Daily Archives: September 10, 2017

God Told Me!? (A Critique of Mysticism)

The Reformed Reader

What do you do when a friend says, “God told me I needed to go on a diet,” or “The Holy Spirit spoke to me last night and said you should make more friends”?  How do we even begin to respond?  It’s not easy to respond to such comments; it takes patience and wisdom!  If you’ve heard these statements before, you might appreciate Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ comments on this kind of “God-told-me” mysticism.  In the paragraphs below, Lloyd-Jones says these are his main critiques of mysticism: 1) it is claiming continuing inspiration, 2) it devalues Scripture, 3) it devalues the person and work of Christ, 4) it focuses on the Lord’s work in us so much that it forgets His work for us, 5) it is weak on the doctrine of sin, 6) it is entirely subjective, 7) it tends to extremism and fanaticism.  Here are his comments:

“The main criticism…

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‘I can’t find a solid church’

Amy Spreeman of Berean Research shares some tips on finding a solid church. She writes:

I recently received an email that has become a common heart cry for those hungry sheep who are not being fed a solid diet of pure milk and meat of Scripture:

“I am finding it difficult to find a congregation in my area that is not filled with compromise. I currently attend a Vineyard church where the ministries have adopted programs and teachings of Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, and others. I want to leave without rocking the boat, but where do I go? I’ve visited other churches, but find doctrinal issues with them also. I have been saved for years, but only recently have learned to discern, thanks in part to your ministry. Please give me some guidance.”

When I get letters like these, I am so saddened that the visible church has taken a worldly, carnal direction. At the same time, I am encouraged that God is opening the eyes of His children who love Him and seek to learn in truth and spirit from those who rightly handle His Word.

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Source: ‘I can’t find a solid church’

Do You Really Want An Abundant Life?

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:9-11)

You Can’t Handle An Abundant Life Unless You’ve Been Born Again From Above

So, you want an abundant life; then first of all you must come to understand the truth that mankind does not deserve anything from God but death for our rebellion against Him:

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:3)

And no, that doesn’t sound pleasant; but spending an eternity in conscious torment in a literal place Jesus Himself referred to as hell sounds just a bit less pleasant, doesn’t it?

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Source: Do You Really Want An Abundant Life?

September 10, 2017: Verse of the day


Psalm 109:21-31

21 But you, O God my Lord,
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
22  For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is stricken within me.
23  I am gone like a shadow at evening;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24  My knees are weak through fasting;
my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
25  I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they wag their heads.
26  Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!
27  Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it!
28  Let them curse, but you will bless!
They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!
29  May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!
30  With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31  For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,
to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

25–29 Third, the psalmist reminds the Lord of the adversaries. The emphatic “I” (v. 25) stands in contrast to the emphatic “But you” (v. 21) and forms a closure of this section. The Lord is good and loving, but the psalmist is haunted by the accusers. They seek his downfall by heaping on him “scorn” (cf. 31:11; 79:4; 89:41) and by rejecting him (“they shake their heads”; cf. 22:7; Mt 27:39). He prays for relief (v. 26; cf. v. 21) by particularly asking for God’s judgment on the wicked (vv. 27–29). The principle of the judgment is clearly that of just retribution—shame and disgrace (v. 29; cf. v. 25). Their “garments,” “cloak,” and “belt,” signifying a life given to bringing “curse” (vv. 18–19), will be exchanged for their being “clothed with disgrace” (cf. 35:26). They will be “wrapped in shame as in a cloak” (cf. 71:13). They must know that the deliverance of God’s “servant” (v. 28; see 19:11) is the Lord’s doing and that their judgment is also his work (v. 27; cf. 86:17)! He will change the curse of the enemies to a blessing for his people (v. 28; cf. 1 Co 4:12).[1]

109:26–29 In his second prayer, he asks the Lord to vindicate him before the foes. When Jehovah comes to his help and rescues him, then the assailants will know that it was an act of divine intervention—the hand of the Lord. What difference will it make if they curse, as long as the Lord blesses. The enemies will be ashamed, but the psalmist will rejoice at that time. May they be clothed with shame and confusion, yes, wrapped in disgrace as with a full-cut mantle.[2]

109:21–29 David petitioned the court for justice by asking for deliverance for the judge’s sake (109:21) and then for his own sake (vv. 22–25). Afterwards, he requested that his enemies be rightfully punished (vv. 26–29).[3]

109:21–29 Deliver Me from Their Accusations. The next section asks for God’s protection from the attacks, and for the accusers to be disgraced (v. 29), i.e., to be rendered ineffective in their power to intimidate and harm. The appeal is to God’s steadfast love (vv. 21, 26) and to the singer’s own powerlessness (vv. 22–25). The ideal would be for the accusers to know that this is God’s hand; this will put them to shame and might even lead to their repentance (cf. 83:17–18).[4]

A further appeal (109:26–31). The psalmist renews his appeal in a plea for vindication and so for the failure of his accusers and for their humiliation. Their curses in vv 6–19, far from being magical, depend for their effect on Yahweh’s implementation (cf. Num 23:8; Prov 26:2), as vv 14–15, 20 make clear. The curses can be rendered ineffective by God’s choosing instead to bless. V 27 does not mean that Yahweh caused the death of which the psalmist was accused in v 16. The use of עשׂה, “do,” to express Yahweh’s dynamic, saving intervention accords with v 21 and invites comparison with Pss 22:32 (31); 37:5; 52:11 (9). There is an expectation that God will make and implement providential decisions. The psalmist’s goal is not the satisfaction of personal vengeance but that Yahweh may be acknowledged as the just and faithful God who governs the covenant community by means of moral adjustments. The psalmist ventures to remind Yahweh of the close relationship between himself and Yahweh, like that between a dutiful vassal and his sovereign lord and master. His cause is God’s cause. Lindhagen (Servant Motif, 266–70) analyzed the contextual associations of עבד, “servant,” a term characteristic of the individual lament, finding the correlate within the relationship to be אלהי, “my God,” v 26, as in Ps 86:2 and also Pss 31:15–17 (14–16); 143:10, 12. The basis of appeal is the divine name, with its connotation of character, as in Ps 143:11: none other than Yahweh bears responsibility for the servant. One might also mention the divine חסד, “loyal love,” vv 21, 26, as in Pss 31:16 (15); 69:14, 17 (13, 16), and the correlation between עבדך, “your servant,” and אדני, “my Lord,” in vv 21, 28.

If his appeal is answered, the psalmist promises to testify to Yahweh’s saving help before the religious community at the thanksgiving service, and so to renew his former praise mentioned in v 1. אביון, “needy,” and הושׁיע, “save,” gather up vv 22 and 26 by way of conclusion, while a new use of standing on the right is a final challenge to v 6. For רבים, “many,” rendered “assembly,” one may compare קהל רב, “great congregation,” in the context of a thanksgiving service in Ps 22:26 (25); it pits the prospect of fellowship and social acceptance against the loneliness of suffering as an outsider. He trusts that his judge will also be his defense witness so that he may be vindicated (cf. Isa 50:8, 9; Rom 8:33–34).[5]

[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. 812). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 722). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 109:21–29). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1083). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Allen, L. C. (2002). Psalms 101–150 (Revised) (Vol. 21, pp. 105–106). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.