Daily Archives: August 8, 2014

How Would You Explain the Trinity?

The Domain for Truth

trinity

  • EXPLAINING THE “TRINITY”
    • [Introductory words]:
      • Because the Trinity has often been misconstrued, it is imperative to provide the foundational elements of the Trinity.  Although the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible, it does not mean the Trinity is prevented from being taught.  The concept of the word Trinity is rooted and anchored in Scripture.  Central to its concept is how God can be both one revealed as three.  Many in the early church had to grapple with this concept.  Many did not want to lose sight of a monotheistic faith that many of the Jewish believers in the Bible adhered to and followed.  However, the Trinity is the fountain head of our faith.  It is the fountain head that adheres to the monotheistic faith of the believers in the Bible.
    • [Snapshot from church history]:
      • Many tried to redefine God in their own perspective and…

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We are watching genocidal conditions emerge in epicenter. U.S. President orders airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq. Pray especially for Iraqi Christians who are being beheaded & crucified.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(Source: NBC News) (Source: NBC News)

(Denver, Colorado) — “Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.”

That is the first line of my most recent novel, The Auschwitz Escape. But while the book was fiction, I’m afraid that line is proving as relevant as today’s headlines.

We are watching genocidal conditions emerging in the epicenter.

This is as dark as any time I have ever seen in the modern Middle East.

Please pray for the world to stop ISIS, Hamas and the jihadist rampage. Pray for Israel. Pray for the Palestinians in Gaza who are being crushed and enslaved by Hamas. Pray for the Christians in Iraq who are being beheaded and crucified. Pray for the peaceful, moderate Kurds who are being attacked by ISIS.

We are watching a jihadist rampage across the region. This isn’t just war. We are watching the jihadists seeking to annihilate all who stand in their way as they try…

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Bible Summary / Survey: Book of Proverbs

 

Author: King Solomon is the principal writer of Proverbs. Solomon’s name appears in 1:1, 10:1, and 25:1. We may also presume Solomon collected and edited proverbs other than his own, for Ecclesiastes 12:9 says, “Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.” Indeed, the Hebrew title Mishle Shelomoh is translated “Proverbs of Solomon.”

Date of Writing: Solomon’s proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. During his reign as king, the nation of Israel reached its pinnacle spiritually, politically, culturally, and economically. As Israel’s reputation soared, so did King Solomon’s. Foreign dignitaries from the far reaches of the known world traveled great distances to hear the wise monarch speak (1 Kings 4:34).

Purpose of Writing: Knowledge is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts, but wisdom is the ability to see people, events, and situations as God sees them. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon’s attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.

Key Verses: Proverbs 1:5, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”

Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

Proverbs 4:5, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.”

Proverbs 8:13–14, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.”

Brief Summary: Summarizing the Book of Proverbs is a bit difficult, for unlike many other books of Scripture, there is no particular plot or storyline found in its pages; likewise, there are no principal characters in the book. It is wisdom that takes center stage—a grand, divine wisdom that transcends the whole of history, peoples, and cultures. Even a perfunctory reading of this magnificent treasury reveals the pithy sayings of the wise King Solomon are as relevant today as they were some three thousand years ago.

Foreshadowings: The theme of wisdom and its necessity in our lives finds its fulfillment in Christ. We are continually exhorted in Proverbs to seek wisdom, get wisdom, and understand wisdom. Proverbs also tells us—and repeats it” that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (1:7; 9:10). Our fear of the Lord’s wrath and justice is what drives us to Christ, who is the embodiment of God’s wisdom as expressed in His glorious plan of redemption for mankind. In Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3), we find the answer to our search for wisdom, the remedy for our fear of God, and the “righteousness, holiness and redemption” that we so desperately need (1 Corinthians 1:30). The wisdom that is found only in Christ is in contrast to the foolishness of the world which encourages us to be wise in our own eyes. But Proverbs also tells us that the world’s way is not God’s way (Proverbs 3:7) and leads only to death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).

Practical Application: There is an undeniable practicality found in this book, for sound and sensible answers to all manner of complex difficulties are found within its thirty-one chapters. Certainly, Proverbs is the greatest “how-to” book ever written, and those who have the good sense to take Solomon’s lessons to heart will quickly discover godliness, prosperity, and contentment are theirs for the asking.

The recurring promise of the Book of Proverbs is that those who choose wisdom and follow God will be blessed in numerous ways: with long life (9:11); prosperity (2:20–22); joy (3:13–18); and the goodness of God (12:21). Those who reject Him, on the other hand, suffer shame and death (3:35; 10:21). To reject God is to choose folly over wisdom and is to separate ourselves from God, His Word, His wisdom and His blessings.[1]

 

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

Topical Bible Questions: What Does the Bible Say about Burnout?

 

Anyone who has experienced burnout knows it is not something he ever wants to experience again. Burnout is commonly described as an exhausted state in which a person loses interest in a particular activity and even in life in general. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, social, and spiritual exhaustion. It can lead to diminished health, social withdrawal, depression, and a spiritual malaise. Many times, burnout is the result of an extended period of exertion at a particular task (generally with no obvious payoff or end in sight) or the carrying of too many burdens (such as borne by those in the helping professions or those in positions of authority, among others). Burnout can be common among those in high-stress jobs who feel forced to please an earthly master in order to maintain their job and continue to provide for their families. The god of money reigns in Western culture, and his demands often lead to burnout. Christians are not immune to the demands of economic realities or to experiencing fear of failing to meet those demands. Unfortunately, burnout can also be common among those in vocational Christian ministry and those highly involved in their churches. In these cases people sometimes feel compelled to serve the god of productivity and works. Burnout can happen anywhere. It is the result of overwhelming demands or responsibilities, either placed on us by others or by ourselves, that we simply cannot bear. So what does the Bible say about burnout?

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). The ultimate solution for those currently experiencing burnout is to find refreshment in Christ. For those with a particularly high level of burnout, this refreshment may include obtaining medical support and drastically altering their life activities. Others may find refreshment through seeing a counselor. Reading encouraging Scriptures (such as Romans 8, John 15, or Psalm 139) can be very life-giving. Even simple activities like cooking, going for a walk, playing with the kids, or watching a funny show can be restorative.

The prevention plan for burnout is to rest in Jesus and follow His direction for life.

Burnout is often the result of self-reliance. The self-reliant take upon themselves the role of savior rather than trusting God to accomplish His own will. They begin to see every need as their call, rather than asking for God’s wisdom and direction. This can play out in a ministry setting when a pastor attempts to do the work of the entire Body of Christ, in a business setting when someone forces a certain plan or project, in a family setting when a parent takes responsibility for the success and happiness of a child, and in numerous other settings.

Another cause of burnout is a lack of self-care. Those who do not take care of themselves fail to understand how much God values them. They fail to accept His rest and His love for them, instead martyring themselves on the altar of pleasing others. They may sacrifice sleep, nourish their bodies poorly, over-extend their schedules, or neglect their needs in other ways. Whether it’s a lack of self-care or an insistence on self-reliance, burnout stems from a lack of understanding of the character of God and His expectations for our lives.

Work is part of the human calling (Genesis 1:28; 2:15; Colossians 3:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). Generativity is a portion of what gives our lives a sense of meaning and purpose. Christians are also expected to be self-sacrificial, at times giving beyond themselves. However, nowhere in the Bible does God equate our acceptability or our identity with our work. And nowhere does God command or condone working so hard that we become burned out. Rather, our work is to be energized by Him. He demonstrated the importance of rest on the seventh day of creation and with the Sabbath command (Genesis 2:2–3; Exodus 20:8–11; Mark 2:27). After one particularly busy time, Jesus invited His disciples away from the crowds for a time of rest (Mark 6:31). Jesus said to come to Him with our burdens and take His yoke instead. He also gave us the Holy Spirit who can give us discernment in what tasks to say “yes” to.

Moses would have burned out, but for the wise counsel of his father-in-law, Jethro. The story is found in Exodus 18:14–23. Moses thought he was doing the will of God by sitting as judge and hearing the people’s cases. However, Jethro rightly recognized that this was not a job for one man to handle alone. Eventually, Moses would burn out, and the people would be left unsatisfied. To avoid burnout, Moses had to accept that not every need was meant to be filled by him. God charged Moses with leadership, not with performing every duty. Jethro advised Moses to delegate the task of judging the nation to other trustworthy men. That way, the people were provided justice, others had an opportunity to participate in God’s plan, and Moses’ need for personal care was met.

The apostles in the early church also wisely delegated some tasks in Acts 6:1–6 when they appointed deacons to help bear the burden of the ministry to the church. Jesus provides rest for our souls and boundaries for our schedules. He also gives us a community to help carry out the work He has prepared for us. The Body of Christ is meant to function as a whole, each member helping carry the others’ burdens, and all resting in Christ (Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 4:16; Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 27; Hebrews 4:9–11).

The author of Hebrews wrote, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1b–3). To persevere—to continue in our calling without burning out—we must remain focused on Jesus. Or, to use another metaphor, we must stay connected to the Vine (John 15:1–17). This is good biblical and psychological advice. In some studies, avoiding burnout has been linked with spiritual well-being. The better we feel spiritually, the less likely we are to experience burnout. When we are in vibrant relationship with God and receiving our fill from Him, we are less likely to push the boundaries God has set for us or to work ourselves beyond what He would ask. We are more apt to recognize what God is calling us to do and what He is not calling us to do. God equips us for what He calls us to (Hebrews 13:20–21; Ephesians 2:10). When God continually fills our spirit, it is impossible to dry up and burn out.

But what does relying on Jesus look like practically? It will be different for each person. For some it will mean examining their own hearts and removing the idols of self-reliance. For others it will be challenging their trust in God by learning to say “no.” For some it will mean consulting with God before saying “yes.” For others, it will mean being more intentional about self-care. Self-care implies not only caring for one’s body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) by getting proper exercise, sleep, and nutrition; it also means taking time to laugh, to engage in hobbies, to be with friends, to be alone, to go for a hike, to soak in a bath, to read a book, to journal, in essence to actually enjoy those things that God has made to be life-giving to you. Taking steps to rely on Jesus may have very real consequences. Often when we first begin to set boundaries, such as those required in order to avoid burnout, some of those around us do not respond well. When a person is used to your continual “yes,” he may not know how to handle a “no.” Employers, families, and fellow church members may not understand what you are doing. You may even suffer the loss of relationships, but you may also find yourself engaging in even richer relationships and truly enjoying the activities of life. When we are following God, we can trust that He is faithful to provide for our needs (Matthew 6:33). God has designed us and He knows what is best for us. When we rely on Him, we can trust Him to make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5–6). It takes wisdom, discernment, and faith to live within God’s parameters, but it is there that we find true life.

We recover from burnout by entering God’s rest. We avoid burnout the next time by staying in tune with God’s specific direction for our lives. That means we consult Him about our schedules, we take time to care for ourselves, and we learn to depend on His strength to carry out our duties. Our identity is not drawn from the tasks we accomplish but from our relationship with Jesus. We do the work He calls us to, and we do it with all our hearts, but we do not go beyond the limits He has set. We accept help from others because God has called us to community. We accept His rest because it is the gracious gift of a loving and wise Father. God is more interested in our relationship with Him than He is in our work (Hosea 6:6). There is nothing spiritual about “burning out for Jesus.”[1]

 

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

Questions about Cults and Religions: Is the Rastafarian / Rasta God Jah the Same as the Christian God?

 

Rastafarianism, Rastafari, or Rasta is a religious movement originating in Jamaica in the 1930s. Rastafarianism takes elements of the Bible and combines them with the ideology of Marcus Garvey and the belief that Haile Selassie I, emperor of Ethiopia (1930–1975) was the second advent of the Messiah. Thus, Rastafarians believe that Emperor Selassie was God.

Rasta takes its term for “god,” “Jah,” from the King James Version’s translation of Psalm 68:4, which reads, in part, “Extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.” The name for God in this verse is a shortened version of the tetragrammaton YHWH. The tetragrammaton is usually transliterated as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” or translated “LORD” in Bibles. In Psalm 68:4, the KJV translators chose to transliterate the word as “JAH” instead. So, the name is certainly a biblical name for God. However, a group’s use of a biblical name for God does not guarantee that the group is biblical. Just because Rastas apply a biblical name to their god does not mean that they are worshipping the God of the Bible. Different individuals may be named “George,” but that doesn’t mean they are all the same person.

The god Rastas refer to as “Jah” is not triune, and he does not provide eternal salvation. Neither did the man they claim to have been the returned Messiah rule the whole earth or bring perfect peace to the world (cp. Isaiah 9:7). The religious practices of Rastafari, while drawn from Jewish and Christian origins, are not what God commands or desires for His people. The Jah of Rastafarianism is most certainly not the God of the Bible in whom Christians put their trust for salvation.[1]

 

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

Quick News Flash!

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

I’m live right now, over at the Cripplegate.  I’m responding to a blog post by Justin Taylor where he takes a stab at the idea of a pre-tribulational rapture (He’s a post-trib guy himself).  It’s not much but it’s what I’ve written recently and it may be helpful to some to see a response to what are portrayed as “obvious” arguments against pre-tribulationalism by someone who’s a lot more of a significant personality in Evangelicalism than I am.

I know many of my readers may not know who Justin Taylor is (he’s the senior VP of Crossway publishing and has a rather significant blog in Evangelical circles), or may not care much about end times theology debates, but I was asked to write a response to him and I did…and I’m sharing that with y’all.  I’m guessing nobody’s going to notice my response, but whatever.  For the few dozen…

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Is it God’s will for Christians to be Holy?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever…

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ANSWERS TO PRAYER

Samuel at Gilgal

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. (Psalm 65:2 ESV)

The Most High is eminently one that hears prayer, appears by his giving so liberally in answer to prayer. Jam. 1:5, 6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally, and upbraideth not.” Men often show their backwardness to give, both by the scantiness of their gifts and by upbraiding those who ask of them. They will be sure to put them in mind of some faults when they give them anything, but on the contrary, God both gives liberally and upbraids us not with our undeservings. He is plenteous and rich in his communications to those who call upon him. Psa. 86:5, “For those art good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all that call upon thee.” And Rom. 10:12, “For there…

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