Daily Archives: December 30, 2013

About That Jesus Calling – 10 Things You Might Not Know

1. Did you know that Sarah Young says she had been inspired by the ”Jesus” of a book called God Calling.

2. Did you know that Christian publisher Harvest House’s book The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs says that God Calling is “an example of a channeled New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching”?1

3. Did you know that the “Jesus” of God Calling teaches that God is “in” everyone?

4. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling contradicts the Jesus of the Bible?

5. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling rejects the Jesus of the Bible’s warnings about the future and tells us to “laugh” at the future?

6. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling frequently flatters his followers, which contrasts the way Jesus Christ spoke to people?

7. Did you know that Sarah Young’s “Jesus” revises the night that Jesus Christ was born and calls it a “dark night” in a “filthy stable” in “appalling conditions” even though the Bible says the shepherds rejoiced in all that they had seen that night. 3

8. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling revises the accounts of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph of the Bible?

9. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling encourages his followers to practice contemplative “listening” prayer and to have a “buffer zone of silence” with no warning about seducing spirits?4

10. Did you know that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling emphasizes New Age terms and concepts throughout the book?

The 10 points above have been taken from Warren B. Smith’s new book, “Another Jesus” Calling. This book provides valuable information that can help you warn your family and friends how the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling contradicts the biblical Jesus.

Notes:

1. John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), p. 103.

2. Ibid., p. 104.

3. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, p. 376.

4. Jesus Calling, June 15th entry

Source

Catholic Questions: What Is the Holy See?

 

The term “Holy See” is from the Latin Sancta Sedes, meaning “holy chair.” It is said that the Holy See is the jurisdiction in Rome of the Catholic Church. In other words, it is similar to a government, which is not surprising considering that the Vatican is its own country and has its own money and its own laws. However, there is a difference between the Holy See, which dates back to early Christian times, and Vatican City, which came into existence in 1929 with the signing of the Lateran Treaty between the See and the Italian government. The Holy See is an episcopal designation, while Vatican City is primarily a political and diplomatic one.

The government of the Holy See includes tribunals, congregations, pontifical counsels and numerous other bureaucratic entities. Of course the pope is the head of the See, as he is considered the head of the Catholic Church. The secretariat of state is the second in command of the See and oversees the 175 diplomatic worldwide relationships and offices. The See is a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations.

From a biblical standpoint, the very existence of a Holy See is problematic on at least two points. First, the concept of a “holy chair” in which resides the head of the church is unscriptural. The true church is never to consider one man as its head, no matter his title. The exalted Head of the true Body of Christ is Jesus Christ, the living Head of the living church. How can the living church be headed by a mortal man who dies? Second, the Bible nowhere gives credence to the idea of the church forming its own city-state or its own government. The church as a political or diplomatic kingdom is unknown in Scripture. In fact, Jesus made it clear that His kingdom is not of this world (John 8:23; 18:36). The Bible never condones or encourages the establishment of earthly kingdoms or diplomatic entities because these things, by their very nature, focus attention on the world, which is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 2:17). Christians are to be focused on the heavenly kingdom and our only diplomatic efforts are to be spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and warning others of the wrath to come.[1]


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

Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian Have Hobbies?

 

Webster’s dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” God knows we need to relax from time to time and just have fun, but we need to have clean and godly fun, not worldly. sinful fun. So is it wrong for Christians to have hobbies? Not necessarily. Hobbies themselves are neutral and are neither right nor wrong. The key is the attitude of the person participating in the hobby.

Paul wrote this, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). He also wrote, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The true barometer for our hobbies should be whether or not they glorify God, whether or not we see them as gifts from God for which we are thankful, and whether or not they draw our attention away from Him. So much of our entertainment today is rooted in sin, glorifying it and feeding the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. We have to be careful that our hobbies are not rooted in sin.

Hobbies can be wrong if we do them to escape from God or do them with the wrong attitude. We can participate in sports and enjoy the camaraderie and exercise sports provide. But if our competitive nature causes us to curse when we lose or play poorly, if we cheat on the scorecard, or if we begin to see our opponents as the enemy, then that would be wrong and not glorify God. The sports themselves are not wrong, but our participation in them becomes sinful because of our attitudes and approach to them. But if we enjoy these activities with an attitude of thanksgiving to God and participation in them does not hamper our relationship with Him, then the sport or hobby is a positive influence in our lives.

The temptation with hobbies is to use them as an escape from life and consequently from God. They can rob us of time, become idols in our lives, and distract us from our “regular occupation” of glorifying God in everything. We have amazing freedom in Christ, but Paul offered this caution, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). We all know people who worship sports and watch the television for hours on end, especially on weekends. It is literally a religion for them. They know more batting averages than Bible verses and are more familiar with the lives of professional athletes than the life of Christ. Clearly, this is wrong and displeasing to God.

Again, hobbies are not necessarily wrong, but when they consume us and take our eyes off Christ, then they are definitely wrong. Even the most innocent hobbies that consume us are encumbrances that we must lay aside because they slow us down in our race which is the Christian life (Hebrews 12:1). A good test is this. How important is this hobby to me? Is the Lord alone enough? If it were stripped away from me, would I still be content in Christ? So, yes, Christians can have hobbies, but we have to make sure they never replace Christ. That is the temptation and we must be sure to avoid it.[1]


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

Questions about God: Does God Love Me?

 

The question of whether God loves us—personally and individually—is common. Surrounded by the conditional love of finite humanity, we cannot easily comprehend that God would love us. We know our faults. We know that God is perfect and sinless. We know that we are not. Why would God, who is infinite and holy, love us, who are finite and sinful? And yet the great truth of the gospel is that He does! Time and again, Scripture reminds us of God’s love for us.

To begin with, God created mankind in His own image. And He did so with great care and concern. He “formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being … the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:7, 21–22). There’s an intimacy here between God and mankind. With the rest of creation, God merely spoke and it was. Yet God took time in forming man and woman. He gave them dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:28). God related directly to Adam and Eve. After the Fall, the couple hid from God when He came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). It was not abnormal for them to speak with God; it was abnormal for them to hide.

Relationship with God was broken after the Fall, but His love remained. Immediately following God’s pronouncement of curses on the sinful couple, Scripture paints another loving image of God. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and also take from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of the Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” (Genesis 3:21–23). God’s action here is not vindictive or punitive; it is protective. God clothed Adam and Eve to hide their shame. He drove them out of Eden to protect them from further harm. God acted out of love. Then, God’s plan of redemption and restoration begins to unfold—a plan not designed after the Fall, but before creation (1 Peter 1:20). God loves humankind so much that He chose to create us even knowing the heartache it would cause Him to redeem us.

There are many verses that demonstrate God’s love. We can see His tenderness in Old and New Testament alike. David and other psalmists were particularly articulate regarding God’s love. Just look at Psalm 139. Song of Solomon is another great picture of love. God’s love is even evident in the history of the Israelites, as He continually preserved a remnant and pled with His people to obey and live. God is seen as just, but also merciful. He is tender. He is jealous for His people, desirous that relationship be restored.

Sometimes we look at the Old Testament and think that God only loves people as a nation, not as individuals. But it is important to remember that Ruth, Hagar, David, Abraham, Moses and Jeremiah were all individuals. God stepped into each of their lives and loved them individually. This love becomes obvious in the person of Jesus.

God confined Himself to human skin in order to redeem us (see Philippians 2:5–11). He entered our world as a baby born to an unassuming family in a very humble way (He spent His first night in a feeding trough with animals in a cave). Jesus grew up like any child would. During His public ministry, He often associated with society’s outcasts. He stopped for the sick. He healed. He listened to people. He blessed the children. He also taught us about God’s love. Luke 13:34 records Jesus crying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” This speaks God’s heart desire that people would return to Him. He longs for us. Not to punish us, but to love us.

Perhaps the greatest picture of God’s love is Jesus’ passion and crucifixion. Paul reminds us, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8). Jesus’ work on the cross was a clear, unmistakable declaration of love. And this love is unconditional. We were in our worst state when Christ died for us. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins … But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace that you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1, 4–5).

This salvation has made true life possible. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus said. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God is not stingy. He wants to lavish His love on us. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death,” Paul proclaims in Romans 8:1–2.

Remember, Paul was formerly an enemy of Christ. He vehemently persecuted Christians. He lived by the letter of the law rather than through an understanding of God’s love. Paul, if he even thought of God’s love, probably felt that God could not love him apart from rule-following. Yet, in Christ, he found God’s grace and accepted God’s love. One of his greatest articulations of God’s love is this: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31–32, 35–39).

So the simple answer is, “yes.” Yes, God loves you! As hard as it may be to believe, it is the truth.

Other Scriptures about God’s love for you:

1 John 4:8—“… God is love”

Ephesians 5:1–2—“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Ephesians 5:25–27—“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

John 15:9–11—“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

1 John 3:16a—“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”[1]

 


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

Interfaith outreach in Iran: Converts to Christianity arrested as they celebrated Christmas

Reports from Iran indicate that five Christian converts from a house-church in eastern Tehran were arrested during a Christmas celebration. Iranian Christian converts face constant restrictions and persecution.According to Mohabat News, Iranian security authorities raided a house, owned by Mr. Hosseini, where a group of Christians had gathered to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, December 24. They arrested Mr. Hosseini, Ahmad Bazyar, Faegheh Nasrollahi, Mastaneh Rastegari, and Amir-Hossein Ne’matollahi.

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Why Do You Write? To Inform; Out of Pride; Or For Money?

Zwinglius Redivivus

Luther opined once

He [Martin Luther] deplored the abundance of books and writers: “There will be a boundless flood of books, for any and everybody will be writing a book to feed his pride, while others will increase this evil in quest of gain. So the Bible will be buried under a mass of literature about the Bible, and the text itself will be neglected, though the experts in the text are the best men in every discipline. A good disciple of Bartolus is a good lawyer. But today everybody hastens to consult writers.

“As a young man I made myself familiar with the Bible; by reading it again and again I came to know my way about in it. Only then did I consult writers [of books about the Bible]. But finally I had to put them out of my sight and wrestle with the Bible itself. It’s better…

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A prayer for those battling sin, by John Owen

AbbasGirlMe

 

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Most Gracious Heavenly Father,

I come to you a needy and contrite sinner,
with no power on my own to put to death the deeds of the body.

Daily come to my aid making it my business
to mortify the indwelling power of sin in my life.

May I never attempt to mortify in my own strength,
forgetting that without Your Spirit my efforts will be in vain.

Lord, through Your Spirit help me put to death
the subtle and crafty strength of the enemy.

As I wake each day, give me strength to remember my task of killing sin,
and remember that sin will kill me if I do not kill it.

Keep me from ever letting up in my battle with sin,
knowing constantly that sin will take advantage.

Help my heart abound in grace that flows from your Spirit,
and destroy…

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What Is The True Fruit of the Fear of God?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV)

The total lack of the fear of God is what marks the ungodly. (Romans 3:18) On the other hand, genuine believers in scripture are described as those who do fear Him. Tragically, when moral issues between professing Christians and the unchurched are compared there is very little difference. There is the same level of divorce, adultery, pornography, dishonesty, etc.; in both groups. This evening on Facebook I was notified of a post by a friend that contained the following statement:

“..attending Church feels like returning to the scene of a crime.” ~ comment on a blog

What was my response? I simply said, “???”…

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