“Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” —Charles H. Spurgeon
“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” —Charles H. Spurgeon
“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.” —Charles H. Spurgeon
“I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.” —Charles H. Spurgeon
“God’s thoughts of you are many, let not yours be few in return.” —Charles Spurgeon
By Chris Lawson
Understand God’s character in order to stand strong in the faith!
Abuse, ostracism, persecution…
Getting run out of your home-group, church or denomination, for standing against apostasy?
Here is a message to help you understand more about God’s character, and to exhort you to be a bold witness for Jesus Christ.
I have personally lived through much of what I discuss in these audio messages, especially since 2004 when I began to publicly denounce false teachers and false teachings within the Christian church, though our SRN ministry.
PODCAST: A Bold Witness for Jesus – Part 1
CLICK HERE: A-Bold-Witness-For-Jesus.mp3 (Recorded Oct. 1998)
As time rolls on, ostracism, abuses, and blatant persecution will arise from within the professing Christian church. Who will these things come from and who will they be directed against? They will come from false and compromising believers that refuse to separate from false teachers, and who willingly stand against sincere lovers of God’s truth. Simply stated, it is the people who seek to uphold Scripture, rather than twist and distort it, that will be persecuted from within the church in the last days.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12
Paul the Apostle said:
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” – 2 Timothy 3:10-13
Hope that this will help you to be more courageous in your Christian faith!
As readers of this blog know, this has been a theme of many of my books over the years. Yet recently we learned a fascinating piece of data. A surprisingly large majority of the U.S. population is concerned that Americans are not being taught enough about the Holocaust or learning how to confront evil in our time. They are especially concerned that young people aren’t being effectively taught what can happen when evil rises and we do not take decisive action to stop it.
These are among the findings of an exclusive new poll Tyndale House Publishers and I commissioned as we prepared to release The Auschwitz Escape. It seems particularly relevant to highlight such findings on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
McLaughlin & Associates, a nationally-respected polling firm, conducted the survey for us. We asked 1,000 likely U.S. voters the following question:…
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If you’re going to talk about the issue of heavenly field trips, I’d point out five things:
You’re probably aware of the hit movie “Heaven Is for Real” and the popular book it’s based on. Recently, various television news programs have invited John MacArthur to explain why he rejects the story of Colton Burpo’s trip to heaven. But in those brief, edited interviews, much of John’s biblical critique ended up on the cutting-room floor. We thought it would be appropriate to take a short break from our current blog series and explain in more detail why the truth about heaven isn’t found in hallucinations and near-death experiences, but in the Word of God alone. –GTY Staff
Given the rising tides of militant atheism, postmodern skepticism, biblical illiteracy, self-love, and gross immorality, what are we to make of the current interest in heaven?
One thing is clear: It does not signal any significant upsurge of interest in what biblical revelation teaches about heaven. On the contrary, the data actually seem to indicate that lots of people are simply making up whatever concept of heaven pleases them. The ideas about heaven that get the most press are mostly figments of the human imagination that bear little (if any) resemblance to that glorious realm of Christ’s kingdom as it is described in God’s Word.
We would of course expect New Age practitioners, cranks, and cultists to abandon the Bible in favor of their own dreams and fantasies. But this trend of inventing one’s own personal concept of heaven seems to be an even bigger problem in the evangelical community than it is in the world at large. Evidence of this can be seen in several recent evangelical mega–best sellers.
One of the most talked-about books of 2011 was Heaven Is for Real, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. The book recounts four-year-old Colton Burpo’s vision of heaven (as told by his father to Ms. Vincent). Colton claims he visited heaven during surgery after a burst appendix nearly took his life. His stories of heaven are full of fanciful features and peculiar details that bear all the earmarks of a child’s vivid imagination. There’s nothing transcendent or even particularly enlightening about Colton’s description of heaven. In fact, it is completely devoid of the breathtaking glory featured in every biblical description of the heavenly realm. That doesn’t deter Todd Burpo from singling out selective phrases and proof texts from Scripture, citing them as if they authenticated his son’s account.
It may be quite fascinating to read these intricately detailed accounts of people who claim to have come back from heaven, but that hobby is as dangerous as it is seductive. Readers not only get a twisted, unbiblical picture of heaven from these tall tales; they also imbibe a subjective, superstitious, shallow brand of spirituality. There is no reason to believe anyone who claims to have gone to heaven and returned (John 3:13; 1:18). Studying mystical accounts of supposed journeys into the afterlife yields nothing but confusion, contradiction, false hope, bad doctrine, and a host of similar evils.
Nevertheless, the current popularity of such books shows how hungry people are to hear about heaven. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, of course. In fact, it is a desire that can be harnessed for good, as long as we look to Scripture and let God’s Word inform our knowledge and shape our hopes.
Indeed, it is right and beneficial for Christians to fix their hearts on heaven. Scripture repeatedly urges us to cultivate that perspective: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1–2 ESV). “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV). “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 ESV).
Such a perspective is the very essence of true faith, according to Hebrews 11. Those with authentic, biblical faith acknowledge that they are strangers and pilgrims on this earth (v. 13). They are seeking a heavenly homeland (v. 14). They “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (v. 16 ESV). The “city” that verse refers to is the heavenly Jerusalem, an unimaginable place—the very capital of heaven. It will be the eternal abode of the redeemed. No wonder Christians are intrigued with the subject.
You simply cannot gain a better understanding of heaven than we are given in Scripture—especially not from someone else’s dreams and near-death experiences. In the words of Charles Spurgeon:
It’s a little heaven below, to imagine sweet things. But never think that imagination can picture heaven. When it is most sublime, when it is freest from the dust of earth, when it is carried up by the greatest knowledge, and kept steady by the most extreme caution, imagination cannot picture heaven. “It hath not entered the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Imagination is good, but not to picture to us heaven. Your imaginary heaven you will find by-and-by to be all a mistake; though you may have piled up fine castles, you will find them to be castles in the air, and they will vanish like thin clouds before the gale. For imagination cannot make a heaven. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered the heart of man to conceive” it. [Charles H. Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit, 6 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1856), 2:20-21.]
What God has revealed in Scripture is the only legitimate place to get a clear understanding of the heavenly kingdom. This is a point we will come back to repeatedly: The Bible is our only reliable source of information about heaven. I want to show you why it is misleading and dangerous to probe and dissect people’s near-death experiences, as if they could give us some important truth about the afterlife that we are lacking from Scripture. We’ll do that next time.
(Adapted from The Glory of Heaven.)
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140428
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You
Recently I received a note from a man in his 60s. This is part of what he wrote:
I made my first profession of faith in Jesus before I was 13. I’ve walked the aisle many times since then! I just can’t get assurance of salvation and I feel like time is running out on me. Maybe God has never chosen me? Sure would like to know what direction to go!
I think this man speaks for many people who have “walked the aisle” and “prayed the prayer” but still wonder if they are truly saved.
Here is my answer:
You don’t need some extra experience called “assurance of salvation.” You only need to know that Jesus is enough. Sometimes we look at assurance as if it is a feeling we have. But our feelings come and go. Sometimes we “feel” saved, sometimes we don’t. Feelings are not trustworthy. Here is all you really need to answer: Are you satisfied with what Christ did for you on the cross? Think of it this way. God is satisfied with the death of his Son. Are you? If not, then you have put yourself above God, which I know you don’t want to do.
Remember, you are not saved by your faith, which sometimes may seem very weak. You are saved by Christ and only by Christ. Do not look to yourself, your life, your feelings, or to how many times you have walked the aisle. It will never be enough. Look to Christ alone. If you can say, “Lord Jesus, you alone are my only hope of heaven, and I am trusting in you,” that’s all you need.
Look to yourself and be disappointed. Look to Christ and be saved.
Don’t separate assurance from Christ. They always go together. Are you saved? Yes, I believe so because I believe you are dissatisfied with yourself and fully satisfied with Christ. That’s the essence of true saving faith.
(Jerusalem, Israel) — What a tremendous honor to attend the opening ceremonies of “Yom HaShoah,” Holocaust Remembrance Day, at Yad Vashem this evening. It was my first time to participate in this annual event, and I was repeatedly moved to tears.
I was moved by Israeli President Shimon Peres’ speech, as he shared personal stories of his family being burned to death by the Nazis in a wooden synagogue in Minsk (the same city my father’s Jewish family escaped from in the early 1900s).
I was moved by the Prime Minister’s address, as he raised some very challenging questions, and warned the world is in danger of making the same mistakes as in the 1930s.
I was particularly moved by the testimonies of six Holocaust survivors, who bore the brunt of the West’s mistakes back in the 1930s and 40s, and by this year’s theme: “Jews ‘On The Edge’ — 1944:…
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The question is “why should anyone care about Paul’s view on homosexuality, since Paul never met Jesus?”
Here is the answer:
Dr. Craig’s answer is two-fold. First, he said that Jesus was a Jew and had the same views on this question as Jews normally did. Second, he cited Jesus’ teaching about marriage being the union of one man and one woman in Mark 10:7-9 and Matthew 19:5. I heard this same verse presented when I was listening to the “It takes a Family” 2013 lectures, in the lecture by Dr. Robert Gagnon, who is an expert on what Jesus says about homosexuality.
Here are the relevant links, if you want to get yourself ready:
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