October 2, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

September 28 Quotes


Is Hell Eternal Separation From God?

I conclude that the formulation of Hell being eternal separation from God needs a bit of tweaking. Hell is eternal separation from the grace and mercy of God. It is not eternal separation from God entirely. I believe that people will fervently wish that they could escape the judging presence of God! Hell is a place where God is present only to judge and punish. Heaven is the place where God is present only to love and cherish.

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The Truth about Church Websites

The truth is that prospective visitors want to know what you believe. Now there’s a balance to be preserved here. If a church website details their beliefs with a host of positional papers, I get a slightly uneasy feeling. Sometimes the militant do that. But not always. My preference is to see a tight mission statement along with links to the creeds to which they subscribe. That gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

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Mars and the Majesty of Christ

In a Christian vision of the cosmos, the vastness of the universe around us isn’t incidental. God is designing the universe this way to reveal something (Rom. 1:20), something about himself, something about his gospel. David, king of Israel, felt small when he looked into the expanse of the night sky, a reaction the Scripture considers to be reasonable (Ps. 8:3). The starry scene above made him wonder, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4). And David didn’t even see a pinprick of what we now see is out there. Conversely, we see only a pinprick of what our descendants may know about what’s out there.

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Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?

At this point, very careful and honest thinking is required of us. At one level, we can join with anyone, regardless of worldview, to save people from a burning house. We would gladly help an atheist save a neighbor from danger, or even beautify the neighborhood. Those actions do not require a shared theological worldview.

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He Breaks the Power of Cancelled Sin

We have no hope without the fact that by grace through faith alone God has justified us entirely upon the merits of Jesus. The contemporary grace movement gets this right. But as Phillips points out, the contemporary grace movement has a troubling habit of reducing salvation to justification only. In other words instead of a full and robust doctrine of salvation whereby we are saved not only from the penalty of sin but also from the power of sin the focus seems to rest entirely on our forensic standing while neglecting our progressive sanctification. 

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Arminianism & Its Hazards

Bottom line: when it comes to our God’s glorious plan of salvation, we do well to step away from his throne by letting the clear testimony of Scripture speak, permitting him to choose, ordain, predestine, and foreknew whom he wishes from a hopelessly rebellious human race.

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The Targeting of Christians and How Christians Respond: Reflections on the Oregon Shootings

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Christianity Today

Pray for the families for whom this is not &another mass shooting,& and then act in these ways.

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 Roseburg killings: How should Christians respond? (COMMENTARY)

Roseburg killings: How should Christians respond? (COMMENTARY)

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Religion News

Are Christians being targeted? Maybe. But we can follow the beautiful example of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Charleston. When evil came knocking, forgiveness answered.

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 Hungarian Church Heavily Affected by Influx of Migrants Thanks God After Government Seals Borders

Hungarian Church Heavily Affected by Influx of Migrants Thanks God After Government Seals Borders

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Gospel Herald

The church in a southern Hungarian diocese heavily affected by an influx of migrants has thanked the right-wing government for regarding its effort to seal Hungary’s borders against further migration as “a task given by God”.

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Franklin Graham: Russian Airstrikes Will Prevent Syrian 'Bloodbath,' Obama More Invested in Promoting LGBT Agenda Than Protecting Christians

Franklin Graham: Russian Airstrikes Will Prevent Syrian ‘Bloodbath,’ Obama More Invested in Promoting LGBT Agenda Than Protecting Christians

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Evangelist Franklin Graham has said the airstrikes launched by Russia in Syria may prevent a bloodbath of Christians and accused President Obama of being more interested in promoting the LGBT agenda than protecting persecuted believers.

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Does

Does “The Martian” Hold Any Meaning for Earthlings?

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Crosswalk

Based upon Andy Weir’s best-selling novel, The Martian stars Matt Damon, along with a star-studded cast. Could this be one of those rare occurrences where the movie actually better than the book? Crosswalk’s Steve and Shawn give their take. Cl…

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Oregon Gunman Asked 'Are You a Christian?' Before Slaughtering Students at Roseburg Community College

Oregon Gunman Asked ‘Are You a Christian?’ Before Slaughtering Students at Roseburg Community College

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Gospel Herald

The Thursday late-morning shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, a former timber town of 20,000 on the western edge of the Cascade Mountains, ranked as the deadliest mass killing this year in the United States.

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Texas Sheriff Tells Atheist Organization to 'Go Fly a Kite' After Complaint About 'In God We Trust' Decals

Texas Sheriff Tells Atheist Organization to ‘Go Fly a Kite’ After Complaint About ‘In God We Trust’ Decals

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Gospel Herald

After the Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded that decals bearing the motto “In God we trust” be removed from patrol vehicles, Childress Police Chief Adrian Garcia in Texas simply told the atheist organization to “go fly a kite.”

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Billy Graham warns of fire and brimstone in ‘final’ book

Billy Graham warns of fire and brimstone in ‘final’ book

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Religion News

(RNS) Experts say his words are a significant shift from the approach he took after the first decade of his ministry.

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Fact Check: 5 Planned Parenthood Myths Debunked

Fact Check: 5 Planned Parenthood Myths Debunked

Posted on October 2, 2015 by CBN

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards own testimony before Congress this week may be the very thing that clears up a few myths about the agency believed as fact.

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Don't Despair! Choose Your Own Life's Sermon

Don’t Despair! Choose Your Own Life’s Sermon

Posted on October 2, 2015 by CBN

The non-profit Ronald McDonald House relies on the community and workers who go the extra mile. One man sees his work there as a living sermon, one that affords the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

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The Church and the Tribulation

A lot of anxiety has been stirred up recently over the teaching that the Church will go through some, if not all of the time known as the Great Tribulation. Jesus referred to this special time in Matthew 24:21, and it has been the springboard for books and movies that portray some very terrifying things to come.

Some Christians, thinking that the Church will go through it, are worried and are doing their best to make plans to survive the seven years.They are stockpiling food, water, precious metals, guns and ammunition, etc., in the hope of making it alive until the time that Jesus returns for His Church.Some “scholars and experts” are going so far as to say that preachers who do not warn their churches of impending and cataclysmic events are shirking their duty as preachers.

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Video Clip: Donald Trump Run From The Copelands, Paula White, David Jeremiah, Robert Jeffress, & The TBN Broadcasters

Donald Trump Run From The Copelands, Paula White, David Jeremiah, Robert Jeffress, & The TBN Broadcasters. Click here to watch the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ18exdhR6I
 


WVW-TV Presents: The White Magic of Evangelicalism (Part Three). Watch now before this program rolls into the Situation Room at http://www.situationroom.net for members only. Click here to watch now:http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tv/video/white-magic-evangelicalism-part… If you have a Bible or worldview question visit http://www.worldviewpedia.com for the answer!
 


What the Heck is ‘Climate Justice’ and Agenda 2030?

First, we just talked yesterday about growing persecution of Christians in America and we went on air this morning with heavy hearts as news broke about Christians being targeted and murdered yesterday in a small community in Oregon. A disturbed man went in to a community college and systematically murdered people who identified themselves […]

The post What the Heck is ‘Climate Justice’ and Agenda 2030? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Should Christians Resist Discrimination and Persecution?

Julaine Appling from Wisconsin Family Council joins us today to discuss how Christians should engage these troubles.

The post Should Christians Resist Discrimination and Persecution? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Should-Christians-Resist-Discrimination-and-Persecution_.mp3 21.6 MB


 

Exposing the Hypocrisy of “Christian” Social Justice

Forced wealth distribution, radical environmentalism and government abuse?

The post Exposing the Hypocrisy of “Christian” Social Justice appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Deceptive Advertising in Christianity

We need to know the Bible before we can respond with ‘it is written.’

The post Deceptive Advertising in Christianity appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Strange Times: Blood Moons, Idolatry, and Papal Visits

To say we live in strange times is a tremendous understatement. Between the hype over blood moons and the Pope visiting the U.S. – apparently mesmerizing many with his charm – many Christians are wondering how close we are to the end. We are seeing more and more people worshipping men and ‘signs’ rather […]

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What Do You Need to Know about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam?

What do you need to know about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam? Maybe more than you think. The swelling numbers of visiting students and immigrants from India, China, and the Middle East are compelling Westerners to learn more about these ancient religions. Understanding these worldviews enables Christians to more meaningfully engage and minister to people migrating amongst us in North America. If you have not interacted substantially with adherents to these religions, you probably soon will. If you are a Christian, Jesus calls you to be ready.

To get a reasonably brief overview of these three religions, listen to Dr. Timothy Tennent’s lectures – Essentials of Hinduism, Essentials of Buddhism, and Essentials of Islam – at biblicaltraining.org. Dr. Tennent is president of Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and has served as a Methodist missionary in India for many decades.

Each series is comprised of four to seven lectures. They are summaries of full-length seminary classes. Eastern religions present learning challenges to Westerners who must become acclimated to a whole new vocabulary, history, and culture. While there is a sense in which it would be best to study under tutors from the East, I find it helpful to have an instructor who understands the background of Western students for these introductory lectures. I serve with one ruling elder and one seminary student intern who are each converts from Hinduism, and they found the lectures on Hinduism instructive as an external analysis. Because of the rapidly changing political climate, some portions of the lectures on Isalm and Hinduism are slightly dated; listeners who have lived through the last five years will be able to project the implications of the analysis onto recent history.

Dr. Tennent does his best to present the material fairly and as simply but thoroughly as possible. I cannot verify the accuracy of all the material (I’m told that his pronunciations are not always correct), but Dr. Tennent is well studies and has lived in these cultures. The lectures are a good starting point at least. Others in our own congregation have found them to be quite accessible and enriching as they seek to minister to friends and neighbors from these religious backgrounds.

The lectures can be found at biblicaltraining.org and the Biblical Training app is quite cconvenient as well.

Reformed Christians may also be fascinated to learn that Dr. Tennent and his wife, committed Arminians as they are, actively promote Psalm-singing. Their site to promote the singing of the Psalms is quite rich.


Youth Targeted Calvinism / Book of Romans Torn to Pieces in Service of “Gay Christianity”

Two main topics on the program today.  First I mentioned fairly briefly this wild-eyed article from SBC Today as another example of Anti-Calvinist Derangement Syndrome.  Had to chuckle at its ridiculous comments on Edwards, though I know it is serious—and sad.  But sometimes, you just have to laugh.  Then I moved on to discuss Graeme Codrington’s amazing way of removing Romans 1 from the discussion of homosexuality in the Bible.

I do not know if I will be able to sneak another program in on Monday (I leave Tuesday), but I will make a real valiant effort!

https://www.sermonaudio.com/code_sourcefeatured.asp?iframe=TRUE&reversecolor=FALSE&showoverview=FALSE&flashplayer=TRUE&tiny=FALSE&minimal=TRUE&eventtype=EVENTID&series=SUBTITLE&speaker=SPEAKERNAME&sermonid=1011512152410

Here is the YouTube link:

The post Youth Targeted Calvinism / Book of Romans Torn to Pieces in Service of “Gay Christianity” appeared first on Alpha and Omega Ministries.


Rick Warren Joins Rome In The Name of the Family

Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren Speaks at Catholics’ World Meeting of Families Pastor Rick Warren of California’s Saddleback Church gave the final keynote address of the World Meeting of Families conference, sharing the stage with Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, in Philadelphia on Friday, the day before Pope Francis arrives in the city. “Thank you for caring about the family,” warren told

Praying for a Breakthrough

Praying for a BreakthroughA breakthrough is a military concept. When one army is able to weaken its enemy’s forces to the point of collapse, a breakthrough occurs allowing that army to invade and take its enemy’s territory.

But in war a breakthrough only really matters if it occurs at a strategic location. And the evidence that a location is strategic is almost always revealed by the amount of enemy forces amassed to protect it. An enemy led by skilled generals plans to ferociously protect what it prizes highly.

This means that an invading army can expect its attempt to achieve a breakthrough to be met by a barrier of fierce enemy opposition. Increasingly intense fighting always precedes strategic breakthroughs. Strategic ground is not yielded easily.

Our Breakthroughs Are Opposed by Powerful Forces

This is as true for spiritual warfare as it is for terrestrial warfare. In the spiritual realm, as opposed to the terrestrial, the church is an invading force. Though we can easily slip into a defensive, circle-the-wagons mindset, Jesus clearly intends for us to be aggressors, not merely defenders. The Great Commission is to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). In a world that “lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), that’s militant language. Our mission: to liberate those the devil has taken captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26).

But we must keep in mind that strategic ground is not yielded easily. Whether we’re battling for breakthroughs against our own stubborn sin or the unbelief of a loved one or breakthroughs in the missional advance of our local church, reaching unreached peoples, rescuing persecuted believers, orphans, sex slaves, or the unborn, we are up against “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). We don’t know exactly what that means except that these forces are very strong.

Daniel’s Example

Daniel 10:12–14 gives us a brief glimpse of what’s happening. Daniel had been praying and partially fasting for 21 days to gain greater insight into the revelations he had received (Daniel 10:3) when an angelic being finally showed up with an answer to his prayers. This messenger said that he had been trying to get to Daniel for those 21 days, but had been detained by “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” The chief angel Michael had to come and free him.

This experience of Daniel is an example to us. It’s not a formula that can simply be boiled down to pray and fast for 21 days and Michael will come help you overcome cosmic forces. But it is an example of what is taking place outside of our sight. God does not want us to know more about the angelic realm than what he has revealed in Scripture, otherwise Scripture would have revealed more. But he clearly wants us to know that there is more going on than we see so that we will pray to him and fast until he gives us an answer.

When God Moves, Satan Responds

The consistent pattern throughout the Bible is that every significant move of God is preceded by a season of increasingly difficult, discouraging opposition. And if we take Ephesians 6, Daniel 10, and other warfare texts seriously, we can understand why: God is invading what Satan considers his territory. God’s kingdom is breaking through the lines of the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13).

If we are not encountering opposition, it’s likely we are not attacking a strategic location. But if we are, we are on to something. Where the enemy is fortifying his forces is where we must focus our assault.

And where the enemy is fortified, there is going to be a fierce fight if we are going to achieve a breakthrough. We are going to receive volleys of flaming darts (Ephesians 6:16). We are going to be attacked on the rear. There will be spies in the camp. There will be jeering and intimidation and accusations. There will be efforts to destroy our morale and determination.

A Call for Breakthrough Determination

So this is a call for holy determination. Keep praying and don’t lose heart (Luke 18:1). Just like in any large-scale war, there are many battles. Some breakthroughs are achieved relatively quickly; others require long, persevering endurance. But either way, breakthroughs require a determination to keep up the assault.

Usually breakthroughs are not achieved by prayer alone — there are works to be done and courage to be exercised. But real spiritual breakthroughs are not achieved at all without prayer. Concentrated, specific, persistent, prevailing prayer, often engaged in by two or more (Matthew 18:19), is needed to weaken our spiritual opposition. And fasting is a wonderful help. “Fasting tests where the heart is. And when it reveals that the heart is with God and not the world, a mighty blow is struck against Satan” (A Hunger for God).

So if you’re praying for a breakthrough and not seeing it, and in fact experiencing more temptations to discouragement, frustration, weariness, doubt, and cynicism than before, do not give up. Increasingly intense fighting always precedes strategic breakthroughs. Strategic ground is not yielded easily. You’re up against more than you know. But “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). He has overcome the world (John 16:33) and he will give you justice (Luke 18:8).

Don’t lose heart. Grow determined. There’s a breakthrough ahead.


Related Resources


The Creative God Doctrine

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Program segments:

00:07:15 Pierce’s Ponderous Prophecies
00:16:20 Seth Dahl of Bethel Claims Jesus Asked Him to Forgive Him
00:23:34 Beth Moore’s Unity Doctrine Part 3
01:02:25 Kong Hee’s Creative God Doctrine
01:26:06 Sermon Review: The Seven Mountains by Kong Hee


Reasons to Worship with Excitement this Weekend

If you are a follower of Christ, you have good reasons to gather for worship with great excitement this weekend. Just listen to these multiple images of God’s forgiveness:

  1. God has separated us from our sin an immeasurable distance: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
  2. God has dropped our sin to the bottom of the sea: “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19b).
  3. God has blotted out our sin: “It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake” (Isaiah 43:25b).
  4. God remembers our sin no more: “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin” (Jeremiah 31:34b).
  5. God has cleansed our sin: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
  6. God has cast our sin behind His back: “for You have thrown all my sins behind Your back” (Isaiah 38:17).
  7. God has forgiven and covered our sins: “How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered!” (Romans 4:7).
  8. God does not count our sin against us: “That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
  9. God laid all our sin upon His Son: “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
  10. God takes away our sin: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29).

So, Christian, when you worship this weekend, sing a little more loudly . . . smile a little more broadly . . . pray a little more intensely . . . repent a lot more ferociously . . .  and rejoice a lot more fervently!


Why All Churches Should Address Depression

It’s no secret that my past was ridden with mental health issues—ones that kept me from wanting to live for much of my teenage life. I’m very vocal about this truth, and I will continue to be as along as my story may have an impact on others who need to hear it. And while I do believe today’s church is doing better at addressing the issue that is mental health, I believe there can be so much more done than what is currently taking place in regards to depression and anxiety. Let me explain.

I never tried to take my own life in my younger years, but I frequently found myself googling painless ways to commit suicide, and really had no remorse once finding what I was looking for. It was a sad state to be in. The reality is that my life was infected with the burden of depression and anxiety, and the only places I could find reliable information from were not churches in my local area. Why? Because mental illness wasn’t really talked about.

I felt as if all the “Christian” resources were outdated, and really didn’t address the fact that taking medication was OK in the eyes of God. There really wasn’t much information at all. It was as if all the answers I was finding were suggesting that I just needed more faith. Seriously? The last thing someone contemplating suicide wants to here is, “Just have faith.” I understand that Jesus has the power to conquer anything that comes my way, but please don’t throw Christian clichés at me. I wanted real, authentic and practical information, and I assume there are millions in this world who would want the same. It’s what Jesus would have done.

I really wanted to find help in the church, but there were no ministries or nonprofits working within the walls of local congregations that I could reach. All the counseling and help I received came years after I actually needed it, and it was found in the secrecy of a local medical facility, not a church—where it should have been all along.

Mind you, the church has come a long ways since my teenage years in regards to helping those with mental illness, but I believe we can still do a lot more.

Some Statistics

1. It is reported that 1 in 10 Americans are affected by depression. 

2. Over 80 percent of people who are clinically depressed are not receiving treatment.

3. The number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 30 percent every year. 

4. An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from depression.

5. In 2013, 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans.

6. In 2013, someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.

We Need the Church

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” —1 Peter 5:7

Here’s the thing … I understand that there is importance to seeing what many would call a “professional” in the field of mental health issues, but this doesn’t mean that the local church shouldn’t be prioritizing leadership roles and ministry efforts to help those who deal with these issues. I understand that not all churches lack in this area, but I bet there are more who do than don’t.

My wife and I have met with and counseled dozens of young people over the last year, all sharing with us the brutal battle that is taking place within their souls. Suicide attempts, cutting, depression and anxiety are just the beginning of what these young people were facing.

We NEED the church to step up in its efforts to be more vocal in regards to mental illness. Whether that be through a sermon series, free resources, creating nonprofits or even cultivating a designated year-long ministry. Regardless, the church should be at the front-lines of this battle. People need a safe place where they can be honest and transparent with what they are going through.

There is nothing wrong with admitting you are depressed, cutting, have attempted suicide or are even contemplating it. There is nothing wrong with seeking medical attention and being prescribed medication to help you along the journey. And there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. 

A Few Resources

1. Heart Support.

2. My Broken Palace.

3. To Write Love on Her Arms.

4. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety or has even thought of suicide, please give them the resources above and do not wait another minute.

—Jarrid Wilson  

The post Why All Churches Should Address Depression appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Restore to Me the Joy of Your Salvation

My husband and I recently sat in on a meeting to discuss the options, challenges, and hurdles of our child’s special needs. As we sat surrounded by several specialists, listening to them list the problems at hand, a lump began to grow in the back of my throat in an attempt to fight back the tears of our painful reality.

I felt a fresh wave of sadness for what’s been lost, a struggle within me to hold on to joy, and a resistance to accept what God has allowed. I never imagined this for my life and, although I see God working through it in so many ways, my flesh still wants relief, answers, and sometimes a way out.

Everyone faces these unexpected and often unwanted circumstances at some point in life. Nobody gets a free pass from suffering, disappointment, and grief.

But as believers, our hope is not in this world. So where do we go with these heartaches that are so real, so consuming, and often threatening to steal our joy?

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12)

This is my prayer today, and may it be yours if you find yourself in a similar place. For this is where we must go when we feel battered by the trials of life.

Restore to Me the Joy of Your Salvation…

What most often threatens our joy? Pain, fear, shattered dreams, disastrous effects of sin, circumstances that strip us of comfort, and prayers that seem to go unanswered, just to name a few.

I admit that too often I attempt to find joy in what I think will make me happy and comfortable. It’s so easy to confuse the two when our flesh is so drawn to comfort. We are too easily satisfied with short, temporary bursts of pleasure, rather than pure, satisfying joy in our Savior.

Joy is the byproduct of the gospel, not of our circum­stance­s.

TWEET

However, joy is the byproduct of the gospel, not of our circumstances. Without salvation in Jesus Christ, there would be no joy, only temporary happiness. So when we find ourselves battling despair, we need to go to God’s Word and ask him to freshly remind us of what we truly deserve apart from his saving grace. This truth helps to shift our emotions and pain into a right perspective, freeing us to experience the joy that is ours in Christ.

For this reason, these disappointing and distressing realities of life can actually be God’s goodness to us. For when he strips away the comforts and blessings that we tend to expect and fear losing, we are suddenly forced to grapple with where we are placing our hope. We are forced to seek unwavering joy in the Giver, rather than settling for mere enjoyment in his gifts.

David’s words are life-giving, and they lift our eyes to the source of our joy. They also remind us that we are not capable of producing this joy within ourselves but, we are able ask for the Spirit to awaken us to the joy we have in Christ. As I have prayed these verses today in my own fight for joy, I have been reminded that although he has not chosen to remove this heartache and struggle from my life, he has used it to plow the hardened soil of my heart in order that the fruit of joy might be greater produced in me.

This world can bring disappointment and pain, but it cannot steal our joy when our salvation is secure and hidden in Christ. Because we are quick to forget this undeserved reality, we can pray in these moments of despair and heartache, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation!”

Uphold Me with a Willing Spirit…

David knew his need to be reminded that his joy was first found in the Lord’s promised salvation, not in his circumstances or his own goodness. However, he also knew that joy would only come through a willing and submissive spirit to God’s work in his life.

The same is true for us. Our eternal joy is secure in our salvation, but our immediate joy is also reliant on a willing spirit to serve and trust him completely and obediently, even when life takes us down a path we never expected or would have asked for. We do not obey because of force, but we trust that Christ will uphold us and faithfully bring to completion by his good and perfect will, using imperfect people and a broken world.

If I’m honest, the root of my struggle for joy has stemmed from the fact that I’m resistant to accept what God has allowed. I’m incredibly thankful for how he has sustained and protected me through so many hard years, but my flesh still rears its ugly head too often. Unfortunately, this often triggers a complaining attitude, a short temper, and a victim mentality towards life. By his grace, he often doesn’t allow me to stay there for very long before the realization hits me that I’m heading down a miserable and joyless path.

It often seems, however, that soon after I’ve accepted and chosen to trust in God’s sovereignty (by his grace), another wave of circumstances hits, taking me back to that familiar fork in the road.

Will I accept this circumstance, despite my short-term vision seeing no good purpose for it? Did I really count the cost when I surrendered my life to Christ? If I had known this would happen, would I still follow him? Do I believe his promises, even when I may never see them come to fruition? Will I allow the resistance in my flesh to take root, or will I pray as David did, “Give me a willing spirit”?

These questions of wrestling are good and right when we take them to the Lord in honesty and humility. He delights in hearing our hearts. God knows that the path of acceptance begins with trusting his character, and the path to knowing his character is through his Word. Therefore, it is critical to go directly to the source of truth (the Bible) when these circumstances, and their resulting emotions, threaten our joy.

Stand on His Promises

When we grow to trust completely in his character and the promises of his Word, we are more easily able to accept what is from his hand. This may not happen immediately when suffering strikes, since we are still fallen beings, but increasingly we learn to bring our emotions, questions, and needs to our trustworthy Savior. This opens the pathway for experiencing the joy that comes from our promised eternal salvation, as well as a secure confidence and trust in his promises to sustain and equip us for each and every moment of our day.

I am amazed and thankful that the Lord brought this verse to me through a mentor as I was wrestling again with anger and a joy-sucking discontentment in what God has allowed in my life:

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3)

Right when I feel like I’m sinking, he pulls me up and sets my feet firmly on his promises. The Lord has given me a willing spirit. This power does not come from our own strength, but from the power of his Spirit within us. This is the God that we serve. One that sees us, one that pursues us, and one that upholds us. He knows our every need and knows exactly when we need it. Yes, he may allow the winds and the waves to come, but he promises to carry us through them.

Are you feeling as though the light has gone out from you and joy is nowhere to be found? Are you struggling to accept what God is allowing in your life? Is there someone you know who is suffering and doesn’t know where to turn?

You are not alone. As the body of believers, we can come alongside of each other and remind one another of the joy we have in Christ. We do not grieve as those without hope. So whatever circumstances you find yourself in, I encourage you to walk with this prayer as your banner today: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit”(Psalm 51:12).

What has made it difficult for you to submit to God with a willing spirit during times of suffering? Where is your hope?

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The post Restore to Me the Joy of Your Salvation appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.


Why You Must Leave the Roman Catholic Church

While I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response about last week’s article, “Why Evangelicals and Roman Catholics Cannot Be Together,” some seem to not quite grasp the reason for it. After all, they say that they have neighbors or family members who really love Jesus, who attend a Roman Catholic Church. While I have spoken to many Catholics and have yet to meet one who can explain the Gospel, I am sure that at least in America there has to be some believers who Sunday after Sunday are attending RCC’s. If you are one of these people, here are four reasons you need to leave today. Or if you know someone whom you believe to be born again, here are four reasons you need to encourage them to leave.

You are severed from the Church body

The weekly Church gathering is not about evangelism. It’s about worship, fellowship and equipping (Eph 4:11-15). We love for unbelievers to come to one-anotherChurch and see the radical difference between how Christians love one another and how the world loves one another. We love for unbelievers to come to our services and be exposed to the preaching of the Word. But ultimately the Church is literally made up only of the saints. It is foolish to go to a place on Sunday morning, instead of Church, for the purpose of “evangelism”. Sundays are not for evangelism. Let me clarify because many Sundays I do evangelize someone, but ultimately the gathering of the believers has been instituted by Christ for mutual encouragement and serving each other, not to evangelize each other. If you go to a “church” where the majority of the people around you are unsaved then you are disobeying Hebrews 10:24-25. If you are a believer attending a RCC, then Christ wants you to leave and join a church where HE is the head. You have gifts the Holy Spirit has given to you that you need to be using to serve your fellow Christians. The one-another’s are for believers not unbelievers.

You are missing out on expository preaching

I contend that the main avenue Christ uses to sanctify his bride as a whole is through the weekly exposition of the Scripture. God has gifted calvin-preaching_19thc-representation2certain men with the ability and time to study His Word in depth, and has blessed the Church with the Sunday morning gathering of the saints. It is crucial that we are part of a church that preaches through the Bible. It is imperative that we sit under solid teaching. I have never met a priest who preaches through the Bible verse by verse. Paul’s charge to Timothy was to preach the word (2 Tim 4:2) and to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). This simply does not happen in the RCC and any believer who subjects himself to false teaching will be affected by it more than they can affect those around them.

You can’t reform an apostate religion

I sometimes hear that there are genuine believers attending RCC’s, and they are there for the purpose of being a light in a dark place. They agree that Catholicism is a dead religion without the true Gospel, but that they are so concerned for their friends and families that they choose to stay and reform from the inside. I understand this attitude and I truly appreciate the intent and the desire to reach people for Christ, but we have a misunderstanding of what the Church is meant to be when we do this. We also have a inflated view of our ability to do what the apostle Peter and James couldn’t do with Judaism, though it seemed that they tried, and what Luther and Calvin couldn’t do in the Roman Catholic Church and ultimately had to branch off and start new churches.

You are blaspheming God

I pray that this statement will come across with love and with a concerned heart attitude. But if you are attending a mass then you are blaspheming God. As we saw in last week’s post, each time you eat the bread and drink theTheEucharist wine you are saying that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross two-thousand years ago was not sufficient and that Christ must continue to die each and every week. While you may be taking it as a symbol and in thankfulness to your Savior, the RCC is saying that Jesus is still on the cross and must continue dying for last week’s sins. Jesus is not still on the cross. His death was effectual in what was intended. He died Once and for all for sin (I beg you to read carefully Hebrews 10:10-18), and shouted “It Is Finished!” He does not need to continue dying, and the blood he shed that day was sufficient to cover all our sin, past, present and future. When we partake in the RCC communion we are blaspheming Christ by telling Him that His death and resurrection was unsuccessful.

So many people are bothered with posts like these. They feel like it’s unloving and unaccepting to tell someone they are wrong or doing the wrong thing. I beg you to reconsider. I believe it’s unloving to allow your friends and neighbors to continue going to a “church” Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, that is not going to provide for them spiritually and where they will be forced to insult Jesus.

If you wish to learn more about evangelizing Catholics consider these tools.


Do You Have to Go to Church to Be a Christian?

Is church attendance, if you’re physically able, a requirement to go to heaven? In a very technical sense, the answer is no. However, we need to remember a few things. Christ commands His people not to forsake the assembling together (Heb. 10:25). When God constituted the people of Israel, He organized them into a visible nation and placed upon them a sober and sacred obligation to be in corporate worship before Him. If a person is in Christ, he is called to participate in koinonia—the fellowship of other Christians and the worship of God according to the precepts of Christ. If a person knows all these things and persistently and willfully refuses to join in them, would that not raise serious questions about the reality of that person’s conversion? Perhaps a person could be a new Christian and take that position, but I would say that’s highly unlikely.

Some of us may be deceiving ourselves in terms of our own conversion. We may claim to be Christians, but if we love Christ, how can we despise His bride? How can we consistently and persistently absent ourself from that which He has called us to join—His visible church? I offer a sober warning to those who are doing this. You may, in fact, be deluding yourself about the state of your soul.

This excerpt is taken from What Is the Church? by R.C. Sproul. Download it and other free ebooks in the Crucial Questions series here.


What Do You Need to Know about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam?

What do you need to know about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam? Maybe more than you think. The swelling numbers of visiting students and immigrants from India, China, and the Middle East are compelling Westerners to learn more about these ancient religions. Understanding these worldviews enables Christians to more meaningfully engage and minister to people migrating amongst us in North America. If you have not interacted substantially with adherents to these religions, you probably soon will. If you are a Christian, Jesus calls you to be ready.

To get a reasonably brief overview of these three religions, listen to Dr. Timothy Tennent’s lectures – Essentials of Hinduism, Essentials of Buddhism, and Essentials of Islam – at biblicaltraining.org. Dr. Tennent is president of Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and has served as a Methodist missionary in India for many decades.

Each series is comprised of four to seven lectures. They are summaries of full-length seminary classes. Eastern religions present learning challenges to Westerners who must become acclimated to a whole new vocabulary, history, and culture. While there is a sense in which it would be best to study under tutors from the East, I find it helpful to have an instructor who understands the background of Western students for these introductory lectures. I serve with one ruling elder and one seminary student intern who are each converts from Hinduism, and they found the lectures on Hinduism instructive as an external analysis. Because of the rapidly changing political climate, some portions of the lectures on Isalm and Hinduism are slightly dated; listeners who have lived through the last five years will be able to project the implications of the analysis onto recent history.

Dr. Tennent does his best to present the material fairly and as simply but thoroughly as possible. I cannot verify the accuracy of all the material (I’m told that his pronunciations are not always correct), but Dr. Tennent is well studies and has lived in these cultures. The lectures are a good starting point at least. Others in our own congregation have found them to be quite accessible and enriching as they seek to minister to friends and neighbors from these religious backgrounds.

The lectures can be found at biblicaltraining.org and the Biblical Training app is quite cconvenient as well.

Reformed Christians may also be fascinated to learn that Dr. Tennent and his wife, committed Arminians as they are, actively promote Psalm-singing. Their site to promote the singing of the Psalms is quite rich.


This ‘n’ That

  • If God’s goodness leads to repentance, why do we preach about judgment and sin? The Grace to You blog tackles Romans 2:4, a verse that is quite commonly ripped out of context.
  • In light of last weekend’s blood moon and all of us missing the end of the world (again), The Cripplegate revisits the rapture.
  • So, um…I’m confused about Denny Burk’s confusion. Did we expect there to be anything Christian about the Pope’s speech?
  • Here is your weekly dose of adorable.
  • I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean.
  • Good grief, people, I really hope this doesn’t surprise you.
  • Yep, I totally judged this book by its cover.
  • The Word of God is true, and truth has authority:

Oregon, We Are Not Numb — Or Hopeless

Oregon, We Are Not Numb — Or HopelessYesterday, tragedy struck in the state of Oregon. A gunman killed at least ten people at a community college. Reports say the gunman intentionally targeted Christians, lining victims up, asking their religion, and shooting them in the head if they said “Christian.”

Our hearts break at such evil, and our prayers rise for the families connected to this tragedy. Their pain is too real and too raw for us to quickly offer words of meaningful comfort. We do not want to trivialize their pain by trying to reason away their deaths, as if their families aren’t forever changed.

Yet for those like me — those disconnected enough to observe only through articles and news coverage — I do want to ponder this tragedy. I don’t want this tragedy to be lost on me.

As terrible as it is to note, school shootings now seem so common we rarely stop and move beyond a surface reaction. “We’ve become numb to this,” said President Obama as he addressed the shooting yesterday. My desire is to stop, ask, open our eyes to hope, and see a bigger picture of God in the midst of such madness.

Righteous Reaction to Tragedy

I can’t think of many in the Bible who experienced more pain than Job. Truly, Job’s pain was the result of a kind of persecution: direct Satanic attack. Job understood being singled out as one who was faithful to the one true God.

In the middle of the book of Job, while his tragedy is unfolding, Job hasn’t been silenced yet or vindicated by God; he’s simply arguing his case to his three friends. He talks about his tragedy from God and describes the reaction of onlookers.

     The upright are appalled at this,
          and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless. (Job 17:8)

Job describes the innocent, the onlookers, who “stir themselves up against the godless.” When they looked at Job, they were appalled at the tragedy that he had experienced, and everyone had an opinion or call to action.

Today, we respond in similar ways. Already, activists across the nation have risen up to argue their case for gun control or increased school security.

But hold on. Before your blood boils, or you spring onto your soapbox (for either side of an argument), read the next verse.

     Yet the righteous holds to his way,
          and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger. (Job 17:9)

When tragedy strikes, the righteous grows stronger because God never intended for tragedy to become about our agendas. He always intended for tragedy to point to the reality of our hope in him, and him alone.

Satan Meant Evil, God Means Good

Christians will face tragedy or unspeakable persecution in a world like ours. But what sets Christians apart from the rest of the world is our unshakable hope in a sovereign God who means all things for good — especially life’s most painful things.

Many of us know the power of Romans 8:28, but less of us are familiar with Genesis 50:20. In Romans, we read, that for those who love God, and are called according to his purposes, “all things work together for good.” But in Genesis, it gets even more pointed. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20).

It doesn’t say, “God used it for good.” It says, “God meant it for good.”

There’s a purposefulness behind everything that happens because it happens by God’s hand. God isn’t a master strategist, who knows how to quickly react and respond to human actions that catch him by surprise. He is God. “I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he” (John 13:19).

A sovereign God is the only God that gives us unshakable hope.

We Are Powerless, God Is Not

Reporting on the President’s comments last night on the shooting, the New York Times reports, “With each massacre, his sense of powerless anger and frustration has built.” Left to our own devices, we will only end up distraught at our powerlessness. We were never meant to orchestrate history.

Job realized the sovereignty of God for himself when God began to question Job concerning the universe he was in. Every argument and logical explanation for Job’s suffering soon was eclipsed by the majesty of a God who knows the end from the beginning.

The sovereignty of God doesn’t make tragedy less tragic, but it does give beautiful hope to every trial we face. Even as his trial still was unfolding, Job believed in a God who would make all things right — and he placed his hope in the day he would see that God face to face.

     I know that my Redeemer lives,
          and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 
     And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
          yet in my flesh I shall see God,
     whom I shall see for myself,
          and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
          My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25–27)

Related Resources


What should you look for in a local church? (For the Church)

My series at For the Church, “Letters to a New Believer,” continues. The first post addressed the dangers of rushing into leadership roles. The second takes a step back to look at getting grounded in the Bible. The third, is my encouragement to tell the story that’s yours. The fourth looks at trying to untangle the tangly bits of getting saved while also living with your girlfriend. The latest, part five, begins a look at developing convictions about what makes a church a church:

One morning, after worshipping at Bedside Baptist (the largest mega-church in the western world), Emily and I went for a walk, our toddler in tow, enjoying the sunshine and the crispness of the air. While we waited at a crosswalk, for some reason I said, “We’re not going to be at our church forever. I’m not sure when, but we’re going to leave eventually.” Emily wasn’t shocked, or concerned. She just said, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”

Despite it having been the only church I’d attended, it wasn’t long before I felt like a square peg in a round hole there. A key issue was my emerging doctrinal convictions. Our church was Pentecostal in denomination and doctrine. I was not. While they didn’t push speaking in tongues too much on Sunday mornings, the response to any suggestion that perhaps not all are gifted in such a manner (1 Corinthians 12:30) was usually met with, “Well, why wouldn’t you want all God has for you?” They tended to be unsure how to respond when I told them I prayed and God emphatically said no. (True story.)

The church’s methodology was firmly in what many now call the “attractional” camp, with a slick praise band and “seeker” friendly messages featuring seven alliterated steps to improve your money, marriage, or motorcycle maintenance, even as the leaders proclaimed they were desperate for people to read their Bibles. More and more, I was becoming convinced that the best way to encourage this was to preach the Bible itself. They were sure that, while no one can snatch you out of the Father’s hand, you could climb out any time you please. I was convinced that if you could do anything to lose your salvation, you would.

As time went on, I was increasingly convinced that we needed to consider not simply whether or not to leave, but what we expected of church. I don’t mean whether or not we wanted to be part of a seeker church, a missional church, a vintage church, or a vertical church. Those are just descriptors (and, frankly, kind of silly ones). No, before we could go we had to understand what the church is, according to the Scriptures.

Read the whole thing at For the Church.

It’s not easy to think about the local church clearly. Because the church is tied so closely to personal relationships (as it should be), we can either blow our issues out of proportion, or minimize things that are seriously wrong because we don’t want to offend or hurt anyone. My goal with this article (and the one to follow) was not to write a definitive manifesto of what church is, but to help those who might be in similar situations to where I was several years ago—people who are trying to figure out what “church” is supposed to be, and whether or not the church they’re a part of is actually where they should be.

I truly hope that this article and the one to follow (which deals with knowing when to leave a church) accomplish that goal so that those who can stay where they are do so joyfully, and those who need to leave can do so gracefully.


Disproportionately Gay

If your teens read a lot, and I hope they do, they’re bound to come across books that promote the gay lifestyle. What to do about that, next on BreakPoint. Listen Now | Download

Bill Nye the drive-by guy

http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2015/09/responding-to-video-from-bill-nye-anti.html

http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2015/09/responding-to-bill-nyes-abortion-video.html

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/09/30/the-top-10-ways-bill-nye-the-science-guy-is-wrong-about-abortion


Episode guide to Planned Parenthood videos

http://thefederalist.com/2015/09/29/a-quick-and-easy-guide-to-the-planned-parenthood-videos/

Arminianism & Its Hazards

By Eric Davis – Posted at The Cripplegate:

calvins flowerChances are you’ve discussed it lately. Who chose whom? God? Man? Both? Whose will and choice triggers salvation? Man’s? God’s? Both? It’s a common occurrence to spar over Calvinism (the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace) vs. Arminianism.

This post could not possibly address all the issues. Instead, it will take a brief look at some of Arminianism’s consequences. But first, a quick reminder of common Arminian teaching.

Arminianism typically holds that God elects individuals to salvation based on his foreknowledge of their personal worthiness. It’s claimed that God’s election means that he chose those whom he foresaw would trust in Christ for salvation prior to them doing so. God chose those whom he foreknew would choose him. Humanity, therefore, is fallen, but not incapable of seeking God. Though sinful, man is still able to arouse his will so as to choose God savingly. Some reject election, arguing that it is incompatible with human freedom and responsibility, thus rendering things like evangelism, prayer, and discipleship unnecessary. It follows, then, that many argue that one is able to lose their salvation.

Arminianism has had its propagators over the years. Jacob Arminius, of course. Pelagius before him. Later, John Wesley wrote, “I reject the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination…I would sooner be a Turk, a Deist, yea an atheist, than I could believe this” (Cited in Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 102). About 100 years later, Charles Finney held that there are essentially two types of people; the savable and the unsavable. God chose those who inherently possessed the ability by their freedom to choose God and be saved.

Wherever we might find ourselves theologically, there are a number of hazards for consideration which are consequent of Arminian teaching: …


Rise early and be alone with God: wise counsel from an old divine

What is the best time of day to pray and meditate on the Word of God? For me, the best time is the early morning. With four young children in the house, all of whom are usually still sleeping this is the only quiet time in my home. This time also has the advantage of beginning your day by lashing your heart to the mast that is Christ. This was the practice of many of the old divines from Calvin to Edwards and Spurgeon.

I see at least three advantages to practicing these fundamental spiritual disciplines early in the morning:

  1. Your first thoughts of the day are fixed on the Lord.
  2. You are admitting a deep dependence upon God. By praying first thing, you are submitting to God’s sovereign plan for your day, expressing allegiance to his kingdom, resting in his provision, celebrating his grace, and committing to his work.
  3. You begin the day practicing the command of Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God uses Scripture to renew your mind and it is important to begin each day by filling your mind with God’s Word.

In an age of iPhones and Facebook, this question has perhaps never taken on more importance and we do well to listen to an old divine who wrote about this fundamental bit of practical divinity, an old divine who apparently thought sleep was overrated.

William Law (1686-1761) was an English Puritan theologian best known for writing works in the category of practical divinity, a category to which we refer today as “Christian living” or “devotional literature.” His most famous work was a classic titled A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. In it, he argues at length that the best way for a Christian to begin his day is to rise very early and spend the first hours in prayer and Scripture meditation. Law modeled that of which he wrote: “His own day, which began at 5 a.m., was carefully planned to allow time for reading, writing, and works of charity, as well as prayer.”

Law felt that early rising prepared a Christian to face the spiritual battle that would be his lot each day. Allow Law’s words to encourage you toward this practice, and don’t miss what he says about sleep at the end of the first paragraph:

“If our blessed Lord used to pray early before day; if He spent whole nights in prayer; if the devout Anna was day and night in the temple; if St. Paul and Silas at midnight sang praises unto God; if the primitive Christians, for several hundred years, besides their hours of prayers in the daytime, met publicly in the churches at midnight to join in psalms and prayers; is it not certain that these practices showed the state of their heart? Are they not so many plain proofs of the whole turn of their minds? Sleep is . . . a dull, stupid state of existence.

“If you were to rise early every morning as an instance of self-denial, as a method of renouncing indulgence, as a means of redeeming your time and fitting your spirit for prayer, you would find mighty advantages from it. This method, though it seems such a small circumstance of life, would in all probability be a means of great piety. If would keep it constantly in your head that softness and idleness were to be avoided, that self-denial was a part of Christianity. It would teach you to exercise power over yourself, and make you able by degrees to renounce other pleasures and tempers that war against the soul . . . .

“But, above all, one certain benefit from this method you will be sure of having; it will best fit and prepare you for the reception of the Holy Spirit. When you thus begin the day in the spirit of religion, renouncing sleep, because you are to renounce softness and redeem your time; this disposition, as it puts your heart into a good state so it will procure the assistance of the Holy Spirit; what is so planted and watered will certainly have an increase from God. You will then speak from your heart, your soul will be awake, your prayers will refresh you like meat and drink, you will feel what you say, and begin to know what saints and holy men have meant by fervors of devotion.”

_____________

Jeff Robinson (M.Div. and Ph.D., SBTS) is editor of the Southern Seminary blog. He serves as senior editor for The Gospel Coalition and is also adjunct professor of church history and senior research and teaching associate for the Andrew Fuller Center at SBTS. Jeff served as a pastor for several years in Birmingham, Alabama. He is co-author with Michael A. G. Haykin of To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy (Crossway, 2014). Jeff and his wife Lisa have four children and belong to Clifton Baptist Church.


Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (10/02/15)

5 Ways to Critique Without Crushing

As one who is more prone to find what’s wrong rather than what’s right, I need these reminders often.

Know Your Rights as a Christian in a Public School

My friend Joe Carter is the best at compiling helpful information on a variety of subjects. Here’s one that may be of use to those with kids in public school.

How to Avoid Ministry Burnout

I wouldn’t characterize every instance of ministry burnout as sin or as resulting from the sin that this author discusses, but this is helpful for those of us who are prone to relying on our flesh as we serve.

Do You Despise Him?

My friend, Kelly, gives us six ways despising God might show up in our lives. May He give us grace to recognize and repent of them.

Beautifully Mediocre

Shannon Wexelberg: “Perhaps just being willing to . . . do whatever it is we feel will expose our weak underbellies . . . maybe that’s where our meager offering and the miraculously ordinary collide and become something more than we imagined.”


 

Each Friday our BCC staff links you to the top five biblical counseling and Christian living blog posts of the week—posts that provide robust, rich, and relevant insights for living.

2 New Counseling Resources

Pastor Paul Tautges shares 2 New Counseling Resources from Regular Baptist Press.

Unplanned Parenthood

At the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, they are producing the Truth in Love podcast. They have also now begun providing complete transcripts of those podcasts. Go to this link to read the transcript of Unplanned Parenting.

Ordinary People Do Heavy Lifting

CCEF’s annual conference is coming up, and Ed Welch gives a glimpse of the focus and theme in Ordinary People Do Heavy Lifting.

Perfect Church Now?

Stephen Miller writes at Desiring God about the truth that We Don’t Need Our Perfect Church Now.

God Meant It All for Good

R.C. Sproul, writing about the myriad of events in Joseph’s life, reminds us that God Meant It All for Good.


Links I like

Last night, social media was ablaze with news of another mass shooting, this time at at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. According to reports, the gun man was asking individuals specifically about their religious beliefs before shooting them (Denny Burk’s compiled many of them here). I hope you’ll take a moment to pray for the families of the victims and the survivors of this attack.


Kindle deals for Christian readers

This month’s free audiobook at ChristianAudio.com is Follow Me by David Platt.

Bill Nye the (Sort of) Science Guy

Marty Duren:

…Bill Nye uses the goodwill built over years as an entertainment personality and science educator to gain a hearing for social commentary. When necessary he becomes Bill Nye the Pseudophilosopher Guy to do it.

Case in point: last week Nye was featured on the Big Think video series to talk about abortion (watch below). Makes sense: “Bill, tell us how clouds are formed. Bill, tell tell us how a combustion engine works. Bill, tells about about women’s reproductive rights.” Yeah, no.

What does “Know Your Audience” Even Mean?

Barnabas Piper:

One of the most popular pieces of advice for communicators these days is “know your audience”. This is sage advice. It’s also nearly useless. It’s such an open ended piece of counsel that all meaning as has escaped. What does it mean, and if it has a meaning, how do you do it?

The Prosperity Gospel has Gone Viral

Erik Raymond:

In its unabashed nakedness, the prosperity gospel is a damning heresy that is not a gospel at all. It is a Ponzi scheme concocted by those at the top to prey upon the weak and vulnerable. Preachers of this false gospel use God as a genie who is dispatched to give us stuff, as a result, the gospel gets reduced to getting more stuff. This message is primarily physical rather than spiritual and is about this (best) life now rather than the one to come. And most damning of all, it is about us rather than God. The cross of Christ is reduced to a stage prop to support the large tent meetings they hold. It is like they use Jesus’ band-with to hack in and launch spiritual viruses in the world.

There Is No Crown Without a Cross for Your Kids

Cameron Cole:

The hope of the Christian parent is to raise a child who lays down his or her life in service to God and neighbor. But faithful servants have very little ability to give their life to God and others when they’ve never found themselves lying in a gutter or two along the way. With each painful circumstance my son encounters, God will help him accumulate empathy for others. And this compassion acquired through suffering will provide a foundation for his ability to minister to others.


A La Carte (October 2)

Today’s Kindle deals include: The Kind of Preaching God Blesses by Steve Lawson ($3.99); The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper ($1.99); Church Zero by Peyton Jones ($1.99); Addicted to Busy by Brady Boyd ($1.99). Also, don’t forget to stock up on the New American Commentary series while they are just $2.99 each.

Scandals, Sandals & Biblical Epics

This article provides a brief biography of filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille who led a fascinatingly contradictory life.

The Prosperity Gospel Has Gone Viral

“Regrettably, the prosperity gospel has gone viral. Being more nuanced and subtle than you may think, it is very active in the church. Like a computer virus it is draining vitality and productivity in the covenant community. And you know what the worst part is? You may not even know that you are impacted by it.”

Tabletalk Magazine

Here are the highlights of this month’s issue of Tabletalk magazine. There are several columns you can read online (though you’ll need a subscription to read all of them).

Seeking Revival in Ontario

Here’s an article and interview about a new Gospel Coalition chapter forming right here in Ontario. Be sure to check out the conference (October 16-17).

What Does Pope Francis Believe?

Ross Douthat, himself a Roman Catholic (though not a great fan of the current pontiff), tries to piece together what pope Francis believes.

This Day in 1792. The Baptist Missionary Society was founded in London, England by 21-year-old William Carey. He later became England’s first great Protestant missionary to India. *

The NFL Commissioner Has a Gambling Problem

Very interesting: “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated repeatedly his opposition to legalized gambling, asserting that the league’s opposition will not change because of vigilance in protecting the integrity of the game on his watch.”

Scrivener

If you’ve ever tried writing a full-length book in Microsoft Word you’ve undoubtedly realized that it’s just not up to the task. Scrivener is many people’s preferred option, and it’s on sale this week at a 56% discount.


The Daily Discovery (October 2, 2015)

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

I Was Hurt By the Church. How Can I Re-Engage? – “Quite a few times, I felt betrayed and ostracized by the community I was in due to some of the drama that happened. It is hard for me to get involved into a new community given the fact that I’ve felt let down. Furthermore, it takes me a long time to get to know new people. How can I start anew and change my expectations for a better outcome?”

The Bait-and-Switch over Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ – “Kim Davis is not alone.  After she declined to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, 32 magistrates in North Carolina recused themselves from performing same-sex unions. In Alabama, about half a dozen county probate judges, who oversee the issuance of marriage licenses, are not providing them to any couples. In Oregon, Judge Vance Day has stopped performing all weddings.  All across the nation, county clerks and justices of the peace have quietly resigned from their positions.”

Caring for Your Wife in Miscarriage – “While reading Jasmine Holmes’s excellent article “How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried,” I was inspired to consider the thousands of men who also have experienced the loss of a child in miscarriage. As a young man who has lost a child to miscarriage earlier this year, I vividly remember the difficult journey that my wife and I encountered in the loss of our first child. It is a path we still walk.”

Gaining the Kingdom – “David’s life was truly one of hardship. For forty years he ran for his life by running from Saul. Now with Saul dead, the kingdom is his and he gladly received it. Although he fled from Israel’s king, he never fled from being the king of Israel. But securing the crown did not secure his safety. In fact, the trials he experienced as king (2 Samuel) far-and-away exceeded all of those he had while hiding in caves (1 Samuel).”

Two things Christians need to know about creativity – “Christian art makes me sad sometimes. I love that there are people working to express themselves (and often their faith) through music, poetry, novels, movies, design… But when I see even good ideas fall apart due to poor execution, I have to wonder if we really understand what it means to be creative.”


SERMON:

Mack Tomlinson – Jesus in Gethsemane: The Praying Victorious Man


VIDEOS:

Voddie Baucham: God goes to war.

Why do churches dim their lights during worship?


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur

The post The Daily Discovery (October 2, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.



Christian Headlines Daily – Friday, October 2, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Former Yazidi Sex Slave Says She was ‘Owned’ by American ISIS Leader

Russia to U.S.: Get out of Syria

Biblical References Removed from Sheriff’s Vehicles in Alabama

Prominent Pastors Pray over Donald Trump

Over 800,000 Catholics Demand Clarification on Family and Marriage

Trial of Man Accused in Charleston Church Shooting Postponed

Billy Graham: Disturbed by ‘the Moral Decline of This Nation’

Tim Tebow Surprises Young Cancer-fighting Football Fan in Hospital

Pope Francis Met Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis: ‘Stay Strong!’

Egyptian Christian Held in Prison for Reporting Attacks on Church

Opinion

Why Pastors Need to Preach More about Hell

Do We Know What Love Truly is?

God’s Plan: Hope for the Present, Assurance for the Future

The Paradoxes of Pope Francis

Planned Parenthood CEO Testifies before Congress


10/02/15 God is with Us

READING: Matthew 1, Luke 2:1-38

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  I am reading ahead in this devotion, which I typically do not do. I cannot read Matthew 1:22-23, though, without thinking about Matthew 28:18-20. Read these verses, and see what comparisons become obvious to you:

Matt. 1:22-23  Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.”

Matt. 28:18-20  Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The amazing nature of this story continues. The baby in Bethlehem would have “all authority in heaven and earth.” More specifically, His name, Immanuel, meant “God with us” — and He would be the One who would be with us even to the end of the age.

The book of Matthew is thus bookended by these words. In chapter 1, God Himself is coming to be with us. In Matthew 28, God is with us even as He sends us to the nations to tell the story of the gospel. In between is the story of God’s amazing love.

He is with us. Period. Wherever we go. Whatever He calls us to do. Whenever we’re afraid. Regardless of what worries us. Even when we feel alone. And, even when death is upon us, as was the case with Simeon in Luke 2.

God is with us. That’s really all we need to know.

ACTION STEPS: Throughout this day, keep this thought in the forefront of your mind if you are a follower of Christ: “God is with me.” Trust that truth, and let your faith be evident before others regardless of what you face today.

PRAYER: “God, I praise You that You are with us. I really do.”


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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