Daily Archives: July 18, 2017

July 18, 2017: Verse of the day


1 In anticipation of God’s kingship, the nations must joyfully acclaim Yahweh as the Great King by clapping their hands (cf. 2 Ki 11:12; for nature, cf. Isa 55:12). The heavenly beings already sing praises to him (cf. 29:1; Isa 6:3). The kingdom of God will only be established when the “nations” on earth join with the heavenly choirs in celebration of his universal and everlasting kingship. While clapping, the people joyously “shout” a cheer of victory (20:5).[1]

47:1 all peoples. The call to worship is universal.[2]

47:1–4 As the Psalm began, the audience realized that the Gentile nations which survived the recent global Tribulation were being summoned to clap their hands and shout to God with loud songs of joy. In an unprecedented display of emotion, the choir itself clapped rhythmically as if to lead the way. When the singers came to the words “For the Lord Most High is awesome” the people spontaneously rose to their feet. They remembered the recent coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was publicly acclaimed “a great King over all the earth.” Gratitude welled up as the people remembered how He subdued “the goat nations” under our feet, those nations which had been implacably hostile to Israel during our time of trouble. Ripples of applause swept through the auditorium as the choir sang:

He will choose our inheritance for us,

The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.[3]

47:1–4 The Lord Is to Be Feared by All. The Lord loves Israel and gave them their heritage; but this is in order that all peoples might come to fear and love him. Thus God’s subduing of the Canaanites is not his final word for the Gentiles. To clap the hands is here an expression of exultation (cf. Nah. 3:19).[4]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 411). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 47:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 623). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 995). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The Federalist: Christianity Doesn’t Endorse Homosexuality, No Matter What Eugene Peterson And Jim Gaffigan Imply

Eugene Peterson, translator of the very popular bible adaption The Message and a favorite writer in evangelical circles, shocked many this week, stating that he’s perfectly comfortable performing a same-sex wedding. He explained, “I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. …I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. …[I]t’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.” Update: the next day his literary agent released a statement saying Peterson did not imply this and holds to a biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one women. I take him at his word. This article has been slightly changed to reflect this new information.

Noted Catholics, comedian Jim Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie (whom Jim humorously describes as a “Shiite Catholic”) proudly took their five young kids to New York City’s recent Gay Pride parade, joyfully waving their rainbow flags. There have been a disturbing number of people who claim the name of Christ who would like us to believe that God and the Bible are totally cool with homosexuality. They are not. These folks are sowing a great deal of confusion among Christians today, which is troubling and must be set straight in clear terms.

Squaring homosexual sexual relations with the Jewish and Christian scriptures requires that one either ignore its clear and historic teaching or perform a clever textual sleight of hand. It’s the only two ways one can arrive there. Here are ten foundational truths that must inform the person who seeks to be true to faithfully orthodox Christian belief. The first sets the stage for the whole discussion.

1. All Humans Are Simultaneously Sinful and Loved

All people, regardless of their story, are deeply and unconditionally loved by God, each created with profound dignity and worth, not one more than another. This is more than mere religious happy talk, it’s the truth, whether one is gay, straight, or otherwise.

But all people are also stricken with a terminal illness: sin. Everyone. No exceptions. And all to the same degree. Our sin demands our repentance and needs forgiveness, and God’s love and grace are where we find both. All of us are dirty and all of us can be made clean. This is basic Christianity and the great equalizer of all people.

2. Jesus Wasn’t Silent on Homosexuality

Some claim Jesus never said anything about homosexuality and therefore is neutral on the topic. First, this demonstrates embarrassingly bad logic. Argument from silence. Second, it’s not true.

The question is not whether Jesus ever said anything about homosexuality. The overarching question is “What was the sexual ethic that Jesus taught?” Ask any of these innovators. For all their effort, they have remarkably never considered this question and thus, don’t have a clear answer.

Jesus was unequivocal in saying that to understand marriage and the sexual union, we must go back to the beginning of Genesis and see how God created humanity and to what end. (See Matthew 19 and Mark 10.) No way to spin that. Jesus holds up the creation story, not as a quaint Sunday school lesson, but as solidly authoritative, reminding us that God created each of us male or female, each for the other. And the sexual union that God created and ordains is for husband and wife to come together in an exclusive physical union, one flesh.

These theological revisionists don’t even really concern themselves with the early Genesis texts.

3. There Is Only One Option

Both Jesus and all of Scripture approve of no other sexual union than that between a husband and wife. This is the uncontested historical teaching of Judaism and Christianity, and it is not something we are free to adjust with the times.

In fact, when Jesus spoke of sexual ethics, he doubled down on tightening the restrictions: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” He’s the opposite of elastic on sexuality.

4. Male and Female Are God’s Image on Earth

This point is the real guts of the matter.

The first chapter of Scripture tells us that humanity is uniquely created male and female to show forth the image of God in the world—to make visible the divine invisible. God does this not just in some generic, androgynous humanity, but through two very similar but distinct types of humans: male and female. They are divine and human universals, not cultural constructs.

When husband and wife—as sex-distinct beings—come together, they become something much larger and mysterious. It’s clearly stated in the Bible here. No other human relationship does this, as loving and sincere as they might be.

5. Sex Is Indeed about Babies

The belief that human sexuality is all about intimacy and pleasure but not necessarily babies is terribly novel and culturally peculiar. Babies and reproduction matter. And sure, while not every male-female sexual union is toward the end of procreation, it has been the overwhelming norm and desire in nearly all marital relationships throughout time.

That some couples are infertile either by age or incapability does not diminish or challenge this reality. Infertility is the vast exception for male-female couples and is deeply mourned by them for a reason. By contrast, all same-sex unions are a human cul-de-sac. This is true from both a Christian and evolutionary worldview. Only the heterosexual union can reach into the future and create the next generation.

6. Children Have a Right to a Mother and Father

Every person ever born can track his origin and most intimate make-up to a particular mother and father. There are no exceptions. This was the first command God gave to the first two humans: to come together and bring forth the coming generations of new divine image-bearers.

Nearly all cultures in all places in the world at all historical times hold as fundamental that every child should, as much as possible, be loved and raised by the mother and father whose DNA they share. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes a mother and father as a basic right of every child.

7. Same-Sex Attraction Is Not a Sin

To be human is to have a disordered sexuality. You do. I do. Everyone does. We all have some manner of sexual drive that compels us to disobey God’s design for sexuality. But while temptation is universal, it’s different from sin. Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). Sexual sin is giving in to the desires contrary to God’s design in either mind or body. Faithful Christian discipleship cannot avoid temptation. But it must avoid acting on that temptation.

Many people are indeed same-sex attracted, but live obediently within a Christian sexual ethic. It can be difficult, as it is for heterosexuals who are required to live in celibacy. Christianity requires that we each subjugate our sexual (and many other) desires to our faith commitment, and countless same-sex attracted believers do so willingly and joyfully. They should be held up as faithful examples and hopeful encouragers to all who experience same-sex attraction.

8. Sexual Intimacy Is Not a Right

Every Christian has limitations placed on his sexuality. For married Christians, it is exclusive to one’s spouse. For single, engaged, and divorced Christians, it is abstinence, no exceptions. Is it unfair for so many to be forced into a life that cannot know the wonder and beauty of physical intimacy just because marriage is not an option for them? Is it fair for a Christian to be stuck in a loveless marriage? Christians have long understood that our sense of fairness is not really the question. Sex is not a right, but a gift—and the giver knows what is best for us.

9. Rewriting God’s Rules Is Never an Option

One of the marks of a Christian is his or her desire to be obedient to Christ’s teaching. Certainly most of us might wish to rewrite the Scriptures in a few places to make life easier. Christianity is indeed a demanding call. But the Scriptures define and change us, not the other way around.

10. People Are More than Their Sexuality

To identify people principally by their sexuality is to reduce people to their sexuality. We should all reject this with great force. A person’s inherent and undeniable value is rooted in his membership in humanity, not his particularity, sexual or otherwise. Full stop.

To advocate for extending rights to someone based on particular and sometimes mutable desires, relationships and behaviors—as important as they might be to the individual—is actually a violation of the principle of universal human rights. It judges them differently because they are different, not because of their common humanity.

Anyone who works so hard to bend and dismiss the clear teaching of Scripture to fit his or her own interests and prejudices is disrespecting God and placing themselves on his throne. This goes for everyone who does such things. It must be called out for what it is with great intensity and clarity, for many critical things are at stake: The integrity of God’s word. The truths Jesus taught us. The well-being and eternal destiny of those doing the twisting. And the evil deception of those being led astray.

This is very serious business and cannot be treated lightly.

Source: Visit Website

David Jeremiah: ‘Appreciates Sarah Young and Jesus Calling’

So, is it time we “mark and avoid” this popular pastor, teacher and author?  Christians who are of the opinion that Dr. David Jeremiah can be trusted couldn’t be more wrong as you will see in this piece by Amy Spreeman. She writes:

Pastor David Jeremiah recently worked with JesusCalling.com to produce a podcast titled, Keeping Hope In A Darkened World. In addition to promoting his new book, the pastor also promoted Sarah Young, the author of the Jesus Calling books, studies, devotionals, calendars, and coloring book.  The transcript of the interview regarding his admiration for the multi-million dollar Jesus Calling empire is as follows:

Narrator: “As a pastor and a teacher, Dr. Jeremiah advocates daily prayer and scripture reading. He appreciates how Sarah Young has helped many with their prayer lives through the words of Jesus Calling.”

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David Jeremiah: ‘Appreciates Sarah Young and Jesus Calling’

Apologist James White Draws Concerns After Holding, Defending Interfaith ‘Dialogue’ at Church With Muslim Imam

Heather Clark of Christian News Network offers carefully lays out the details of a recent uproar among evangelicals over a debate between Christian apologist James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and Yasir Qadhi, Dean of Academic Affairs at the Al-Maghrib Institute.  The paid event, called “Christians and Muslims: Agreements and Differences,” was held at Grace Bible Church on Jan. 24. On his Facebook page Dr. White stated that he is thankful that Heather Clark “actually quoted from the dialogues, fairly, evenly, and then gave extensive quotes from what I’ve written since then.”

A well-known Reformed apologist, elder and professional debater is drawing concerns after presenting, and continuing to defend, an interfaith dialogue event at a Mississippi church with a Muslim imam, which he says was meant to help Christians and Muslims engage in conversation and to “get along without compromise.”

Some objectors, while noting that they support dialoguing with and evangelizing Muslims, do not believe that it was proper to give an unconverted Muslim any type of platform during a special event hosted at a church, and feel that many of the imam’s statements should not have gone unchallenged.

“I’m totally in favor of having an accurate view of what they believe,” Andy Woods, the senior pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church in Texas and president of Chafer Theological Seminary in New Mexico, told Christian News Network. “Working out our differences and sitting down and making sure we understand each other is one thing, but giving someone a platform at a church is a different matter.”

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Source: Apologist James White Draws Concerns After Holding, Defending Interfaith ‘Dialogue’ at Church With Muslim Imam

Civil Religion–The Chief Rival of Biblical Christianity in America?

Does confusing Christ’s kingdom with civil religion open the door to exchange the truth of Christianity for what amounts to a false religion, “one in which faith in the national interest eclipses the primary allegiance a Christian owes to Jesus Christ and his word.” According to Pastor Kim Riddlebarger, who is co-host of the White Horse Inn:

One of the most subtle and dangerous temptations Christians face during their pilgrim journey is the allure of civil religion.  James Davison Hunter defines civil religion as a “diffuse amalgamation of religious values that is synthesized with the civic creeds of the nation; in which the life and mission of the church is conflated with the life and mission of the country.  American values are in substance, biblical, prophetic values; American identity is, thus, a vaguely Christian identity.” (1)  Civil religion often functions as an alternative public religious framework for many professing Christians, especially those who accept the “Christian America” myth, or who find exclusive Christian truth claims too controversial to play any significant role in the public square.

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Source: Civil Religion–The Chief Rival of Biblical Christianity in America?

Southern Baptist-Owned LifeWay Stores Won’t Pull ‘Message Bible’ After Author’s ‘Gay Marriage’ Retraction

As previously reported here and here, a huge hullabaloo erupted after retired pastor and author Eugene Peterson, best known for “The Message,” commented during an interview that he would be willing to officiate a same-sex ceremony for “Christians of good faith” if he were pastoring today. According to Heather Clark of Christian News,Peterson “acknowledged that he did respond yes (that he would officiate a same-sex ceremony) during the interview, but said he only did so “in the moment” and felt the need to retract his answer upon praying about the matter.”  Clark now reports that if Peterson keeps his true feelings on homosexuality to himself, his books could have a long shelf life:

LifeWay Christian Stores, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, says that it will not pull the “Message Bible” or any of Eugene Peterson’s other writings now that the author has retracted his initial statements about same-sex “marriage.”

“Based upon Eugene Peterson’s retraction, we will continue to sell his resources,” Carol Pipes, the director of corporate communications for LifeWay Christian Resources, told Christian News Network in a statement.

The company had said last week that if Peterson indeeds supports homosexual “marriage,” as he seemingly indicated in his recent interview with Religion News Service, it would pull his products.

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Source: Southern Baptist-Owned LifeWay Stores Won’t Pull ‘Message Bible’ After Author’s ‘Gay Marriage’ Retraction

Dallas Theological Seminary Not Contemplative? – New Evidence Shows Otherwise

Dallas Theological Seminary Not Contemplative? – New Evidence Shows Otherwise

Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) has always maintained that while they teach Spiritual Formation, they only teach the “good” kind and that they are not a school that promotes contemplative spirituality. Lighthouse Trails has always challenged these suppositions. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago when Lighthouse Trails editors had some correspondence with two different DTS […]

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15 Prayers for the Wrongfully Blamed

Have you been wrongfully blamed? Or have you been misunderstood for your intentions? Pray with me:

1. You see me.

God, thank you for seeing me. I know that you are always right, true, and just. You see me, and you see when my heart is loving you through what I say or do.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

2. Your judgments are true.

Thank you that when human judgments are lacking, your judgments are flawlessly true—I long for your standards to reign on this earth, down to every minutia.

Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25)

3. You sought me.

Father, I know that you sought me while a sinner and have worked through me even while I still have sin in my heart—what grace through Christ! Help this truth spur me toward wanting to give grace to others.

As a prisoner in the Lord, then, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received: with all humility and gentleness, withpatience, bearing with one another in love… (Ephesians 4:1-2)

4. Make me content.

God, who can know your mind? Please don’t let me expect that you want to use me as a teacher in someone else’s life, as if I know the plans you have ordained for another’s growth and benefit. I am content to play whatever part in others’ lives you want me to play.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

5. Motivate me rightly.

Father, I beg that you would keep my heart from self-centeredness; I pray that your Word, truth, reputation, love, and gospel would motivate me. May my foremost concern be you.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according tothe measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3)

6. Help me trust your good work.

God, you have done good work in me; don’t let me believe that you have not truly been present in my life—my mind, will, and heart—for righteousness. Don’t let me ever discount you.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

7. I confess my deceitful heart.

Father, I confess that my own heart evades me. I acknowledge and sorrowfully confess that to ever objectively state my complete innocence, holiness, purity, or righteousness in any given moment of life would be impossible for me to do.

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1 1:10)

8. Thank you for Jesus, the spotless Lamb.

All the more, I worship you, God, that Christ was spotless.

…but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:19)

9. Humble me when you use me.

God, if I have been faithful in how I have acted or spoken before you, let it be in care for others. If I have ultimately taught and helped another through speaking or acting in truth, let me be glad never to receive the credit for being the teacher. 

We are glad whenever we are weak, but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. (2 Corinthians 13:9)

10. Fill me with your love, always.

Father, help me remember that even if I had all possible faithfulness in knowledge of the truth, I would always need, included in this, driving love for my brothers and sisters in order to possibly please you.

…and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

11. Fill me with praise for what you’re doing in others.

God, please help me to be as full of praise to you for the full forgiveness you give to my brothers and sisters as I am for my own salvation.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (1 Peter 1:3)

12. Fill me with sorrow over other people’s sin.

Father, help me to have compassionate sorrow for the sin of others, praying as a true partner against it alongside them, regardless of how I have felt or been affected.

Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? (2 Corinthians 11:29)

13. Give me joy in you alone.

Lord, please don’t let me be fooled into thinking there are perfect circumstances “out there” for me to find. Instead, remind me that abiding joy is found in fellowship with you and in knowing that I have done your will.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:10-11)

14. Help me find security and freedom in you alone.

God, I trust you to keep me secure and free—for you are my strength and shield.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (Psalm 28:7)

15. Thank you for covering my sin.

God, I thank you for not counting my sins against me, but for paying for every single one. You have made me overflow with gladness and praise.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalm 32:1)

I praise you, Father, for your unfailing grace and truth for my soul through Christ.

[Photo Credit: Lightstock]


The post 15 Prayers for the Wrongfully Blamed appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 7 – The Tender Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

18 But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord thus shall you say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel, “Regarding the words which you have heard, 19 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord. 20 “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.”’” So they brought back word to the king. 2 Kings 22:18-20 (NASB)

Without a doubt, my favorite King in the Bible is Josiah. His…

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The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 6 – The Selfless Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

18 And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” 19 They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” 20 And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” 21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”
23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and…

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The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 5 – The Contrite Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
3 O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the Lord, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there…

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