Daily Archives: May 17, 2016

You Need Transformation NOT Recovery – Biblical Counseling Center

Transformation: To please God you need heart transformation. Recovery doesn’t work for the long haul. Here’s how to transform! This article by Dr. Donna Hart, PhD, appeared first on her website and is used with permission. 

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In our culture today, nearly every common behavioral problem is seen as a disorder or disease. It could include things like overeating, excessive spending, alcohol, drugs, or shopping. The heart of the problem can feel like a disease that has attacked you.

This can happen to me on my way home from a long day.

I am driving along and all I can think about is the chocolate ice cream in the refrigerator. I am thinking that I have had a hard day and I just need to reward myself with that chocolate ice cream. I have had dinner a couple of hours prior and I am not even hungry. I might even be dreaming about how much better I would feel if I had one of those Dairy Queen blizzards. I feel like I am being attacked by the chocolate disease.

This chocolate disease is a not a disease but a problem with my heart. In these moments, am I having a problem with what I am worshiping? If we are to define worship, we find it is a reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power and any thought, word, and act then becomes worship.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Do You Worship Your Idols?

When I say idolatry what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Idolatry is defined as the worship of a physical object as a god or immoderate attachment or devotion to something. It is in the “immoderate” that leads to extreme thinking and behaving. It is an attachment to a physical object for the purpose of worship.

Who do you worship?

Everyone worships either a physical object, themselves as “god,” a false religion’s god, or the one true God: The Lord Jesus Christ. The word “idolatry” can be applied to any pleasure that becomes so excessively desired that it replaces the desire to worship God. Can both the love of pleasure and the avoidance of pain or escape fuel any addiction?

Two Paths: Which Do You Choose?

There are two paths for us to travel in life.

The first path is to follow the flesh and its desires to seek pleasure and avoid pain. One who walks down this road is living to please self. Theologians call this type of lifestyle “idolatry” and the worship of self.

The second path is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. One who travels down this road is living to please the Lord. This type of lifestyle could be called “Christianity” and a proper understanding of “worship.” It leads to transformation.

The Bible does not view man as born good. The Bible shows that all people are born with a selfish sinful nature. The focus of the sin nature is to please self.

As people with addictive behaviors and habits, must we have our hearts changed? We cannot change our own hearts. Only God has the power to change someone’s heart.

God Changes Your Heart

God changes the idolatrous hearts of Christians by making their hearts to want to do the right thing.

Willingness is the essential starting point. When God changes your heart, then you can begin to replace your stinking ungodly thinking with the perfect, joyful, and righteous thinking of God himself.

If you find yourself as a Christian struggling with addictive and idolatrous habits and have had a heart change and yet you find yourself still struggling with an addictive habit, do you then need a complete “transformation” and not just a “recovery” of your “old self?”

All Christians have three primary responsibilities in the “transformation” process (Ephesians 4:22-24)

  • Put off the old habit patterns of the flesh.
  • Renew the mind with God’s Word.
  • Put on godly habits of the Holy Spirit.

Rather than temporary change you require a complete “transformation” from your old self, old way of thinking, addictive habits, and old manner of speaking.

Your “new self” must now live in a way that pleases and glorifies God. It is not a “recovering” process of forever grappling with a more powerful foe with no real hope of overcoming it. Instead, it is a “transformation” process and by God’s grace you will become a new creation in Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I would love to hear from you and how the Lord is transforming your life.

The post You Need Transformation NOT Recovery appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.

Denomination or Deformation? – The Master’s Seminary

Baptists, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. All three claim to believe in Jesus. Yet, only one of these groups can be rightly classified as a denomination rather than a false religion.

With that in mind, the question we are asking today might be stated as follows:

What are the marks of cult groups and apostate forms of Christianity that identify them as false religions—such that we can and should label them as heresies, rather than simply classifying them as different denominations?

Here is my attempt to answer that question in 200 words or less:

The New Testament articulates three fundamental doctrinal criteria by which false teachers (and false religions) can be identified:

1. A Wrong View of Salvation

False religions (whether they claim to be Christian or not) attempt to add good works to the gospel of grace (cf. Rom. 11:6). Rather than trusting in Christ alone for salvation, they seek to earn God’s favor through self-righteous works and human effort (cf. Acts 15:1–11; Gal. 1:6–9; Eph. 2:8–9; Php. 3:8–9; Titus 3:5–7).

2. A Wrong View of Scripture

False teachers distort, deny, and deliberately disobey the Scriptures (2 Pet. 2:1, 3:16). They add to or subtract from God’s revealed truth (cf. John 17:17; Rev. 22:18–19), looking to some other false authority for their beliefs (Mark 7:6–12; cf. 2 Cor. 10:5).

3. A Wrong View of the Savior

False religions twist the truth about Jesus Christ. They deny aspects of either His Person (e.g. His deity, humanity, eternality, uniqueness, etc.) or His work (e.g. His death, resurrection, ascension, etc.). Those who do not worship the true Christ are not truly Christian (John 4:24; cf. John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1; 2:22–23; 4:1–3; 2 John 7–11).

The post Denomination or Deformation? appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

The “Work” Desired by Jesus

Unfathomable Grace

Jesus is beside the Sea of Galilee and he is surrounded by another crowd. Therefore, Jesus engages in another impromptu evangelistic crusade. At this particular revival service, it is estimated approximately 15,000 people are gathered. Knowing it is the season of Passover and these people are along way from Jerusalem, Jesus determines to host them for dinner.

He asks Philip, “Where are we to buy bread so these people may eat?” Jesus knows what he plans to do, but he desires to place the conundrum before his wide-eyed disciples. Philip has nothing for Jesus; he knows not how his master plans on feeding the crowd.

However, amongst the disciples there is one man with a mustard seed of faith. Andrew is skeptical, but he knows odd things happen when Jesus choses to display his miraculous power. So he puts forth one possibility, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what…

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Why Does God Allow Sin to Remain in the Regenerate? (Boston)

The Reformed Reader

The Whole Works of Thomas Boston (12 vols.) “Why do I keep struggling with the same sinful thoughts?”  “Why can’t I just gain victory over lust and pride?”  “Why in the world does God allow sin to remain in his people?”  These are questions Christians ask from time to time.  We think of how nice it would be if we didn’t have to struggle with sinful thoughts, words, and deeds.  But, in his sovereignty, God has a reason for allowing sin to remain in his children.  Thomas Boston (d. 1732) gave some helpful answers to the question of why God allows sin to dwell in his elect while on earth.  Here are some of Boston’s answers (which I’ve edited and summarized):

  1. God has ordered the matter of the believer’s sanctification, that sin is left to be active in their souls while here on earth, for their further humiliation.  For example, God gave Paul a thorn in the…

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Sin and missing the mark

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows:when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “ Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21 NASB)

In the passage above, the word “sins” translates the noun ἁμαρτιῶν, which is the Genitive, Plural of ἁμαρτία or

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