job has increased by 27 million since the year 2000, median household income in the U.S. has fallen for five years in a row, and the poverty numbers in this country are spiraling out of control. And now here comes Obamacare. As you will see below, Obamacare is causing millions of Americans to lose their current health insurance policies, it is causing health insurance premiums to explode to absolutely ridiculous levels, and it is systematically killing jobs even though the employer mandate has been delayed for a while. All of this is creating a tremendous amount of stress for millions of middle class families that are already stretched extremely thin financially. According to CNN, a survey that was conducted earlier this year found that 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most of those families simply cannot afford to pay much higher health insurance premiums for new policies that also come with much larger deductibles and significantly increased out-of-pocket costs. Millions of those families will ultimately end up choosing to do without health insurance altogether, and that will create a whole host of new problems. This is a disaster that is so enormous that it is really hard to put into words. If the U.S. health care system was a separate country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire globe all by itself. And now Obamacare is going to bring the entire U.S. health care system to its knees. (Read More….)

Televangelists ‘defrauded tens of million of dollars from Christian network’

11-17-2013 • UK Daily Mail
Televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch, are accused of misappropriating Trinity Broadcast Network’s ‘charitable assets’ toward a $50 million jet, 13 mansions and a $100,000-mobile home for Mrs Crouch’s dogs.

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The Number of Long-Term Unemployed Americans Has Shot Up by a Staggering Percentage Since 2007 (Yes, Triple Digits)

The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.3 percent, down from 10 percent four years ago. Private businesses have added about 7.6 million positions over the same period. But while recent numbers show that there are about as many people unemployed for short periods as in 2007 — before the crisis hit — they also show that long-term joblessness is up 213 percent.

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Money Before a Watching World – Church & Culture Blog

There are few things more important to guard before a watching world than a church’s financial reputation.

With Billy Graham’s 95th birthday, and the “My Hope” effort across the world, I was reminded how few people have maintained the moral integrity necessary for a lasting and influential public ministry better than Billy. Without a doubt, he is finishing well.

For that, you can thank the Modesto Manifesto.

In November of 1948, as his public ministry began to take hold, Billy called his co-horts Bev Shea, Grady Wilson, and Cliff Barrows to his hotel room during an evangelistic campaign they were holding in Modesto, California.

“God has brought us to this point,” he said. “Maybe he is preparing us for something that we don’t know. Let’s try to recall all the things that have been a stumbling block and a hindrance to evangelists in years past, and let’s come back together in an hour and talk about it and pray about it and ask God to guard us from them.”

When they gathered back together in Billy’s room later that afternoon, they had all made essentially the same list, which came to be known among them as the ‘Modesto Manifesto.’ From it they made pledges to guard themselves, among other things, against the two most damaging to the cause: the inappropriate use and allure of money, and sexual immorality.

Most Christian leaders steer clear of sexual sin, and when they fall into it, find themselves universally admonished by fellow believers. Oddly enough, money seems to be less and less of a concern within the Christian community.

But it is very much a concern to the watching world.

Those outside of the church, and far from faith, care about financial integrity in the lives of those who would preach Christ. They care about whether our relationship with money and material things meshes with what little they do know about Jesus and His lifestyle.

So here are ten basic things, in no particular order, that every church and its leaders should endeavor to practice:

1. The church should honor its debts and pay its bills in a timely manner.

2. Churches shouldn’t feel compelled to share staff salaries, but the salary-setting process itself should be transparent and above reproach.

3. The salary of the senior pastor should be set by individuals who are not related to the pastor or staff, do not receive compensation from the church, and are set aside by the church’s membership or denomination for that task.

4. Have no part in “prosperity” theology, a “health and wealth” gospel, or any other such nonsense that ties God’s blessing to material riches.

5. Have an annual audit from an outside agency, and make that audit available to any member of the church who wants to see it.

6. Debt should be taken on for strategic purposes only (the mission), ideally for appreciable assets (land and building), and within the church’s means.

7. Have the church’s annual budget submitted to the church’s membership for evaluation and approval.

8. Any outside business/financial activities of staff or leadership should be separate from the finances of the church.

9. Pastors and staff should be well compensated, but not outrageously so as Christian leaders should lead by example and without having a lavish, opulent lifestyle.

10. Avoid guilt and gimmicks when it comes to raising money or encouraging giving. Just teach the basics of Christian stewardship about savings, debt, responsibility to family, and generosity to the things of God.

James Emery White

Sources

On the “Modesto Manifesto,” see A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story by William Martin.

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Are the Saudis and Israelis making secret plans to hit Iran? Here’s what we know so far.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(Jerusalem, Israel) — War clouds are building again in the epicenter. Talk of an Israeli-Iranian conflict is growing, not just here but among key Arab leaders, as well.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s happening:

  • Netanyahu says a bad deal between the West and Iran would make a war more likely.
  • Nasrallah (head of Hezbollah) said a bad deal could trigger a major regional war.
  • U.S.-Israeli relations are fraying.
  • Yaakov Amidror, the recently retired Israeli national security advisor, said today there is “no question” Israel has the capability to use military action to neutralize Iran’s nuclear threat and that Netanyahu is prepared to take that action if necessary.
  • A growing number of Israeli commentators are saying after so many years and so many discussions and negotiations, time for talk may have run out — it may be time to launch a preemptive strike (similar to the scenario I…

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Is there Injustice on God’s Part?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! (Romans 9:14 ESV)

The natural mind, plagued with selective rationalization, demands that God be fair in His dealings with all humankind. Fairness speaks of justice. One of the tenets of our republican form government in the USA is a right to a fair and speedy trial before one’s peers. A person on trial for a crime may or may not truly want justice. They may be guilty so their desire is not justice, but grace. If a judge in a criminal trial declares a defendant guilty, but then defers sentencing in lieu of probation or “time served” then he has extended grace to the guilty party.

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