Daily Archives: December 17, 2016

CultureWatch: Are You Trembling Yet?

We should all be trembling, and if we are not, we should be asking “Why not?” But trembling at what? And why? Let me tell you: trembling before the God who is there – the God who made us and who we are all called to give an account to. And I refer to the one true and living God, not an idol made in our own image.

The God of the Bible is certainly a loving and gracious God, but he is no pushover. He is not some compliant errand boy. He is not a celestial hippy. He is not a slightly bewildered grandfather figure. He is not a cosmic bell boy. He is not some sickly sweet wish-granter. Nor is he a jolly Santa Claus just waiting to give us goodies.

Instead, “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Because of this, “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). There are of course plenty of passages found in both Testaments describing the God with whom we have to do, and he is nothing like the one envisaged by so many today.

godFar too many believers have simply stopped reading their Bibles and instead have drunk deep from the foolish nostrums of our age. Thus they have a defective view of God, a lousy view of humanity, and a dopey idea of what life is all about.

They have bought all the foolishness about tolerance, offending nobody, victimhood, and safe spaces. They think we should really only worry about one thing; never upsetting anyone or hurting anyone’s feelings. I get this foolishness from Christians all the time sadly.

For example, one person recently said something really quite odd on a social media site: “If you do a thematic study of distress and safety in the bible, you will find that the God is deeply concerned with any feelings of distress or unsafety that are related to judgement or fear of judgement.”

Oh really? So hundreds of passages, including the two from Hebrews I cite above, do not belong in the Bible? Presumably so much of what Jesus said should not be there either. After all, he talked more about hell and judgment to come than anyone else.

He sure was not worried about hurting people’s feelings or intent on keeping the masses happy. He spoke tough words and made tough demands on all those who might follow him. Simply consider how he approached the rich young ruler. Jesus laid it on the line for this guy, and did not worry if he felt distressed or upset.

He made really rough demands on him, and did not seek to make him feel comfortable about himself. Indeed, we read that when “the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matthew 19:22). I wrote this up further here: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/05/25/discipleship-making-things-difficult/

And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/10/08/its-time-to-get-serious/

No, God is not all that concerned if we feel offended or upset or distressed. No, he does not want to set up little “safe spaces” for us to feel comfortable in. No, he does not sugar-coat the gospel message so that no one is offended or feels bad. No, he does not offer “trigger warnings” first before he speaks. No, he is not into letting us off the hook by making us feel good.

He wants us to repent of our sin and turn from our repugnant rebellion or face his just judgment. And he wants us to approach him on his terms, not ours. Getting back to the opening lines of this piece, the God we serve is a God that we should tremble at.

He is that sort of God. I recently went through the Bible and recorded the many times this one word is used: “tremble”. It is found quite often, so let me just offer some instances of it here. They make it clear what sort of God exists, and what he expects as he calls us into relationship with himself.

Exodus 19:16-18 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

Exodus 20:18-19 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Deuteronomy 2:25 This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you.”

2 Samuel 22:7-16 In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

1 Chronicles 16:28-30 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 99:1 The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.

Psalm 119:120 My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.

Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.

Jeremiah 5:22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?

Acts 7:32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

Romans 11:20 But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.

And it is not just God that we should tremble at, but we should tremble at God’s word as well. Here are a few such passages:

Ezra 9:4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.

Psalm 119:161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.

Isaiah 66:2 “Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”

Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word.

This is the God that we have to deal with, not one of our own invention. Our God is not one to be trifled with. It is serious business to deal with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Yes, because of the finished work of Christ at Calvary, sinners like you and I can find a way to approach Father God confidently and wholeheartedly.

But Christ is no cute and cuddly teddy bear. Simply read what John says about him in Revelation 19:11-16:

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

As A. W. Tozer rightly said:

Christ can never be known without a sense of awe and fear accompanying the knowledge. He is the fairest among ten thousand, but He is also the Lord high and mighty. He is the friend of sinners, but He is also the terror of devils. He is meek and lowly in heart, but He is also Lord and Christ who will surely come to be the judge of all men. No one who knows Him intimately can ever be flippant in His presence.

[1637 words]

The post Are You Trembling Yet? appeared first on CultureWatch.

Did We Really Expect BHO To Leave Quietly? Leftists Plotting Riots To Cripple U.S.

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

george-soros-behind-donald-trump-protests

When Obama appears to the American people since Trump’s victory, he seems so cool and calm and accepting of the outcome of the election.  He does not fool me. I have told my husband numerous times that this man is always calculating his next move. And so he is.

Those being blamed for the upcoming protests and riots are George Soros and Michael Moore.  I would say that Obama is steering this opposition to Trump, but his role is being covered and silenced by his mainstream media. After all, they work for him.  Soros is funding the protests, as usual.

The plans for disruption of our big cities is not just for Inauguration day. They are also planning these “riots” for December 19th – the day that the electors cast they votes.

From wnd.com

Michael Moore, Soros, Vogue mag fueling mass anti-Trump protests

Mass protests are being planned to block…

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Apostles: Then and Now?

The Reformed Reader

 Are there apostles today?  Can someone make a valid case that he is an apostle of Christ?  Speaking of the apostles, what is an apostolic church?  I appreciate Gerald Bray’s explanation of these questions in chapter two of his book The Church: A Theological and Historical Account.

Bray first notes that to be an apostle according to the NT, one had to be an eyewitness of the risen Christ and also have a divine calling to the apostleship.  What about Paul?  “Paul knew that he was exceptional because he had not been a disciple of Jesus and had even persecuted the church before his conversion, but he attributes his apostolic calling to a special act of God’s grace that he did not deserve and that had not been given to anyone else” (1 Cor. 15:8-11; 2 Cor. 11:1-33; Gal. 1:1-17) (p. 38).

“Following this logic the apostles and their ministry died out in the first generation, and there…

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December 17, 2016: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

December 17 The Meaning of Christ’s Exaltation

“God highly exalted Him.”

Philippians 2:9

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The Father exalted the Son as the God–man.

A question that often springs to mind regarding the exaltation of Christ is how Jesus could be exalted since He is already God. We find the answer in Jesus’ High–Priestly prayer in John 17, where He asked the Father to restore to Him the glory He had with the Father before the world began (v. 5). Christ’s request shows that He gave up something that God would give back to Him. Christ gave up His glory in the Incarnation. Beyond glorification, in His exaltation Christ would receive more than He had before.

How is that possible? God has it all. Christ didn’t become any more God or any more perfect; He was already the Most High God—King of kings and Lord of lords. But as the God–man, a new state of being for Him, He suffered things and was given things He would not otherwise have had if He had not become the God–man. For example, He never would have had the privilege of being the interceding High Priest for His people if He had never been touched with the feelings of their infirmities—tempted in all points like them. If He had not become the God–man, He would never have become our substitute by bearing our sins in His own body on the cross. As God He was incapable of elevation, but as the God–Man He could be lifted up from the lowest degradation to the highest degree of glory. So in a sense He received from the Father privileges He didn’t have before—privileges He gained because of His incarnation.

At His ascension Christ was seated at the Father’s right hand. He was elevated to that position as the God–man—a state of being that was His only because of His incarnation. Thus He entered upon the rights and privileges not only of God as God, but of God as the God–man. His exaltation was not with regard to His nature or eternal place within the Trinity but with regard to His new character as the God–man.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Father for exalting His Son to His rightful place in Heaven.

For Further Study: According to Acts 5:31, in what two ways did God exalt Christ to His right hand? Why?[1]


December 17

Christians and Christmas

He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord.

Romans 14:6

The Puritans in early America rejected Christmas celebrations altogether. They deliberately worked on December 25 to show their disdain. A law passed in England in 1644 reflected a similar Puritan influence; the law made Christmas Day an official working day. For a time in England it was literally illegal to cook plum pudding or mince pie for the holidays.

Christians today are generally not opposed to celebrating Christmas. The holiday itself is nothing, and observing it is not a question of right or wrong. As Paul wrote, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Rom. 14:5–6). Every day—including Christmas—is a celebration for us who know and love Him.[2]


DECEMBER 17

SILENT ADORATION

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

—Psalm 95:6-7

Next is adoration, to love God with all the power within us. To love God with fear and wonder and yearning and awe. To yearn for God with great yearning, and to love Him to a point where it is both painful and delightful. At times this will lead us to breathless silence. I think that some of the greatest prayer is prayer where you don’t say one single word or ask for anything. Now God does answer and He does give us what we ask for. That’s plain; nobody can deny that unless he denies the Scriptures. But that’s only one aspect of prayer, and it’s not even the important aspect. Sometimes I go to God and say, “God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already.” God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me. WMJ024

Lord, You have given me so much. Today I ask nothing but Your Presence as I bow before You in silent adoration. Amen. [3]


December 17

Parable of the Leaven, Part 1

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”—Matt. 13:33

Small things often have a great influence, which is the first point of Jesus’ parable here. The influence is analogous to the effect a small piece of leavened dough, as it permeates and rises, can have on a larger lump of unleavened dough. Here the influence represents the power of God’s kingdom, which is much greater than its initial, small appearances. The smallest part of the kingdom will influence the world because it contains the Holy Spirit’s power working through believers.

Secondly, the parable suggests that kingdom influence is positive, just as leavening is for bread. To symbolize their break with Egypt, God commanded His people to eat only unleavened bread (Ex. 12:15, 18–19). But apart from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they were free to eat and enjoy leavened bread. The Jews always perceived leaven favorably, as when a bride-to-be received a small piece of leavened dough just before her wedding. From that she would bake bread the rest of her married life and consider the small gift among the most cherished she ever received.

As to how leaven represents the large and positive influence of God’s kingdom against Satan’s, William Arnot wrote,

The evil spreads like leaven; you tremble … but be of good cheer, disciples of Jesus, greater is He that is for you than all that are against you; the word of life which has been hidden in the world, hidden in believing hearts, is a leaven too. The unction of the Holy One is more subtle and penetrating and subduing than sin and Satan. Where sin abounded, grace shall much more abound.

ASK YOURSELF
What small addition or adjustment could you make to your lifestyle priorities as a Christian that would result in a big change of usefulness and effectiveness?[4]


December 17 Christ’s Superior Destiny

“To which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:13–14).

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The destiny of Jesus Christ is that ultimately everything in the universe will be subject to Him.

At the name of Jesus every knee [will] bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10). This great promise confirms that Jesus Christ is destined to be the ruler of the universe.

Yet notice this about Christ’s rule: “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the one who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). Christ is subordinate to His Father, but only in His role as the Son. While the eternal Son is equally divine, He is officially in subjection to God.

Eventually God will put all kingdoms, authorities, and powers of the world in subjection under Christ when He comes in glory at His Second Coming. “He will rule [the nations] with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS’” (Rev. 19:15–16). Christ’s eternal destiny is to reign over the new heavens and the new earth.

But what about the angels? While Christ has the greater destiny, it is their destiny to serve forever those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14)—and that’s us!

Angels protect and deliver believers from temporal danger. They rescued Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom. They went into the lions’ den with Daniel and protected him. In addition to being forever in God’s presence, our destiny is to be served by angels forever—service that begins at the moment of our salvation.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the many ways He takes care of you—by saving you, having Christ intercede for you, giving you the Holy Spirit to teach you, and sending His angels to serve you.

For Further Study: Read 2 Kings 6:8–23, and note the amazing way that angels served the prophet Elisha.[5]


DECEMBER 17

MERCY: A BOUNDLESS SEA

God, who is rich in mercy…even when we were dead in sins.

Ephesians 2:4–5

A human being is never really aware of the great boundless sea of the mercy of God until by faith he comes across the threshold of the kingdom of God and recognizes it and identifies it!

My father was sixty years old when he bowed before Jesus Christ and was born again. That was a near lifetime in which he had sinned and lied and cursed. But to him, the mercy of God that took him to heaven was no greater than the mercy of God that had endured and kept him for sixty years.

I recall the story of an ancient rabbi who consented to take a weary old traveler into his house for a night of rest. In conversation, the rabbi discovered the visitor was almost 100 years old and a confirmed atheist. Infuriated, the rabbi arose, opened the door and ordered the man out into the night.

Then, sitting down by his candle and Old Testament, it seemed he heard a voice, God’s voice: “I have endured that sinner for almost a century. Could you not endure him for a night?” The rabbi ran out and overtaking the old man, brought him back to the hospitality of his home for the night.

Father, You are gloriously patient with mankind. I praise You for that, and I pray that You will prod Your believing children to go out and find those who are on the cusp of belief.[6]


DECEMBER 17

CHRISTIANS NEED EACH OTHER

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

1 PETER 1:19

In the Lord’s instructions to Israel concerning the preparation for the Passover in Egypt we clearly see a foreshadowing of the communal quality of the Christian life: “Take every man a lamb, according to the house of your fathers.”

A lamb for a house—the chosen lamb of that particular family. But when John the Baptist appeared, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” A lamb for each family was one thing—but they were all pointing to this great Lamb, which was not Israel’s lamb at all, but the Lamb of God!

Yes, there is a blessed communal quality in the Christian faith and I add that “communal” is a beautiful word that has been ruined for us by communism. There is a sense in which the people of the Lord are a people apart, belonging to each other in a sense in which they do not belong to anyone else.

I do not hesitate to say that Christians belong to each other more than they belong to their country. I will also say to you, good wives and husbands in the faith, that you belong to Jesus Christ first and to husbands and wives second.

And to you who have Christian children, that those children belong to God first, and to you second. This is where we stand for we belong to each other in the communal family of God first!

As believers we discover there is a kingdom within the kingdoms of this world. A new people within the old. A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen generation—Christians sharing together in the Lamb of God, precious to one another![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 378). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 360). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 364). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[6] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.