Through Good Works? (2)
What then do good works do in our salvation? In the first instance they remind us of God’s mercy and grace toward us in Christ (3.14.18). In the second case they are “fruits” of his efficacious call (3.14.19). We “take the fruits of regeneration (ex regenerationis fructibus) as proof of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit….” (ibid). Our good works, to the degree they are good, are not ours. They are the Spirit’s. Thus, we do not present them to God as anything but evidence of his grace toward us, which is what the Old Testament believers did when they appealed to their works.
The World in the Church 2: Ordinary World, Ordinary Church?
We may think that by removing the offense and making all of our corporate worship apart from a portion of the sermon as normal as possible we will be able to make the gospel more approachable, more appealing. But we can’t. If we try to, we do not even achieve what we are seeking to achieve. We do not help the unbeliever, because we deny both who we are and who Jesus is.
Are Abuse Survivors Best Served When Institutions Investigate Themselves?
The independence of an investigation is not defined by the words or assurances of the institution being investigated. It is defined by a structure that requires the institution to get out of the driver’s seat and give up control. This can be a profound step forward for an organization who is genuinely focused on demonstrating love and repentance to those who have been hurt.
Notecard Answers For Why I Believe the Bible
In the midst of temptation you will hear the words of doubt again, “Did God really say?” You and I need to be ready to muzzle the serpent with truth. Continue to tutor yourself with the reality that God’s Word is in fact God’s Word. Do this in the good times as well as the difficult times. Keep on studying and delighting in this truth that you might be able to properly deal with doubts both from within and from without.
Undressing Jezebel: The Sexploitation of the Black Woman
I believe the hope in moving forward and breaking the Jezebel brand on black women is found in the Gospel. By affirming their identity in Christ, black women can learn they are not simply sexual tools made to be sexploited by the hands of selfish men. They are beautiful women made in the image and likeness of God. They have equal value, dignity and respect, as any man or woman of any race. Their beauty and worth is defined by the God who loves them, not by the lies of a society who oppresses them.
The Need for Pastor Theologians
The authors make a good case that without pastor theologians, theology has become ecclesially anemic, and the church theologically anemic. While it’s a blessing to have academic theologians working on specialized topics, such as whether James Dunn’s interpretation of Paul viewing the Jewish law as an ethnic boundary marker is correct or not, we also need students of the church who will help us see why that matters. We need pastoral theology that will “deepen the health and faith of God’s people” (91).
What is the Most Common Ministry Priority Neglected by Pastors?
Prayer may sit on your conscience, but it isn’t complaining. It remains on the list of tasks for the day, but those who are not prayed for are unaware that they are forgotten. As other demands steal our attention, prayer gets pushed to the background. Many pastors, myself included, will go week after week until eventually that soft but necessary voice calling us to stop and pray just fades out. If enough time passes, the voice of conviction and desire will go away. When that happens, prayer gets squeezed out of our life.
Semper Reformanda: Christ Will Do Everything, or He Will Do Nothing
Christ will do everything, or He will do nothing. Why? Because if salvation “is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom 11:6). To introduce works as any part of the ground of our righteousness is to corrupt the Gospel of grace, which is the only Gospel that saves.
Kevin DeYoung Appointed Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at RTS
The position of Chancellor’s Professor is designed to provide for a professor to teach at multiple RTS campuses benefitting a greater number of students. DeYoung will teach at RTS while he continues as senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing Michigan where he has been since 2004. University Reformed Church recently moved from the Reformed Church in America to the Presbyterian Church in America.
7 Ways Satan Will Seek to Attack Your Church This Weekend
Where are you most susceptible to the enemy’s attack?
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5 Women Sue Ministry Linked to Duggar Family Alleging It Covered Up Sexual Abuse
Five women have filed a lawsuit against the Institute in Basic Life Principles, whose founder resigned last year amid allegations that he sexually harassed more than 30 women, accusing the organization and its board of directors of not reporting incidents of sexual abuse and harassment, &wilfully& concealing the wrongdoing.
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20 things you’ll never hear in church
Church life is rich, varied and can be very funny.
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Spain’s Christians Welcome Syrian Refugees with Open Arms: ‘Our Experience Is That They Come To The Lord Fast’
While some in Spain fear the wave of Syrian refugees will bring the influence of radical Islam into the country, one Spanish ministry is eagerly welcoming them, revealing that those fleeing war and poverty often embrace Christianity with open arms.
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Do Babies Go to Heaven?
The Bible doesn’t explicitly say. Here is how I have come to answer.
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Halloween draws focus of new study
When it comes to Halloween, most Americans don’t have a problem celebrating the spooky holiday, a LifeWay Research study shows. Yet, one-third say they avoid Halloween or its pagan elements.
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For the past several weeks, Oprah Winfrey has been sharing her heart about how of the Bible has impacted her life and how God gives her great joy. The only problem is, we aren’t really sure which god she is glorifying but she’s leaving Jesus out of the equation (or at least putting other gods on the same pedestal next to Him).
Halloween is expected to make an eerily strong showing in sales this year, with consumers expected to spend as much as $6.9 billion.
This month, 157 million Americans will celebrate the holiday by spending an average of $74 per person, according to new research from the National Retail Federation.
There are some that suggest that this is escapism, but the opposite has been true. Christians deeply in love with Jesus and enamored with the hope of His immediate return for the church have been driven with compassion to win souls; whether family, friend, or foe. Our message is a twin concern: get ready for the call to the marriage supper and occupy (be salt and light to hold back the antichrist spirit) until He comes. Both parts of this message are absolutely essential for a balance of Biblical presentation.
A new wave of violence is sweeping across Israel. As of this writing, at least 48 Palestinians have died, and 10 Israelis. Sadly, for much of the world, the story stops there. They conclude that because more Palestinians have died, Israel must be in the wrong. In order to defend its citizens against terror attacks, Israel is again being painted as the aggressor. But it’s not true.
Recently, I was interviewed by a magazine that was doing a story on the topic of end times events, and the writer asked me, “Why should we even study this subject as Christians?”
Some people would discourage it, saying it’s too complex. Yet in the book of Revelation, a special blessing is promised to the person who studies, understands and takes to heart what the Bible says about our future: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (1:3 NIV).
Is this your attitude? Do you live in a state of watchfulness every day, every moment? We daresay that this is not the attitude of the majority of people who profess to be Christians. However uncomfortable it may be to admit, most Christians go about their everyday lives as if the return of Jesus is still a millennium away. Who concerns themselves with events 1000 years into the future? No one, quite frankly.
Yet we are told to be watchful, to be in a constant state of alertness for the return of our Lord and Savior.
Rod Parsley Battles Throat Cancer Using Standard Medical Treatment
Bethel Redding children’s pastor and the giant finance angel?
Sandy Simpson – Deluded
Christian Football Player’s Wife Allegedly Aborted Baby of Pastor Who Killed Him
Spiritual Abuse: Word of Life Church’s Path From Bible Group to Lethal Sect
Zimbabwe – Pastor Sells ‘Holy Pens’ That Make Students Pass Exams Without Studying
In City Harvest judgment, Judge singles out Kong Hee’s part in ‘culture of secrecy’
City Harvest trial: Kong Hee apologises to church members for ‘pain and turmoil’…
WVW-TV Presents: The Good Shepherd, His Sheep, & Thieving False Teachers: A Study of John 10 (Part One) Watch this program now before it rolls into the Situation Room for members only. To join the Situation Room go to http://www.situationroom.net To watch this program now click here:http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tv/video/good-shepherd-his-sheep-thievin…
Has the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry paved the way for all kinds of non-traditional relationships to be legally recognized? “If marriage is not the union of a man and a woman, why limit it to two people?”………… Click here for full story
Dangerous Narratives – Replacing The Jewish Messiah Of The Bible With A Palestinian Martyr
Jeremiah Wright, who led Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago from 1972 to 2008 and served as served as Obama’s pastor for 20 years, is back at the center of controversy. Wright stoked controversy with his statement that “Jesus was a Palestinian,” alluding to Israel as an apartheid state and comparing “the youth in Ferguson and the youth in Palestine”. Is there any theological justification for the “Jesus was a Palestinian” bandwagon? . ……… Click here for full story
Biometric Trends Spreading Worldwide
In our earlier banking days, for secure proof of identity we initially had simple signature verifications and identity cards with photo identification. As we moved away from banking visits and teller counters, we transitioned towards passwords/PINs for mobile payments and online banking. Today, we are well into the next phase in personal identification and verification technologies: biometrics. .………… Click here for full story
A clean environment; equality for women; social justice for all; income distribution. All these goals might sound good, but when you look at how the U.N. and world religious leaders are planning on implementing these lofty goals, you start to smell the stench of a “One World Government” and the end of religious freedom as […]
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We get asked a lot about Marijuana…especially as more states deal with its legalization. We’re hoping to give you less smoke, and more substance. Listen Now | Download
Kong Hee’s first appearance at City Harvest after fraud verdict: “Pastor is sorry”
One would think that a pastor would understand that saying “I’m sorry” is not the same as asking his flock to forgive him for sinning against them by misappropriating 35 million of their hard earned money. Hee and several cohorts were convicted of using church funds to make his wife a popstar. You can’t make this stuff up, brethren. According to Christian Today:
City Harvest Church’s pastor Kong Hee apologised to his congregation this weekend after the guilty verdict in his trial for fraud.
According to the Asia One news service, on Sunday morning Kong faced a crowded auditorium at the Suntec convention centre, bowed and said, “Pastor is sorry”. He had used the same words at a service on Saturday night.
Kong, his deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng, finance manager Sharon Tan and former finance manager Serina Wee, were found guilty with former board members John Lam and Chew Eng Han of misusing $17 million from the church’s building fund to further the music career of Kong’s wife Ho Yeow Sun, known as Sun Ho. A further $18.5 million was used to cover up the scheme through a complicated system of bond issues and ’round-tripping’ transactions in which the church used its own money to pay debt owed to it.
by Erin Davis
Hot off the presses! Enter to win free copies of Set Apart Girl Magazine!
by Leslie Ludy
They saw fulfillment, radiance, and peace that hadn’t been there before. And some began to ask me about it. Becoming set apart for my King made it possible for me to lead others to Him.
by Erin Davis
How can you point people to Jesus this school year? Here are five fun ideas to try.
by Paula Hendricks Marsteller
So you feel angry? Insulted? Provoked? Offended? Downright mad? Now what?
When we, the Christians, participate in Halloween we are continuing the Druid tradition that was begun in human sacrifices and worship of the gods of the underworld.
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“It’s not just Pope Francis, it’s the whole church throughout the world, and that is powerful,” said Monsignor John Ribat, president of the bishops’ conference of Oceania and archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, one of the front-line Pacific island nations most threatened by climate-induced rising sea levels.
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Even in the isolation of suffering, God knows you and remembers you as His beloved child. Continue reading
Kim Phuc is the little Vietnamese girl running naked from a napalm attack in this photo. Kim, now 52, has an amazing story of resilience, faith and forgiveness and she’s sharing it with the world.
Kim’s peace didn’t come through diplomacy–it came through the person and the work of Jesus Christ. This is powerful.
The post The Girl Behind This Famous Picture Is Speaking Out—And What She Says About Jesus Is Beautiful appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.
This is a repost of an article we compiled last Halloween, addressing the ever-controversial question of Halloween among Christians. The question is just as relevant in 2015 as it was in 2014, so we hope these resources can help guide you and your family this October 31st.
Occasionally we get this question: Should Christians celebrate Halloween? And, by “occasionally,” we mean “every Halloween.” On one side are those who see nothing wrong with a little dress up and candy noshing (other than the accompanying cavities). On the other side are those who stand at their windows and weep to see all the neighborhood kids slowly circling the neighborhood as Narnia’s White Witch fills their baggies with Turkish delight. (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point).
We’d posit that neither an aggressively pro- or anti-Halloween approach is completely appropriate. Functionally, Halloween isn’t inherently good or bad. Paul, talking about a similar subject in Romans 14, says that each must be fully persuaded in his own mind; whatsoever is not of faith is sin; and we are not to judge another Man’s servant (Romans 14:4–5, 23). Halloween does offer us all an opportunity, however, to engage our neighbors missionally.
For those that can’t get past the historic ties between October 31 and the occult, that is a matter of conscience and we’d encourage you to be faithful to the Holy Spirit in that. “Hallowed Eve” started as the commemoration of the night before All Saints Day. There is no doubt that some members of the occult have, historically, commandeered it as a time to celebrate the work of evil spirits in opposition to “the saints.” But realize that cultural symbols are like words in a language: their historic roots are not as important as current usage. Most people realize that “rock and roll” was a 1950s euphemism for sex applied to a genre of music. But those today who say, “I like Christian rock music” are usually not trying to infuse sexual overtones into that music. In language, the etymology of a word is less important than its current, semantic meaning.
Cultural symbols work the same way. Thus, a lot of people going “trick or treating” at Halloween are not intending any connection with occult practices. Some even think of it as mockery.
Some believers, however, cannot get past those historic (and they will argue, current) connections between Halloween and occult ideas. Thus they consider anything participation in this history, like giving or receiving candy in its name, to be participation with demons. If that describes your attitude, we would encourage you to follow your conscience carefully. Whatever is not of faith is sin. But Paul tells us to allow freedom for other believers to peaceably disagree in things like this, too. It’s hard to think of a better application point for Romans 14 in our current day than this issue. So, by Paul’s council, follow your conscience before God, but allow your brothers and sisters in Christ to follow theirs without judging them.
For those of you who do send your kids out trick-or-treating, Halloween presents a unique opportunity for outreach. And no, we don’t mean by standing in your yard and preaching against the devil. Here are a handful of articles with some helpful ideas:
3 Tips for Reaching Your Neighbors This Halloween, Jeff Mangum. As Mangum points out, the central question regarding Halloween needs to be, “In light of the gospel, how does God want me to put this day to use for the name of Jesus to be magnified?” Regardless of our stance on Halloween and its origins, there is no other time of year when our neighbors congregate outside en masse. Mangum has three creative solutions: 1. Host a costume party, 2. Have dinner on the lawn while you pass out candy (I really like this.), or 3. Go trick-or-treating with your neighbors.
12 Simple Ways to Be on Mission This Halloween, Jeff Vanderstelt. Like Mangum, Vanderstelt wants us to view Halloween as missionaries. So how do we do Halloween “on mission?” As Vanderstelt reminds us, we should be hospitable, go to “their place,” and be prayerful. Some of the easiest (but highest reward) counsel he offers: have something for the parents, join the community events, and don’t just give out candy…give out the best candy.
3 Ways to Be Missional This Halloween, Seth McBee. This is a strong—if periodically sarcastic—defense of engaging in Halloween instead of hiding in the ghetto of your church’s “Fall Festival.” “If you start reading about Halloween’s roots, it’s hard to find an answer of where it came from. But, regardless of where it comes from, the question at hand should be: Why is Halloween celebrated today? For most of us, Halloween isn’t a time where we celebrate the dead and go and skin a goat and sacrifice it to Satan. For most of us, it’s a time to dress up our kids as a super hero and send them to strangers’ houses to get free candy. It has become just part of our culture in the West and has very little to do with the ‘darkness’…it’s not good, it’s not evil…it’s just something we celebrate, like the 4th of July. I know we might have stories of darkness, but there are also many stories of overdrinking and evil happening on our other holidays as well.”
Four Reasons You Should Go Trick-or-Treating Tonight, Ed Stetzer. Ever the missional mind, Stetzer joins the fray to remind us why not only Halloween, but trick-or-treating itself is a good idea for Christians: 1. There is no other night when people you’ve never met come to your door. 2. There is no other night when you get to go to your neighbor’s door and introduce yourself without any awkwardness. 3. You don’t have to worship the devil to go up and ask your neighbor for candy. 4. You can meet more neighbors in one night than any other day of the year.
3 Tips for Discipling Your Kids Through Halloween, John Murchison. Finally, here’s an article geared towards shepherding your kids. It’s one thing to have a missional mindset about Halloween; it’s 2.0 to get your kids to share that mindset. (After all, candy is a strong idol.) Murchison gives us some starters: 1. Every decision is an opportunity for discipleship, so lean on the Word, prayer, and community. 2. Do not fear; you’re going to make some parenting gaffes, so accept it and trust God anyway. 3. For or against Halloween, we’re all on the same team. Christians who choose to do something different than you on Halloween aren’t the enemy, so let’s keep the “friendly fire” to a minimum.
I don’t really enjoy reading the Bible.
I don’t get what a book written thousands of years ago has to do with my life today.
I’m not really a reader.
Did you know that people get drunk and have sex in the Bible?!
I don’t understand what I’m reading.
Did you know in the Bible there are these two people who were naked, in the forest, eating fruit?
I read the Bible everyday…Jesus Calling is my favorite.
These are all comments people have shared with me in regards to reading the Bible. One of them was from an 80-year-old grandmother, the other from a fourth grade student (bet you can’t guess which one?).
So what is it about this book, the Bible, that is so complicated? Is it really that difficult to understand? Is it really relevant for today? What is going on with all the sex, drunkenness, murder, and naked people?
While the Bible is certainly for us, it is not all about us. It’s about God.
I didn’t grow up in the church, so my experience with the Bible was limited until I was about 20 years old. I just thought it was a list of rules to live by or some ancient book that told the story of the “two naked people in the forest, eating fruit.”
For many of us, perhaps we have learned that the Bible is supposed to only be opened on special occasions. Or you only turn to it when you want to feel good. Better yet, maybe you can just rip a verse out of context and make it mean what you what it to mean (hello, Jeremiah 29:11, anyone?).
It wasn’t until the Lord opened my heart to seek out truth that I discovered the life found on the pages of Scripture. And that’s when the paradigm shift happened: I learned that it’s not just if you read your Bible, but how you read it that will change everything. I learned three truths and lie about the Bible that helped me understand who God is and what his plan is for us.
Let’s start with the lie.
Lie: The Bible is all about me.
While the Bible is certainly for you, it is not all about you. It’s about God.
When we read the Bible, it’s to know and love God more. It isn’t to pull a verse out of context to apply like a Band-Aid; it isn’t to find Scripture to go around Bible thumping those “in sin”; and it isn’t to fill your head with more knowledge. It should produce a deeper understanding of God, greater love for him, and lead us into worship.
Part of the reason I’m not a fan of devotionals is they take you all over the place, pulling a verse here and there out of context, and slapping someone else’s meaning or application on it rather than reading a book in its entirety.
Reading the Bible in a way just to “get something for me” is like only eating dessert at a meal. It is the thing we all want and tastes delicious, but if we only read for application, our diet of God’s Word will be insufficient. We need to observe what is happening and discover the meaning of the text to properly apply it.
What a paradigm shift from what is sold to us in Christian bookstores: “Read this devotional for five steps to a better life!” Those types of things distort what God’s Word is really for: to tell the redemption story of God’s people through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Truth: The Bible is meant to be studied.
One of the best ways to help grow in the Word is to pick one book or section of Scripture and study it. Sit in the passage for a while, reread it, come back to it, look up words, and become familiar with it. Like a letter written to a loved one, you read it from beginning to end.
So it is with books of the Bible. Reading a book in its entirety changes how you understand it and, therefore, deepens your understanding of God and his redemptive plan. When we read, we read to observe (what do we see?), interpret (what does it mean?), and apply (how should it change me?).
When I began to study the Bible inductively (observation-interpretation-application), when I began to look for what it teaches me about God and how I fit into his greater story, it came to life. Actually, it became my life. I enjoy reading the Bible, I see its relevance for my life (and world) today, it increases my understanding of God, and it helps me know why all those people were getting drunk, having sex, and committing murder — to help me see that I am just like those people, a sinner in desperate need of a Rescuer.
Truth: The Bible has many applications, but only one meaning.
While there are many translations of the Bible, it only has one meaning. Our job is to discover that meaning. We should never ask, “What does this verse mean to me?” but we ask, “What does this verse mean?” Our job as readers and students of the Bible is to uncover the original meaning of the text, to reveal how it is relevant and applies to us today. Biblical truths can apply to us in many ways, but they only have one meaning.
Truth: The Bible is all about Jesus.
The Bible is a collection of books and stories that point to a greater story: Jesus. The Bible has 66 books, written over a time span of 1,500 years, by 40 different authors, in three different languages, on three different continents, about one message: God’s rescue mission for his people through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible is a story meant to be read that points to One who makes the unrighteous, righteous; the unclean, clean; the outcast, redeemed; the sinner, a saint.
This paradigm shift helped me to understand the Bible and, therefore, to better love and understand God and live in obedience to him. What has anchored me in times of pain and suffering has not been a verse I ripped out of context to chant when I’m anxious or afraid, but studying God’s Word in a deeper way. It’s knowing his character through understanding the big picture of Scripture from beginning to end that helps me (and all of us) endure suffering.
How we read the Bible matters — reading it will change your life and shift your paradigm completely.
The post Three Truths and a Lie About the Bible appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.
The Heidelberg Catechism’s answer to question 94, “What does God enjoin in the first commandment?” contains eleven verbs, eleven “doing” words.
“A. That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, invocation of saints, or any other creatures; and learn rightly to know the only true God; trust in him alone, with humility and patience submit to him; expect all good things from him only; love, fear, and glorify him with my whole heart; so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to his will.”
These verbs can be divided into two categories that apply to all kinds of sins:
Sin-ward actions: Avoid, flee, renounce, forsake.
God-ward actions: Learn, trust, submit, expect, love, fear, glorify.
The God-ward actions cannot happen without the sin-ward actions, and the sin-ward actions cannot happen without the God-ward actions. They are two sides of the one experience of repentance.
AN ILLUSTRATION OF REPENTANCE
We can see an illustration of most of these verbs in action in Acts 19v13-21 where the idolatrous magicians and occultists of Ephesus were powerfully impacted by the Gospel of Christ:
- They feared (v. 17)
- They glorified the Lord Jesus (v. 17)
- They believed (v. 18)
- They came out into the open (v. 18)
- They confessed (v. 18)
- They showed their deeds (v. 18)
- They burned their spell-books (v. 19)
- They turned to God’s book (v. 20)
I would have loved to see that bonfire of repentance. Some estimates put the value of books burned at several million dollars of today’s money. In burning their spell-books, they were saying three things:
I detest my past: I hate what I was and did.
I want to make sure I do not return: I want to make it as difficult as possible for me to take up these practices again.
I want to make sure others will not be led astray: They could have sold their books to others for large sums of money they didn’t want their financial gain to result in spiritual loss for others.
AN APPLICATION OF REPENTANCE
But let’s not just go back a couple of thousand years to Ephesus, or a few hundred years to Heidelberg. Let’s bring this right up to date and apply it to our own lives with this one question: What should you put on the bonfire? Of course, it need not be a literal bonfire. But if not a literal bonfire, then use these repentance verbs to have a spiritual bonfire.
If the Holy Spirit fell in reviving power among us today, I don’t think Harry Potter conferences and books would be first to go up in flames. But I do believe there would be a huge conflagration of one of the greatest idols of our own time – digital technology. Don’t think you’ve turned your phone, your computer, or social media into an idol? Test yourself with these questions (read the rest at The Christward Collective).
George Mueller is considered one of the mightiest prayer warriors to ever storm the throne of grace. For decades, he prayed for resources to provide for hundreds of orphanages in 19th century England and later reflected he had only ever made his needs known to God. And God provided for this man’s ministry prayer after prayer, year after year for decades. Of all of Mueller’s work, his writings on faith have received some of the highest praise.
Here is a wonderful excerpt from his writings on strengthening faith:
Let not Satan deceive you in making you think that you could not have the same faith but that it is only for persons who are situated as I am. When I lose such a thing as a key, I ask the Lord to direct me to it, and I look for an answer to my prayer; when a person with whom I have made an appointment does not come, according to the fixed time, and I begin to be inconvenienced by it, I ask the Lord to be pleased to hasten him to me and I look for an answer; when I do not understand a passage of the word of God, I lift up my heart to the Lord, that He would be pleased, by His Holy Spirit to instruct me, and I expect to be taught, though I do not fix the time when, and the manner how it should be; when I am going to minister in the Word, I seek help from the Lord, and while I, in the consciousness of natural inability as well as utter unworthiness begin this His service, I am not cast down, but of good cheer, because I look for His assistance, and believe that He, for His dear Son’s sake will help me. And thus in other of my temporal and spiritual concerns I pray to the Lord, and expect an answer to my requests; and may not you do the same, dear believing reader?
Oh! I beseech you, do not think me an extraordinary believer, having privileges above other of God’s dear children, which they cannot have; nor look on my way of acting as something that would not do for other believers. Make but trial! Do but stand still in the hour of trial, and you will see the help of God, if you trust in Him. But there is so often a forsaking the ways of the Lord in the hour of trial, and thus the food of faith, the means whereby our faith may be increased, is lost. This leads me to the following important point.
You ask, “How may I, a true believer, have my faith strengthened?”
The answer is this: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). As the increase of faith is a good gift, it must come from God, and therefore He ought to be asked for this blessing.
The following means, however, ought to be used:
1. The careful reading of the word of God, combined with meditation on it. Through reading of the word of God, and especially through meditation on the word of God, the believer becomes more and more acquainted with the nature and character of God, and thus sees more and more, besides His holiness and justice, what a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise, and faithful Being He is, and, therefore, in poverty, affliction of body, bereavement in his family, difficulty in his service, want of a situation or employment, he will repose upon the ability of God to help him, because he has not only learned from His word that He is of almighty power and infinite wisdom, but he has also seen instance upon instance in the Holy Scriptures in which His almighty power and infinite wisdom have been actually exercised in helping and delivering His people; and he will repose upon the willingness of God to help him, because he has not only learned from the Scriptures what a kind, good, merciful, gracious, and faithful being God is, but because he has also seen in the word of God how, in a great variety of instances He has proved Himself to be so. And the consideration of this, if God has become known to us through prayer and meditation on His own word, will lead us, in general at least, with a measure of confidence to rely upon Him: and thus the reading of the word of God, together with meditation on it, will be one especial means to strengthen our faith.
The post George Mueller’s Timeless Advice for Growing in Faith appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.
Leigh Jones for World Magazine:
An online news site that emphasizes publishing information ignored by mainstream media has obtained and posted to YouTube 11 Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos a judge ordered the pro-life group not to release.
The video clips feature footage taken at a National Abortion Federation event. The abortion industry trade group sued CMP to block it from releasing the footage. But a House subcommittee requested all CMP’s footage as part of its investigation into Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the fetal-tissue trade, and another judge ordered CMP to hand over all the videos.
I really appreciated this.
Kindle deals for Christian readers
A fellow sinner may forgive but it takes some working up to do. In some cases, he may even be eager to forgive but this eagerness does not come naturally. In many cases, though, there is not eagerness but dutiful obligation. We bring our sorrow, our repentance, our request for pardon, and we receive questions, probing, testing, measuring. We deserve this, there’s no question about it. And really repentant persons will accept the difficulty of an offended party’s forgiveness as part of that repentance. So we slink, tail between our legs, chastened and stung. It has to be this way because of the nature of human hurt and the antisocial nature of sin.
However, the age of adolescence has also taken its toll within the walls of the church. “It was wonderful. I felt like I was in college all over again.” Such was the response of a 48 year old mother of two teenagers when my sister asked her how she liked the church that she recently visited. Her statement is what can only be understood as a typical expression of someone who is part of “the age of adolescence.” We have 60 year old pastors dressing like 10th graders, praise bands scrambling to keep up with the shifting tastes of 20 somethings and a holistic children’s ministry that seems to exist to allow 30 and 40 somethings to convince themselves that they are newly weds and are on a date during worship. A new church arrives in town and the image on the billboard is that of full length sleeve-tattooed arms (which, on the one hand says, “Come as you are,” while, on the other, sends the message that this church is really made up of hip, young adults). In many cases, what passes for relevant church is what might actually be described as “children playing church.” While some would quickly insist that all of these things are part of an attempt to be relevant to the culture (though it’s often the case that it’s really only relevant to the better part of white, middle class, pop-culture America), there may actually be something deeper and more significant going on.
Wherever this post finds you and your wife, know that your job is not to fix your wife’s tiredness, but your responsibility is to minister to her when she finds herself in this place. Hear that, husband: tired is ok. You cannot create an environment for your wife that is perfect and you cannot protect her from weariness. It’s part of the calling. However, you can minister to her soul when she becomes weary.
Reformation Day is coming up this week, and these two Kindle deals will remind you what it’s all about: The Reformation by Stephen Nichols ($2.99) and John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor by Robert Godfrey ($2.99). Both are short, accessible introductions to their subject. You may also be interested in God’s Love by R.C. Sproul (free) or The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey ($5.99).
I really enjoyed this story about the Unclaimed Baggage Center. The author does a great job of discussing her own life and struggles even as she writes about a business.
“Space is big, but it’s never been quite this big. This composite image … is, they claim, the largest image of space to date. It shows a long swathe of the Milky Way, photographed piece by piece over a period of five years from the university’s observatory in the Chilean desert.”
Interested in becoming a false teacher? This tongue-in-cheek article will give you the guidance you need.
Here’s an interesting and biographical column from Peggy Noonan.
If you are up for a longer read, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s article on how school shootings catch on.
This Day in 1751. Philip Doddridge died 264 years ago today. He is famous for his book The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, which led William Wilberforce and others to Christ. He also wrote the hymn, “O Happy Day” (among hundreds of others). *
Now that I’ve actually seen fall colors, I’m a bigger fan than ever. Here’s a photo gallery of fall at its finest.
There are lots of interesting historical tidbits in this video. It displays some of the ways people have tried to communicate with the dead over the years and, as it does that, it shows the human fear of death and desperation to know what lies beyond it.
ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
In Case You Were Wondering: Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men? – “Complementarian women bloggers and authors are frequently asked this question. Often it’s asked by dissenters looking for a ‘gotcha’ moment. Other times it’s a genuine concern for Christian women who want to write but still be in obedience to God’s word as it speaks to the role of women. But, whatever the motivation for asking, it’s a great question that needs to be answered.”
Inviting Persecution – “No one intentionally seeks out persecution. True, there are some people who enjoy portrayingthemselves as victims and garnering sympathy from others. But no one would willingly invite their own suffering and hardship. However, as we consider what it means for Christians to be in the world but not of it, we have to accept that persecution is inevitable. There’s a natural friction between our faith and the world’s system bent in opposition to God and His Word. And inasmuch as we hold to the authority of God’s Word and adhere to the righteous example of His Son, we can expect to draw scrutiny and anger from a world that hates Him. Our lives are a testimony to the transforming work of the Lord through His Word, and the watching world finds that truth intolerable.”
Why Dispensational Publishing House? – “I am establishing Dispensational Publishing House to become the ‘go-to’ source for strong, Bible-based, theological, doctrinal and worldview resources from the dispensational perspective. While dispensational theology once had a very strong presence in the United States, today it is often looked upon with disdain and contempt in many evangelical—and most scholarly—circles. However, much of what has been written about dispensationalism is flawed in its assumptions. At DPH, our desire is to adequately present Biblical matters from a sound dispensational perspective. In so doing, we hope to correct some of the misconceptions regarding dispensationalism that exist in the current theological climate.”
Abortion and Child Sacrifice – “If people today were found sacrificing children, as the Canaanites and others did in the Old Testament, I’m sure the public and its elected officials like President Obama would be aghast. Such people would be prosecuted for brutality and murder.”
Equipping Children the Lord Has Enabled Us to Teach – “In a way, I have often likened the AiG outreach ministry to the Israelites as they conquered the land ‘little by little’ (Exodus 23:30; Deuteronomy 7:22). Over the years, we have been going out to churches, colleges, conferences of all types, and little by little have been spreading the truth of God’s Word and the gospel—and equipping people to defend the Christian faith against the onslaughts of evolutionary humanism that pervade the church and culture. I so love to see the thousands upon thousands of children the Lord has enabled us to teach, as they are the coming generation to be leaders in the church and culture. Once again this week, the Lord has enabled us the privilege of teaching people the truth of God’s Word beginning in Genesis. And this morning was another exciting time of teaching hundreds of children and young people.”
Nate Pickowicz – Christ’s Comfort in the Face of Persecution (John 16:1-7)
We will not bow.
Jesus Hates Religion?
“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur
READING: Luke 12-13
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: My heart is alarmed today, but not because I face any great trial or opposition. It’s not because my wife and I are struggling with anything. It’s not because I fear for my life as a Christ follower. No, it’s because I read these words of Jesus:
Luke 13:24-27 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door. Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up for us!’ He will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’ But He will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from. Get away from Me, all you workers of unrighteousness!’
My anxiety comes from knowing many people who hang out with God’s people, participate in God’s church, and listen to God’s teachings — but who give no evidence of a life transformed by the gospel. They are banking on some previous response and their current “religious activity” more than the repentance and faith that mark the only “narrow door” to knowing God. Jesus was speaking to religious people when He spoke these words in the first century, and we in the 21st century need to hear His words as no less relevant to us.
As a pastor and professor, I believe my responsibility is to seek those who show little evidence of conversion, invest in them if they’ll allow, and help them recognize through God’s Spirit whether their lack of evidence is due to not being saved or not being discipled. Sometimes the problem is the latter, but the only way we know that is to walk beside them to find out. That’s messy — but imperative to address the alarm I feel over some folks I know.
ACTION STEPS: Ask God to direct you to someone whose professed faith is not evident. Begin the process of developing a relationship with the Spirit-led goal of bringing him or her to repentance.
PRAYER: “God, let me examine my own life first. If I’m showing no evidence of conversion, convict and challenge me. Direct me, God, to someone else in whose life I might invest myself. Give me wisdom to know how to connect with him and discern what I need to know.”
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
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 is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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